GOD's ARMY, CONTENDING for the FAITH
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murjahel

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306.

WHAT ARE THE ARGUMENTS OF SKEPTICS
AGAINST THE BOOK OF REVELATION?

 

 

Part 3 -
ERRANT SCHEMES OF INTERPRETATION ARGUMENT


God meant for Jesus to pass on this unveiling, to make the future be more understood than it ever had been. When Jesus came the first time, Anna, Simeon, Mary, Joseph, Bible study groups encouraged by the word of shepherds and wise men, were expecting Jesus, the Messiah. Yet, multitudes then were not, and easily were persuaded that this resurrection granting, miracle giving, loving Savior could not be the Divine Messiah.

So, for the second coming, when the returning Jesus comes to rule and to reign, defeat the devil’s cohorts, and bring peace to the redeemed in His atonement work, the Lord wants revelation to unveil the signs, events, judgments, and plan of God in detail. Chronological order was lacking in the events prophesied in the Old Testament. This book is to unveil, not make a mystery.

Skeptics have desired to confuse the issue, knowingly or in blindness of sin, creating alternative schemes of interpretation. Different perspectives may sound innocent, but the Lord Jesus gave this ‘unveiling’ to reveal, and some ideas and perspectives do not reveal what Jesus was truly wanting to show us. There is a literal unveiling in this apocalypse, and some ‘perspectives’ pervert, alter, or destroy the real message of Jesus in the Book of Revelation.


Revelation 1:3 (KJV)

3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.


Revelation 22:6-7 (KJV)

6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.

7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.



Is the Book of Revelation symbolic, imaginary, or literal? Do the words mean what they say, or are we all allowed to imagine our own ideas as to their meaning?

For instance, does it mean ‘Israel’ when it refers to Israel, or does it refer to the ‘church’? Covenant theology views the church as a replacement for Israel, so to them the church is the ‘new Israel’. Dispensationalists view the church and Israel as separate groups, and not made one until the end, when Israel finally finds the Messiah is truly Jesus.



Schemes of interpretation seek to defile the plain and already stated purpose of the book, as shown in the above verses.

The PRAETERIST scheme attempts to prove the events of the Book of Revelation are already fulfilled. This method or perspective of the book views its fulfillment in the time of its writing. Their time of writing would have to then be before 70 A.D., when early church writers place the writing at around 90 A.D. They make the book ‘symbolic’ in that the symbols were used, they say, to hide from the Romans their distaste for their religion, and to comfort the victims of Roman tyranny against the Christians, as being only temporary setbacks, and ultimate victory would come, even if not literally, but only symbolically.

Most in this praeterist scheme see Revelation 6-11 as defining the fall and destruction of Jerusalem. They say the message of Revelation 13-19 describes the reign of Nero. The ‘hyper-praeterists believe the second coming and the rapture were fulfilled before 70 A.D., denying the literal return, replacing it with a spiritual presence of Jesus with believers.

This scenario of interpretation leaves confusion, gaps, and certainly would have been purposed to confuse, to blind, and to mystify. The praeterist scheme certainly does not unveil, does not reveal, and does not un-muddy confusion.


The FUTURIST idea is that all the book is still future. It connects the fulfillment with only during the time of the second coming and millennial period. Most in this perspective see chapters 2 and 3 as detailing the kinds of churches in the church age. Chapters 4 and 5 detailing the rapture day events in heaven, with the saints worshipping around the throne of God. Chapters 6 to 19 reveal the tribulation judgments on the sinful post rapture world. Chapters 20 to 22 deal with the millennial rule on this earth, and the post millennial rule on the new heaven/earth. Most in the ‘futurist’ perspective see Israel and the church as separate groups, and are pre-millennial in viewing the second literal coming of Jesus.


The HISTORICAL idea is that the book records from John’s day to the end of God’s plan for mankind. It is a continuous history of now till the end. The historical view connects the symbols with definite occurrences, as the first four trumpets being invasions that overthrew the Roman empire. They identify the Roman Catholic pope as the beast of Revelation 13, and as the ‘scarlet woman’ of Revelation 17. They often try to attach a ‘day/year’ feature, as the 1260 days means 1260 years. The historical perspective substitute the church for references to Israel.


The SYMBOLIC idea can be traced to the Alexandrian school of theology, represented by Origen who saw the Book of Revelation as one large allegory, and extreme in symbolism. The ‘symbolism’ idea was in response to the anti-millennium heresy, and wanted to replace that teaching of Revelation with a ‘spiritual change’ in believers, with Jesus being just a Presence in the daily lives of Christians. This desire to eliminate the millennial (1000 year) literal ruling of Jesus on this earth, caused them to view the book as only symbols, and none of the events, persons, or judgments as literal.

