Ellen G. White Writings

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Daniel and The Revelation, Page 4

to be the book wherein God has undertaken to reveal his will to mankind, should come to be regarded in such a light. But a great fact, to which the reader’s attention is called in the following paragraph, is believed to contain for this state of things both an explanation and an antidote.

6. There are two general systems of interpretation adopted by different expositors in their efforts to explain the sacred Scriptures. The first is the mystical or spiritualizing system invented by Origen, to the shame of sound criticism and the curse of Christendom; the second is the system of literal interpretation, used by such men as Tyndale, Luther, and all the Reformers, and furnishing the basis for every advance step which has thus far been made in the reformation from error to truth as taught in the Scriptures. According to the first system, every declaration is supposed to have a mystical or hidden sense, which it is the province of the interpreter to bring forth; by the second, every declaration is to be taken in its most obvious and literal sense, except where the context and the well-known laws of language show that the terms are figurative, and not literal; and whatever is figurative must be explained by other portions of the Bible which are literal.

7. By the mystical method of Origen, it is vain to hope for any uniform understanding of either Daniel or the Revelation, or of any other book of the Bible; for that system (if it can be called a system) knows no law but the uncurbed imagination of its adherents; hence there are on its side as many different interpretations of Scripture as there are different fancies of different writers. By the literal method, everything is subject to well-established and clearly-defined law; and, viewed from this standpoint, the reader will be surprised to see how simple, easy, and clear many portions of the Scriptures at once become, which, according to any other system, are dark and unsolvable. It is admitted that many figures are used in the Bible, and that much of the books under consideration, especially that of the Revelation, is clothed in symbolic language; but it is also claimed that the Scriptures introduce no figure which they do not somewhere furnish literal language to explain. This volume is offered as a consistent exposition of the books of Daniel and the Revelation according to the literal system.

8. The study of prophecy should by no means be neglected; for it is the prophetic portions of the word of God which especially constitute it a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. So both David and Peter unequivocally testify. Psalms 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19.

9. No sublimer study can occupy the mind than the study of those books in which He who sees the end from the beginning, looking forward through all the ages, gives, through his inspired prophets, a description of coming events for the benefit of those whose lot it would be to meet them.

10. An increase of knowledge respecting the prophetic portions of the word of God was to be one of the characteristics of the last days. Said the angel to Daniel, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased;” or, as Michaelis’s translation reads: “When many shall give their sedulous attention to the understanding of these things, and knowledge shall be increased.” It is our lot to live this side the time to which the angel told Daniel to thus shut up the words and seal the

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