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!