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View Full Version : Revelation and Symbolism



Allison
04-20-2008, 08:02 AM
I'm really curious about what people think about some
of these theories.

About 10-12 years ago I read a book that has some very interesting
information.

First it spoke about the passage that talked about the Euphrates
drying up and a million men will march across it.

At the time I read it, the 'Ataturk Dam' had been fairly recently
finished. Which with the flip of a switch would dry up the Euphrates (sp)

Mark of the beast- Microchip.like the ones we put in our animals.
Everyday we see horrible things on T.V. happening to children.
I think "WOW" that could be a really sneaky way to convince
a parent that their newborn should get it. They could always
be located.

China and it's 1 child per household rule. In almost all other cultures
families want boys. So right now, what is the population of men
in China?
Could this be the millions of men that march across the Euprates?
The passage about the beast with 10 horns....it describes animals
(which we know are nations) but could it be money....
America's symbol is an eagle...russia is the bear...china is the
dragon...etc..
And the talk of the prophets that come back and speak the
work of God and are killed...It says that the whole world will
see them dragged thru the streets and will see them rise
after 3 days. How could it be possible for the WHOLE world
to see this? The internet and television.

Sorry this is so long!:lol:

I'm interested in what people think of these.

Richard Amiel McGough
04-20-2008, 10:08 AM
I'm really curious about what people think about some
of these theories.

About 10-12 years ago I read a book that has some very interesting
information.

First it spoke about the passage that talked about the Euphrates
drying up and a million men will march across it.

At the time I read it, the 'Ataturk Dam' had been fairly recently
finished. Which with the flip of a switch would dry up the Euphrates (sp)

Mark of the beast- Microchip.like the ones we put in our animals.
Everyday we see horrible things on T.V. happening to children.
I think "WOW" that could be a really sneaky way to convince
a parent that their newborn should get it. They could always
be located.

China and it's 1 child per household rule. In almost all other cultures
families want boys. So right now, what is the population of men
in China?
Could this be the millions of men that march across the Euprates?
The passage about the beast with 10 horns....it describes animals
(which we know are nations) but could it be money....
America's symbol is an eagle...russia is the bear...china is the
dragon...etc..
And the talk of the prophets that come back and speak the
work of God and are killed...It says that the whole world will
see them dragged thru the streets and will see them rise
after 3 days. How could it be possible for the WHOLE world
to see this? The internet and television.

Sorry this is so long!:lol:

I'm interested in what people think of these.
Hey there Allison,

Great questions! And your post was not too long at all. We tend to be very "verbose" around here. On other sites, folks often talk back and forth with one-liners and get now where. I like to think we are different.

I am glad you brought up those questions. They are the standard "pop-futurist" claims that sound very much like the writings of Hal Lindsey, which have influenced two generations of "end-time" prognosticators. As far as I can tell, it is almost entirely speculative, and almost certainly wrong.

To begin, Revelation is written in symbolic form. When symbols are used, we are supposed to draw the parallels not between the incidentals but between the essentials. For example, Christ is symbolized by a lamb with seven eyes. The proper interepretation is that Christ is like the passover lamb who was killed for our sins, and that He is omniscient, that is, He sees (eyes) everything (seven). I am pretty confident that everyone would agree it to be a gross error to assume that Christ has hooves and horns just like a "literal" lamb.


Now the interepetation gets a little confusing for some folks because Revelation mixes things that are obviously symbolic with things that, if taken out of context, could be interpreted in a "literal" fashion. And this brings us to the primary hermeneutical error popularized by modern futurists like Tim LaHaye. Here is the principle as explained on his site:
"When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at its primary literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise."
The first problem with this rule is that it is a license to take things out of context. The visionary part of Revelation runs from Rev 4 all the way to the end. Thus, the entire context of all the visions is "symbolic." But Lahaye ignores this and interprets WITHIN THE VISION whatever he wants to be "literal" if it is not stated to be part of a "symbolic vision." But the whole context is one of symbolism, so we see he jsut made up a rule to allow him to interpret the Bible any way he wants to.

And that's the real problem with this "rule" - one man's "common sense" is another man's "nonsense." And the reality of Scripture is such that everyone - futurist, preterists, historicists, and idealists - are forced to interpret somet things "literally" and some things "figuratively." The claims of the futurist camp represented by Lahaye, Ice, Lindsey, et al, that they are the only ones with a "consistently literal" interpretation are absurd in the extreme and demonstrably false.


So to understand things like the Euphrates being dried up, one must understand the book of Revelation as a whole. Is there any reason to believe that the symbolic visions it contains refer to events still future? Not according to the opening passage:
Revelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass [in the first century]; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 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 [in the first century].

Does LaHaye apply his "consistently literal" rule to this, the first and most important passage of the text that gives the CONTEXT for the entire vision? Let's see. LaHaye says:
When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at its primary literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.
Does the plain sense of "for the time is at hand" make "common sense"?

Yes.

What is the "primary literal meaning" of "for the time is at hand"?

It means something that was about to happen in a short span of time. Specifically in the case of Revelation, it was speaking to a first century audience about things that were going to happen soon in their lifetime.

Is there anything in the immediate context that suggests otherwise?

No. On the contrary, everything in the corresponding texts make it perfectly clear that the first century was in view.

As for the other ideas like the microchip idea for the mark of the beast, that is pure speculation. There is nothing in the text to suggest it is "literal" - on the contrary, the text parallels the "mark of the beast" with the "seal of God" written on the foreheads of believers, which is almost certainly a symbol of those sealed with the Holy Spirit. It is therefore inconsistent to think that the mark is literal while the seal is spiritual.

And finally, reference to the "WHOLE" world almost certainly a reference to the whole land of Israel. There are many examples of this use of language in the Bible. There is nothing to indicate that the entire planet was in view.

Thanks for introducing these important issues Allison. I look forward to discussing them with you more.

God bless you as you study His most excellent Word,

Richard