Introduction to Bible Prophecy


Daniel and the Revelation are a story of a love stronger than death, reaching over the centuries. Within are described Christ and His incomprehensible love for His bride, the church. Those who would turn faithfulness into fornication and hope into hopelessness are also unmasked. Revelationʼs central theme is Christ, the Son of God, who has forever united Himself with humanity. These great books describe events leading to the vindication of God, showing that He is worthy of our love and worship throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, and that Godʼs government is the only way to universal happiness. It is our hope that through the pages of this website God may touch your heart and that you will find Him in whom everlasting joy is to be found.


WHY STUDY PROPHECY?

(a) Prophecy properly understood deepens our love for Christ (Rev 1:1). (b) Christ promises a blessing to all who study and share Revelation (Rev 1:3). Because the Revelation is full of things mentioned elsewhere in the Bible one must study the whole Bible, which brings a blessing.

(c) Without faith we cannot be saved. “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17; Isa 46:9- 10. Recognizing fulfilled prophecy strength- ens oneʼs faith that Godʼs word is truth and those who are to stand through the last days will need strong faith.

(d) Prophecy forewarns us of Satanʼs plans, enabling us to avoid them. (e) Fulfilled prophecy is a tool given to the church to convict the faithless.


YOU CAN UNDERSTAND

Jesus showed that we can understand Daniel by saying, “whoso readeth [Daniel], let him understand.” Matt 24:15. Revelation can be understood because “revelation” comes from the Greek, ʻapokal- upsisʼ which means reveal or unveil. Rev 1:3 says, “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.” We must be able to understand Revelation in order to keep what is written therein. None should become discouraged in the study of Daniel or Revelation because of their apparently mystical symbols. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” James 1:5. The Bible must be allowed to interpret itself, one text explaining another (Isa 28:10; 1Cor 2:13; Ps 119:30). As prophecy is history written before it happens, in history we find prophecy fulfilled.


AN ADVENTURE

God has promised a special blessing to all those who study the Revelation. The Rev- elation is like a puzzle with many locked doors and we need to find the keys that unlock them. In His wonderful wisdom God has hidden the keys throughout the rest of the Bible so in order to find them we need to explore the whole Bible. Thus those who gain a good understanding of the Revela- tion will also have gained a good under- standing ot the whole Bible. Are you ready for the blessing...


METHODS OF INTERPRETATION

There are three methods of Interpretation:

  1. PRETERISM - Most of Revelation already fulfilled in the past (PRE - terism).

  2. FUTURISM - Most of Revelation still to be fulfilled in the future (FUTURE- ism).

  3. HISTORICISM - Revelation seen as describing the history of the church throughout the Christian era. (HISTORIC - ism).

Preterism and Futurism teach that most of Revelationʼs prophecies and time periods have no direct relevance to the Church throughout most of the Christian era.

The Preterism & Futurism require a change in the unchangeable God (Mal 3:6). God Who in the Old Testament prophesied the most significant events that would affect His people THROUGHOUT their history.

Preterism and Futurism present Revelation as silent regarding events of immense significance to Godʼs church such as the rise and progress of the Papacy, the Reformation, etc. Can we believe that these things were not of sufficient significance in Godʼs eyes to describe in prophecy?

1PRETERISMsurprise that Preterism & Futurism were invented by Roman Catholic Jesuit scholars to hide the Papacy from detection. Their views were part of the counter-Reformation and though rejected in their day by virtually all Protestants their views have been accepted today: “The Futuristic School, founded by the Jesuit Ribera in 1591, looks for Antichrist, Babylon, and a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, at the end of the Christian Dispensation.” G.S. Hitchcock, (Roman Catholic), The Beast and the Little Horn, p7.


“Ribera thrust the Antichrist into the future, confined to 3 1/2 literal years; Alcazar pushed Antichrist back into the early centu- ries - Both of them outside the Middle Ages and the Reformation period, designated by all Protestants for Antichristʼs reign of 1260 literal years.”

L. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol II, p508.

“It is a matter of deep regret that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are thus really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist. It has been well said that ʻFuturism tends to obliterate the brand put by the Holy Spirit upon Popery.ʼ More especially is this to be deplored at a time when the Papal Antichrist seems to be making an expiring effort to regain his former hold on menʼs minds.” Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, p17.


