James Pollock: A Brief Examination of Mr. Philip Mauro’s Later Views on Dispensational Truth (1930)
Home>James Pollock: A Brief Examination of Mr. Philip Mauro’s Later Views on Dispensational Truth (1930)
James Pollock: A Brief Examination of Mr. Philip Mauro’s Later Views on Dispensational Truth (1930)
Mr. Mauro is pleased to label dispensational views as “Modernism,” Mr. Mauro’s views are not only destructive of a true understanding of prophecy, but they involve erroneous views as to the Church, the Kingdom, the Gospel, and the Law
A Brief Examination of Mr. Philip Mauro’s Later Views on Dispensational Truth
Remarks on Mr. Pollock’s Examination of Mr. Mauro’s Teaching
A Brief Examintion of Mr. Mauro’s Later Views on Dispensational Truth
Dispensation or Era
The Moral and Ceremonial Law
A Few Remarks on Mr. Mauro’s Book “The Patmos Visions”*
Where Are We Today?
A Fatal Admission
When Do the Seals Begin?
Who Are the 144,000?
Mr. Mauro Sets a Date for the Lord’s Coming
The Vision of the Two Wild Beasts
Remarks on Mr. Pollock’s Examination of Mr. Mauro’s Teaching
This appeals to me as a useful exposure of Mr. Mauro’s fallacious teaching. It is useful in that it exposes his manifold contradictions and ridiculous efforts at interpretation to suit his theory; and it is a well-merited rebuke for his extravagant charges and wild statements about men more able than he from the standpoint of scholarship and spiritual discernment in the teaching of Scripture.
One’s amazement increases when those long in the fellowship of so-called “Brethren” are carried away with such drivel, and one wonders why, when there is such an abundant supply of sound literature published on these subjects which the best advocates of the historical theory have never been able to prove unscriptural.
Mr. Mauro’s views are not only destructive of a true understanding of prophecy, but they involve erroneous views as to the Church, the Kingdom, the Gospel, and the Law, as Mr. Pollock has pointed out.
Mr. Mauro is pleased to label dispensational views as “Modernism,” though it would not be hard to show that these views must have been held by the early successors of the apostles-views of truth that, along with other truths concerning the Church, its divine order, spiritual constitution and heavenly destiny, were lost to God’s people, and only restored to us together with correct prophetic interpretation about a hundred years ago. What was lost together was then restored together, and instead of being “Modernism,” as Mr. Mauro falsely states, those views and their related truths are the only crushing answer to Modernism. In his striving after novelties Mr. Mauro would plunge us back into the theology and meaningless spiritualizing process belonging to the dark ages, much of which was carried over into Reformation days. Mr. Mauro is fond of charging dispensational teaching with the low spiritual state of the Lord’s people today, and he thinks that what he now advocates will revive and restore spiritual tone and activity. One might reasonably ask him since what he advocates is from pre- and post-Reformation days, if the evidence of history supports his contention? Were those days so greatly characterized by spirituality and unworldliness?
On the other hand, with the revival of those lost truths already referred to, there came the greatest period of real missionary work since apostolic days. This continues to the present unabated and increasing. There also came that blessed deliverance from sectarian and denominational bondage as a result of which thousands of assemblies of God’s people sprang up all over the world in which expression was once more given to the fellowship of saints according to the New Testament model. That the history of this movement bears many scars, and has suffered much from fleshly strife and the introduction of unscriptural forms of teaching, of which Mr. Mauro’s is a sample, is sadly too true. But this might be expected, for as in the apostles’ day, so again when what was so distinctively of them was mercifully revived by the Holy Spirit. Many now rejoice in fresh grace given to overcome even these last-day hindrances, and through the drawing together of many of the Lord’s people long since separated, fresh spiritual energy in the activity of love, without compromising any vital truth, is found springing up in many places. This gives fresh courage to go on, while it stirs one’s heart with determined purpose to resist such systems of teaching as that under review in this pamphlet, and also that of “Ultradispensationalism,” or “Bullingerism,” now raising its head in unexpected quarters to further disturb the Lord’s people. Both these systems contribute to division and not unity, and so bear the stamp that requires us to refuse them and avoid those who actively propagate them. Both systems, though their advocates may not be aware of it, are subtle attacks upon the integrity of the Word of God, and upon the plain, simple, direct meaning of its Spirit-chosen words, even as this is also true of another modern revival of an ancient error the present-day denial of the Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The enemy’s present effort seems more than ever directed against the written Word of God, and the truth of its verbal inspiration. While this is going on from so many quarters, it is encouraging to see how God is using the spade of the excavator to turn up in most unexpected places convincing testimony of its historical reliability, putting out of court the vaunted “results” of miscalled “Higher Criticism”; while fulfilled prophecy and the present condition of the world at large, and of the near East in particular, demonstrate the truth of its moral, spiritual, and prophetic teaching. It is not without meaning that when writing about these last days Paul urged upon Timothy the great importance of the Word of God, which alone can thoroughly furnish the man of God. We ever need to remember that when we handle the Scriptures we handle what the Holy Spirit has given in His own chosen words in the original autographs, and that we have the sense of those words mercifully preserved to us in such fashion that there need be no doubt about the mind of God. The minor variations with which the textual criticism of Scripture makes us familiar do not affect any important feature of truth. “Scripture cannot be broken.”
A Brief Examintion of Mr. Mauro’s Later Views on Dispensational Truth
THE writer has not the pleasure of Mr. Philip Mauro’s acquaintance. He remembers vividly how the Christian world was delighted when his early writings appeared, such as “The Number of Man,” and that delightful classic, “Life in the Word,” whose circulation has run to 300,000 copies, and been translated into many languages. We wondered then what star of the first magnitude had swung into the theological heavens, and were prepared to welcome warmly any further writings he might produce.
Alas, our hopes have been grievously disappointed! Mr. Mauro has reversed his original teaching as to dispensational truth to a greater extent than one has ever known in any similar instance. He was dogmatic in his early teaching. He is equally dogmatic in his later teaching. He condemns his early views. He presses his later views upon our acceptance.
This has brought about confusion amongst God’s dear children, and caused division in some of their assemblies. The writer has been asked to review in a general way Mr. Mauro’s recent teaching with a view to the help of the Lord’s people. It is with the desire that the truth may prevail that the writer puts pen to paper, seeking the grace and help of God’s Holy Spirit. Though Mr. Mauro’s name is necessarily prominent, it is only in the desire to elucidate the truth, and nothing of a personal nature, that makes this necessary.
It is evident that an exhaustive review of Mr. Mauro’s later teaching is not possible within the limits of a small pamphlet, but we will endeavor to put sufficient before the reader to enable him to form a judgment. We limit, in the main, our brief examination of Mr. Mauro’s Dispensational Views to what he puts forth in two volumes, (1) The Gospel of the Kingdom (258 pages), and (2) The Patmos Visions (576 pages).
Mr. Mauro is a trained lawyer, and must know a good deal of the method that lawyers adopt in examining witnesses. A calm, dispassionate witness will carry great weight. A witness, who evidently has prejudices that color his evidence, will weaken his testimony accordingly.
Alas, Mr. Mauro weakens his whole position by the virulence of his attack on the well-known Scofield Bible. In his introduction to his volume, “The Gospel of the Kingdom,” he writes: “Through an incident of recent occurrence I was made aware of the extent-far greater than I had imagined-to which the modern system of dispensationalism*has found acceptance among orthodox christians; and also of the extent-correspondingly great-to which the recently published ‘Scofield’ Bible (which is the main vehicle of the new system of doctrine referred to) has usurped the place of authority that belongs to God’s Bible alone” (p. 5). Now this seems to us to be a really bitter and virulent attack. We are not able to subscribe to every note in the Scofield Bible, but we are bound to admit that Dr. Scofield has got together a large number of very helpful notes, explanatory of the text of Scripture, and remarkable in their combination of clarity, conciseness and general correctness.
(*Throughout this pamphlet we reproduce extracts from Mr. Mauro’s works exactly as they are. Italics and capitals in every case are his.)
In this note Mr. Mauro charges Dr. Scofield with usurping the place of authority which belongs to God’s Word alone. Can he substantiate this charge? Does not Dr. Scofield print in the Bible which bears his name, the authorized text from Genesis to Revelation without the alteration of a single word? Dr. Scofield’s notes are distinct from the text. They are explanatory and helpful. They do not claim to be inspired.
His notes are on a par with a servant of the Lord who stands up, reads a portion of Scripture, and then seeks to expound it to his hearers to the best of his ability. The one does it by word of mouth; Dr. Scofield does it by writing. How unjust it would be to denounce every servant of the Lord who stands up to give an exegetical address, as usurping the place that belongs to God’s Bible alone! The so-called Scofield Bible is GOD’S Bible, whatever Mr. Mauro may say. It is within his province to express his opinion as to the wisdom of the explanatory notes or otherwise, but he has clearly gone beyond the bounds of fair criticism in this case.
Mr. Mauro returns to the attack: “It is a matter of grief to me that a book should exist wherein the corrupt words of mortal man are printed on the same page with the holy Words of the living God; this mixture of the precious and the vile being made an article of sale, entitled a ‘Bible,’ and distinguished by a man’s name” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 6). To write off the notes in the Scofield Bible in this sweeping fashion as “corrupt” and “vile” is going far too far. One’s moral sense is shocked by such utterly unfair treatment.
It is true that Mr. Mauro makes a frank acknowledgment of a very unchristian state of mind that marked him when he held the views he now attacks. He says: “It is mortifying to remember that I not only held and taught these novelties myself, but that I even enjoyed a complacent sense of superiority because thereof, and regarded with feelings of pity and contempt those who had not received the ‘new light,’ and were unacquainted with this up-to-date method of ‘rightly dividing the word of truth.’… Yet I was among those who eagerly embraced it (upon human authority solely for there is none other), and who earnestly pressed it upon my fellow-Christians” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 6.).
