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Featured Prophecy vs. Apocalyptic

Discussion in 'Eschatology & Prophecy Forum' started by Trekson, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    And how is that ANY different to what we do, pointing out that the image of the Lamb is actually Christ, and so on and so forth? THIS IS SYMBOLIC REASONING!
    :rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
  2. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    :D I'm sorry, but no...that's not really what's happening here. If Dispensationalism is convicting me of anything, it's a growing concern of it's errors. The more I look at it and talk to those who believe in it, the more startling it's inconsistencies are with what I see scripture clearly teaching.
     
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  3. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    The difference is you take clearly literal words and change the meanings. You take figurative words with known literal meanings and change those too.

    You and David L are two of a kind.
     
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  4. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    You mean I take literal words like "Lamb"...and change it's meaning to Christ? Kinda like you?
    And I take figurative words with known literal meanings like "Lamb that had been slain" to mean Jesus, who has died for us? Just like you?

    Wow. Truly...your reasoning is profound.
     
  5. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    No. There you go again.
     
  6. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely there I go again. You point your finger in condemnation at "people like me" who take parts of Revelation symbolically, seemingly ignoring the fact that we also take things literally. Also ignoring the fact that we do so in very like manner to you. The big question, then, becomes the why.....what signals the switch between understanding something symbolic or literal?
    And here's the clincher. For Dispensationalists their hermeneutic is nothing more than attempting to fit their reading into the narrative of their Dispensational story. In other words: what they read as symbolic and what they read as literal is determined by their Dispensational belief.
    For people like me, our hermeneutic is to let the bible determine: if it's a symbol, we see it as symbolic...we allow previous biblical use of that symbol to speak for it. If it's a number, and scripture has previously used that number symbolically, then we allow it to speak symbolically. But we also allow it to be literal if that's it's clear meaning also. 24 thrones around the throne of God is clearly symbolic of the 12 tribes and 12 disciples...but it's quite possible there are also an actual 24 thrones. So we let that be. It doesn't need to be forced into anything, the symbolizing and literal take of that speaks plenty and doesn't need to be forced one way or the other.

    So, you can get tetchy and make as many irrational claims as you like, but the simple fact is this: you've outright admitted that Dispensationalists are no different when it comes to reading Revelation: you take some of it symbolically and some of it literally. The difference, I would say, is in the consistent and rational approach of hermeneutics....and that is not in Dispensational favor.
     
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  7. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    Okay, you are a non-literal a millennialist who hates dispensationalism and pre-millennialism.

    You and Dave L share a lot in common.
     
  8. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    Hi Naomi,
    Wait....hang on. You see the seeming fact that Christ returns multiple times, as "different aspects of the same event"?
    In other words.....the same event being repeated....described slightly differently?
    HOW is that any different to recapitulation?

    If I remember right you think everything about His second coming (to earth) will be in one day. So, in Earth time you expect, the rapture of the church, the judgement and rewarding of believers, the marriage supper of the Lamb, the cleansing of the earth, the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple, the earthly crowning ceremony of Jesus as King of the Earth, judgement and sentencing of Satan and his henchmen as well as all the demons, and finally, the judgment and sentencing of every person who has ever lived upon the earth (trillions or more) and the arrival of the NJ, in one earth day!!!???


    There’s a verse in the OT that says it’s going to take seven years just to clean up the aftermath of Armageddon. This is why many of us believe that the Day of the Lord is a multi-themed event lasting over a thousand years. There’s no hurry, it will take the time it does. The fact is while there are verses announcing the nearness of his arrival and telling of some events that will happen at his return, Rev. only depicts Christ’s return once and that is in Rev. 19.


    Problem number one...you yourself have just said above that you see a single event being described again and again. Which is cyclical.
    Problem number two...no, events do not have to match exactly. That would assume that the persepective from which they are being described are exactly the same. If I gave you my perspective of a birthday party, they would be one way, and then if you gave me yours, they would be another. They would both be of the same event and share many same characteristics: the birthday person, the place, the cake, the people present. But they would differ in perspective, how we got there...things like that.
    Revelations repeated visions are not just on repeat of a stagnant view from one angle, but from many angles.

    You see them as single events, I don’t. Between the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of God there are 14 separate judgmental events, varying in scope and intensity that will occur on earth before Armageddon.