Historicism

1. Historicism interprets Revelationʼs prophecies as useful to the Church, to which Revelation was written. Revelation is seen to have relevance to the Church THROUGHOUT the whole Christian Era.

2. Historicism has Revelation consistent with Godʼs way in the past, i.e. outlining the most significant events His people would experience THROUGHOUT their history.

3. Historically fulfilled prophecies increase faith in Godʼs Word and actually reveal what is yet to come. Ecc 1:9 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”


Revelation supports Historicism:

Rev 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass.”

By prophesying events THROUGHOUT Christian history some part of the Revela- tion has ALWAYS been “SHORTLY to come to pass.”

God describes Himself as present through- out history. Rev 1:4 “... from him who IS and who WAS and who is TO COME ...” Rev 1:8 “who IS and who WAS and who is TO COME, the Almighty.”

Rev 1:19 “Write the things which you HAVE SEEN and the things which ARE and the things which WILL TAKE PLACE after this.” The prophecies of Revelation cover the PAST, the PRESENT, and the FUTURE. This is the Historicist position.


ARGUMENTS ANSWERED

(1) Do the many conflicting interpretations offered by historicists invalidate the method? Answer - Futurists and Preterists are equally chaotic. Misuse of a method does not invalidate a method.

(2) Doesnʼt the Historicist method makes much of Revelation of no relevance to us today? Answer - Preterism makes Revelation of no relevance to most Christians throughout history! Futurism makes Revelation of no relevance to most Christians throughout history! Historicism makes Revelation relevant to Christians in ALL ages and most especially to THE end-time because the fulfilled prophecies prefigures events that are occurring today. (Ecc 1:9).

(3) Does the Historicist interpretation require too much extra-Biblical knowledge? Answer - All prophecy is eventually fulfilled and then becomes historical fact.

As prophecy is history written before it happens a knowledge of history is essential. Bible Prophecy generally concerns very significant historical events, the fulfillment of which is readily discovered in commonly available history books.

(5) There is no evidence in Revelation that the author anticipated long ages of history. Answer - The Author of Revelation was Jesus, not John, and Jesus certainly knew that long ages would pass. The time periods in the Revelation are symbolic of longer ages. See on Time Periods.


THE ORIGIN OF FUTURISM

Futurism was invented to deflect the application of prophecy to the Roman Papacy.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia admits: “To the ʻreformersʼ particularly the Apocalypse was an inexhaustable quarry where to dig for invectives that they might hurl them against the Roman hierarchy. The seven hills of Rome, the scarlet robes of the cardinals, and the unfortunate abuses of the papal court court made the application easy and tempting.” C. van den Biesen, “Apocalypse” The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, p598.


“...the counter Reformation did not merely condemn the Reformation in general; it attacked the prophetic positions on which ALL PROTESTANTS WERE AGREED... Rome had felt the cumulative force of these prophecies. She must somehow offset them. There was no way but to deny their applicability to the Papacy, as their general existence in the Scripture could not be denied. The Catholic citadel must be defended on prophetic grounds. The persistent Protestant application to the Papacy of Antichrist, under the various symbols, must be countered and turned if the Protestant prophetic fortress was to be overwhelmed. The incriminating finger of prophecy - pointed by Daniel, Paul, and John - must be diverted. The symbols must be pushed out of the entire field of medieval and contemporary history.

Romeʼs answer to the Protestant Reformation was twofold though actually conflicting and contradictory. Through the Jesuits Ribera, of Salamanca, Spain, and Bellarmine, of Rome, the Papacy put forth her Futurist interpretation. These were designed to meet and overwhelm the Historical interpretation of the Protestants. Though mutually exclusive, either Jesuit alternative suited the great objective equally well, as both thrust aside the application

of the prophecies from the existing Church of Rome. The one accomplished it by making prophecy stop altogether short of papal Romeʼs career. The other achieved it by making it overleap the immense era of papal dominance crowding Antichrist into a small fragment of time in the still distant future, just before the great consummation. It is consequently often called the GAP THEORY.” L.E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 2, p486-487.