All honor to Mr. Mauro for this frank acknowledgment. It would have been out of good taste to have referred to it in this pamphlet, if it had not been that he is committing the same fault in the book we are reviewing. Proverbs tells us, “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall have mercy.” We may well ask in the light of the extracts we have just given, Has Mr. Mauro forsaken, as well as confessed, the wrong attitude he took towards those he differed from? It does not look like it. The virulence of his attack on the Scofield Bible, the recklessness of his accusations, are surprising in a lawyer, and above all in a Christian teacher. We wonder if he does not even now view with “pity” and “contempt” those who hold the views he once held and pressed, but which he has now renounced.
Here is a statement, referring to the Scofield Bible, that far exceeds the bounds of common fairness: “There is no doubt whatever that it is mainly to this cleverly executed work that dispensationalism owes its present vogue. For without that aid it doubtless would be clearly seen by all who give close attention to this doctrine, that it is a humanly contrived system that has been imposed upon the Bible, and not a scheme of doctrine derived from it” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 21).
Mr. Mauro cannot complain of these extracts being reproduced, seeing he has written them himself, and wishes for their widest circulation. It is only just and right to take account of the way he treats the notes in the Scofield Bible and its Editor. Dr. Scofield’s editorship refers solely to the notes and comments on the Bible that bears his name, and not to the Bible itself.
Mr. Mauro sets off by describing the dispensational teaching presented in the notes in the Scofield Bible as Modernism, ancient Rabbinism, and even akin to Russell-ism. And yet he once firmly believed it, and found support in the Word of God for it, but now has no terms too strong in which to denounce it.
What is meant by the dispensational teaching that is particularly engaging our attention? Briefly, it began with the preaching of John the Baptist, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, followed up by our Lord and His apostles proclaiming the same truth. That consequent on the rejection of our Lord by the Jews, the Kingdom of Heaven is in mystery; that is, it is not in display; that when the present Church period is closed by the rapture, the Jews, gathered to their own land in unbelief, will pass through unparalleled judgments, culminating in the Great Tribulation, as foretold by our
Lord, followed by His coming as the Messiah to reign over His ancient people and over the world as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Kingdom lasting for 1,000 years, commonly called the Millennium, the Kingdom in manifestation in all its splendor, no longer in mystery. Then “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
This dispensational teaching was in vogue on both sides of the Atlantic long years before the Scofield Bible saw the light. It was taught by such spiritual giants’ as J. N. Darby, W. Kelly, C. E. Stuart, C. H. Mackintosh, W. Trotter, F. W. Grant, Walter Scott, etc., and cannot be rightly described as “a humanly contrived system that has been imposed upon the Bible.”
To begin with, Mr. Mauro rejects the meaning of the word “dispensation,” defined by Dr. Scofield as: “A period of time during which man is tested in respect to some specific revelation of the will of God” (Note on Gen. 1:28).
He claims that in every place in the Bible where the word “dispensation” occurs, it means administration or stewardship. We fail to see how this affects the definition that Dr. Scofield gives. For instance, take the dispensation of promise. Was not Abraham made the steward of God’s promises to be passed on to Isaac, then to Jacob, then to the twelve patriarchs, etc.? Did these promises not impose a test upon all to whom they were made? They caused Abraham to leave his country and his kindred and his father’s house to go into the land that God promised his seed should possess. The reason Mr. Mauro gives for refusing to use the word “dispensation,” as defined in the Scofield Bible, is that the word with that meaning attached to it is not in the Bible. Yet he chooses the word “era” in its place, and that word likewise is NOT in the Bible. Verily, “the legs of the lame are not equal” (Prov. 26:7).
The two great eras Mr. Mauro divides the Word of God into are: “First: The Old Covenant; or the Law and the Prophets; or simply, The Law. Second: The New Covenant; or the Kingdom of God; or simply, the Gospel” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 39).
Mr. Mauro’s book considers that the Kingdom of Heaven was fulfilled in the Church Era. He wipes out to a large extent the distinction between. Israel and the Church in New Testament times. He has strange views, too, as to the similarity between the Law and the Gospel. He does in a grudging way allow that the Gospel is better than the Law. He says that the Law of Moses was an unspeakable blessing to Israel, and finds fault with the note in the Scofield Bible, which says: “It is exceedingly important to observe… that the Law was not imposed until it had been proposed and voluntarily accepted” (Note on Ex. 19:3). “At Sinai they (Israel) exchanged Grace for Law. They rashly accepted the Law” (Note on Gen. 12:1).
Mr. Mauro says this is “Palpable error,” and goes on to say: “The statement that ‘they rashly accepted the Law’ implies that they acted without due consideration, and did not know what they were doing or what would be the consequences of their rash act. And this necessarily implies that God acted unfairly toward them; that He took advantage of their ignorance concerning what it meant to be ‘under the law,’ that He thus led them into a deadly trap from which it was impossible thereafter for them or their posterity to extricate themselves” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 36).
Is this fair comment? Was it not true that the children of Israel did not fully know what they were committing themselves to when they cried out, “All that the Lord bath spoken will we do” (Ex. 19:8)? Were they not rash in their promise to do all that God commanded? Assuredly they were. And God knew it better than they did. He had a purpose in giving the Law, which was just to show that there was no divine blessing that way. If any one had kept the Law perfectly his natural life would not have been forfeited, but not one single individual did or could keep the Law perfectly. God knew all this; but for any one to say that this means that God led men into a “deadly trap” and acted “unfairly” is going beyond fair criticism.
The same comment might be made on the verse, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).
God knew what man would do when He sent His well-beloved Son into the world. He put man to the test, full well knowing what would happen. How wrong it would be to accuse God of leading the Jews into “a deadly trap,” and of acting “unfairly” toward them. The cross was the only way of blessing for the world.
Mr. Mauro does not sufficiently draw the distinction between the moral Law and the ceremonial Law. Before quoting an extract from his writings to show this, it will be well to explain somewhat the distinction that exists between the two.
The ten commandments and all the regulations for the conduct of the children of Israel given by Jehovah through the medium of Moses constitute the moral Law. It was this that they were to do, and if they did it perfectly, their life would not be forfeited, they would live. “This do and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:28). We know that not one single person got life that way. Scripture says, “We know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).
What, then, was the ceremonial Law? We call it Law because it contained definite instructions, but it is not really Law in the sense that the moral Law was. The moral Law was DEMAND upon a people in the flesh. It only meant bondage, condemnation and death. How Mr. Mauro could pen the following words, “The law of Moses an unspeakable blessing to Israel” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 42), we cannot conceive. That the Law of Moses was a very right and salutary dispensation, or era, nobody can deny. That it was administered in God’s wisdom is true. But there was no blessing that way. It taught a lesson. It was the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, if rightly understood (Gal. 3:24).
The ceremonial Law was that system of approach to God by sacrifices that foreshadowed the coming into the world of the Lord Jesus, and of His sacrificial death on the cross for God’s glory and satisfaction in regard to sin-the only way of blessing for the sinner. It spoke not of Law as the moral Law did, but of grace, which the Gospel does. The contrast could not be greater.
Indeed, the Law pure and simple was never yet given to Israel. When Moses, descending with the two naked stones on which God had written with His own finger the ten commandments, heard the sound of revelry in the camp, and realized that the people had already broken the first and foremost commandment in worshipping the golden calf, he threw the tables of stone out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount. He realized that to bring a naked Law into the camp meant death to all who had broken its commandment.
The second time he received the tables of stone at the hands of God, he was instructed to make an ark of shittim wood, and put the tables of the Law within the ark, a foreshadowing of our Lord perfectly keeping the Law.
We know His keeping the Law perfectly did not suffice for our salvation; it was His atoning death that alone sufficed for that. But His perfectly keeping the Law enabled Him to lay down voluntarily, as doing God’s holy will, a life that was not forfeited. The tables of the Law within the ark of the covenant foreshadow this, whilst the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat set forth the truth that there was no approach to God save through the sacrificial death of His own Son.
Mr. Mauro, commenting on Dr. Scofield’s statement that the people of Israel made a fatally bad choice in consenting to be under the Law, evades the point at issue. Please note in the extract we are about to give that Mr. Mauro speaks only of the ceremonial Law and does not allude to the moral Law at all, and yet it is the moral Law that is in question. He says: “But nothing could be further from the truth. For the gift of law to Israel was both a distinguished honor and an unspeakable benefit. It gave them the knowledge of the true God; it gave them the way of access to Him for worship and for obtaining mercies and blessings; it gave them a sanctuary, a priesthood, acceptable sacrifices-including a sin offering-and promises, such that, by meeting the fair and reasonable conditions, they might have been a ‘peculiar treasure’ to God and ‘a kingdom of priests and an holy nation’ forever (Ex. 19:4, 5). Therefore, if it be asked, ‘What advantage then hath the Jew,’ over all other nations in the world? the inspired answer is, `Much every way: chiefly because that UNTO THEM WERE COMMITTED THE ORACLES OF GOD’ (Rom. 3:1).” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, pp. 36, 37).
Mr. Mauro begins by saying, “But nothing could be further from the truth.” This is really the only true comment to be made as to his own statement. Nothing can be further from the truth than what he says. Did the Law-the ten commandments-give to Israel “the true knowledge of God?” Sinai smoking as the smoke of a furnace, the whole mount quaking greatly, the trumpet sounding long and waxing louder and louder, all the people in the camp trembling, even Moses, the lawgiver, exceedingly fearing and quaking, did not look like it. Mr. Mauro says that “the Law gave them [the children of Israel] the way of access to Him [God] for worship and for obtaining mercies and blessings.” It did nothing of the sort. Do we not read: “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing” (Heb. 9:8)?
Did the Law furnish a sin-offering, as Mr. Mauro states? Surely not. The Law could only condemn to death those who broke its commandments. The Law has no mercy, as such, for Scripture again tells us: “The word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a due recompense of reward” (Heb. 2:2).
No sin-offering is indicated here. The fact is that Mr. Mauro in seeking to make out Dr. Scofield to be wrong, himself plunges into error, and mixes up the moral Law and the ceremonial Law. Even the ceremonial Law did not give full access to God, whilst the moral Law only spoke of distance.
The moral Law is bound up with man’s responsibility; the ceremonial Law, as we have said, foreshadowed God’s gracious provision in Christ for the blessing of His people through the atoning sacrificial work on the cross of Calvary.