    If you believe that, then you have no understanding of how prophecy works. God doesn’t play head and guessing games. Prophecy from GOD must be 100% accurate, exact and consistent, if it’s not, it’s not from God. There is only one perspective in Rev. and that is what John is being shown. Non-God inspired apocalyptic literature might be that way, but actual prophecy from God, never!


    I'd have to beg to differ on that. The IMAGES it uses to portray it's message are not new. It uses images, symbols and figurative language that we see all throughout the OT...it is rich with them. But...if we actually study them, while the symbology is similar enough to help us understand the meaning behind the use of them, the actual message is new. The message of Revelation was not an old message, stuck back in the time it drew it's symbols from. It was for the Churches of John's time and for all the Churches since. It gives the body of Christ special knowledge of how God is in exquisite control of everything...even through hard times of persecution and suffering, we are to know that even if the days are dark and evil, God is drawing things to a glorious end where he, and consequently we, shall triumph.

    Like I said, God doesn’t play head games and the messages of hope and victory are all through the NT so God didn’t need another special book to explain the same thing in some freaky way that doesn’t seem to make sense, if that’s all there was to it! It’s the same promise of the OT millennial kingdom except the church is now part of that promise and God is using Rev. to explain in detail how the final stages of this dispensation of human history will play out.


    I'm sorry...are you honestly trying to dismiss "uses myterious and symbolic language" when speaking of Revelation? The book is plump with symbolism and 'mysterious' language. Goodness, we even have "mystery Babylon"....a 'titled' mystery! People have spent generations attempting to guess what 666 means. Who the beasts might be, who the false prophet and AC could be, where Babylon might be rebuilt, or if it will be rebuilt at all. Debate rages over the 'mark', the wittnesses, the women, the 'wings of an eagle', the woman's crown of stars.
    You might think 'reading it literally' sees everything 'come out plain', and that's nice for you, but history and plain sense would disagree.

    Yes, there is no special “mysterious or symbolic “language”. While we may not know the details, we know what it is talking about. People who try to understand Rev. using a false decoder of symbolism may be wringing their hands trying to understand these questions, literalists already know the answer. “Mystery Babylon” will be both a partner and enemy of the dragon. 666 is exactly what the bible says it is. Beasts = nations, the literal identity of the false prophet and a/c is irrelevant, we’ll know them when they arrive on the scene. Nothing says actual Babylon will be rebuilt, the wording is symbolic but the end result will easily be identifiable when it arrives on the scene. We can be 98% sure of what the mark might look like, who the woman is (Israel), who the witnesses are (Enoch and Elijah), wings = airplane, if you can’t see that as plain as day, blame it on symbolism. Crown of stars = Israel (Joseph’s dream).

    "Most". "Stands alone". Well, which is it? If Daniel is also apocolyptic, then it too cannot be pseudonymous, can it. Which means that Rev cannot "stand alone". Which means that by saying "most" you're just hoping on a larger percentage rather than fact...and...that just seems to be stretching if you ask me.

    There is a difference between style and genre. Apocalyptic as literature didn’t really become a thing until the time between the testaments, hundreds of years after Daniel and the other prophets were written. You could say that Apl literature “copied” the style of Daniel. I may use a symbol to explain something but that doesn’t mean every word before or after is to be taken symbolically.

    I'm not sure what your point is? There can be no doubt that Daniel's eschatological prophetic sections are clearly in the apocalyptic style, heavy with symbols. And there also can be no doubt that there is a strong connection between it and Revelation.

    Imagery and symbolism are two different things. The point is that although Daniel sees images, they are usually explained in the context whereas symbolism usually isn’t explained and leaves you guessing what they might stand for. For example Rev. 1:12, 16 gives us imagery, Rev. 1:20 defines that imagery so, by definition that is NOT symbolism. Symbolism is abstract w/ many possible meanings. Look up the definition of symbolism for yourself.

    But how would you feel in the midst of your pain to receive a letter from God saying "I see you, I love you, look at what I am doing"...and then painting for you a vivid picture of good triumphing over evil. It's like Paul said in Rom 8:18...our suffering of this present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed....

    Can you show one verse in Revelations after cp. 3 that says that? If that is how you read everything in Rev. after cps 2 & 3 then you are defining the phrase “rose-colored glasses”. Chapters 2 &3 were for the seven churches, the rest of Rev. is for all the churches between them and their expectations concerning his return.

    And yet Dispensationalism would have these massive promises of God that Paul says are ours, only for a people who at present, reject their messiah. That leaves a division that is just not seen in scripture. So...yeah...I suppose I do have a problem with it.