“Accordingly, toward the close of the century of the Reformation, two of her most learned doctors set themselves the task, each endeavouring by different means to accomplish the same end, namely, that of diverting menʼs minds from perceiving the prophecies of Antichrist in the Papal system. The Jesuit Alcasar devoted himself to bring into prominence the PRETERIST method of interpretation, which we have already briefly noticed, and thus endeavoured to show that the prophecies of Anti- christ were fulfilled before the Popes ever ruled at Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy. On the other hand the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of these prophecies to the Papal power by bringing out the FUTURIST system, which asserts that these prophecies refer properly not to the career of the Papacy, but to some future supernatural individual, who is yet to appear, and to continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the Founder of the Futurist system in modern times.” Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.


Roman Catholics and Protestants agree as to the origin of these interpretations. “The Futuristic School, founded by the Jesuit Ribera in 1591, looks for Antichrist, Babylon, and a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, at the end of the Christian Dispensation... The Praeterist School, founded by the jesuit Alcasar in 1614, explains the Revelation by the Fall of Jerusalem, or by the fall of Pagan Rome in 410A.D.” G.S. Hitchcock, (Roman Catholic), The Beast and the Little Horn, p7.


“Ribera thrust the Antichrist into the future, confined to 3 1/2 literal years; Alcazar pushed Antichrist back into the early centuries - Both of them outside the Middle Ages and the Reformation period, designated by all Protestants for Antichristʼs reign of 1260 literal years.”

L. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol II, p508.


“It is a matter of deep regret that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are thus really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist. It has been well said that ʻFuturism tends to obliterate the brand put by the Holy Spirit upon Popery.ʼ More especially is this to be deplored at a time when the Papal Antichrist seems to be making an expiring effort to regain his former hold on menʼs minds.” Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, p17.


“The FUTURIST view is that which teaches that the prophetic visions of Revelation from chapters iv. to xix., prefigure events still wholly future, and not to take place till just at the close of this dispensation. It supposes ʻan instant plunge of the Apocalyptic prophecy into the distant future of the consummation.ʼ This view gives the literal Israel a large place in the Apocalypse, and expects a solitary infidel Antichrist, who shall bitterly oppress the saints for three and a half years, near the date for the Second Advent, thus interpreting time as well as much else in the Apocalypse, literally. In its present form it may be said to have originated at the end of the sixteenth century with the Jesuit Ribera, who, moved like Alcazar to relieve the papacy from the terrible stigma cast upon it by the Protestant interpretation, tried to do so by referring these prophecies to the distant future, instead of, like Alcazar, to the distant past. It is held under a great variety of modifications, no two writers agreeing as to what the symbols do prefigure...The Futurist view denies progressive revelation.” Dr H. Grattan Guinness, Approaching End of the Age, p95 et seq.


“The founder of this system in modern times...appears to be the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580.” Henry Alford, The New Testament for English Readers, Vol. 2, part 2, p351 (bottom numbering).


“Indeed Francis of Ribera the Jesuit, thrust his whole prophecy almost into these straits, wisely indeed to save his Popeʼs head, but as touching the truth, exceedingly perversely.”

Thomas Brightman, (Puritan scholar), A Revelation of the Apocalypse, chap. 1, p8.


“Although Ribera launched the Futurist system of interpretation, it was popularized...by the astute Cardinal Bellarmine [1542-1621]...Bellarmineʼs assault on the Protestant interpretations of prophecy was centered upon the year-day principle, which since Joachim, had risen to general notice and wide acceptance among both Catholics and Protestants.” L.E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. II, p493-496


Riberaʼs and Bellarmineʼs beliefs, though rejected in their day by Protestants, have become the generally accepted beliefs of Fundamentalist Protestantism today! No longer do Roman Catholics have to counter the Protestant interpretation of prophecy because most Protestants have ceased protesting and have accepted the Roman Catholic interpretation!


The following FUTURIST errors are now common among so-called Protestant churches: 1. Apply most of Revelation to the future esp. chapters 4-22.

2. Interpret the prophetic periods literally. e.g. 1260 LITERAL DAYS. 3. Make Danielʼs Little Horn a single future individual. 4. Assert that Rome has not yet divided into the 10 kings / kingdoms. 5. Expect literal Babylon to be rebuilt. 6. Insert a gap of over 1900 years between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel chapter 9. 7. Apply the 70th week of Dan 9 to anti- christ and place it in the future. 8. Generally take things in Revelation as literal rather than symbolic.


