Clarence Larkin’s mountain peaks of prophecy
The Mountains of Prophecy
Clarence Larkin (1850-1924) published a series of charts on prophecy that promoted the premillennial view of Scripture, and dispensationalism. In his chart, “The Mountain Peaks of Prophecy,” a larger-than-life, bearded figure stands on a plain at the left, looking towards the right. The scene is a timeline, which represents the progress of time. The bearded person clearly sees the birth of Jesus, Calvary, the descent of the holy Spirit at Pentecost, which are represented by symbols upon the top of a mountain ridge representing the coming of Christ in the first century. Behind the first range of mountains is a valley that is hidden from the view of the bearded prophet. In the middle of the valley, called the Valley of the Church, there is a church building, that is obviously meant to represent the Christian church. A note states that the prophets did not see this. Beyond the Valley of the Church, there is another range of mountains, representing events at the end of the age, and the return of Christ. Antichrist stands near the summit. Beyond him, over the mount of Olives, is an image of the sun, and farther beyond it another valley, called the Millennial Valley. A circle floating above the valley contains the kingdom of God, which is visible to the prophet. At the far right, suspended in the air, are the New Jerusalem and the new earth.
A one-eyed perspective
In the book of Revelation, John’s prophecies incorporate lots of material from the Old Testament. In Hebrews, the prophets and saints are collectively called a great “cloud of witnesses.” [Hebrews 12:1]
Did the prophets see the church age?
James applied a prophecy found in Amos 9, about restoring the house of David, to the church. If James was right, Larkin’s chart is incorrect. The apostle Peter said that the prophets ministered “unto us,” meaning the church. [1 Peter 1:9-12] The present age of the church is prominently featured in prophecy, but this is hidden from some. [Daniel 12:10] Larkin’s chart was designed to promote dispensationalism, and does not represent a true picture of things.
Jerusalem was raised up
In Larkin’s chart, the New Jerusalem should be located not at the far right, but at the beginning of the church age. Similarly the kingdom of God should correspond to the ascent of Jesus to heaven, not removed to an age following the present church age. The chart seems to imply that the whole corpus of prophecy is defective, and in need of the enlightenment that is provided by dispensationalism. Larkin represents his chart as a “view from the side.” In fact, prophecy provides the view from above, the divine perspective.
Mountains and the gospel
Jacob associated mountains and hills with spiritual blessings, when he blessed Joseph. The mountains are both durable, and high. Jacob said that his blessings extended to “the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.” His blessings were eternal, and spiritual in nature. This suggests how we may interpret the metaphorical mountains and hills in other scriptures.
The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
The covenant given at Sinai is represented by mount Sinai. Promises, prophecies and revelations about the gospel are represented by mountains. High mountains are associated with profound spiritual revelations in Ezekiel 40:2, and Revelation 21:10. In Isaiah, lofty thoughts are related to height above the earth; God says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:9]
In the table below, some examples of prophecies that refer to mountains are listed, along with explanations.
|A stone cut out without hands destroys the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and it grows into a mountain that fills the earth [Daniel 2:35]||Jesus established his church, and his kingdom will be established in the earth|
|The mountain of the Lord’s house will be established in the top of the mountains [Isaiah 2:2]||Jesus ascended to heaven. The church has come to the heavenly Jerusalem|
|Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low … the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. [Isaiah 40:4, Luke 3:5]||mountains are made low, when prophecies and promises that refer to spiritual things are mistaken for material, earthly, temporal things… God’s glory is revealed when the hidden meaning of prophecy is discovered|
|The mount of Olives cleaves in the midst; half moves north, and half moves south [Zechariah 14:4]||Theories of preterism and dispensationalism misinterpret the Olivet Discourse, and the covenant Christ confirms with the church for one week.|
|Mountains and islands moved out of their places [Revelation 6:14]||Prophecies are misinterpreted; they are applied to the wrong people, at the wrong time|
|Mountains drop wine [Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13]||Prophecies are given a fresh interpretation|
|God’s enemies are slain, and mountains are melted with their blood [Isaiah 34:3]||Mistaken interpretations fulfill prophecy|
- Earth movements at Jerusalem (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- Preterism, dispensationalism, and the mount of Olives (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- Why would the mount of Olives be cast into the sea? (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- The 70th week and the mount of Olives (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
- Mountains as promises (creationconcept.wordpress.com)