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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 



 

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AUTHOR OF

Daniel, The Apocalypse of the Old Testament

AND

The Apocalypse Fulfilled in the Consummation of the Mosaic Economy

WHICH IS THE SECOND OLDEST KNOWN FULL PRETERIST BOOK EVER WRITTEN (1854)


PDF- P.S. Desprez Memorial

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 1-1000

070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World

 


1000-2006

FUTURIST
HISTORICAL
MODERN

1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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John, The Apocalypse of the New Testament

P.S. Desprez
(1865)

 

 CLICK HERE FOR PDF FILE OF ENTIRE BOOK

Contents :—
I. Date of the Apocalypse
II. Authorship of the
III. The Epistles to the Seven Churches
IV. Opening of the First of Six Seals
V. The Seventh Seal
VI. The Two Witnesses
VII. Antichrist
VIII. Babylon
IX. The Millennium
X. The New Jerusalem
XI. The Second Coming
XII. The Gospel of the Kingdom

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

The Westminster Review (1879)
"In the catalogue of these competent critics we may place the name of Philip Desprez, a beneficed clergyman in Wiltshire, who, in a brief, but telling appendix to an able Dissertation on Daniel and John, adduces evidence to justify the opinion that the Fourth Gospel is not so much a record of the actual life of Jesus as a development of mystical theology belonging to the latter part of the second century— a chronological determination which we think requires correction. The work in which this courageous admission of the non-genuineness of the so-called Gospel of St. John occurs, displays great ingenuity, considerable erudition, and a generally sound exegesis, and well deserves the commendation bestowed on it by Dr. Rowland Williams, when in his admirable introduction he describes it as a popular and lucid exposition. The peculiarities of the Book of Daniel long since awakened suspicion, even in this conservative country. Collins, who was deficient in learning. though not wanting in acuteness, gave very good reasons for questioning its genuineness. Bentley, a giant of erudition, was at least inclined to side with Porphyry, who held that it was written in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Dr. Arnold daringly assigned it to the same period. Dr. Rowland Williams argues forcibly in favour of this view, and Mr. Desprez develops the theory with an almost exhaustive amplification. We believe that the time is not far distant when the opinion expressed by these three clergymen will become that of all candid inquirers. Into the merits of Mr. Desprez's Dissertation—a recast by the way of an earlier essay— we cannot now enter, but we invite attention to his substantially correct interpretation of the contents of the pseudo-Daniel; to the argument in favour of late date based on the variation of the texture of its Chaldee, detailed with so much force in the Introduction, and to  the remarks on the Persian and Greek words detected in that mysterious book. Mr. Desprez happily connects this Apocalypse of the Old Testament with that of the New, the author of the latter having derived some of his imagery from that work. Here, again, we are glad to find ourselves in general accord with our enterprising expositor, who rightly seeks a basis for the marvellous superstructure of the Seer of Patmos in the contemporary history of the first century, appealing to the testimony of Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio Chrysostom, &c. in the wild intoxication of hope and fear, the early Christians looked for the immediate Advent of Christ to be preceded, however, by the return of Nero, who was supposed not to be really dead, but to be living beyond the Euphrates among the Partisans. with whose aid he intended to enter and destroy Rome. In identifying the self-slain Nero with " the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is," as also in his interpretation of "the number of the Beast" (the numerical value of the Imperial name, Nero Caesar, being equal to 666), we think Mr. Desprez perfectly right. On some points, however, as is only natural in theological hieroglyphics, we dissent from him. Regarding the authority of Tacitus as decisive we should reject Julius Caesar from the Apocalyptical list of the seven kings, among whom Nero paradoxically figures, as at once the fifth and the eighth, and commence with Augustus, the first undoubted Imperial sovereign or " King."

Neither can we accept Mr. Desprez's ingenious attempt to identify the Beast of the Earth with the pseudo-Nero. The terrestrial monster is evidently an imaginary creation, an embodiment of pagan idolatry and false anti-Christian prophecy, and we see no sufficient reason for investing with these appalling attributes any of the impostors who after Nero's death personated the Imperial suicide. " (The Westminster Review January and April,1879, pp. 219-221)

 

(1870)
"John; or, the Apocalypse of the New Testament. By PHILIP S. DESFREZ, B.D., Vicar of Alvediston, Wilts. London : Longmans, Green, & Co. IT appears that Mr. Desprez had some time ago written a work on the Bevelation of St. John. We have not seen it, but he tells us in the preface to this volume that he then believed the Bible to be an infallible book, and that its visions of the Apocalypse were capable of a real fulfilment. In agreement with this belief, he interpreted the great city to be destroyed as Jerusalem, and this destruction as the Son of Man coming to judgment. He is now convinced that the Apocalypse is not a prophetic record of literal facts, but a sincere, though visionary delineation of events which St. John, in common with many of his countrymen, believed to be impending. They thought that the world was on the eve of a terrible crisis, and that the very time of the long-expected advent had arrived. The Revelation was the text-book of the primitive Church, which for the first two or three centuries was essentially chiliastic. After these statements, Mr. Desprez proceeds to discuss such questions as the date and authorship of the book, the seals, the two witnesses, Antichrist and the eschatology in general, of the first Christians. We abstain from criticizing the author's theological views. He seems to have studied his subject sincerely and honestly. It is some satisfaction to see these visions rescued from the hands of those who make them material for sectarian controversy, or prophetic almanacs of things to come. We own, however, that it is not without regret that we seem compelled to part with the long-cherished belief that the last of the apostles had real visions of things which were to be hereafter. We must grant to Mr. Desprez that as yet no tenable interpretation of the visions has been furnished by history ; and if we once admit that the apostles were mistaken as to the time of the end, we have at least opened the door for such an interpretation as Mr. Desprez gives. J, H,  (The Contemporary Review, Volume XV, p. 292)