TIME PERIODS IN THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL AND THE REVELATION

Many modern teachers unknowingly or knowingly follow the Roman Catholic Jesuits Ribera and Bellarmine in claiming that the time periods in Daniel and Revelation are to be taken literally and apply to the future. However many scholars, Jewish and Christian, from before Christ to the modern day, have understood the time periods to be symbolic of longer periods of time, most of which have been fulfilled in the past. Several clues show which prophetic periods are symbolic of longer periods of literal time:


(1) Symbolic CONTEXT

Most time prophecies in Daniel and the Revelation are given in symbolic contexts. This suggests that the associated time periods are also symbolic.


(2) Symbolic time UNITS

“EVENING MORNINGS” [Hebrew ereb boqer] of Dan 8:14 (margin) and 8:26 are an unusual way of expressing days. The usual Hebrew word for “days” is yowm.

3 1/2 “TIMES” (Dan 7) are an unusual way of expressing years. The “WEEKS” in the 70 weeks are an unusual unit to use in expressing a period of this length. The use of such unusual time units is intended to indicate that these periods are not literal time but symbolic time.


(3) Symbolic time PERIODS

70 weeks, 1260 days, 1290 days, 1335 days, 2300 days are unusual ways of expressing periods of this length. A Hebrew would normally say 6 years and four months, not 2300 days.

Literal time is expressed as a number of years, months and days. e.g. in Elijahʼs day, “heaven was shut up three years and six months.” (Luke 4:25).

“...it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” (James 5:17). “David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months..” (2Sam 2:11). Jehoachin “...reigned three months and ten days.“ (2Chron 36:9). The use of unusual time quantities (70 weeks, 1260 days, 3 1/2 “times”, 1290 days, 1335 days, 2300 days) in prophecy indicates that these periods are not usual time periods but symbolic time periods.


(4) Small periods in big contexts

Daniel & Revelation concern BIG subjects, such as the rise, reign and fall of historyʼs great kingdoms, and yet relatively SMALL periods (3 1/2 days, 10 days, 1260 days, 1290 days, 1335 days, 2300 days). Other prophecies, such as Israelʼs captivities

in Egypt & Babylon, concern SMALLER subjects (the experiences of Israel) but ap- pear to have BIGGER periods (400 years, 70 years). The solution to this paradox is that the small periods of Daniel & Revela- tion are actually symbolic of much larger periods of time.


(5) The appropriateness of scale

Only if taken symbolically can the prophetic periods accommodate the subjects under discussion. e.g. the 2300 days of Daniel 8 span Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome and reach to the “time of the end” (v 17). Only

if taken symbolically can 2300 “days” ac- comodate the period of these kingdoms. The “one day” in Rev 18:8 in which a “famine” will occur is evidently symbolic of a period long enough to have a famine.


(6) The 70 weeks

The first 69 of the 70 “weeks” of Daniel 9:25 reached from the commandment to restore Jerusalem, which went forth over 450 years before Christ, to Christ. The 69 “weeks” or 483 days, therefore symbolize a period of over 483 years.

Note: The period was “70 shabua (“weeks)” not “sevens” or “sevens of years,” as found in some translations. Shabua always means a period of seven days - a week. Christ declared, “The time is fulfilled,” doubtless referring to the 69 weeks which were to reach to the appearing of the Messiah. Thus Christ Himself verified that the days of the 69 “weeks” symbolized years. Preterists and Futurists are both compelled to acknowledge the day-for-a-year rule in the 70 week prophecy.


Having discovered the clues which show which periods are symbolic, what are they symbolic of?

Hebrew poetry parallels days with years

“[Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as manʼs days.” Job 10:5 “I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.” Job 32:7 “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.” Psalms 77:5.

The Sabbatical year (Exo 23:10-11)

The week of 7 days provided the pattern for the ʻweekʼ of 7 years in which the land rested, uncultivated, every 7th year.

The Day = Year Principle

Num 14:34 “ ...each day for a year...” Eze 4:6 “I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

CONCLUSION

Symbolic days represent literal years.

APPLICATION

One must first determine if a period is literal or symbolic. Those that are symbolic can be identified as such by the principles previously outlined. Each symbolic period must then be converted to symbolic days, and each symbolic day represents a literal year.

e.g. 70 weeks = 490 days = 490 years. e.g. 3 1/2 times = 1260 days = 1260 years. e.g. 2300 days = 2300 days = 2300 years.

