Keys to the Apocalypse

During the reformation, exposition of prophecy had been piecemeal. Fragments of light fell here and there to form a patchwork quilt totally lacking in design. But after the Catholics had responded from Rome and Salamanca with their counterinterpretations, something resembling a Copernican revolution took place at Cambridge University in England.

In 1627, a Greek professor by the name of Joseph Mede published Clavis Apocalyptica which set forth the structural outline of the book of Revelation. A man of encyclopedic information, Mede was an accomplished philologist, mathematician, historian and botanist. Without ambition or political interest, he devoted himself to the study of bible prophecy with a scientific spirit.

Mede observed that events foretold by the symbols in the book of Revelation did not parallel the order of the visions themselves chapter by chapter. A system had to be devised to determine the chronological sequence which had been confused by earlier expositors.

Mede discovered that there were a number of progressions of visions which were synchronized one to another. Some began where others left off, others overlapped. For instance, the seven churches in chapters two and three overlap the history of the seven seals but, with a different theme.

In identifying and regrouping these synchronizims prior to interpretation, he developed a method that was to become the standard for all subsequent historicist expositors.

His admirers glorified his discovery by equating it in importance to Aristotle's syllogistic reasoning.

In addition, Mede revived the interpretation that the millenium was still future. This was a repudiation of Augustinian theory which started the thousand years at Christ's first advent. Mede started it at the second advent believing that it would be preceded by a literal resurrection of the saint's and the destruction of AntiChrist.

Mede's work was authorized for publication by the House of Commons in 1642. Soon after it was adopted by the Westminister Assembly which made it part of the Presbyterian Church confession (Article 26).

In his day, Mede's works were considered almost inspired. But later expositors were critical of many parts of his exposition. Despite these weaknesses, Mede's sychronizm's materially advanced the science of exposition and laid the foundation upon which another great student of Cambridge, Isaac Newton, would soon build.

One thing the editor wrestled with in this book, was the Greek text. The reader will notice that the Greek has been eliminated in this work. We can't expect everyone to have the same Greek fonts as would have been used in this Internet Edition of Keys. I pray this isn't a stumbling block.