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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Truths from Revelation

The book of Revelation is hard to get agreement on. Why do I say this? According the the Wikipedia article on the last book of the Bible, there are at least 12 views of how to interpret it, and some of those views are further subdivided.

Nonetheless, it is in the Bible, and it must be there for a reason. I hesitatingly* offer a short list of things that aren't in the book, and a list of what I believe are truths to be found there, which all, or nearly all, of the 12 interpretations might agree on.
*I am not a trained Bible scholar. Also, I am aware of the warning listed below as the first item in the list of things which are in the book, and I have no wish to come under that warning. I have not decided on one of the twelve interpretations, or on one of the subdivisions. Most, or all of them, have some serious weaknesses. However, I feel obligated to post about a book, probably in my next post, and that book has a lot in it about Revelation, and I wanted to set forth this background post, setting forth where I am coming from.

What isn't in the book:
1) The word, "antichrist" is not found there. (See here for the results of an on-line search for that word, using the ESV Bible.)
2) The word, "rapture" is not found there. In fact, that word is not found anywhere in any modern Bible that I am aware of, nor in the King James Version. (The concept is Biblical, though. See here for an almost balanced -- the author does make his choice known, but states that we cannot be sure -- discussion of common views on the rapture, and a good collection of apparently relevant scripture. He believes in a rapture before the tribulation period. None of the scriptural references he gives on the Rapture are from Revelation, except that he says that the Apostle John, the author of the book, is raptured, in Rev. 4.)
3) The phrase, "seven years" is not found there.

What is in the book:
1) There is a warning about misuse of the book.
Rev. 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (All scripture quotations from the ESV.)
2) Christ is supreme. (For example, see Revelation 1, and elsewhere in the book.)
3) There is danger in being lukewarm.
4) Christ offers an invitation to fellowship with Him. (For both points 3 and 4, see Revelation 3:14-22)
5) People from every ethnic group will be part of Christ's kingdom. (Rev. 7:9-12)
6) Some very bad things are going to happen to the world as we know it. (I understand that, according to the Preterist view of interpretation, some or all of them have already happened.)
7) The creation will be renewed, in a manner related to the return of Christ.
8) There will be a judgment for sin. Therefore, we need to be ready for Christ's return, and/or judgment.
9) The last verse in the book is important. (Lots of people can say the first verse in the Bible, but not many can say this one, the last verse in the Bible.) It speaks of God's grace!
Rev. 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.

May God forgive me if I have added to, or taken away from, the prophecies in Revelation. I know that there are many who are firmly convinced of a lot of other things in the book. These people, however, don't all agree with each other. I hope that they can agree on the list above, and, if it is incomplete, they will add suggestions below, as comments, and, if there are things they cannot agree on in the list, they will similarly indicate why that is so.

Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Martin,

Your are so correct, Revelation is a book wrought with differing interpretations. Pre-trib, post-millenial, pre-wrath.....it's enough to completely make you :forget: what the book is :clearly: about! Great post, thanks.

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, Anonymous, whoever you are.