When understood this way the prophetic periods perfectly fit historical events.

Pragmatic test

When days are taken as symbols for years in symbolic periods these periods meet accurate fulfillments. e.g. 69 ʻweeksʼ were to reach from the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to the Messiah. When the first 69 ʻweeksʼ (483 days) are taken to symbolize 483 years they reach from the command- ment to the appearance of Messiah. This pragmatic test confirms the day = year principle.


Could the prophetic periods have another application as literal days? To reapply the symbolic periods in the future as literal days would require one to deny all the evidences which shows that the periods are symbolic, not literal.


Historic use of the year-day principle

In the third century B.C. the translators of the Septuagint, the Greek Bible, inserted the phrase “weeks of years” in the 70 week prophecy of Dan 9.

“Nahawendi, in the early ninth century, was evidently the first to interpret the 1290 and 2300 days as years. Then Saadia, Jeroham, Hakohen, Jepphet idn Ali, and Rashi of the tenth century applied it not only to the 70 weeks but also to one or more of the 1290-, 1335-, and 2300 - day periods. And Hanasi and Eliezer, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and Nahmanides in the thirteenth, similary extended it to the longer time periods of Daniel.”

L.E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, R&H 1950, Vol. I, p713.


In the centuries following, the day-year principle came to be widely accepted and was the method accepted by most of the Protestant Reformers.


THE LITERAL & LOCAL TYPIFIES THE GLOBAL & SPIRITUAL


Literal localized things that affected literal Israel represent spiritual global events that affect the world-wide church. Israel and the events affecting it was a miniature world in which God illustrated His way of dealing with sin.


What happened to Israel are types or figures illustrating world-wide events in the experience of the church:

  • 1Cor 10:6, 11 “Now these things were our examples,...Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

  • Rom 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”


The prophecies of Revelation are for the Seven Churches (Rev 1:4, 11) not the Jews. Jesus said to John, “What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Rev 1:11. The whole of the Revelation was for the church. In the New Testament the Church is now the “Israel of God (Gal 6:16 etc), but, while there is a change from national to spiritual Israel, there is no change in the language. The Old Testament terms are kept but they refer to the Church worldwide and her enemies, not to literal local Israel. (Matt 21:43; 1Pet 2:9; Rom 11:17-21; Gal 3:28- 29. See Dan 9).


END-TIME ISRAEL

The promises to ancient Israel were conditional. “IF ye will obey...then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people” (Exo 19:5; cf. Deut 7; 8; 27-30; Jer 18:6-10). National Israel failed to meet the conditions so she lost the kingdom and promises. Because the Jewish nation rejected her King, she lost the kingdom (Matt 21:43). “Spiritual Israel,” is now the inheritor of the promises. The failure of literal Israel does not mean that “the word of God hath taken none effect” (Rom 9:6). The prophecies will still be fulfilled by Israel (Spiritual Israel), i.e. the faithful Jews and the Gentiles who accept Christ. National Israel was cut off, like dead branches, from the true stock of Abraham, the true Israel was then the faithful Jewish remnant that accepted the Messiah (see on Rom 11:5). To these Jewish Christians were grafted in the Gentile Christians (Gal 3:16, 26-29). Paul says that “all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26), but makes it clear that “all Israel” does not mean all the literal Jews. He excludes the mere “children of the flesh” and includes only “the children of promise” (Rom 9:6-8). To these he joins the Gentiles that have the true spiritual circumcision (those who do not rely on their own works). (Rom 2:26, 28, 29; Col 2:11; Rom 11:25, 26; Phil 3:3).

Non Jews saved by the grace of Christ are no longer strangers and foreigners to “the commonwealth of Israel” and “the covenants of promise,” but are “fellowcitizens with the saintsʼ (Eph 2:8-22). New Testament Israel is therefore those who have accepted Christ.

God has made NO covenant with the Gentiles. Both the Old and New covenants were made with Israel (Rom 9:4; Jer 31:31; Eph 2:12). Anyone who is under the new covenant is therefore part of “Israel.”

In spiritual Israel there is neither Jew nor Greek, but in Christ all are one (Gal 3:28). Paul & Peter apply the promises originally given to Israel to non Jewish Christians (Exo 19:5, 6; Rom 4:13, 16; 1 Pet 2:5-10; Rev 1:6; 5:10; Acts 2:16-21; 13:47; 15:13- 17).


