Revelation: Our Options for Interpretation

(George Davidovich) #21

Harry, I am not sure you are responding to my comment or not but since it is related I will just say that your opinion on this topic does not include me, I read the Bible as objectively as anyone else without denominational preconceptions, even if they exist as you say.

Since Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, from time immemorial and does instruct John to send the book to all seven churches there is a historical perspective that applies to each historical stage of His church, starting with the Apostle John’s time right down to our own time. These are events which would “shortly begin to unfold” not on our clock but on God’s clock 2Pe: 3:8 (even the spirit of the antichrist was already at hand then) .

Must shortly come to pass ( dei genesthai en tachei ) is a relative term. Second aorist middle infinitive of ginomai with dei . The same adjunct ( en tachei ) is also found in other biblical writings Rev: 22:6, Luk:18:8, and Rom:16:20.

(George Davidovich) #22

The Apotelesmatic "principle" is nothing more and nothing less than a device invented by Francis Bacon (aka Shakespeare, aka secret Jesuit) to circumvent problems created by the lack of congruity between prophetic predictions and actual events - It has neither explicit nor implicit biblical basis.
Don’t you find it unusual, or at least totally inconsistent that while Ford supports everything he quotes from EGW as having multiple interpretations, he rejects everything she has to say about the IJ?

(George Tichy) #23

I wonder if there are any (at least) TWO SDA scholars/preachers that agree 100% on one and the same interpretation of the whole books of Daniel and (especially) Revelation. :thinking: :thinking:

(Hymers Wilson) #24

“All of our interpretations must allow Revelation immediately and directly to do all five of these things for Christians who do not live in Western Europe, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. In my view, customary versions of preterism, futurism and historicism all frequently fail in this regard. Too often they wrongly leave the impression that people in other regions cannot immediately apply the last book of the Bible to their own lives but must first filter what it means to them through what it has meant to many of us. This has always been a mistake. It is especially so in our time.”

Well said. I firmly believe that Adventist interpretations of prophecy have been Eurocentric, neglectful and, frankly, even demeaning of other people groups in our world. We have made understanding Revelation impossibly complex when in reality it contains a simple repetition of one theme using different visual aids. That simple theme is, whatever the devil and his agents throw at God or His people, God and His people emerge unscathed and as winners. To confine anti-Christ to Catholicism is an example of a narrow parochial view of the world, when anti-Christ may be found in every community or faith group anywhere in the world.

(George Davidovich) #25

All Reformers (at last all major Reformers) agreed on the interpretations of Daniel and ESPECIALLY on Revelation.


George D.,
I am certainly no authority on Ellen White or Des Ford so the following is but my rather uneducated opinion.

I believe, as I think Des does, in righteousness or justification by faith. To me, Paul makes it clear that ‘by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;’. This was the great truth brought forward by Luther and the Protestant Reformation. This is the good news or gospel.

The IJ, on the other hand, speaks of a judgment of believers at the end of this age based on our works. It is mentioned several times in the New Testament and so is Biblical.
Because Des does not believe our works are salvific how can he agree with the Adventist understanding of this coming judgment?
Where I believe Adventism has gone wrong (and what Des does not see) is that the issue in this judgment is not our salvation. I believe it is to determine when we will enter and who of us will be qualified for roles of authority in the coming kingdom (See, for example, 1Cor 3:11-15).

(George Tichy) #27

How do you know that George?

Have you studied them all in all their details, comparing all the nuances presented by “all major Reformers?” If so, please publish the results of your studies so that we can be convinced of it.

Have you seen any two SDA scholars supporting the same views on each detail in those two books, especially Revelation? If so, please introduce them to us so that we can check them out.

Happy New Year!
George (the real one)… :innocent:

(George Davidovich) #28

Mr. T
I am not aware of a single publication that compares the teaching on prophecy of ALL major reformers, but that there was common agreement between Reformers on prophecy, especially on Revelation, is common knowledge, Since you seem to require a special method of proof I would suggest you have the perfect theological background to seek that.

(George Tichy) #29

This is, for me, a new concept, actually a mind boggling one I must say.