It is amazing that Mr. Mauro in his attempt to discredit the Scofield Bible, will even sweep aside Scripture. We give an extract to prove this:
“But does not Paul say that the law brought death and a curse? that those who are under the law are under a curse? and that no one can be justified by the law? The reply is that the law is indeed a two-edged sword, bringing life to those who submissively receive it and who set their heart to obey it; but bringing death and condemnation and a curse to those who despise it, or who only profess respect for it with the lips while in their hearts they continue unchanged in their own ways. But precisely the same thing is true of the Gospel” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 49).
He begins by asking if Paul does not say that the Law brought death and a curse, and that no one can be justified by the Law, which is just what Paul did say. Then he proceeds to tell us in complete denial of this that the Law brings life to those who receive it submissively, and who set their heart to receive it. One can scarcely believe one’s eyes in reading this astounding statement that blessing can come through law-keeping, apart from the gospel, when Scripture emphatically says it cannot. Paul indeed tells us that, “A man is not justified by the works of the law” (Gal. 2:16).
The illustration of the “two-edged sword” is unfortunate. A sword is an instrument to wound and kill only, and not to give life.
That we have made no mistake in this serious matter, we append another extract: “Returning to Paul, we note that after saying that `the commandment was ordained unto life,’ he immediately adds that he found it to be ‘unto death’ (Rom. 7:10). Why so?
“Because Paul was a Pharisee. He had been thoroughly indoctrinated into rabbinism, one of the cardinal doctrines of which was this very teaching as to the earthly and ‘Jewish’ character of the Kingdom which has become the cornerstone of modern dispensationalism. He had been schooled in a barren orthodoxy. He was ‘called a Jew,’ and made his `boast of the law’ (Rom. 2:17, 18, 23); but he had yet to learn that ‘He is not a Jew‘-though‘called a Jew’ – ‘who is one outwardly… but he is a Jew who is one inwardly” (vers. 28, 29). Of course to such it will be found that the law was ‘unto death’; and precisely so with the gospel. But all who were like Ezra, of whom it is recorded that he ‘prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it’ (Ezra 7:10) have found that it was indeed ‘ordained unto life’. Paul clearly states the principle here involved when he says, ‘But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully’ (1 Tim. 1:8). And the same is true of the gospel as well” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, pp. 50, 51).
Here we get an extraordinary statement, that Paul did not find the law was ordained to life because he was a Pharisee, and was indoctrinated in the rabbinical teaching as to the Jewish aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven; whilst Ezra and others like him found that the Law was indeed for them “ordained to life.” This is shocking.
It is happily true that in other parts of Mr. Mauro’s writings he tells his readers that salvation is by faith, without works, through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but the above statements should never have been made. As they stand, they teach salvation by works, contradicting Paul, as we have seen in the extract just given from page 49. They are subversive of the truth of the gospel. They are the denial of the very fundamentals of the Christian faith.
One of Mr. Mauro’s chief arguments that the Kingdom of God or Heaven is fulfilled now, in this present Christian era, lies in his pressing the meaning of the oft-repeated expression “at hand.” He gives us fifteen instances, out of more than fifty in the Gospels and Acts, where the expression is rendered in different ways, such as “at hand,” “near,” “nigh,” to prove his point. He then asks the following questions: “What kingdom then was it that the Lord Himself thus proclaimed as ‘at hand,’ and which He called the Kingdom of Heaven,’ or the Kingdom of God?’ Did the Lord from heaven come personally to proclaim with His own lips a Kingdom ‘at hand’ which was not at hand? Did He call upon those who heard Him to ‘believe’ what was not true? And did those who did believe Him have to learn later on that they had been deceived, and that the Kingdom which He positively declared was at hand was postponed? They who hold with the editor of the ‘Scofield’ Bible would have to say ‘Yes’ to these questions. For though there was a Kingdom then at hand, and though its divinely given name is ‘the Kingdom of God’ (Acts 8:12; Rom. 14:17, etc.), these modern teachers tell us that the Kingdom of God, which was at hand is not the Kingdom of God which the Lord, Who knoweth all things and Who cannot lie, said to be at hand; but that the Kingdom of God which He positively declared as at hand, was some other ‘Kingdom of God’ which was not at hand at all. Is it possible, I ask in all seriousness, to do greater violence than this to the statements of the Lord?” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 110).
This is but throwing dust in the eyes of his readers, for Mr. Mauro makes implications that are not true, and charges the Scofield Bible Editor with stating things he never did.
Mr. Mauro teaches, wrongly, we believe, that the Kingdom of Heaven is synonomous with Christianity. It is true that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Church are running on together in this dispensation, and that the true believers are in both, but beside true believers there are mere professors in the Kingdom of Heaven as well. This Mr. Mauro refuses, for he emphasizes again and again that ONLY true believers can be in the Kingdom of Heaven. He arrives at this conclusion by failing to see that whilst the Kingdom of God is sometimes spoken of as real, the product of the Holy Spirit’s work, it is likewise presented as the sphere of profession in the world. This can be clearly proved from Scripture. Not only so, but the Lord Himself anticipated that His rejection by the Jews would lead to the postponement of the Kingdom. This is seen practically in every one of His statements of the Kingdom.
Take the Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord there speaks of the condition that would obtain in the Kingdom of Heaven. Why should those in that Kingdom be blessed when they mourn, if the Kingdom had come in the normal way? It clearly contemplates a kingdom
without a visible King, a Kingdom not in manifest power. That much is plain. If the Kingdom is present, as it is, there is something not normal, if the King is not in manifestation and power. Why should the true members of the Kingdom thirst and hunger after righteousness, if everything is as it should be? Why should we read so much about the Kingdom and no allusion to the King? There must be a King if there is a Kingdom. Why should the true members of this Kingdom be persecuted, reviled, and falsely accused if the Kingdom was in outward power and manifestation? The days have not yet come when, “A King shall reign in righteousness” (Isa. 32:1). “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His Name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer. 23:5, 6).
We ask Mr. Mauro, Has this been fulfilled yet? Does this not give the King to be King over Judah and Israel? Is this not a Jewish setting? Is He not going to execute judgment and justice in the earth? How then is it that those in the Kingdom of Heaven as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount, suffer persecution and revilement?
Dr. Scofield in his Bible teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven exists now, and that all who are born again are true members of it, and that through Satan’s instrumentality there are many professors in it, though not of it. He teaches that the day will come when Jer. 23:5, 6, will be fulfilled, when our Lord shall reign in righteousness. The conditions of the Kingdom as outlined in the Sermon on the Mount, i.e., the Kingdom in mystery, will then have passed away, and the Kingdom will be in manifestation, and the King present in all His glory.
It is very extraordinary that in this volume of 258 pages, entitled The Gospel of the Kingdom, apparently only one paragraph of about ten lines is devoted to Matt. 13, that great Chapter explaining the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven by our Lord Himself. Why is this? It is hard to understand. Is it because it would be difficult, nay, impossible, to prove that all in the Kingdom of Heaven are real, that the very opposite is staked? Remember, professors are in the Kingdom though not vitally of it.
It is true that the Lord only sows good seed. This is ever true. But the first parable speaks of the enemy sowing tares among the wheat, indicating false professors among the real. Another, that the birds of the air lodge in the branches of the great tree, another presentation of the fact that evil professors and false greatness will mark the Kingdom, thus corrupted by man. Yet again, we read about the drag-net, which when full was brought to shore, and the fishermen sorted out the fish, putting the good into vessels and casting the bad away, teaching the same lesson yet again, the good representing the true members of the Kingdom, the bad representing mere evil professors.
If none but true members are in the Kingdom, how is it that we read the following?: “The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:41, 42). And why does Mr. Mauro in his big book not attempt to explain this? Is it because it flatly contradicts what he so confidently affirms, that only true believers are in the Kingdom? It is very clear that those offending ones, workers of iniquity, who are cast out of the Kingdom, are consigned to eternal punishment, and by no stretch of imagination can be real believers at all. They must have been in the Kingdom, to be cast out of it.
Then again, what about the man without the wedding-garment, who was bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth? What about the foolish virgins in Matt. 25? Are they not emblematical of mere professors, who will find themselves shut out of the Kingdom when the King comes? What about the unprofitable servant of Matt. 25:24-30, who is cast into outer darkness? What about the goats on the left of the throne in the parable of Matt. 25:31-46, who go into everlasting punishment? All this is said by our Lord as being what the Kingdom of God is like. Mr. Mauro seems to refuse all this.
To return to the question of “at hand.” Is it not possible for something to be “at hand,” and yet not materialize, but pass away? One can imagine a threatening thunderstorm, and some one saying a great storm is “at hand.” A change of wind comes, and the storm blows over, and never materializes. Even if Dr. Scofield’s exposition is correct, there is no necessity to charge God with deception.
Here is one instance where “at hand” does not mean something that is to be expected within measurable distance, as Mr. Mauro presses must be the meaning of the expression. The Apostle Peter writes somewhere about A. D. 60, “The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7).
We have arrived at the 20th century since then, and the end has not yet come. Evidently the phrase here means that the development in the future will be when the present course of things is brought to a finish. What becomes of Mr. Mauro’s contention in the face of this? Does it not support Dr. Scofield’s exegesis? Why does Mr. Mauro not quote this passage among his proof passages in support of his view? I suppose it would be too awkward and unexplainable.
He explains away Rom. 13:12, where it says: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” His comment on this verse is as follows: “It is assumed, of course, that this statement refers to the second coming of Christ. But it seems quite clear that the day’ to which Paul refers is the day that had dawned then, i. e., at the first coming of Christ. For he says it is ‘now high time to awake out of sleep’; and because the day has dawned he exhorts us to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 114).
One cannot understand a lawyer, writing critically, giving himself away like this. The verse says, “the night is far spent.” But if it is “far spent,” it is still night, though near to the end. The verse says, “the day is at hand,” that means it has not yet arrived. Mr. Mauro says that the passage states that “the day has dawned.” It says nothing of the sort. It says it is “at hand,” not yet arrived. That is as clear as can be.
