Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is this the Brilliant Mind of the Reformation?

I have been researching John Calvin's life and doctrine. Up until now my impression has been that it is understood that Calvin was "the man." People write about him as if he were the end of theological discussion. Of course, it would appear that John Calvin thought he, like Mohammad and Joseph Smith, was the final authority concerning God's revelation to man. But, there are many, many things that make me wonder if John Calvin is even worth studying other than as a historical figure who misdirected church doctrine and practice 500 years ago (more on that later). But, first check out the margin notes placed in the Geneva Bible (credited to Calvin and his contemporary reformers) after the first verse of Revelation chapter one. Does this sound like something we would use today to guide us through our interpretation of Revelation? 
Revelation 1:1
1:1 - The {1} {a} Revelation of {b} Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John
1 AD The dragon watches the Church of the Jews, which was ready to travail: She brings forth, flees and hides herself, while Christ was yet on the earth.
34 AD The dragon persecutes Christ ascending to heaven, he fights and is thrown down: and after persecutes the Church of the Jews.
67 AD The Church of the Jews is received into the wilderness for three years and a half.
70 AD When the Church of the Jews was overthrown, the dragon invaded the catholic church: all this is in the twelfth chapter. The dragon is bound for a thousand years in chapter twenty. The dragon raises up the beast with seven heads, and the beast with two heads, which make havock of the catholic church and her prophets for 1260 years after the passion of Christ in Re 13:11 .
97 AD The seven churches are admonished of things present, somewhat before the end of Domitian his reign, and are forewarned of the persecution to come under Trajan for ten years, chapter 2,3. God by word and signs provokes the world, and seals the godly in chapter 6 and 7. He shows examples of his wrath on all creatures, mankind excepted in chapter 8.
1073 AD The dragon is let loose after a thousand years, and Gregory the seventh, being Pope, rages against Henry the third, then Emperor in chapter 20.
1217 AD The dragon vexes the world for 150 years to Gregory the ninth, who wrote the Decretals, and most cruelly persecuted the Emperor Fredrick the second.
1295 AD The dragon kills the prophets after 1260 years, when Boniface the eighth was Pope, who was the author of the sixth book of the Decretals: he excommunicated Philip the French King.
1300 AD Boniface celebrates the Jubile.
1301 AD About this time was a great earthquake, which overthrew many houses in Rome.
1305 AD Prophecy ceases for three years and a half, until Benedict the second succeeded after Boniface the eighth. Prophecy is revived in chapter 11. The dragon and the two beasts question prophecy in chapter 13. Christ defends his Church in word and deed, chapter 14, and with threats and arms, chapter 16. Christ gives his Church victory over the harlot, chapter 17 and 18. Over the two beasts, chapter 19. Over the dragon and death, chapter 20. The Church is fully glorified in heaven with eternal glory, in Christ Jesus, chapter 21 and 22.
Galyn Wiemers with two pages from his Bible collection:
Left: a page from the original 1560 Geneva Bible
Right: a page from the original first edition of the King James Bible from 1611-1650.
 It was well known that in his day Calvin would imprison and execute people in Geneva for questioning his teaching (mainly concerning Calvin's book Institutes). I think Calvin would have marked me as a potential problem for the city of Geneva when he started to explained Revelation as is seen above. His henchmen would have escorted me from the preaching meeting when I started to ask questions concerning 34 and 67 AD. I would have been imprisoned when I challenged his exegetical work concerning 70 AD's connection to Revelation 13. I never would have had a chance to hear the wildly ridiculous teaching from Revelation chapter 20 as applied to the year 1073 AD because I would have either been fleeing Geneva by night or burning at the stake in Geneva by day. Calvin's life and doctrine are simply indefensible in so many areas and concerning so many events. I am amazed Calvin is so highly regarded by theologians and believers today. I am still organizing my research, but I am stunned that this man is honored in the Christian church. Based simply on my wife's response to the small amount of information I have read to her concerning Calvin's life and doctrine, I must assume that many other people will also shuddered in disbelief when they hear more of these things concerning Calvin and be repulsed the next time the name John Calvin is mentioned.
PS - I do have Calvin's complete commentary set which includes every book of the Bible except for Revelation. There is no commentary on Revelation because Calvin never wrote one.

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