To those in the symbolic camp, the Book of Revelation speaks of the struggle of the righteous versus the wicked, the city of God versus the city of satan.

Today’s ‘skeptics who want to change or deny the real literal message of the Book of Revelation, have an extreme, incoherent, inconsistent, and perverted ‘symbolic’ interpretation for a book meant to reveal, not confuse.

First, they will use the illogical statement, the it is ‘apocalyptic’ and therefore it cannot be understood. Yet, the word ‘apocalypse’ means to ‘unveil’ and to ‘reveal’. These modern day ‘symbolic’ adherents treat the Book of Revelation like it was the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story. By doing this, they try to explain away the vivid picture of the symbols used to describe the last day judgment on sins that they want condoned, not judged.

Symbols are used in the Bible for a reason. The ‘unveiling’ book did not incorporate symbols to confuse, but to reveal, and there is a literal meaning behind them. The Old Testament symbols left questions, and in the Book of Revelation, those ‘symbols’ are referred to again, and Jesus reveals of what they speak.

For instance, Enoch saw ‘two beasts’, one out of the earth, one out of the sea, and they came to do evil. John is shown those same two symbols, and reveals to us they spoke of the two demonically empowered men in the tribulation that war on Israel and the tribulation saints.

In Zechariah 4, there are the symbols of two olive trees, and oil flows from them to enlighten. In the Book of Revelation, two witnesses fulfill that symbol, and bring the message of Jesus to enlighten the Jews of the tribulation.

The Book of Revelation refers to many symbols, and unveils prophetic truths about them. When a symbol is used in the Book of Revelation, we need to look for the prophecy given to Old Testament prophets, that Jesus is wanting to unveil in the ‘apocalypse’ given to John to write down for us.

The Old Testament gave many revelations referring to the first coming of Jesus. We are told He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, be betrayed by a friend, be sold for 30 pieces of silver, be pierced, have wounds in his hands. All those were literal, and not meant to be treated as symbols. They meant exactly as they said. They were all fulfilled literally.

Now, in the Book of Revelation, there are plain sense meanings to the symbols of past revelations. It is an ‘unveiling’ of symbols of past prophecies. The symbols of prophecy have meaning. God never meant to confuse, nor to give symbols that could be interpreted to support thousands of religions. God gave symbols for those who could not, or would not understand. Even the first coming of Jesus was given in some mystery so the demons would not have ability to hinder it, and the crucifixion was hidden so well from them that they encouraged it, rather than fighting it. Their ignorance served God’s purpose. God hid some things in the Old Testament prophecies till the saints were ready and able to comprehend His plan.

Those of the ‘symbolic’ persuasion play loose with the Book of Revelation. In their desire to deny judgment for sin, they attack the revealing of the manner, and way of God’s judgment. In their blasphemous twisting of its truths, the ‘symbolic’ persuasion compromises and corrupts many vital truths that are needed.

The Book of Revelation is hard to believe, but it is very understandable. The ignoring of it has not worked, and the truths of its message are becoming more and more understandable. So, the symbol heresies are being more and more spoken at a shout, trying to overcome the soft voice of the Holy Spirit reminding us of prophetic truths within the Book of Revelation.

When the Revelation was first written, the army of 200 million seemed impossible, for there were not 200 million people on the planet. Surely, it seemed incomprehensible. The army, according to the Book of Revelation, is supposed to someday come from the direction of China toward the holy land. Today, China boasts an army of over 200 million.

C.I. Scofield, in 1909 spoke in the first study Bible, of Russia fulfilling Ezekiel 38 and 39 with the attack on Israel. At that time, Russia was an orthodox Christian nation, not the theist communist nation it is today. Israel did not become a nation again until 1945, so, to explain Russia’s attempt to conquer Israel in the last days, took trust in the literal understanding of prophecy, despite hard to understand ideas.

Revelation talks of the false prophet making an idol like statue of the antichrist that would talk and seem alive. Today, we find they are making human appearing robots, that seem to very human. The unimaginable in former generations suddenly if very understandable.

