Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1951

Premillennial Pictures

G. K. Wallace, Wichita, Kansas

The "YOUTH MAGAZINE" edited by Eugene White and published in Los Angeles carries in the November 1950 issue a very subtle effort to reach the immature mind with premillennial doctrine. Brother White is assisted by Russell N. Squires, George Duke, James Sewell and advised by Woodrow Whitten and James Lovell. It is possible that many of the brethren mentioned above did not see this article and pictures until the magazine was delivered to their home. Several months have passed and so far as I know no correction of this teaching has appeared in the magazine. It is reasonable to conclude that all endorse the teaching found in the picture on page 12 of the issue above referred to.

The picture in question shows children at play with a lion, a wolf, a leopard, and other wild and ferocious beasts. Under the picture is a statement about how Quaker preacher, in 1838, drew the picture to illustrate what he thought was a Bible truth. Referring to Mr. Edward Hicks, the Quaker preacher, the writer says, "It is said that he created nearly eighty paintings on this theme which came from Isaiah" and then quotes:

"The wolf shall with the lambskin lie in peace, .His grim carnivorous thirst for blood shall cease, The beauteous leopard with restless eye, Shall by the kine in perfect stillness lie; The calf, the fatling, and the young wild, Shall all be led by one sweet little child."

The Power Of Pictures

The Catholic church feels that the best way to reach the immature mind is through pictures. Cardinal Gibbons in his book "Faith of Our Fathers" says on page 169, "Religious paintings are the catechism of the ignorant. In spite of all efforts of the church and state in the cause of education a great proportion of the human race will be found illiterate. Descriptive, pictures will teach those what books make known to the learned. How many thousands would have died ignorant of the Christian faith if they had not been enlightened by paintings. When Augustine, the Apostle of England first appeared before King Ethelbert to announce to him the gospel, a silver crucifix and a painting of our savior was borne before the preacher (blackface mine) and these images spoke more tenderly to the eye than his words to the ear of the audience."

Certainly pictures have a place in teaching. Visual education is a great power for good. However, the picture must teach the truth. Shall we turn our children over to Quaker preachers to be taught? Shall we let the Catholic church provide lessons in picture that are not true to the book? Shall we let Cathedral Films educate our children? Does Youth Magazine have the depend on sectarian pictures to fill its pages, or does Youth Magazine endorse such pictures as appeared in the November 1950 issue?

When I was a lad, the Methodists used to place into the hands of all their children a picture of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus by pouring water on him with a ram's horn. Methodist boys and girls were certain that Christ was sprinkled because they had seen the picture of Christ being sprinkled by John. Certainly pictures can be a powerful force in teaching the very young.

The Passage In Question

The passage the Quaker preacher tried to illustrate is found in Isaiah, chapter 11, and reads, "And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the lamb shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the Ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in al my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea."

This passage is a climax to some matters Isaiah had been teaching about the kingdom. All gospel preachers (and this is written primarily for preachers) will recognize three distinct movements in Isaiah's arguments about the kingdom that was to be established on Pentecost. They are as follows:

1. In chapter two Isaiah points out these facts about the kingdom.

(a) The time of the establishment—"last days"

(b) The extent of the kingdom—"all nations"

(c) The place of establishment—"Zion"

2. The next movement is found in chapter eleven and this fact is established.

(a) The nature of the law of the kingdom. "The rod of his mouth." The very fact that Isaiah says the law will be a rod out of the mouth shows this kingdom could not be an earthly kingdom.

3. The next movement is concerning the nature of the subjects of the kingdom. The nature of man will be changed from beastly to heavenly. These are all in the "holy mountain"—the church—and are "full of the knowledge of Jehovah."

It is clearly seen that Isaiah did not teach what the picture teaches. He did not preach that children would play with snakes, and lions would eat hay. This was just an illustration about how that the "rod of his mouth" would change the nature of man so "that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (II Peter 1:4) The picture referred to is entitled, "The Peaceful Kingdom." Oxen, lions and snakes are not and will not be in the kingdom of Christ. To make a literal application of a figurative passage is to misrepresent the grand Old prophet and lead astray those who see or read. It is high time that the pictures we use in teaching, teach the truth. If they do not teach the truth, they should not be used. The picture in question does not teach the truth, but on the other hand it teaches the premillennial concept of the kingdom. It was drawn for that very purpose and is so used by all premillennialists everywhere. Is it possible that it was so used in Youth Magazine? At least it was used. Was its use by design or accident? Surely the editors of the magazine know when a picture represents their view point.