In Phil. 2:30 we read that: “Because for the work of Christ he [Epaphroditus I was nigh unto death.” This expression, “nigh unto death” is the same word in the Greek that is generally translated “at hand.” According to Mr. Mauro’s reasoning Epaphroditus ought to have died; instead of which he recovered, just as in the illustration of the threatening storm that passed away, his sickness passed away.
The Hebrew believers were exhorted not to forsake the assembling of themselves together in view of the “day approaching.” The word “approaching” is the same word as “at hand” in the original. This was written in the first century. We are now in the twentieth, and the day has not come yet.
James 5:8 tells us that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, “nigh” being the same word as “at hand,” yet that day has not yet arrived.
These instances will show how the arbitrary meaning that Mr. Mauro puts upon “at hand” is not justified. In certain passages the context clearly shows that the expression does mean that which is about to happen, or that which is near in locality; but, in the passages we have just quoted, we are reminded that with the Lord a thousand years is as one day, and some events “at hand” when the Bible was written, have not arrived yet.
We read: “THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt. 24:34). Mr. Mauro argues that “this generation” must be taken literally, as referring to the actual generation that existed when Matthew’s Gospel was written. In conjunction with this expression he links up our Lord’s word that there should be some standing in His presence that should not taste of death till they had seen the Kingdom of God come in power.
First let us ask the question, Does the word “generation” always stand for the generation living at the time written about? Prov. 30:11-14 throws light upon the usage of the word. There we are told there is a generation that curseth their father, and does not bless their mother; that are pure in their own eyes and yet filthy; whose teeth are as swords and their jaws like knives, etc. Now this generation cannot be confined to the time when the Proverbs was written, but continues to this present time.
Similarly, this is the only real explanation of Matt. 24:34. If Mr. Mauro presses, as he does, that the prophecy in question was fulfilled in the time of that generation, we would like to know when the verse was fulfilled which says: “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from one end of heaven to the other…. Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not pass till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 24:30, 31, 35).
How, then, does Mr. Mauro explain, “The Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory?” He tells us that he had had much deliberation on the subject. He must find a happening that occurred in the lifetime of the generation of that day. He thinks of two events: and of the Jewish nation by the Romans in A. D. 70. Each of these events may be regarded, without straining at all the meaning of the words, as a coming of the Kingdom of God. And each, moreover, may be regarded, in the light of Scripture, as a coming of that Kingdom with attendant circumstances that answer to the phrase ‘with power’; circumstances such as were absent during Christ’s earthly ministry” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, pp. 192, 193).
To begin with, Mr. Mauro states that the Lord’s earthly ministry was not with attendant circumstances answering to the phrase “with power.” And yet we read in Peter’s address to Cornelius and his friends: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost AND WITH POWER: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). “His word was WITH POWER” (Luke 4:32).
Does the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost answer to what we read in Matt. 24? Was the Kingdom of God in power then in the world? Indeed, the presence of the Holy Spirit reproved the world of sin, because they believed not on Christ; of righteousness, because He was with the Father, and was seen by the world no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. But it does not look like the Kingdom coming in power, when the King is rejected and cast out, His followers on earth put in prison, beaten, reviled, persecuted. That does not look like the Kingdom being in power. It is said that everyone of the apostles was martyred. We know that James and John, and Peter and Paul were. This does not look like the Kingdom of God coming with power and great glory.
It is strange that whilst Mr. Mauro fastens on the expression “with power,” and seeks to use it to prove what he is putting forward, he says nothing about “the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven.” Why does he not comment on this? It surely did not take place on the Day of Pentecost, nor did it take place when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus. It seems as if Mr. Mauro endeavors to make every Scripture fit in with an idea which in our judgment is not scriptural.
We have noticed that when the right idea is before the student of Scripture every passage bearing upon it falls easily into the scheme; but when the wrong idea is before the mind Scripture has to be manipulated to fit in. In the one case every step confirms; in the other, it confuses, and every step makes confusion worse confounded.
Mr. Mauro has had much deliberation over this matter. He says: “After much deliberation upon the matter, my conclusion is that, if choice must be made between those two events, it is the one later in date-that is, the annihilation of the Jewish nation, that being the manifest taking from them of the Kingdom of God (according to the word of Christ recorded in Matt. 21:43)-that our Lord had in view when He uttered the prophecy we are considering” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 194).
If, as Mr. Mauro urges, the Kingdom is only the portion of those who are born again, and really disciples of our Lord, how can it be connected with a nation as a nation that had rejected and crucified their King? All Jews who accepted the Lord disassociated themselves by baptism and practice from the guilty nation? And this had been going on for forty years. How could the Kingdom of Heaven be taken from the Jews at that time?
Then he tells us that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was a most evident and impressive coming of the Son of Man in power. We positively cannot understand anyone writing this down in black and white, or any person of reasonable intelligence accepting such a statement. The Son of Man has not come with clouds yet. He is in Heaven. He is rejected still. He is not reigning in power. Indeed Luke tells us, not that the Son of Man was then coming in power and glory, but that: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
How different it will be when the Son of Man does come in power and great glory on the clouds of Heaven, “When the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” (Isa. 24:23).
Mr. Mauro says that not a hint is given by our Lord concerning what will happen to Jerusalem after the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. We should have thought there was a very obvious hint, indeed more than a hint. If Jerusalem is to be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled, it is evident, that when those times are fulfilled, Jerusalem shall be no longer trodden under foot by the Gentiles.
Mr. Mauro says: “It is certain therefore that when `the times of the Gentiles’ are ended, there will be no Jewish people left on earth” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 205).
In our reading of Scripture it is certain that there will be a Jewish nation on earth when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Jerusalem will no longer be trodden under foot.
One would have thought the perusal of Rom. 11 would have kept Mr. Mauro from making such a dogmatic statement. There we read that blindness in part is happened to Israel until “the fullness of the Gentiles” be come in. It is most evident in that important Chapter that “the fullness of the Gentiles” refers to the blessing of God passing from the Jews as a nation, and going out to the Gentiles. “The fullness of the Gentiles” will be consummated when the Church is raptured to glory at the second coming of Christ. “The times of the Gentiles” is a political term, indicating that history will circle round Gentile nations rather than round the Jewish nation, as it did in the ways of God in the Old Testament times.
But Rom. 11 tells us plainly that Israel is to be restored to a place of blessing again as a nation. We read: “If the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles [that is answering to ‘the fullness of the Gentiles’]; how much more their fullness?” [that is, instead of there being no Jewish people on the earth, they will be the greatest people on earth BECAUSE of their King, the Lord Jesus Christ]. “If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:12, 15).
Then to further his arguments Mr. Mauro completely misinterprets a passage of Scripture from the same Chapter. He says, (1) “God’s true ‘Israel,’ the nation concerning which it is said, ‘And so all Israel shall be saved,’ is the whole body of the redeemed of the Lord: and (2) that, that body is composed of the believing ‘remnant’ of the natural Israel (the ‘remnant according to the election of grace’; Chapter 11:5), with the addition thereto of believing Gentiles. These two elements, so diverse and antagonistic by nature, are incorporated into a spiritual unity, ‘the unity of the Spirit’ (Eph. 2:12-18; 4:3)” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 245).
If you will kindly turn to Rom. 11 you will see that Mr. Mauro interprets this passage to suit his own theory. The expression, “the fullness of the Gentiles,” is found in verse 25. In verse 26, immediately following, we find the words: “And so all Israel shall be saved.” Israel here stands in distinct contrast to the Gentiles. The rest of the verse confirms this for it says: “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from JACOB.” Then running on to verse 28 we are told that the Israel that is to be saved are NOW enemies, and how true this is, alas! “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your [Gentile believers] sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” [referring doubtless to promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob]. This clearly points to Israel, and not to the Church, composed of Jew and Gentile. Mr. Mauro may spiritualize “Sion,” and “Israel,” but Jacob always stands for Jacob himself, or the children of Israel as his descendants, as the context easily decides. Besides, “ungodliness from Jacob” proves that this is not “the Israel of God,” but a nation delivered from ungodliness.
Mr. Mauro never seems to lose a chance of pouring scorn upon the dispensational teaching that he is opposing. For instance, he says of the Millennium: “And finally let the reader notice the atrociously false doctrine that myriads of people-whole nations, both Jews and Gentiles-that have not obeyed the gospel of Christ, instead of being ‘punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,’ are to be blessed with every carnal satisfaction and delight for a thousand years, including a religion suited to men in the flesh, being composed of forms and ceremonies and sacrifices, those `weak and beggarly elements,’ in which, even when they served temporarily a typical purpose, God declared He ‘had no pleasure’ (Heb. 10:6)” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 218).
This is most unfair. Where has any dispensational teacher taught that in the Millennium “every CARNAL satisfaction and delight” would be ministered to those who obey not the gospel? A CARNAL paradise was offered by Mahomet to his deluded followers, but what right has Mr. Mauro to pen such a sentence in regard to sound dispensational teaching, which never advanced such a monstrous doctrine?
Dr. Scofield and others teach that, “A King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5). “The sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” (Isa. 65:20). “He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment” (Psa. 72:2). This is a very different picture to what Mr. Mauro paints “of every carnal satisfaction and delight for a thousand years.” It is the very opposite picture to what Mr. Mauro depicts. His sentence is a caricature and a libel on what dispensational teachers put forth as Scriptural teaching concerning the Millennium.
Finally, Mr. Mauro charges dispensationalist writers and speakers with painting wonderful word-pictures portraying multitudes of Jews said to be flocking to their ancient homeland; the miraculously renewed fertility of the soil; the return of the early and latter rain, etc. He says: “But the sober facts are that Zionism, has been a pitiable failure almost from the beginning; and that in the period of its greatest success the volume of immigrants constituted but a trickling stream, and they were of the most undesirable sort. The movement reached its peak in 1926; and from that time to the present Zionism has been palpably a dying enterprise. A reliable magazine, Current History (April, 1927) gave from ‘a recent official report on trade conditions,’ an estimate of the population of Palestine for April 30, 1926; by which it appears that, after all the efforts of Zionism and the influence of the Balfour Declaration for ten years, and the help of other contributing causes (e. g., Russian persecutions) the total number of Jews in all Palestine was only 139,645; and they were outnumbered by Moslems more than three to one” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 239).
