Revelation: Unlocking The Future

 

A good friend of mine and I have been discussing the content and interpretation of the book of Revelation, and how prophecy in the Old Testament either foretold or pointed towards what is written in the last book of the Bible.  In fact, of the 404 verses that are contained in the book of  Revelation,  278 are drawn from Old Testament passages.1

We first got into  this discussion several weeks ago when she told me that the Christian church where her daughter attends doesn’t include any study of the book of Revelation.  Therefore, her daughter does not think it is important to read or study it.

I think that is VERY disappointing to hear!  In fact, I had attended a women’s Bible study group at that church several years ago, not even knowing that the pastor of the church refuses to share the valuable information in Revelation!  What a shame for him to allow his congregation to miss out on the book that we are told will bless us when we read, study, and heed it’s contents!

There are several books on the market where writers share their thoughts and interpretation of Revelation.  However, one must be careful that the authors aren’t either “adding to” or “subtracting from” the Scripture.  There is a warning about both errors at the end of the last book of the Bible.

Rev 22:18

For [fn] I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add [fn] to him the plagues that are written in this book;

Rev 22:19

and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away [fn] his part from the Book [fn] of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 

Serious consequences! This is why Bible scholars must utilize the important basics of Bible study and interpretation;  including proper exegesis, Scripture interprets Scripture, hermeneutics, and use of a Bible Concordance to grasp the original meaning of words in the Bible – both Hebrew and Greek.

At the beginning of the book,  we are given a promise in Revelation 1:3!

“Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it.” – Rev. 1:3

 

My question.  If a pastor of a church does not share the book of Revelation with his congregation, then how can his flock “heed the things which are written in it”?

 

So, at the beginning of Revelation, we are encouraged to hear and heed the words of the prophecy; and we will be blessed by it.  At the end, we are given a warning not to add nor subtract from the writings of the book.  Therefore, we must be diligent and discerning when searching out biblical scholars who take the task seriously enough to help us understand what is written therein.  Can be a scary endeavor, but I think that NOT reading and studying the book of Revelation precludes us from the blessings that we would receive!

 

One of the best books that I have ever read is called, “The Book of Revelation:  Unlocking the Future,” written by two trusted biblical scholars – Ed Hindson and Mal Couch.

 

In the introduction, they discuss that the key to interpreting the Apocalypse (another word for Revelation) is discerning what is literal and what is symbolic.  Even then we must remember that the symbols themselves depict real people, things, situations, and events.  For example, the “seven lampstands” (1:20) symbolize real churches that actually existed when the book was written.  The “male child” (12:5) is Jesus Christ.  The sounding of the “seven trumpets” (8:2-11:15) results in the actual devastation of the earth.

 

They write:

 

“Unfortunately, much of what has been written about the Revelation (a.k.a. “book of the unveiling) has been unfounded speculation or what Graham Scroggie calls “an ill-digested rehash of someone else’s views.”  In commenting on the controversy surrounding the interpretation of the Revelation, he says, “Much of this could have been avoided if more regard had been shown for sound principles of interpretation, and if controversialists had been more anxious to reach the truth than to establish a theory.” 2

 

I like that!  It tells me that they do not intend to do that in this book.  They talk about proceeding with both guarded caution and keen insight.

 

The “book of unveiling” is meant to be understood!  Thus, the promise:  “Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it” (Rev. 1:3).

 

Each  time I have read Revelation, as well as  each time I have read this particular book about it, I have learned more and more!   I am blessed time and time again.

 

After almost 25 years of Bible reading and study, I know that I have never “arrived” at knowing all that God’s Word has in it to tell me!  Can’t say that about any other book on earth – that’s for sure!

 

There is so much that I would like to share about this book!  But it is probably best for readers to get a copy.    You can order a copy from Amazon

 

Amazon

The following links are to my former Talk Wisdom blog (which I no longer log into because of g00gle’s negative changes in policy) where I had written posts about Revelation.  The first one includes some information about Hindson/Couch’s book:

Talk Wisdom BlogSpot: Keys to Unlocking the Future

The following link is a search at that blog that contains several different posts about Revelation:

Talk Wisdom: Revelation Search

On page 5 of the Hindson/Couch book, the question is asked, “Why is Revelation so unique?”  The authors go on to reveal how the basic structure of the book is woven around a series of threes and sevens.  The overarching triplet reveals past, present, and future:

  1.  Past:  “the things which you have seen” (chap. 1)
  2.  Present:  “the things which are” (chaps. 2-3)
  3.  Future:  “the things which shall take place after these things” (chaps. 4-22).

 

The seven visions are as follows:

  1.  Seven churches (1:9 – 3:22)
  2.  Seven seals (4:1-8:1)
  3.  Seven trumpets (8:2-11:19)
  4.  Seven symbolic figures (12:1-14:20)
  5.  Seven bowls (15:1-16:21)
  6.  Seven judgments (17:1 – 19:10)
  7.  Seven triumphs (19:11- 22:5) 3

 

The authors go on to give examples of symbolic numbers which are found everywhere in the Apocalypse.  The most significant numbers are 3 and 7.  Three is the symbolic number of the Trinity.  Seven is the most significant because it represents the number of completion.  The authors go on to share Bible verses where these numbers are used and why they are significant.

This is not “numerology” which is used in satanic activities such as taro cards and witchcraft.  Such things are meant to counter the truth of God in the Bible and draw attention away from Christ and God’s Word.

 

The number 12 is the number of completeness.  For example, the twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostle of Christ, twenty-four elders (a double twelve), tree of life has twelve types of fruit (22:2).  New Jerusalem has twelve gates guarded by twelve angels (21:12), the city has twelve foundations (21:14).   Then, there are multiples of 12 (e.g. twelve tribes contains 12,000 people, making a total of 144,000 (12,000 times 12);  the wall measures 144 cubits (12 times 12).

 

These may be considered as minor points, but the frequent use of the number seven is part of the divine signature in the Apocalypse.  See this devotional:

 

Talk Wisdom BlogSpot: Turning Point devotional on the number seven

 

I have been searching in the book for any sections that mention the Rapture of the church.  [Note: For more about signs of  the Rapture of the church in video form, visit HERE.]

 

In chapter 7 – “From Tribulation to Jubilation” the authors discuss the Postmillennial, Amillennial, and Premillennial views of Christ’s return.

 

“Then, among the premillennialists, are those who believe the Church will be go through the Tribulation (postribulationalists) , those who believe the church will be raptured prior to the Tribulation (pretribulationists) and even a few who believe the Church will be raptured in the middle of the Tribulation (midtribulationists).   Despite these differences in regard to the Rapture of the Church, premillennialists generally believe in the future restoration of the state of Israel and the eventual conversion of the Jews to Christianity.” 4

 

This is another thing that I like about this book.  Whenever there are possibly some differences (e.g. regarding the Rapture of the Church), it is cited.

 

With all of the turmoil going on in the Middle East (especially recent news about the progress of terrorism and the goal of the Islamic Caliphate), it is wise to know what the Islamic Caliphate is all about.

 

However, it is  even more important to have the knowledge of the Word of God, what the Bible says about the end times,  the prophetic role of the state of Israel, and most notably, what we need to know about the return of Jesus Christ! 

 

This book is one of the best that I have ever found on the topic.  Dr. Hindson holds 3 doctorates on biblical history and prophecy.  What he and Mr. Couch share in their book is eye-opening, and will help you to  understand the book of Revelation much faster than just reading Revelation (although I recommend doing that too!) alone.

 

Endnotes:

1  “The Book of Revelation:  Unlocking the Future,” by Ed Hindson and Mal Couch.  AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Copyright 2002 by Tyndale Theological Seminary, p. 3.

2  Ibid. p. 3

3  Ibid.  p. 5

4  Ibid. p. 7

Hat tips to all links.

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