    Please don’t paint all dispensationalists with the same brush. While I see differences in ways that God deals w/ humanity, I don’t see a future eternal separation between Israel and the church.

    Events like earthquakes, wars, diseases, famines, meteors, persecution? Solar eclipse, blood moons, comets passing us by? Things like that? Things like Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse? Things like the 4 horsemen? And who are we to say how long the birth pangs will go on? Remember, for the Lord, a day is like 1000 years, and 1000 years is as a day. I'm thinking we're just along for the ride. But we definitely can't say that things like he said have not happened or been happening. In fact, they've been happening non-stop.

    One has to look at scope and severity, so No none of the things prophesied have occurred in the manner or order as foretold.
     
  9. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but...what? "Just because it contains symbols, doesn't mean its symbolic".
    Here's some very "plain sense". If you come across a symbol...it's a symbol.
    And of course symbols stand for an actual truth. This is part of the whole "spiritualizer" strawman argument that goes on. I've never claimed that a symbol in Revelation means we take it as something wafty that's just a nice idea that makes us feel nice and fuzzy about things. What brings Christians real comfort in the symbols, is that they describe real things, help us picture actual truths. The Lamb that was slain is REALLY Jesus that died for us. The Dragon that gets tossed in the lake of fire REALLY will get punished for his crimes for all eternity, away from us where he can cause pain and heartache ever again.

    I think you may be combining imagery and symbolism in the same category but they are not: Imagery refers to the use of figurative and descriptive language to create images in the readers’ mind. Symbolism refers to the use of symbols to represent ideas and qualities, which by definition means they DO NOT stand for “actual truths”! To me that is the problem w/ symbolism, one tries to offer abstract explanations for an identifiable image.

    I fail to see how this affects genre. Let's say you are correct and Jesus, in Matt 24, meant that Daniel 'abomination of desolation' was speaking of the last 7 years of human history. How does this at all change the fact that both Daniel and Revelation both use the same apocalyptic imagery to portray these 'beasts'? The use of symbols is still clearly and heavily present.

    You’re combining the two again, but that is a good example of what’s wrong with depending on symbolism to try and understand Rev. Now, where you got the idea that the abomination of desolation is the last seven years of human history, God only knows, but the “abomination of desolation” is one thing and one thing alone and it is explained in the last part of Rev. 13:14 and in vs. 15.

    You know...when it says "come up here"...and he gets to see into heaven. Is that not where all the angels and God...on his throne, hang out? Wouldn't you class that as a 'spiritual realm'? I sure as heck would. And, beyond that, every time he is given a vision...or shown, if you want to insist upon it, angleic or demonic forces, that too would be a look at spiritual realities. There are a lot of those in the book.

    Sorry, but I’m a stickler for accuracy. The Eph. 6 battle between good and evil is in the spiritual “realm” where we can’t actually see it but John is seeing heaven and heaven is as real as earth so they are physical realities not spiritual realities.

    As opposed to 'literalits' who, conversely, have a very sensible and easy to understand and follow system, like...'only take things symbolically if you're told it's a symbol'...but then those who say that also take other things as symbols rather haphazardly, which leads to others saying 'take everything literally unless forced to take it symbolically'...except now there doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rules about what forces one to take something as symbol or not...which seems to leave it at personal whim and preference....not a great hermeneutical principle.

    If you’re going to quote me please do so accurately, the phrase is: “if it makes sense, seek no other sense, if it doesn’t make “sense” only then should you seek another sense” and that doesn’t automatically mean symbolism. It could mean an allegory, a sign, imagery, etc. all different things.

    Besides....I find it endlessly fascinating that I...the 'spiritulizer' am the one who suggests that when the book says 'demonic creatures from the pit of hell'...it actually means that...and you...the 'literalist' is arguing for helicopters.


    The problem is; it does NOT say “demonic creatures from the pit of hell”. This is where imagery comes about. In my mind, I see helicopters but I never declared it to be so, it’s just a logical possibility to me. I could be wrong and they could be some kind of freaky new bug or it could just be John’s way of saying they are being led by the forces of evil. Either way, I’m not going to worry about them because they are specifically instructed not to harm those who have the seal of God in their foreheads so whether I’m here or raptured, I’m safe.

