Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Can I Show You Something?

In the article I Told You So, I introduced you to one of my key hermeneutical principles in interpreting prophecy-- those things which play key roles in the unfolding of Redemptive History have been told to us by God. With this article, let me add a couple of corollaries:
1) if the prophesied event occurred within the time frame during which biblical writing was inspired, its fulfillment will be recorded in the scriptures dealing with that period; and
2) if a prophecy interprets the past (as it certainly does in the Revelation) it's fulfillment in the past will be recorded in the scriptures dealing with that period.
These may not be found in any standard, evangelical approach to hermeneutics, but then again, would I be writing this if those techniques actually produced coherent, internally consistent expositions, that successfully interpreted eschatological prophecy!

These principles are essential in properly interpreting the 7 seals (case in point), and the 8 Kings of chapter 17. If one is left scratching his or her head, trying to understand why there wasn't a word from God when a quarter of the earth's population was killed within a few short years (the Black Death), or why a frivolous book like Esther was ever recorded in scriptures, he or she should remember this hermeneutic. The Holy Spirit has inspired the recording of things for reasons, though sometimes they don't become apparent until generations later. Hopefully, they'll be apparent to you as we continue with the prophetic seals.

The Volcanic Cataclysm
The text does not mention a volcano, it just seems to describe one to me. From pyroclastic material falling from the skies (stars), to pyroclastic flows (rolling clouds), to ash choked skies (blackened sun, red moon), to moving mountains and islands, the description seems to fit. This, of course, is not your grandmother's volcano (like Krakatoa), this is something more akin to Toba or perhaps Yellowstone. People survive the cataclysm with the anticipation of the immediacy of God's wrath. If the Antichrist needs a story to cover the disappearance of the Church, this would fit the bill!

The Rapture
This is really more akin to an interlude between seals, than it is attributable to any particular seal. Nonetheless, two things occur during this "event": 1) 144,000 Jews get sealed on earth, and remain there, and 2) Gentile saints are translated out from the Tribulation to the throne room of God.

The Seventh Seal
Everything that occurs thereafter (Trumpets and Vials) in the 70th week of Daniel is the unfolding of this seal.

So there you have my take on the seven seals. I think it makes sense. When it comes to the Revelation, my firm belief is that it should make sense to any of the servants of God. Christ did not give us this vision to blur what must soon take place, but to make it known to us. Hopefully, along those lines, this series of posts is showing you something!

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting and cool take!! I think it fits with the description of the sixth seal. Were Yellowstone to blow it would certainly cripple the United States due to ash fallout, pyroclastic flows and most certainly trigger massive quakes along the already earthquake prone California coast. This type of cataclysmic event in conjunction with Rapture of the Gentile Church may also explain why the United States is not mentioned in prophecy concerning the end times. I think it would also fulfill one other aspect of God's dealing with mankind. Sin does not go unpunished. For all of the greatness and good that God has been able to pour upon the globe through this most blessed nation, the country still must face the music with regards to the openess shown to grevious sin. This is evident in the school shootings, outrageous crimes and breakdown of the family unit. The Bible tells that every time the nation of Israel turned it's heart away from the Most High certain destruction came upon them. Being the gentelman that He is, God has heeded this nations call to "butt out" and has lifted His Hand of protection and we see evil increasing in our country. In the word's of John "Even so, come Lord Jesus come"!!!!!

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  2. heanous,
    Folk often wonder where the USA is in end-times prophecy. We're the superpower on earth, the staunch ally of Israel, and it seems to many we've got to be in there somewhere! We're not, arguably, at least not clearly. So what happens to us? Cataclysm, the loss of a key demographic (the Body of Christ raptured), decay? Who knows for sure? A few things are certain, however, America is NOT Israel, the church has NOT replaced the Jews, and God doesn't have to go through us to accomplish anything he has a mind to do on earth!

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  3. I have question, but this is just out of my own curiosity and has nothing to do with what you said (which I might add is very interesting).

    I understand in Romans 10:9 you have to confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead to be saved, but how does that apply to children if it says in Deuteronomy 1:39 "Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it." ? I'm not quite clear on the idea because I believe the concept that (like with babies) if they're baptized when they're a baby, then you could say it doesnt really count because of the verse in Romans, but how does the verse in Dauteronomy come into play with that concept? If a baby is aborted does that mean it will get into heaven because of what it says in Deuteronomy?

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  4. @Anon
    Passages like Deut 1:39, or even Isaiah 7:15-16, do not address the issue of how God determines the eternal status or judgment of children. They merely reflect the developmental process of human maturation. To my knowledge, no passage in the entire scripture does deal with this subject directly. We make inferences from what it is said, but that leaves me with a certain slippery discomfort. Many forcefully teach the concept of the Age of Accountibility, but I find it has no scriptural merit.

    What we can say for certain, is that humans are born into sin, separated from God, in need of the Savior. The children of believers (1 Corinth 7:14), however, are set apart by God [as his, in my view] and must make a decision to not believe in order to be separated from God. When are they capable of doing such, who knows? What we do know is that it behooves us to introduce them to Christ at the earliest age possible so they never walk on "separated ground".

    As to the status of the aborted, I don't have a good answer there either. Jesus said (John 3:5) one must be born physically and spiritually in order to enter heaven. How do we apply that to one that was never born? I don't know for certain. I do know that if I believed what some preachers taught on this subject, I'd have to be FOR abortion-- if one wanted to make sure her kids went to heaven, under those regimens, aborting them would be the best thing she could do for them! Sometimes the folly of a theological premise cannot be seen until it's applied to the circumstances it attempts to answer!

    Not much of an answer, I know and am sorry. Let me know if you need more from me. In the meantime, take comfort, as I do, in this truth: God will not pervert justice (Job 34:12).

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