When, in the Book of Revelation, the two witnesses are slain and three and a half literal days, are resurrected, and all the people of the world view it, it seemed impossible. Now, with smart phones, televison cameras, and satellites to beam it as it happens, it is surely understandable to be literal. The symbolic camp in centuries past may have had an excuse to not take it literally, except, even then, they should have had faith that what God foretold will come true. Symbols stand for something literal, and we need to look in the Book of Revelation for their unveiling into understandable truths.


None of these heretical, demonically symbolic adherents accept the inspired truths. The want to re-veil what God wants to un-veil. We must not tolerate heretical perversions of interpretation of the Book of Revelation in our lives. The ‘symbolists have evil purpose, and seek to cause the saints of the last days to be totally ignorant as the events of the last days unfold and confirm the message of the Book of Revelation.

That is why the Book of Revelation ends with a stern warning:

Revelation 22:6-21 (KJV)

6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.

7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.



First, in this warning at the end of the book, God affirms the message and time of this book:

"AND HE SAID UNTO ME, THESE SAYINGS ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE: AND THE LORD GOD OF THE HOLY PROPHETS SENT HIS ANGEL TO SHEW UNTO HIS SERVANTS THE THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS. BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY: BLESSED IS HE THAT KEEPETH THE SAYINGS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK... AND HE SAID UNTO ME, SEAL NOT THE SAYINGS OF THIS BOOK: FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND." Rev. 22:6-7,10

Mankind has wanted to delegate this book for a past time, or make it an allegory to illustrate that eventually good will win, and no more. However, the Book of Revelation is a book to tell us the final conclusion of all God has been trying to do with mankind. It is a literal prophecy to help us to understand, and not to confuse us. We are warned to not "seal" the prophecy of this book. It is for now, not another time.

The warning continues with a message that we will someday seal our fate:

"HE THAT IS UNJUST, LET HIM BE UNJUST STILL: AND HE WHICH IS FILTHY, LET HIM BE FILTHY STILL: AND HE THAT IS RIGHTEOUS, LET HIM BE RIGHTEOUS STILL: AND HE THAT IS HOLY, LET HIM BE HOLY STILL."

Rev. 22:11

The day will come, by death, rapture, or the arrival of the judgment day, that whatever you are on that day, you will be for all eternity. Hitler will always be the evil-hearted, hateful person. What you are, at that time, you always will be. Now, is the time to be forgiven, and redeemed. God warns people to beware the time that shall come, they must choose now for God. There is no second chance after death, and after the judgment.

Then, God warns people against adding to the prophecy of this book, and against taking away from the prophecy of this book. God wants us to Know that the prophecy of the book of Revelation is not going to be altered. God will not change His mind. The devil will not be able to make one iota of change in God's revealed plan:

"FOR I TESTIFY UNTO EVERY MAN THAT HEARETH THE WORDS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK, IF ANY MAN SHALL ADD UNTO THESE THINGS, GOD SHALL ADD UNTO HIM THE PLAGUES THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK. AND IF ANY MAN SHALL TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS PROPHECY, GOD SHALL TAKE AWAY HIS PART OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, AND OUT OF THE HOLY CITY, AND FROM THE THINGS THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK." Rev. 22:18-19

The Lord wants us to know that the main purpose of this book of Revelation is to give a forceful reason and invitation to people to receive Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way of salvation and hope. Without Him, we will fall under the judgments of this book. With Him, we may enjoy the victories, and rewards of God for all eternity.

"AND THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY, 'COME !" AND LET HIM THAT HEARETH SAY, "COME !" AND LET HIM THAT IS ATHIRST COME. AND WHOSOEVER WILL, MAY TAKE OF THE WATER OF LIFE, FREELY." Rev. 22:17

The Book of Revelation is probably--God's greatest attempt to reason with stubborn people. People will procrastinate, doubt, and be apathetic as long as they can. God does not want people to end up in the Lake of Fire. He is desirous that people come to Him now to be saved. He allows people the free will to make their own choice. He desires them to know the ultimate result of their choice. The Book of Revelation informs people of these ultimate results. What is your choice ???

Remember, the word "REVELATION" comes from the Greek word "apokalupsis." This means "to unveil or uncover." God has wanted to lift the veil that has covered the future from our understanding. For much too long, the future has been unrevealed to people. This is not God's plan. It is the devil that wants people to not know what is going to happen. God has tried to "unveil," "uncover," the future for us. God has attempted to show people what His plans are. He has assured us that His plans will not change. He will not subtract one fact of this revealed plan, nor will He add any changes. His Word is sure. The Book of Revelation may be trusted. He has revealed this prophecy so that we might make our decision for Him based upon fact.

 

 


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murjahel
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