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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 32

[Concluding a discussion on end times prophecy]

Some people think that the time, times, and a half in Daniel 12:7 means one year, plus two years, plus a half a year, making three and a half years, which would be forty-two months. But, as Ken Schenck, Dean of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, has written, the idea of a seven year tribulation rests on very slim foundations:

Revelation speaks of “the great tribulation,” but it doesn’t assign any number of years to it. A figure of 3 1/2 years appears several places in the middle of Revelation, but they all, in my opinion, refer to the same symbolic period . . .

So to get to 7 years, dispensationalists (shorthand here for the Darby-Lindsey-LaHaye end times scheme) have to add two of these 3 1/2’s together. The “mid-trib” rapture option comes straight from this section too, since the persecution of the church (the woman) is then understood to be for half of the seven year period.

But these are all the same, most likely symbolic 3 1/2 year period of persecution. Taking it as a calendar period goes against the nature of apocalyptic imagery, which if anything, is not meant to be taken literally any more than the idea that the beast will really have ten horns and seven heads.

Schenck points out that the places where three and a half years is referred to are in Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 12:14, and 13:5. Revelation 12:14 uses times, time and half a time, not forty-two months or three and a half years. Revelation 11:3 uses 1260 days, which is the number of days in forty-two months of thirty days.

Although the word “seven” occurs in Revelation over fifty times, the phrase “seven years” does not occur there even once.

Christians do not agree on what the Bible says about end times, and no wonder! The writing is prophetic or apocalyptic, or both, and difficult to understand. Dispensationalism, a view common among conservative Christians, has shaky scriptural support.

Matthew 24:44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don’t expect, the Son of Man will come.

The above is an excerpt from my recently self-published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. God willing, the next post in this series will begin a new topic. Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

If you don't mind some shocks, Google "The Pretrib Rapture Jackpot."

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks. I tried that, and didn't get much, although one of the first items to come up is no longer available, which is unusual, because it was apparently a blog post from this month, September 2014.