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by William Baxter Godbey
PROLOGUE TO VOLUME 1
THE Bible is a wonderful river. It flows from the I sparkling fountain of an unfallen Eden. A tinkling rill, it meanders through the filthy morasses of the Antediluvian world. The castigatory judgments of the Almighty in the awful deluge augment it with the incoming tributaries of the Patriarchal Dispensation.
The miraculous emancipation out of Egyptian bondage inaugurates the great tributary of the Mosaic Dispensation, followed by the Prophetical, culminating in John the Baptist, who actually introduces to the world the Incarnate God.
The inimitable preaching of Jesus Christ augmented this gospel river with a mighty tributary, which all of the Apostles continued to increase till bloody martyrdom translated them to glory. John was the only Apostle who ever died a natural death (if he ever died, for John Wesley and others believe he was translated to heaven alive). He survived all of the Apostles a whole generation. At the time John wrote the Apocalypse, Paul and all the other Apostles had been dead thirty years. Hence John was truly the patriarch of the Apostolic Age.
Standing on the lonely Isle of Patmos, he looks into the open heaven and sees the prophetical panorama evolving down the intervening ages, till the
‘lord in His glory returns to reign in righteousness. Hence the Johnic prophecies constitute a majestic tributary of this wonderful gospel river, swelling it into far greater proportions than ever before. This prophetical river actually broadens out into the glorious millennial kingdom, flooding the world with Edenic splendors, sweeping on through the resurrection, final judgment, fiery sanctification, renovation, and final celestialization of this world.
I propose to begin at the mouth of this wonderful gospel river, and go up- stream till the Lord shall supersede the silver trumpet by the golden harp. Hence, Vol. I. is an exposition of Revelation. Remember, these Commentaries are all on the Greek text. Therefore, when you see a strange word, you may know it is Greek. When I use Latin or any other language, I will so specify.
The Roman letters and figures will constantly indicate chapter and verse in Revelation without specifying the book; whereas, all other books from which I make quotations will be written in brief.
It will be expedient to make many allusions to the other prophets, especially Daniel. While the Old Testament prophets all culminate in the first advent of Christ, Daniel is the exception, whose prophecies all culminate in the second advent. Hence, Daniel and John are the great prophets of our Lord’s second coming.
It is here pertinent to specify that the Book of Revelation is all on the second coming of Christ. Hence a Commentary on it is simply an exposition of the prophecies setting forth the second coming of our Lord, with its precedent concomitant and subsequent events, all of which focalize and receive their important significance from that most wonderful of all events which have ever transpired, or ever will.
In these expositions, we shall not perplex the reader by quotations of human authorities. We are too nigh the bright light of the Lord’s presence to darken counsel by human authority. If you want it, you can get it. I shall not encumber these books with it. If you shall receive profit by these writings, give all the glory to the Holy Ghost, who has taught me all I reveal to you. He has taught me much by direct illumination of His blessed Word, and much indirectly through his saints, both living and dead, none of whom do I depreciate by my silence in these pages.
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11