  1. A judgment “to determine when will we enter?” What does that mean? Maybe it means that if after a long review of my life data the inspectors in Heaven conclude I deserve to be saved, and if at this very moment I am not sinning, I must “rest” (aka die), thus “entering” at that moment? They need to use a window of “sanctity,” because in a few moments I may sin again and mess up their investigation. Yes, this surely makes a lot of sense…
  2. “Roles of authority?” If I could suggest, I would pick being the editor of the Eternal Spectrum! :rofl: :innocent: (The Eternal Fulcrumites7 would not like that though… :roll_eyes:)

(George Tichy) #30

I am only saying that I never saw two people agreeing on all the interpretation details about Daniel & Revelation.

Pathetic statement. But I will leave it at this.

(Steve Mga) #31

Beginning in the 1600’s Hymnody in the Western English Anglican church began
to write poetry and set music to it proclaiming that Christ was coming. Get ready.
Since then the Western Christian poets and musicians have been announcing
this event for 400 years.
William Miller, a Baptist, comes along and sets a date during the 2nd Great
Awakening which began between 1800 to 1830. In the 1830’s into the 1840’s
had a lot of “campmeetings”, revivals. Some began preaching Daniel, Revelation
and had charts with pictures on them.
Third Awakening was around 1890 to 1920 in America.
There are some who believe we are in the middle of another Awakening.
Seventh day Adventists MISSED the 3rd Awakening because of infighting and jealousy.
Will Seventh day Adventists MISS the 4th Awakening?

(George Tichy) #32

Steve, I always thought that the Adventists were “way too awaken” considering how much fantasy they created… :innocent:

(Steve Mga) #33

The SDA hierarchy is in a BATTLE over 2 Issues.

  1. WHO is eligible to receive God’s Love and become His adopted Sons and Daughters,
    and to fellowship with the community of Human believers.
  2. WHO is it OK with God to Preach the Good News [Gospel] and to Baptize those who
    respond. And to Disciple Long-Term those who have accepted the Good News.

The SDA Leadership has spent Millions of Dollars Fighting over these 2 issues recently.
And it has PREVENTED the Church to announce the Gospel in a rational, appealing way.
So we spend tons of money on “Evangelism”, but because it is not done in a rational,
appealing way, we are essentially ignored. People see the banners, and Yawn.


George T.,
I have been studying this pretty seriously for several years so I don’t know if I can encapsulate it for you, but I’ll try.

While reading the following, I ask that you temporarily suspend some of the suppositions you have been taught about God and the Bible.

God’s plan of salvation is being unfolded in stages over time. The Bible speaks of past ages and ages to come (e.g., Col 1:26; Gal 1:4; Eph 2:7). The next age will be the thousand year Sabbath millennium.

Here is an excerpt from something I wrote about the judgment:

Now, let’s explore the coming judgment of the saints. There seems to be much confusion about the purposes of our works or deeds. I was taught that our works are the evidence of our faith. As the book of James points out, there is truth in this statement. Among other purposes for our works are bringing glory to God by spreading of the gospel (Matt 5:16; 1Peter 2:12), edifying the body of Christ (the church), and helping other people (1Tim 6:18; Titus 3:8; Matt 25:31-46).

The Bible is clear that we will be judged and rewarded or punished for our works. This is stated in many verses (Matt 16:27; Rom 2:5-6; 14:10-12;1Cor 3:8; 2Cor 5:10; 11:15; Jude 15; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12).

The Bible is also clear that there will be varying punishments depending on each person’s works and what s/he had the opportunity to know. Jesus Himself said that punishment will be more tolerable for places like Sodom & Gomorrah, Tyre & Sidon and Nineveh than for the people of the cities (like Capernaum) who had the opportunity to know Christ during His incarnation (Matt 10:15; 11:21-24; 12:41; Luke 10:13-15; 12:47). With our more complete opportunity for understanding, I wonder how we will be judged.

One of the apparent contradictions in Paul’s writings is that in some letters he says that salvation can only be obtained through faith based solely on the mercy and grace of God and in others he stresses the importance of our works.