Longman's and Co. (1875)
"IN this work the Author has been primarily anxious to discover the real meaning of the Apocalypse, irrespectively of the consideration that such freedom of exegetical treatment may be prejudicial to the prophetic character of the Revelation itself; the task which he has undertaken being to inquire honestly, and without regard to any foregone conclusion, ' what the author of the book proposed to himself in the description of the visions; what events he himself supposed  would happen, and what expectations the readers of the work in the age when it was written probably formed from it.' The results of this inquiry may detract from the value of the Apocalypse as a record of prophetic history, but they may suggest that the interpretations hitherto given are mutually destructive of each other, and exhibit a climax of exegetical weakness without parallel in the range of Biblical exposition. They may expose the signal failure of the grand event of which the Apocalypse is the principal exponent, but they may also lead to the conclusion that the latter-day anticipations of the early Church were not well founded, and the acknowledgment of error may be the first step towards the development of truth.

The study of the Apocalypse acquires at this time additional interest from the circumstance that it has been selected to be read in the Revised Table of Lessons for the season of Advent. It is plain that with its introduction into the services of the Church the question of Apocalyptic interpretation must be opened afresh ; and the truest solution will necessarily be the most orthodox, although it may not be most in agreement with traditional opinions." (Notes on Books, Vol. 4 p. 15-16)

 

DANIEL AND JOHN



The Contemporary Review (1880)
"The work of the late Mr. Desprez (Daniel and John: The Apocalypse of the Old and New Testament, by Philip S. Desprez, B.D., Vicar of Alverdiston, Wilts: Williams in the well-known style of that writer, showing somewhat too much of is prefaced by an introduction by the late Dr. Rowland irritation at books like Dr. Pusey's " Daniel the Prophet," and mingling too much the spheres of criticism, dogmatics and apologetics, yet showing his desire to combine a criticism which destroys much, with the faith and work of a clergyman. The book itself is remarkable as exhibiting in the way of detailed exposition the views which it.

1.  As to the Book of Daniel, the author maintains that it was written in the time of the great persecution of the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes. From the stories relating to the captivity, of which many were current, the writer selected those best calculated to encourage the Jews in their resistance to the oppressor. The story of Daniel and his comrades refusing to defile themselves with the king's meat was apposite to the resistance made by the Jewish patriots to the attempt of Antiochus to force forbidden meats upon them. The pride and downfall of Nebuchadnezzar, and his enforcement of a worship of himself, finds its counterpart in the career of the king who on his coins is styled Theos Epiphanes. The successive kingdoms of Daniel lead up to the Seleucidse, whose wars and intrigues, terminating in the great oppression of the Jews, are minutely detailed in ch. xi. The prophecy of the three- upholds, and which have hitherto been only stated generally by other English writers. ij and two weeks is made to eventuate in the same point ; and the words ordinarily taken as applying to the Messiah expected by the Jews, 'Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself," are read, "after threescore and two weeks an anointed one shall be cut off, and there is not (a helper) to him," and applied to Antiochus. The resurrection of ch. xii. is taken as a bodily resurrection expected to occur immediately, and thus the book has a distinct unity assigned to it, but at the expense of forfeiting all value as a record of the history of the captivity or as an anticipation of the future.

2. The Revelation is treated in a corresponding manner. It is assigned to John, the Son of Zebedee, and to the year 68 A.D. It is believed to have been called forth by the expectation of the return of the dreaded Nero (the Beast), and by the appearance of the pseudo-Nero (the second Beast, or false prophet). The imagery of the later books is shown to be borrowed from the older. For Nebuchadnezzar we have; for the Eastern Babylon the Western ; for the magicians the false prophet ; for the compulsion to worship the image of gold, or to pray to no God but the King of Babylon, the worship of the image of the Beast and the reception of his mark. Putting imagery aside, the author traces many allusions to contemporary history ; but the anticipations of the future he takes in the most literal sense, and pronounces absolutely fictitious. The two Witnesses have no historical meaning, though the idea of them may have been suggested by the deaths of Peter and James. The destruction of Rome is, in the writer's anticipation, to be immediate ; Nero is to return with ten Parthian leaders, who will join him in a second and final destruction of Rome ; and both he and they will be destroyed by the returning Christ, who will then reign with His saints for 1000 years ; after which the New Jerusalem, in all its literal, material details, is to be established, as a Jewish city, round which the believing Gentiles will humbly group themselves. It is needless to point out that such anticipations render the book grounded on them destitute of almost all religious value.

There are several conclusions as to other points which are indicated by the commentator. The Fourth Gospel, he considers, cannot possibly have the same author as the Revelation ; the Apocalyptic features of the Synoptic Gospels show a familiarity with the Revelation, and consequently are of a later date ; the special views of divinity accepted by the Church were unknown to the age fur which the Revelation was written ; and in such an age the Church organization, which is often supposed to be apostolic, would have been impossible. Above all, the notion of the second coming of Christ is an entire and mischievous delusion.

As some of the views here expressed may seem to many incompatible with the position of a Christian minister, it is fair to the author to allow him to speak for himself.

"While Jesus certainly founded Us Messianic career on the Apocalyptic model presented by the Book of Daniel, this was neither the essence of his doctrine nor the secret of his  power.  For these we must look to his sublime conception of the Fatherhood of God, the superiority of his matchless sayings, the loveliness of his pure and devoted life, and the grandeur of his self-sacrificing and heroic death ..... Above and beyond all this, its adaptation to the religious instinct, and the spiritual wants of man affords at once a proof of its Divine origin and a pledge of its continuance."

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