He winds up by telling us that the state of the Jews in Palestine is wretched in the extreme, and that the attitude of the great mass of the Jews is one of complete apathy and indifference.
When Mr. Mauro can so distort current history in the interests of his reversed views as to dispensational truth, we begin to lose confidence in anything that he says. For the facts as to the Jews and Palestine are just the opposite of what he tells us. If he accuses dispensationalists of painting wonderful word-pictures and throws a slight on their strict truthfulness, what shall we say of his picture of such gloomy tints?
Mr. Mauro describes as “wonderful word-painting” what has been said and written by dispensationalist writers and speakers concerning the early and latter rain. What are the facts of the case? We know that God threatened to punish His people if they turned their backs upon Him and did not honor His laws, and turned aside to worship strange gods. We read: “And then shall the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you” (Deut. 11:17).
This threat has undoubtedly been carried out. The country for centuries was reduced to sterility. A flourishing agriculture was out of the question. Thorns and briers overran the land.
But for quite a few years now the rainfall has become persistently more abundant. In 1869-70 the rainfall was 12.5 inches. In 1877-8 it was 42.95 inches, an astonishing increase, as if God would draw attention to it. These were, however, exceptional years, but the average rainfall is 26.0629 inches,which is higher than that of London and Berlin. So much for Mr. Mauro’s remark about “wonderful word-painting.”
He speaks also with disparagement of “the miraculously renewed fertility of the soil.” He quotes the magazine, Current History (April, 1927), so to begin with we had better give him some facts prior to that date.
In 1878 the agricultural colony of Petah-Tikvah (meaning, The Door of Hope) was founded by Russian Jews. It covers 8,000 acres. In 1914 it supported a colony of 3,000 souls. In 1883 the agricultural colony of Rishon-le-Zion (meaning, The beginning of Zion) was founded. It had the support of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. It covers 3,180 acres. It planted 400,000 fruit-trees, and 3,000,000 vine-slips, imported from Spain. Up to 1914 some 14,000,000 fruit-trees and vine-slips were imported from foreign countries. Land worth in 1890 £3.12.0 ($17) an acre commanded the price of £36 ($180) an acre in 1914, the year when the war broke out, and that when the land was still groaning under the misrule of the Turk. Some forty colonies were begun up to the time when the war broke out. These facts speak for themselves. What becomes of Mr. Mauro’s statement about the volume of immigrants constituting “a trickling stream?”
What about the population? He sees nothing remarkable in what he tells us that it had risen to 139,645 Jews in Palestine in 1926. When the return of the Jews to their land took place in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah scarcely 50,000 returned. Yet that was a significant number! The Jews were dispersed, consequent on the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. The country, under the misrule of the Turk and the scarcity of the rainfall, had been reduced to great barrenness. A century ago the number of Jews in the land was a pitiful thousand or two in abject poverty. Is not Mr. Mauro impressed by the fulfillment of Scripture when he tells us that 139,645 Jews were in the land in 1927? He tells us that the return of the Jews to their own land reached its highest point in numbers in 1926, and from that date Zionism has been a dying concern. We are afraid he spoke too soon.
Let us tell him the story of Tel Aviv. In 1909 some sixty families living in Jaffa decided to build a small residential suburb on the clean sand dunes fronting the Mediterranean. By 1914 the population rose to 2,000; in 1922 it had risen to 15,185; in 1931 to 46,101; recently it had risen to 100,000; and today it has risen to about the number that Mr. Mauro tells us were the total number of Jews in Palestine in 1926, viz., 139,645. And this is in one city alone. This is not like “a trickling stream,” but an inflow of torrential proportions. True, Tel Aviv has developed very quickly, but Jerusalem, Haifa and other towns are growing rapidly and the agricultural colonies have risen to number 150 or more.
A century ago there was not an orange grove in Palestine. In 1901 there were 900; in 1922 there were 11,000; in 1927 there were 18,000; in 1929 there were 45,000. The exportable crop that year was the amazing number of 5,500,000 cases of 70 lbs. each, and this is increasing by leaps and bounds. This is no “trickling stream.” Much more could be written of how this “valley of dry bones” has sprung into pulsating life and abundant fertility.
Mr. Mauro’s system of dispensational teaching can only produce confusion and reduce the Word of God to chaos in the minds of his readers. In the following quotation he throws overboard the whole teaching of Scripture as to our Lord being specially the King of the Jews. He says: “Specially is it to be remembered that the true Israel was never at any time, in the purpose of God, an earthly nation or kingdom. This being recognized, it will be clearly perceived without any further help from the Scriptures, that the whole rabbinical doctrine of an earthly Kingdom over which the Messiah,’ the son of David, was to reign and, to which all the nations of the world were to be tributory, was from top to bottom a work of their carnal imaginations” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 123). Here we are told that the idea that the Lord shall be King over Israel is simply a rabbinical idea, that it is not taken from Scripture in any shape or form. We are aghast at such a contradiction of Scripture. Let us quote a few scriptures to prove this.
When the angel came to Mary with the news of the high honor that was to be put upon her, he said to her: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).
Surely this is explicit enough for anyone. Christ is to sit on David’s throne, and reign over the house of Jacob. Mr. Mauro says this is a rabbinical conception, from top to bottom. If this is so, how was it that the wise men of the east came to Jerusalem, asking, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? They had seen His star in the east, and had come to worship Him. When Herod heard of this he was troubled, and called the chief priests and scribes and demanded to know where Christ should be born. How did they reply? Was it rabbinical conception, or did they appeal to Scripture? They appealed to Scripture, and there is no appeal from this surely. They quoted from Mic. 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be RULER in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Here our Lord is to be RULER in Israel. It could not be more explicit.
Take another scripture from Isa. 9:6, 7: “For unto us is born a Child, unto us a Son is given: and the GOVERNMENT shall be on His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID, AND UPON HIS KINGDOM TO ORDER IT, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.” Surely this is as plain as possible.
We all remember the wonderful entry of our Lord into Jerusalem, riding on the colt of an ass in fulfillment of the prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, THY KING cometh unto thee: He is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). Other Scriptures might be adduced to prove that Christ is the King of the Jews. He Himself acknowledged to Pilate that He was King. His cross bore the superscription, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matt. 27:37).
Enough has been given in the way of proof texts. We ask then, Has Christ sat on the throne of His father, David, in Jerusalem and reigned in righteousness and peace? We know this has not taken place as yet. Scripture awaits its fulfillment. Christ is to be King over Israel yet.
One more passage, however, we quote to show how the King is going to reign: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. “In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
“Therefore the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt: but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land” (Jer. 23:5-8).
Two or three things are prominent in this passage. First, a King is to be raised up unto David. Second, that the King is JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, identifying Him with our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Thirdly, the children of Israel are to be gathered from the north country whither the Lord has driven them, and they are to dwell in their own land. The teaching that the Jews are to be gathered to their own land in unbelief, that according to Zechariah the spirit of grace and of supplications will be granted to them, and they shall look upon their Messiah whom they have pierced, and mourn for Him as a man mourns for his only son, falls into line with the whole scheme of prophecy concerning Israel. It cannot be said that anything like this has ever taken place. To try, as Mr. Mauro attempts, to prove that this was fulfilled when a matter of scarcely 50,000 Jews returned from Babylon in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah is simply the despair of exegesis. That was “a trickling stream” compared to what is happening at this present time.
That the Jews will go back in unbelief is clear from Scripture. It was the believing Jews that went back to Jerusalem in the days of Ezra, men whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of God at Jerusalem, as we read in Ezra 1:5. Scripture, however, clearly shows that in the future the Jews will return to their own land in unbelief: “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. THEN [not before] will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean… a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you…. I will put My Spirit within you…. Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers…. I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded… the heathen that are left round about shall know that I the Lord built the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it and I will do it” (Ezek. 36:24-36).
Surely it speaks of blindness as to what is happening under our very eyes, to question what is developing at the present time. The Jews ARE going back in unbelief, but in no “trickling stream.” The wastes ARE being builded. Tel Aviv, for instance, is built on the desolate sand-dunes of a few brief years ago.
We could have written much more to show where the truth lies, but space forbids. We greatly admire Mr. Mauro’s early writings. We deplore his later ones. We would like to assure our readers that it is no pleasure to review adversely his writings. We have no personal feelings whatever, and should he see this pamphlet, we trust he will look upon it as a desire to set forth the truth and for the help of the Lord’s people.
He has written very strongly, indeed, against Dr. Scofield and dispensational teachers who agree with his teaching in its main features. Mr. Mauro cannot complain if we write plainly as to what we find in his dispensational teaching.
A Few Remarks on Mr. Mauro’s Book “The Patmos Visions”*
Mr. Philip Mauro has written a large book of 576 pages bearing the above title, expounding the Book of Revelation, which we are asked briefly to review. To attempt even a brief review would necessitate a large volume, so we will content ourselves with a few remarks.
(*All quotations will be made exactly. Italics and capitals will in every case be Mr. Mauro’s.)
There are two great schools of thought in connection with “The Revelation.” There is the Historicist School, which teaches that that which is described from Chapter 6 to the end of Chapter 19, that is, from the opening of the seals till the setting up of the Millennium, is all to be fulfilled in this present dispensation or era, and that most of it has been already fulfilled.
Mr.Mauro sees very serious defects in this system, and in its place presents his view, which is largely a Historicist system of his own.
Then there is the Futurist School, which teaches that all in Revelation from Chapter 5 is future, and will not begin to be fulfilled till after the rapture of the Church. Mr. Mauro says: “One strong objection I now see to the Futurist viewpoint is that it tends to quench one’s interest in this wonderful Book, by pushing the things it predicts far away from us, making its transcendently important revelations to be for those of a coming dispensation, the so-called ‘tribulation saints,’ and thus virtually detaching it from the rest of the Bible” (The Patmos Visions, pp. 8, 9).
The writer cannot say that this is the case with him. Indeed, the Futurist view claims the deepest interest on the part of many enlightened students of prophecy. On the contrary, one would lose a good deal of interest in the Book of Revelation, if the Historicist viewpoint were accepted, whether it runs on the lines of the well-known School that adopts this system, or the particular views of Mr. Mauro on this line.