Paul says justification, righteousness and hence salvation are a gift or free gift, the result entirely of God’s grace, based on what Christ has done and we can claim through faith alone. Paul emphasizes this many times, especially in Romans. For example: we can claim ‘…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;’ (Rom 3:22), ‘a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law’ (3:28); ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace’ (3:23-24); , ‘…for you are not under law but under grace’ (6:14); ‘For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all’ (11:32); ‘…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace…’ (2Tim 1:9), ’ …if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved’ (Rom 10:9). That’s not to say confessing is only lip service and true belief is superficial. Of course we are to respond to this grace by presenting ourselves as living and holy sacrifices (Rom 12:1).

Yet Paul also writes that works are very important. He uses metaphors like running in a race to win the prize (does that mean that he is striving to somehow reach something beyond others?), getting fit by practicing (shadow) boxing and disciplining his body so that he will not be disqualified (1Cor 9:23-27). He says he presses on toward some sort of goal that he has not yet attained. He calls it ‘the upward call of God’ and says he hasn’t ‘laid hold of it yet’ (Phil 3:9-14).

Are we to understand that Paul, the champion of righteousness by faith, felt he was not yet saved? Is he trying to earn his salvation by works? No, but if he’s not referring to his salvation here, which he claims elsewhere is received purely through faith, what is he talking about? I believe he’s thinking beyond his own salvation. Paul wants to be more than merely a citizen of Christ’s coming kingdom. I think that this upward call he senses is Christ’s invitation to a position of authority. Paul admonishes believers to become spiritually mature because he realizes that progression on the path to godliness now will qualify us for such roles in the coming age(s). Peter says ‘… Therefore rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure’ (2Peter 1:10).

To the Calvinist the term ‘election’ means being part of the select group chosen by God for salvation. As I see it that is not quite right. Rather, it’s about the timing of entry into the kingdom and the elect won’t be the only ones just the first ones. (Paul says we believers in this age have ‘…the first fruits of the Spirit’ (Rom 8:23), James says that ‘we would be a kind of first fruits among his creatures’ (James 1:18), John records in Rev 14:4, ‘These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.’). Concerning Peter’s comment about one’s calling and election, do we not have an election to choose someone for a role in which to serve others in some capacity? Is that not why Christ came? If we have the mind of Christ it’s not about self, it’s about giving oneself up to benefit others. Peter also says to ensure your ‘calling’ but isn’t a calling a position in a certain profession?

Some will be part of the priesthood (Is 66:21; Rev 5:10; 20:6). What an honour that will be. One commentator says that Ezekiel 44:17-19 speaks of these future priests who will minister both on earth (to man in the outer court with woollen garments) and in heaven (to God in the inner court with linen garments) much as Christ, in His glorified state with a spiritual body moved between heaven and earth when he visited the disciples after His resurrection.

2Tim 2:12, Dan 7:22 and Rev 20:4&6 say that some will reign with Christ in the next age. Perhaps you are to become an administrator like Daniel (Dan 6:2) or a ruler over five or ten cities (Luke 19:15-19; Deut 1:13-15). It’s obvious that knowing the laws of the kingdom will be mandatory for such positions. Each new king of Israel was obligated to write out a copy of the laws upon taking office in order to learn ‘all the words of this law and these statutes’ (Deut 17:18, 19).

Since no type of sin will be allowed in the kingdom and there will be people judged to be at various degrees of holiness entering the next age, I believe God will bestow the honour of becoming judges to some of His saints – not to administer punishment as man does in order to separate the guilty from society and act as a deterrent but to apply the law in the compassion of Christ to restore and assist those whom the judgment at the end of this age will show are still on the journey to glorification. Jesus said to his disciples,’…when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’ (Matt 19:28). Paul said to the Corinthians, ‘…do you not know that the saints will judge the world? Do you not know that we will judge angels?’ (1Cor 6:2-3). Surely we have here the antitype of Moses’ 70 elders (Ex 18:12-27; Deut 1:16-17).

For any of these callings two qualifications will be mandatory: to know the law (in both its physical and spiritual applications) and to be a co-heir with Christ (i.e. live fully according to the Christlike nature now growing within) in order to apply the law with ‘the mind of Christ’ (Phil 2:5). Would you feel comfortable standing before a judge who did not know the law and had no compassion?

Christ is our High Priest, Lord and Judge. He is the Head but we are the body and as such I believe some of us will be given the honour to assist Him in these roles in the next age.