    No...I wouldn't imagine yours does. You live in the USA. Even at our worst, in these "First world" countries, we know nothing about what John's audience were struggling with, or what other Christians in other parts of the world struggle with today. Persecution, famine, starvation, poverty, disease, death, rape, torture...and all of that for their children as well.

    It’s also possible they had none of those problems and everything was just physically fine but some of them had spiritual issues they needed to deal with.

    Doesn't mean it shouldn't be though. Use of numbers is clearly used in scripture, that cannot be discounted. At least, it shouldn't by anyone who wants to take a serious tilt at exegesis. If God consistently re-used the numbers 12 and 7 to represent things, then only people who are hell-bent on seeing things in one particular way will refuse to even consider there might be a significant reason behind the use of them in Revelation. Especially considering how heavily laden with symbols the book already is.

    So God likes to use certain numbers like 12 and 7 to represent real things. Symbolism says those numbers aren’t real, they mean something else in addition to 12 and 7, like what? 15 and 9? Good and evil? There really aren’t seven days in a week, there really wasn’t 12 tribes of Israel??? Can you show me one time where a number didn’t mean precisely what it was referring to?
     
  10. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Hate? Hate doesn't come into it at all. You mistake my motives completely. The emotion that drives me is a passion for the Word of God. For his truth and what His Word really says! Do I think that truth is worth pursuing? Do I think that truth is something that needs to be stood up for and highlighted against doctrines I do not see IN scripture? Yes. Absolutely. But hate is nowhere in the picture.
    And...as long as you are bandying the word 'hate' around, I would remind you that you are not exactly warm or open to those who do not share your doctrine. You are cutting, dismissive and like to ignore great chunks of conversation so you can make the same accusations again. For example....above you once again call me a "non-literal amillennialist". Haven't we already sung this ditty? Is it just because you could not, or would not, find a suitable answer to my points that you return here? How is calling me a 'non-literalist' an accusation when we've just established that we both interpret Revelation in symbolic and literal manner? At worst, that makes me a "sometimes non-literalist". But...you also are a "sometimes non-literalist". But, conversely, I am also a "sometimes literalist", as you are.
    This is the problem with trying to hinge your argument and complaint against a person on absolutes...it doesn't work...not unless you yourself are absolute in the doctrine and hermeneutic you adhere to...which you are not, and cannot be.
    So really, you point your finger at Amillennialists because they have an 'inconsistent' hermeneutic...which basically allows us to interpret things either symbolically or literally as the text requires....but totally ignore the fact that you do it yourself, even though you tout a hermenutic that says anyone who does it is a raging 'liberal'.
     
  11. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea if it will be in 'one day' or not, only that it is a single...if I can use this word...event. In other words, when Christ comes back, we see these events happen...boom, boom, boom. We don't seem them play out with time spans inbetween while people go about living their lives on earth. No...the bible paints a clear picture: Christ returns, he raises the dead, the living, gives new bodies, judges all, remakes the cosmos, etc.
    Besides....even were all this to happen in one day...are we suggesting this is beyond God??

    I think we can establish that when it comes to 'time frames' no one can be exactly sure what's going on. We have the controversial "Day of the Lord", which might be a 24 hour period, or might last more than that. We have 2 Peter 3 telling us that with the Lord a day is like a 1000 years and vise versa. And then 1 John 2 says that "it IS the last hour". Then...it was THE last hour. That was 2000 years ago. And some people have a hard time with amillennial thoughts that the time period between Christ's 2 advents being the 1000 years! And John just told us that over 2000 has been "the last hour"!!

    And I have to disagree. If Rev 19 was the only passage describing Christ's return, why do the other verses showing that people can see his face? Why does it say that the kingdom of earth HAS BECOME the Kingdom of heaven. Why does it say that it IS finished? These are not events of 'announcing nearness'. Seeing the face of Christ, of becoming, of being finished...they are ultimate and DONE statements.


    Well, hang on, that doesn't make any sense. Didn't you just say before:

    You perceive it as Christ returning more than once, where we see it as different aspects of the same event.

    I told you that I see it as Christ returning once, with, like you, different visions showing us different aspects of the same event.
    How is it now that you see these things as "single events". Do you see them as different aspect of the same event, or not?