Mr. Mauro says: “I am writing these lines (in May, 1925) under the strong conviction that the storm-clouds now gathering so darkly, and of which our political and spiritual weather-prophets are giving us daily information, are the very storm foreshown under the sixth seal” (The Patmos Visions, p. 243).
Now the sixth seal is early on in the Book of Revelation, and is one of the “things which must shortly come to pass,” and which Mr. Mauro presses must be fulfilled and not postponed, and yet this early incident in the Book of Revelation, he tells us, is fulfilled in his “strong conviction” in 1925. People might have equally, and more, so thought in the times of the Napoleonic wars, which impoverished and ravished whole nations, and cut off the flower of the youth of Europe, that the great day of God’s wrath had come. Mr. Mauro’s statement is not convincing. Writing of the time that events outlined in Rev. 4 and succeeding chapters demand for their fulfillment, Mr. Mauro says, “It is a distinctive feature of the Futurist system that all the events and eras pictured in Chapters 4 to 20:6, inclusive (i.e., to the beginning of the Millennium), are to take place in the short space of seven years; and that this fateful period, into which all these stupendous events are to be crowded, is the last ‘week’ of the seventy weeks of years mentioned in the famous prophecy of Dan. 9:24-27. For it is held by commentators of this school that the seventieth ‘week’ was not continuous with the other sixty-nine, but is to be viewed as a disconnected period of time, which will be fitted in at the end of the Christian Era, filling the interval between Christ’s coming for, and His coming with, His people” (The Patmos Visions, p. 7).
Here is indicated a common misunderstanding of Scripture. The Bible never says that seven years will cover the period between the Lord coming for His saints and coming with them. What it does say is, that there will be seven years to the end, counting from the time when the first Beast, i. e., the great Head of the revived Roman Empire, makes a treaty for seven years with the “many” (the unbelieving Jews in their own land). In the middle of the week the Head of the revived Roman Empire will break his treaty with the Jews, and the “great tribulation” will burst forth, as foretold in Dan. 9:27, and referred to definitely by our Lord in Matt. 24:15,21.
Certainly this great event has not happened yet. By no stretch of imagination has any event in history answered to the fulfillment of this prophecy. And yet Mr. Mauro can write, “Their [the Jews] national sin culminated in the stoning of Stephen, which marked the termination of the ‘measured-off’ period of seventy weeks of years. For the death of Christ took place, as foretold ‘in the midst of the seventieth week (Dan. 9:27). From that time there remained, of all the prophecies relating to the natural Israel, only those foretelling the judgments of God that were to befall them and specifically the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and their extermination as a nation and the worldwide scattering of the survivors thereof…. For the last word of prophecy concerning that people as a nation was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 228).
This is an extraordinary statement. He says that the stoning of Stephen marked the termination of Daniel’s seventy weeks of years. He makes the statement. He offers no proof. He tells us that the death of Christ took place, as foretold, “in the midst of the seventieth week,” giving Dan. 9:27 as his authority.
We turn to that scripture to find no reference whatever to our Lord in the verse. On the contrary, that verse refers solely to the Head of the Roman Empire, making a treaty with “many,” i. e., the unbelieving Jews. It says nothing concerning our Lord in that verse.
The late Sir Robert Anderson, in his book, “The Coming Prince,” calculating from the date of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, that is sixty-nine weeks of years, or 483 years, and reckoning these prophetical years as of 360 days each, tells us that this brings us to the tenth day of the month Nisan, in the 18th year of Tiberius Caesar, and that this was the very day that the Lord made His triumphal journey into Jerusalem, riding on an ass and a colt, the foal of an ass, in the fulfillment of Zech. 9:9. And our Lord was crucified within a very few days of His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. Yet Mr. Mauro asserts that the crucifixion took place in the midst of the seventieth week, that is three-and-a-half years later, that is, reckoning, according to Mr. Mauro, that the seventieth week follows the sixty-ninth without a break.
The siege of Jerusalem under Titus is foreshadowed in Dan. 9:26. It is the Roman people, “the people of the prince that shall come,” who will accomplish this. The prince spoken of, the verse states, is “the prince THAT SHALL COME,” and it is he, who will make the treaty with the unbelieving apostate Jews for the one week left for fulfillment out of the seventy weeks of years. This has clearly not been made yet.
Our Lord was crucified “after threescore and two weeks,” then comes the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place forty years after the death of Christ. We believe the whole of the Christian era must run its course, the seal judgments and most of the trumpets and vials be past, before the thread of prophecy in this respect is taken up, before “the prince THAT SHALL COME” makes a treaty with the Jews for seven years, Daniel’s seventieth week.* How then does Mr. Mauro make out that our Lord was crucified in the middle of the seventieth week?
(* We have given ample Scripture proof, we believe, for this statement in out book, entitled, “Things which must shortly come to pass,” to be obtained of our publisher.
“For chapters 2 and 3 have to do exclusively with the churches of Christ. Their scope is limited to things ecclesiastical. On the other hand, the subsequent chapters have nothing at all to do with the churches. Their scope, so far as they relate to matters on earth, is limited to the affairs of the nations of the world. This objection is fatal to the futurist system, since it is evident that, whatever be the nature of the ‘things which are,’ the ‘things which shall be hereafter,’ are things of the same kind” (The Patmos Visions, p. 36). “For it is clear that the clauses ‘things which are,’ and ‘things which shall be hereafter,’ are strictly parallel, the difference between them being not at all in the nature of the ‘things’ themselves, but solely in the time of their occurrence” (The Patmos Visions, p. 37).
Mr. Mauro tells us in the first extract that Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation have to do EXCLUSIVELY with the churches of Christ, and that the subsequent chapters, i.e., chapters 4 and on, have NOTHING at all to do with the churches. He says that this is fatal to the Futurist. system. We should have thought it was the other way about.
One of the great contentions of the Futurists is, that if saints of God were upon earth during the period of the awful happenings in chapters 4 and on, as set forth in the seals, trumpets, and vials, there would certainly be reference to them, and instructions how they were to behave during the time that these terrific judgments were being poured out upon the earth. The fact that no reference is made to the Churches after Chapters 2 and 3 is conclusive that there is no Church of God on earth to make reference to, and supports powerfully the Futurist system of exegesis.
From other Scriptures we know that God will yet bless Israel, so in Chapter 7 we find 144,000 sealed, doubtless a symbolical number. Then from Matt. 25:31-46 we gather that many Gentiles will be reached by the Gospel of the Kingdom preached by Jewish missionaries, called “My brethren,” and multitudes of them will be martyred, “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Rev. 7:9).
Then in the second extract, we ask Mr. Mauro, How can two things be EXACTLY parallel, and yet have a difference? This is certainly not logical. Then, further, if the only difference is as to time, we would ask him, How can the chapters subsequent to Chapters 2 and 3, which have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE CHURCHES, as he asserts, be EXACTLY parallel with Chapters 2 and 3, that are ENTIRELY TAKEN UP WITH THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST? Notice carefully that the only difference, according to Mr. Mauro, is as to TIME. The parallel, then, must be in the nature of the things described. What have the churches of Christ in common with the unbelieving nations of the world, those who will gnaw their tongues with pain and curse the God of Heaven? Yet Mr. Mauro says these things are EXACTLY parallel. We do not think so, any more than we think black is white, and white is black.
Mr. Mauro, referring to the “book written within and on the backside,” the book of the seven seals, says: “The fact that the book is written on both sides suggests the two spheres wherein the risen Christ was given ‘all power,’ namely, heaven and earth. It also suggests the two sides of creation, the outside, or physical, and the inside, or spiritual” (The Patmos Visions, p. 182).
This is surely a fanciful idea. We should have thought that it obviously suggests that the judgments had been sealed up; that is to say, God went on in longsuffering mercy with this world, and that the writing on the backside indicates the overflowing of the judgments that must burst forth in righteous government in this world.
Mr. Mauro tells us: “There is, to my mind, no room for any doubt whatever that the group of visions beginning with Chapters 4 and 5, and embracing the entire program of the seals, has for its historical starting point the ascension of our risen Lord into heaven, and His occupation of the place of which He alone is worthy at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens: and that this group of visions has to do with events which began to happen from that transcendently glorious occasion” (The Patmos Visions, p. 144).
That being so, Mr. Mauro is under the necessity of pointing out to his readers how and where these seals have been fulfilled. Now it is evident that the “book written within and on the backside” is a book of JUDGMENT, AND ONLY JUDGMENT. We must be consistent in our interpretation of these events. We cannot, to be consistent, interpret one seal as good and another as evil.
Yet Mr. Mauro tells us that the breaking of the first seal sets forth, “The going forth of the gospel of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing else in the past, and nothing that has been revealed concerning the future, can be made to harmonize with this scene, or with these symbols” (The Patmos Visions, p. 190).
“In other words, it [the bow in the hand of the rider on the white horse] symbolizes the preaching of the gospel in general, and the individual gospel preacher in particular” (p. 195).
Mr. Mauro then tells us what he thinks is meant by the incident of the rider on the red horse, to whom is given a great sword. He thinks it is the opposition and persecution that follows the preaching of the gospel. He illustrates it by the “Thirty Years’ War” ending in 1648: to the greed of commercialism following the steps of the missionary, every instance of strife, variance, hatred, antagonism, and dissension of whatever sort, that has arisen during these nineteen centuries, because of the preaching of the gospel.
Now this means, according to Mr. Mauro, that the first seal is for BLESSING, the second seal for MISERY. The bow, however, is as much an instrument of warfare as the sword. Why in the one case should the bow speak of the peaceful gospel, and the sword speak of misery? It is the despair of exegesis to put things forth that are so contradictory. It is as if the symbols were made of India-rubber, and we could pull them into any shape to please ourselves.
The late Great War well illustrates these two seals. First, there was the eruption of the German armies in vast numbers into little Belgium, and the occupation of the capital of that country, Brussels, and the most of the country, by the mere weight of the number of the invaders. There was little bloodshed. The bow is certainly a weapon for killing, but killing at a distance. The white horse speaks of conquest, but not of sanguinary conquest. This is well illustrated by the invasion of Belgium by the German armies.
Then there succeeded the trench warfare, the hand-to-hand fighting, the wiping out of the flower of the youth of the nations, who were fighting each other. This illustrates the red horse, and the great sword. The consequences that followed the awful carnage of the Great War illustrate the black horse and the pale horse.
When we come to the black horse, Mr. Mauro tells us that the color black symbolizes that which is hidden (deceit), that white symbolizes that which is truthful and open. We should have thought black would have symbolized the awful results of war. We remember when the Ber war was on, and one week was marked by reverses to the British arms, it was called by the newspapers “A BLACK WEEK.” Black is the color of mourning. We cannot accept Mr. Mauro’s explanation of the meaning of the colors. It does not sound consistent to make out that the “book written within and on the backside” is like a fountain that pours out sweet water and bitter. We believe it is all bitter.
Then as to the pale horse Mr. Mauro writes: “The enemy has employed various destructive agencies, not only killing with the sword, (which I take as representing the direct thrust of some ‘lie’ such as the denial of the Godhead of Christ, or of His atoning sacrifice); but also ‘with hunger’ (dearth of spiritual food); and ‘with death’ (spiritual pestilence, as some popular heresy like `christian science,’ spreading like a contagious disease); and ‘with the beasts of the earth’ (which represents the human governments, as appears from Chapter 13, which the Devil has often been able to use with destructive effect in opposition to the gospel)” (The Patmos Visions, pp. 228, 229).
The serious thing about this explanation is that the breaking of the fourth seal is the unfolding of the judgments of GOD. Mr. Mauro in his explanation makes out that God is engaged in propagating lies, in producing spiritual hunger, in spreading spiritual pestilence, and using human governments as instruments in opposition to the gospel.
We are sure Mr. Mauro does not mean this, but this is the meaning of his language as it stands. Why not take the obvious meaning, that is, that bodies bereft of souls (Death), and souls bereft of bodies (Hades), are the natural result of war? Is war such a strange thing that this description of the fourth seal must be made to have a spiritual meaning of a mystical nature? When the Church is raptured, and the Holy Spirit’s influence is also withdrawn as restraining, there need be no surprise if war of a terrible nature breaks forth. We think the present state of Europe as an armed camp, piling up armaments as never before, is a sign of what may easily take place, indeed, of what is inevitable.
As to the fifth seal, it is natural that we hear of the souls of those who were martyred during the outbreak of the seals. Scripture tells us plainly that persecution of God’s people will break out with a fury and persistence never known before. The state of Russia to-day and the way that Germany, the home of the Reformation, is reverting to paganism are surely signs of what will take place on a gigantic scale in the future.
Mr. Mauro’s remarks on the sixth seal are rather vague, but we gather that he has “the strong conviction” that storm-clouds that were gathering so darkly when he was writing The Patmos Visions (May, 1925) foreshadowed the very storm foreshown under the sixth seal.
Mr. Mauro then passes on to Chapter 7 and makes the extraordinary statement that the 144,000 sealed of the tribes of the children of Israel refers to “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16), that is, to the Church of God on this earth. But “the Israel of God,” if that phrase is believed to refer to ALL God’s children in this dispensation, as Mr. Mauro does, is made up of Jew AND GENTILE, and, we know, overwhelmingly so in point of numbers, of Gentiles. The Jews are but “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5). How then. can this Chapter refer to the Church of God when it specifies “all the tribes of the children of Israel” (that is, of Jacob), for it goes on to enumerate them by name? It appears to us that we should take the passage as referring to the literal children of Israel. But this would not suit Mr. Mauro’s theories.
Then to our amazement Mr. Mauro writes, referring to the multitude which no man could number, out of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples and tongues: “This vision I regard as another pictorial representation of the whole company of the redeemed, supplementing that which immediately precedes it [that is, the 144,000 of the tribes of the children of Israel], and showing details that could not be introduced into the preceding vision. Indeed, what is given in verses 4-8 is not strictly a ‘vision’ at all. These verses only record what John ‘heard’ concerning ‘the number of them which were sealed.’ But now he is given to see them” (The Patmos Visions, p. 257).
Of course, if the 144,000 are those who constitute the “Israel of God,” that is, the Church, and if, as Mr. Mauro asserts, the siege of Jerusalem under Titus ended the history of the Jews nationally, then he is driven to make out that the two companies are one, though Scripture distinctly marks them as two separate companies in the Chapter. We are amazed to be asked to believe that things which Scripture gives as different companies are one and the same; and further that what is said of the sealing of the 144,000 is “not strictly a ‘vision’ at all.” It was most certainly part of the vision. Why should hearing be not strictly a vision, as much as seeing? We read in Holy Scripture, “Then SPAKE the Lord to Paul in a vision in the night” (Acts 18:9). And if the Lord spake in a vision, Paul heard in a vision. Mr. Mauro’s remarks here are inexplicable. He further says: “The elder expressly said of those whom John saw in that vision that they were then, at that very time, coming out of great tribulation. This alone forbids postponing the tribulation to a future dispensation” (The Patmos Visions, p. 260).
Our amazement deepens as we read this book. According to this statement he takes this part of the vision as being accomplished at the time of John’s writing. But in that case he would need no vision. It would have been accomplished under his very eyes. Surely the vision was of “things which must shortly come to pass,” that is to say, they were yet to come.
As to the seventh seal Mr. Mauro says: “As an ending to the seals series it is remarkable, and not a little mystifying” (The Patmos Visions, p. 261).
Commenting on the verse, “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom. 11:25, 26), Mr. Mauro says: “There is in the Word of God the clear promise that ‘all Israel shall be saved’ (Rom. 11:26); and that those words refer to the natural, not to the spiritual Israel, appears from the context, where reference is made to the power of God to graff them in again into their own olive tree’ (vers. 23, 24)” (The Patmos Visions, p. 308).
Now in this statement we are in complete agreement with Mr. Mauro, and glad to say so. Why then does Mr. Mauro contradict himself flatly in his book, The Gospel of the Kingdom? He writes in that book: “My experience has been that, whenever Romans 11: 26 is cited by dispensationalists, it is presented as proof that the entire Jewish race, reconstituted into an earthly nation, is to be saved in a future ‘dispensation.’ In fact, however, the passage teaches the very opposite; namely: that the phrase ‘all Israel’ means, not the entire Jewish race of a future age, but the entire body of the redeemed of this gospel age” (p. 242).
Here we have a glaring contradiction. In the first extract he says distinctly that “all Israel” refers to the Jews as such, and not to the Church. In the second extract, he as plainly says, it does NOT refer to the Jews at all, but to the Church of God on earth. One or other of these statements must be wrong.
Further, as to Zionism Mr. Mauro writes in The Gospel of the Kingdom: “But the sober facts are that Zionism has been a pitiable failure almost from the beginning; and that in the period of its greatest success the volume of migrants constituted but a trickling stream, and they were of the most undesirable sort. The movement reached its peak in 1926; and from that time to the present Zionism has been palpably a dying enterprise” (p. 239).
Yet in his book, The Patmos Visions, we read: “The vitality of Zionism, and the progress made in a very brief time toward converting Palestine into a national home for the Jews, are among the most significant happenings of these days” (pp. 307, 308).
In the one extract Zionism is a dying enterprise; in the other it is a movement marked by vitality. Which is correct? We have here another plain contradiction. Doubtless the latter extract gives us the truth.
Referring to the symbols connected with the fifth trumpet, Mr. Mauro says: “Briefly then, the various symbols here presented to our view all point, and in no uncertain way, to that marvel of history, the empire founded by the false prophet Mohammed” (The Patmos Visions, p. 313). And yet later in the same book, and referring to the same trumpet, he says of Rev. 9:12, “One woe is past; and behold, there come two more woes hereafter:” “This puts a definite end to the spread of this plague [referring to Mohammedanism], corresponding with which is the fact that Mohammedanism in its Saracenic form was definitely arrested at the Battle of Tours, and turned back; and this abatement lasted for a period of centuries” (The Patmos Visions, p. 318).
But we would like to ask, Is not Mahommedanism still one of the great plagues of the world? It is not “past” yet. Does it not still hold its sway over millions of the human race and over whole countries?
Mr. Mauro makes another palpable mistake in connection with the symbolical locusts of Rev. 9:3, in connection with the fifth trumpet. He says: “That they wore crowns marks them as a sovereign people” (The Patmos Visions, p. 317).
There are two words for”crown”in the Greek-diadema and stephanos. Diadema is the monarch’s crown, the crown of the sovereign. Stephanos is the crown that the athletes won in the Isthmian, etc., games, and has no relation to reigning, or to being a sovereign. The twenty-four elders had not the diadema but the stephanos on their heads; symbolical of the way they had striven for the mastery in the race of faith on earth, and the rewards that had been given for their faithfulness. Here these symbolical locusts have been diligent in the service of their evil master and have received the reward of the victor’s crown.
In another book of Mr. Mauro’s, “The Hope of Israel: What Is It?” we find yet another palpable blunder: “Rev. 19:11-21. This passage describes a vision of the things that are to happen at the second coming of Christ. [That is evidently STILL future]…. The vision shows what Christ will do from the moment He issues forth from the opened heaven down to the complete overthrow of all His enemies, the casting of the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire, the binding of Satan in the bottomless pit, and the setting up of the thrones of His everlasting kingdom” (p. 174). Yet on page 259 of the same book he writes: “There is a suggestive correspondence between the action of opening the door of the tomb of the Lord Jesus, rolling away the great stone by means of which His body had been sealed therein, and the action of shutting Satan up in the abyss and setting a seal upon him. It suggests that both actions were performed by the same mighty angel and at the same time.”
In the former extract the binding of Satan in the bottomless pit is still future; in the second it is past these nigh two thousand years. What a glaring contradiction! And where and how is there the slightest suggestion that the same angel at the same time rolled away the stone from the tomb of Jesus and shut up Satan in the bottomless pit? What kind of exegesis is this?
Referring to Rev. 11:12, “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” This event is to occur in the period of the sixth trumpet, or the second woe, the seventh trumpet, or third woe, bringing God’s judgments, before the Millennium is set up, to an end. So this is pretty far on in things.
Mr. Mauro identifies this ascending of the two witnesses as identical with the rapture, the catching up of the saints at the second coming of Christ. He says: “What verse 12 describes is the ending of the testimony of the people of God on earth; and the description agrees so closely with that given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thess. 4:13-17 that I see no reason for doubt that both passages refer to the same event. For here we have the voice saying, ‘Come up hither,’ and the statement that they ascended up to heaven in a cloud. Is not this the next predicted event to be looked for?” (The Patmos Visions, p. 346).
It is true that Mr. Mauro does not set an exact day or hour, but he places the coming of the Lord as taking place in the time of the sixth trumpet and second woe.
When we examine the passage we fail to find the exact parallel that Mr. Mauro sees. For instance, the two witnesses are put to death, and lie for three-and-a-half days in the street of the city, “where also our Lord was crucified,” that is, at Jerusalem. Where can we find anything like this in 1 Thess. 4:13-17?
The whole setting of the passage sets forth the time of the “great tribulation.” The two witnesses prophesy 1260 days, that is, three-and-a-half years, the period when the Head of the revived Roman Empire will break his treaty with the Jews in the land. It speaks of the dead bodies of the witnesses lying in the street of Jerusalem, and being raised at the end of three-and-a-half days and ascending up to heaven. This method of exegesis, making special ideas fit, willy-nilly, reminds us of Procrustes, the Greek robber-chief. Tradition has it that he made all his victims fit the length of an iron bed. Those too tall had a portion of their legs lopped off; those too short were dragged out to the length of the bed.
We think this setting of the Lord’s coming to be coincident with the time of the sixth trumpet is a serious matter, and is in the teeth of Scripture.
Writing of the first Beast Mr. Mauro says: “As the eye passes from one of the seven heads to another, it surveys Gentile world dominion from its beginning to its end” (The Patmos Visions, p. 398). Then he tells us that we must not think of the Beast as having seven heads “all at the same time,” and that the ten horns all appertain to the last head, for he tells us all these horns exist at the same time. Such statements leave us very confused, for he gives no real adequate Scriptural proof. He seeks to support his statement by referring to Chapter 17, which really describes, not the Roman Empire (political), but the end of apostate Romanism (religious), He thinks that verse 9 of that Chapter, referring to seven mountains, indicates seven nations.
A careful comparison of Rev. 13 with Chapter 17 should make it clear that the chapters refer to two very different things. Chapter 13 refers to the Roman Empire alone, and not to the previous world governments, such as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian. Chapter 17 refers clearly to Romanism which has its seat in Rome, which goes by the name of the city of seven hills.
Referring to the “deadly wound” on the head of the Beast Mr. Mauro says: “It is clear that the death stroke referred to could have been nothing else than that which befell the dragon and all that is associated with him through the death of Jesus Christ” (The Patmos Visions, p. 403).
He then says on the next page but one: “So likewise were they [i. e., the disciples of our Lord who asked the question, ‘Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’] ignorant… that the beast government would survive the deadly wound, as by a miracle, and would continue in control of the world for many centuries.”
Note here Mr. Mauro’s words, “FOR MANY CENTURIES.” And yet when we turn to Rev. 13 we find, after the deadly wound has been healed, power was given to the Beast to continue forty-and-two months, that is three-and-a-half years, not many centuries. Why does Mr. Mauro say nothing about this three-and-a-half years? It would obviously not suit his exposition.
One cannot understand Mr. Mauro saying: “Close examination of the text leads to the conclusion that the wound was a thing of the past when the beast came into John’s view. The parallel expression is ‘a Lamb as it had been slain’ (5: 6). The beast had already received the death-stroke, and yet lived again, when John saw it” (The Patmos Visions, p. 402).
There are two objections to this. John was shown things, “which must be HEREAFTER,” things that were yet to come. But Mr. Mauro says the deadly wound was a thing long past by many centuries, even happening before John’s day, even at the death of our Lord. Then further, John seeing “a Lamb as it had been slain” is not parallel at all with his vision of the Beast. To be parallel John should have seen the Lamb being slain. But on the contrary he saw a Lamb that HAD been slain, it does not say when, only notices the fact. Certainly the vision was of things that were to come, and that is the character of the whole of the Book of Revelation. Mr. Mauro cannot every now and again make out that parts of the vision were in the past, or in John’s day, and parts in the future.
The second Beast that arises out of the sea, Mr. Mauro believes, points to the Papacy. He also thinks that the little horn of Dan. 7:8, 23, 24 is also the Papacy. He says of the prophecy of the little horn: “I only wish to remark that Protestant commentators see in this ‘little horn’ a prophecy of the papacy, and that I find no reason for disagreeing with them” (The Patmos Visions, p. 418).
We fail to see how both these can refer to the one thing.
But not content with making the second Beast arising out of the earth to be the Papacy, and likewise the little horn of Dan. 7, Mr. Mauro now identifies the woman that rides the Beast, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth, as also the Papacy. He says: “The woman of Chapter 17… is the false `Church,’ which has a recognizable existence in the world since the fourth century, and which had had its most conspicuous exemplification in Catholicism” (The Patmos Visions, p. 482).
Surely we have good reason to be mystified by all this. Three things are said to point to the Papacy, i.e., 1. The little horn on the FIRST Beast. 2. The SECOND Beast. 3. The Great Whore, Babylon the Great.
We are quite in accord with Mr. Mauro that the third points to the Papacy, but we cannot follow him in identifying the Papacy with things that are so absolutely distinct. It is about as sensible as saying that George Washington and President Roosevelt are one and the same person.
When we were just completing our task in writing this pamphlet, our eye happened to rest upon a page which absolutely staggered us. It more than confirmed our suspicion that an obsession may lead a writer to really absurd lengths. Is it the itch for being original that leads to this? It certainly leads to a veritable quagmire of exegesis, and the sorry spectacle of the pursuit of the will-o’-the-wisps of ungirded fancies.
Writing of Satan being bound and cast into the bottomless pit “till the thousand years should be fulfilled,” after which “he must be loosed a little season,” Mr. Mauro quotes the writing of a Dr. Stafford. We give the last paragraph of the quotation: “If now we have reasoned correctly up to this point, it is easy to say what ‘the thousand years’ signifies. It is the Christian age, extending up to ‘a little time’ before Christ comes again. ‘The thousand years’ have become nearly two thousand years. Or are we now in ‘the little time’ that follows that period? I do not know [though the late war and its consequences make it seem likely]. But this is certain: We are either in the Millennium, or we have passed through it, and we have entered the ‘little time’ when from all quarters attacks are made on the very citadel of Christianity itself.”
Can any one imagine a statement so packed full of error, purporting to set forth the truth? According to Dr. Stafford he has lived in the Millennium all his life. In the Millennium the saints live and reign with Christ a thousand years. Does Dr. Stafford know of one saint that is a thousand years old, for if we have arrived at “the little time” subsequent to the Millennium there should be a few of that age to be observed? Is Christ publicly reigning? A Millennium without Christ on earth! The Devil shut up in the abyss! We ask, then, who carries on the work of evil in this world?
Is there so little difference between Satan being bound in prison and our Lord reigning in power and glory, and “the little while” following when Satan shall be loosed from his prison, and organize the last gigantic rebellion against God, that Dr. Stafford does not know whether he is in the Millennium or not, whether he is on his head or his heels, whether he is awake or asleep?
What does Mr. Mauro say about this hare-brained exegesis? He writes: “Whether or not Dr. Stafford’s explanation of this very difficult passage of Scripture is in all essential particulars correct, the present writer feels constrained to say concerning it, that on the one hand, it has more scriptural evidence in its favor than any other explanation of the passage that has come to the writer’s knowledge up to now; whereas, on the other hand, he knows of nothing in the Scriptures that contradicts it” (The Hope of Israel: What is it? p. 260).
We can quite understand Mr. Mauro finding this a “very difficult passage of Scripture.” The believers in the Futurist system of Dispensational teaching find, however, no such difficulty with it. It falls into its place with great plainness and clearness. But seeing that Mr. Mauro has embraced a system that is manifest confusion, no wonder the further he goes, the more difficult he finds it to fit things in.
We would remind our readers that Mr. Mauro in an earlier part of the same book, as we have already pointed out, states that the binding of Satan will take place AFTER the second coming of Christ. Here he points out that the shutting up of Satan in the abyss, and the rolling away of the stone when our Lord rose from the dead, were actions performed BY THE SAME MIGHTY ANGEL AND AT THE SAME TIME. Are our readers surprised that we are astounded at such egregious contradictions and such wild exegesis?
To adequately point out all the fallacies of Mr. Mauro’s book, The Visions of Patmos, would need two or three volumes the size of his. We think enough has been written to cause the reader to see how illogical and confusing Mr. Mauro’s expositions are. We admire his patience and the immense amount of work he has put into his writings. But these writings are doing harm and perplexing the children of God.
But the question is, Where does the truth of God lie? When a writer so late in the day comes forth with an exegesis that throws aside all that has been written by such godly and gifted men as J. N. Darby, W. Kelly, Walter Scott, F. W. Grant, and the like, we stand in doubt. And well we may.
We had no idea till we began to study these books of Mr. Mauro’s how far his obsession of new ideas has carried him, for in all charity we can think of no better word to describe his teaching. He has reversed his teaching of dispensational truth to a greater degree than one has ever known in any other case. We cannot but regret this, for if he had remained with his old thoughts, we might have had some truly edifying books.
We might have continued further in our examination of Mr. Mauro’s later views, but we think it is better to break off (abruptly as it may seem to the reader), believing that enough has been written to serve our purpose. It is well not to belong to any particular school, especially if that school is limited to the initiation of one man. We have written plainly, but we have refrained from using terms as strong as Mr. Mauro has used in denouncing Dr. Scofield and those, who in the main, agree with him.
We would like to assure our readers in closing that there is nothing personal in this pamphlet. We only grieve that it is necessary to warn our readers against views that we believe are unscriptural and mischievous. It is for the blessing of God’s dear people, we trust, that we have put pen to paper. May He add His blessing.