All believers will undergo the (investigative) judgment at the end of this age, but only those who have overcome their carnal nature will be ‘blessed and holy’ and have a ‘part in the first resurrection’ (Rev 20:4 & 6). The rest of the believers, not yet ready at judgment day, will be glorified later.

I hope now you can see a very important reason for sanctification: it’s our training to be true servant/leaders (thus following the example of Jesus) to help others on their spiritual journey in the coming age.

The essential point to grasp is that the coming judgment of believers based on the lawfulness of our works is important but only with respect to the timing of our entry and future roles in the coming kingdom of God.

In this judgment the believer’s salvation is not the issue and is not at stake.

We need not live our lives worried that we are not ‘good enough’ to be saved. We can be assured of salvation. The joy and peace Christ promised can be ours now. He has won the victory. May we revel in our roles as ambassadors for Christ (2Cor 5:17-21), spreading the gospel of His love, mercy and grace as we submit to the Spirit and grow to be more like Him in this age and prepare for the age to come.

(George Davidovich) #35

It seems to me you were saying more than that

Why are you classifying my response as "pathetic"? All I said was you don’t need the level of detail you requested to know that all Reformers were in agreement about prophetic code.


There’s always one question that comes up more than any other in the classes I teach. When discussing a particular passage of scripture, the question is: what does this mean? My answer is always the same: it means what the author means and it doesn’t mean anything else. This basic approach to understanding the bible is especially helpful when discussing books like Daniel and Revelation. It helps to filter out interpretations and applications that have no biblical basis. For example, if one of my students takes the position that the seven churches in Revelation represent seven periods of time, I ask them to please demonstrate that is what John meant when he wrote the book. In over 30 years of teaching no student has presented a persuasive, biblical argument for that position. But, I tell them not to be discouraged because no colleague of mine is able to do it either.
In the above article when David lays out the five requirements for interpreting Revelation – “All of our interpretation of Revelation must allow it to” – it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t include this one: it means what John means and nothing else – RT

(Steve Mga) #37

Regarding Paul.
Paul at least once viewed himself as “chief of sinners”.
Paul has provided us with lists.
Galatians 5:19-21 he says are the Desires of our sinful nature which show up in these
behaviors – sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility,
quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissention, division, envy,
drunkenness, wild parties, and Other Sins.
Galatians 5:22,23. But the Spirit changes us. Removes 19-21 behaviors from us.
And give us these behaviors. love [affection for others], joy[exuberance about life], peace [serenity], patience [a willingness to stick with things], kindness [a sense of compassion in the heart], goodness [a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and others], faithfulness [involved in loyal commitments], gentleness [no need to force my way in life], self-control [able to marshal and direct my energies wisely].
Colossians 3:12. "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowanced for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Above all, clothes yourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Let peace rule in your hearts, for you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:23. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way. May your whole spirit, and soul, and body keep you blameless. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

The Spirit speaks to our spirit. Our spirit speaks to our SOUL. Our SOUL tells the body part what to do.
THIS is why Paul talks about keeping his “body parts in subjection”, because he wants the Holy Spirit to tell his “spirit” what to tell his “soul” who directs his “body parts”. That is what he is saying.
He wants his “body parts” to be under subjection, under the control of his “spirit” and the Holy Spirit.
The “High Calling” is having our lives controlled by the Spirit and to Imitate God.
At another place Paul says, what I want to do I don’t do, What I do not want to do, that’s what I
end up doing. and concludes with – Oh, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death. [His “soul” keeps telling his “body parts” to do things or react in ways his “spirit” doesn’t want to do.]

(George Davidovich) #38

Interesting read I myself always felt that there will be roles and levels of responsibility in Heaven or New Earth, but in reading James 2 it seems clear to me that not all 'believers will be saved. There is a differrence between knowledge and faith. Sincere works confirm the existence of faith and lack of works divide pretended faith from just knowledge-of - that is what James 2:19 is referring to.

(Kim Green) #39

I would say, yes. I don’t seen much “awakening” going on and Adventism has created it’s own “bubble” in which to live.

(Kim Green) #40

Unfortunately…“fantasy” does not meet “reality”. :grinning: