[Sidenote: A fundamental difference]
In the present work I have given a brief historical sketch of the leading ecclesiastical events, showing the apostasy as it existed under two phases, the corruption of evangelical faith and the reign of ecclesiasticism. I have also shown that the reformations of Protestantism have tended to the correction of that first phase pertaining to doctrine, but that a complete reformation requires the elimination of ecclesiasticism. Hence what I have termed the Last Reformation, if it is to be the last, not only must include the restoration of pure doctrinal truth but must also restore the real church of the New Testament. So far as true doctrine is concerned, such a reformation will differ from other evangelical movements in degree only—it must ultimately comprehend the whole truth. But the fundamental difference between the reformation herein considered and all other preceding reformations is that it strikes the death-blow to the very root of error that produced the sect system—human ecclesiasticism—and substitutes therefor the administrative authority of the Holy Spirit working in varying degrees in all the members of Christ throughout the world. The last reformation therefore must differ from all others, not in degree only, but also in kind.
[Sidenote: The witness of prophecy]
God alone understands the future. During the ages past he has not left his own work without the witness of prophecy. We may rest assured, therefore, that in the prophecy of the divine Word he has given us an outline of the history of his church. So I shall ask the reader to patiently follow me through a brief sketch of ecclesiastical events as described in the prophecies of the Revelation. Such an examination will throw a large amount of additional light on the subjects I have already treated historically, and will also give us a divinely drawn picture of the church of the future. Such will enable us to understand better the real character and extent of THE LAST REFORMATION.
The Church in Prophecy
INTERPRETATION OF PROPHETIC SYMBOLS
[Sidenote: Value of prophecy]
The value of prophecy in establishing the religion of the Bible as the religion, of God has been generally recognized. Its value, however, is not limited to the proof of the divinity of Biblical truth which it furnishes: it serves a definite and most important purpose in the life and work of God’s believing children in all ages. By it we are better able to understand God’s own plan and purposes in human history, and by it we are made conscious of our own whereabouts along the pathway of time. The movements of God in the history of the past that were predicted by earlier prophets have received their chief inspiration from the conscious knowledge the