All who enter New Jerusalem, Israelʼs city, will do so as “Israel” because the city has no gates for Gentiles. Each gate has the name of one of Israelʼs tribes. (Rev 21:12).


RECAPITULATION

Recapitulation means describing the same period of time again. This principle of repetition, with different emphasis, is seen in Biblical poetry which consist not of rhyme or meter, but in balance of thought, a parallelism. e.g. Prov 12:28 “In the WAY of righteousness IS LIFE; and in the PATH- WAY [thereof there is NO DEATH.” One line gives a thought and the next repeats it with skilful variation.


These enlarging repetitons occur in verses and chapters. Genesis chapter 1 mentions the creation of Adam & Eve then Genesis chapter 2 mentions it again but with additional details. The gospels, parables, sermons, and prophecies also follow this recapitulation principle in which the same history is covered several times in a series of visions or descriptions. Evidence of this ʻrecapitulationʼ is seen in the book of Daniel.

Dan 2 mentions four kingdoms and the division of the fourth. Dan 7 mentions the four kingdoms and the division of the fourth - recapitualtion.

Dan 8:20-21 mentions Medo-Persia, Greece and the division of Greece into four. These things are mentioned again in Dan 11:1-4 - recapitulation.


Daniel & the Revelation are closely related. Both were given by men in captivity, both mentioned the same symbolic beasts, both mention the same periods etc. As Daniel and Revelation are closely related we would expect the Revelation to employ the same principle of recapitulation seen in Daniel. This is indeed the case. The Seven Churches, while applicable to literal churches in Johnʼs day also describe seven successive periods of Christian history from the apostolic church to the second coming (See Churches study). The Seven Seals parallel the events described in Matthew 24. (See Seals study). As Matt 24 spanned Christian history so also do the Seals. The Seven churches and Seven seals thus cover the same period - recapitulation.

Rev 11 mentions the 1260 ʻdays.ʼ (Rev 11:2). This period is also described in Rev 12 (Rev 12:6, 14) - recapitulation. In the Revelation we will therefore encounter a series of units (Churches, Seals, Trumpets etc) which will reveal recapitulation.

Even in nature the smaller illustrates the larger (electrons orbiting a nucleus to planets orbiting stars, “wheels within wheels.” Eze 1:16). In Scripture earlier prophecies are repeated and enlarged in the latter. In order to know the future look to the past. Historically fulfilled prophecies of past events illustrate end-time events. The same issues repeat (Ecc 1:9).


RECAPITULATION IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION

The Churches, Seals, Trumpets and Plagues DO NOT follow sequentially but run CONCURRENTLY. They cover the same or similar periods of history but stress different aspects (recapitulation). Each series of events culminate at the Second Coming. The 7th Church, the 6-7th Seal, the 7th Trumpet and the 7th Plague all reach to the Second Coming of Christ.


6TH SEAL (Rev 6:13-14) “...heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every MOUNTAINS and ISLAND were MOVED out of their places.”


7TH TRUMPET (Rev 11:19) “...and there were LIGHTNINGS, and VOICES, and THUNDERINGS, and an EARTHQUAKE and great HAIL.


7TH PLAGUE (Rev 16:18-20) “ And there were VOICES, and THUNDERS, and LIGHTNINGS; and there was a great EARTHQUAKE, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great...And every ISLAND fled away, and the MOUNTAINS were not found. And

there fell upon men a great HAIL out of heaven,”


REVELATION IS FULL OF SYMBOLS

Symbols are used for a variety of reasons:

1. Preserve the book. If the enemies of truth had been described in plain language they may have destroyed the Bible.

2. To preserve those who share the truth. Had it been in plain language the enemies of truth would have tried to silence Godʼs messengers.

3. The symbols make it memorable.

4. The symbols regulate the flow of truth. Figuring it out takes time!

5. Using symbols is an effective means of teaching.

6. The symbols awaken inquiry.


RULES OF INTERPRETATION

I. Every word must have its proper bearing. (Matt 5:18).

II. All scripture is necessary, and may be understood. (2Tim 3:15-17).

III. Nothing revealed in the scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, nothing wavering. (Deut 29:29; Matt 21:22; 10:26,27; Phil 3:15; John 14:13-14; 15:7; James 1:5,6; 1John 5:14-15).

IV. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know. If you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error. (Isa 28:9-13; 35:8; Prov 19:27; Luke 24:27,44-45; Rom 16:26; 2Pet 1:19- 20).

V. Scripture must be its own expositor. (Ps 19:7-11; Ps 119:97-105; 1Cor 2:12-16). VI. God has revealed things to come by visions, in symbols and parables. The same things are often revealed again and again, by different visions, symbols, etc. If you wish to understand them, you must combine them all in one. (Hos 12:10; Hab 2:2; Acts 2:17; 10:9-16; 1Cor 10:6; Heb 9:9,24; Ps 78:2; Matt 13:13,34; Gen 41:1-32; Dan 2, 7, 8).

VII. Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate subjects, and must be explained in the same way as symbols. (Mark 4:13).

VIII. Symbols sometimes have two or more meanings. eg. a day may be an indefinite period or a definite period. The correct interpretation in each case will harmonize with the Bible and make good sense. (Ecc 7:14; Eze 4:6).

IX. If something makes good sense as it stands then it must be understood literally, if not, symbolically. (Rev 12:1-2; 17:3-7).

X. To learn the true meaning of a symbol, trace the symbol through the Bible, and where you find it explained, put that meaning on your symbol. If it makes good sense you need look no further, if not, look again.

XI. If you find every word of the prophecy (after the symbols are understood) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event. But if one word lacks a fulfilment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development. For God takes care that history and prophecy agree, so that the true believing children of God may never be ashamed. (1Pet 2:6; Rev 17:17; Acts 3:18).

XII. The most important rule of all is, that you must have faith and be willing to give up anything to follow Godʼs Word (John 7:17). If anything should hinder us believing any part of Godʼs word, it would show our faith to be vain. We must also believe that God takes care of the translation of His word so that all who sincerely trust in Him may put implicit confidence in his word, though they may not understand Hebrew or Greek.


HOW TO UNDERSTAND PROPHECY

The Bible teaches one method of interpretation - Line upon line, precept upon precept (Isa 28:10). We must compare one passage with another (1Cor 2:13) allowing one text to explain the meaning of another.

(1) This method is the only way to avoid private interpretation (2Pet 1:20). (2) It does not require special training or knowledge making it something that anyone with a Bible can do.

(3) It saves people from dependence on men (scholars). (4) It leads to a comprehensive reading of the Bible which is a blessing.

(5) It does not rely on external definitions of words but allows the Bible to define its own meanings.

(6) Once the symbols etc. are decoded one must then look to history books to see if a prophecy has been fulfilled. As Godʼs word deals with broad and significant subjects fulfilled prophecy is easily discovered in common history books.


THE CONNECTION BETWEEN DANIEL AND THE REVELATION

Daniel and Revelation are closely connected. Both were written under similar circumstances by elderly men who were both living under foreign domination. Much of Revelation is drawn from Daniel and one must understand Daniel in order to correctly understand the Revelation.


THE PRINCIPLE OF THE COUNTERFEIT

There are many counterfeits in Daniel and the Revelation. There is a genuine and a counterfeit judgment, a genuine and a counterfeit church, Seal, etc. Once identified a counterfeit can help reveal and confirm aspects about the true. See chart following.


THE STRUCTURE OF THE REVELATION

The sanctuary figures prominently in the book of Daniel and an understanding of the sanctuary and its services is neccessary to understand things such as the “cleansing of the sanctuary” (Dan 8:14). Revelation is structured around the sanctuary and even the sanctuary services. By understanding the sanctuary and itʼs services one can better understand the Revelation and the gospel itself! See the following chart.


ORGANIZATION

The mirror-like arrangement of the book of Revelation gives us a time frame for each of the visions. Those parts in the first section, except the 7th church, 7th seal & 7th trumpet, have been fulfilled in the past. Those in the second section are still to be fulfilled in the future.

The first section ends when Christ ceases His ministry in heaven. The second section begins when Christʼs ministry has ended. The 7th church, 7th seal, and 7th trumpet extend beyond the close of Christʼs ministry, reaching up to His return.

The pattern does not follow the chapter breaks. The chapter breaks were not inspired. They were added centuries after the Bible was written. See chart page 13.