    Actually, I would question if it's you who trully understands the function of prophecy...and of apocolyptic.
    Prophecy essentially had two objectives: to warn God's people of the consequences of disobedience by oracles of judgement and the called God's people back to faithfullness by oracles of salvation. Basically, the prophet would come and say: "if you do this, judgement will come; if you follow the Lord, blessings will come". As such, much of the OT prophecy was 'conditional'...like, for example, what we see with Jonah. Prophecy was not, primarily, designed to fulfill people's fascination with the future...it was designed to change people's behaviour.
    Apocolyptic literature arose during and after Judah's exile in Babylon....it's a subgenre of prophecy and is represented in scripture mostly in Daniel and Revelation, although we see it also in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah also. Commonly it's themes revolve around history, the end of history, cosmic cataclysm, the battle between cosmic powers, the righting of wrongs and the consumation of God's plan and the Kingdom.
    So...let's start with the understanding that everything in scripture, being God's word, is automatically 100% accurate. We also already know that just because details differ slightly doesn't make what is being presented wrong. In the gospels, the slight discrepencies between accounts actually make the case for the bible's authenticity stronger. My point being: if Revelation, genre wise, is seeking to paint the picture and encourage Saints about what is happening on the grand scale in these last days, from differing angles...then it looses not a drop of accuracy or authenticity if those visions differ slightly in their telling. In point of fact, I would say it actually strengthens the case that these different visions must be from different angles. When factored in, as I said above, the clear references to Christ's face, his presence, his Kingdom coming and it being finished, we are left with a strong argument for, rather than against.

    It's freaky to you? It's full of triumph and not at all freaky to me. It helps to get a better understanding of the audience John was writting to. For churches who had been living under Nero, now Domitian, who had to be members of guilds to work...in other words, to buy or sell, and to be members of a guild, they had to sacrifice to idols and participate in all manner of debauched things. There was a well known rumor (and fear) that Nero was going to come back from the dead (recover from a fatal wound). The Churches of this time struggled emensely; persecution from Rome and Jews who rejected them, financial hardship because of their unwillingness to 'toe the line' with the guilds. It was like everywhere they turned they were being asked to pay for their faith. Was it worth it? Did God care? What was God's plan in all of this?
    I'm not exactly sure how you can say that Revelation is 'mind games' or, 'pointless' when it, for people like this, it take them, turns them, and let's them take a peek at the grand plan. "Look behind the curtain with John, behold the Thone of God, the scroll of God's purposes for human history! Look at how his purposes unfold despite Satan's attempt to thawrt him and his people. See how, despite all the calamities that unfold on earth, the judgements that come upon the unjust, his people will be kept through til the end, either in body, or in soul, safe in their white garments, purchased by the blood! See the glorious conclusion of where this is all headed!"
     
  12. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    So....there is no mysterious or symbolic language. At all? You willing to put money on that?Especially since you then go on to talk about the symbols and how to interpret them...
    You don't know the 'details' but know what it's talking about?
    The problem with saying people like me use a 'false decoder of symbolism' is that we pretty much just pull our meanings from scripture. Babylon, in the OT, was always the enemy of the people of God. Beasts, we can see from Daniel how to translate that symbolism. The two witnesses...we are told there and then how to interpret that...it says that they are the two olive trees and lampstands. Where have we seen that before? How about in chapter 1, where we are told the Churches are the lampstands, and Christ walks amongst them. Why only 2? Perhaps because there were only 2 Churches that Christ didn't find any fault with.

    So...you can see that we don't just pluck things out of the air for feel good, liberal motives. How we interpret these things comes straight from scripture itself...which I would content is a little better than just 'winging' it...airplanes...really?

    I fail to see the point in any of this. Does it matter who used it first, middle or last? When it was officially named or acknowledged? The fact is that the genre does exist. It is unique from plain prophetic, and it does employ heavy use of symbols. Does this mean that "every word before or after is to be taken symbolically"? No, and I have never suggested or claimed that it must. That is a strawman argument, and I'd thank you to move past it.

    Indeed they are, but they are often used in conjunction with one another, and thus it is often right to use them together.
    The fact is, what Daniel sees and what is seen in Revelation is very similar. Because it is explained in Daniel, we can know what that symbolism means in Revelation. I wonder if you've realised that the times that things are 'explained' in Revelation, it's often when they've not been explained elsewhere in the bible. If we have already been shown elsewhere in the OT or NT what a symbol means, then it's pretty clear how we are supposed to take it.

    So...let me get this straight...you say that there are no symbols in Revelation, but then you go on to show what some 'clear' explanations of symbols are. You've told me that 'prophecy'...which is what Revelation is...must be 100% accurate...and now you are saying that symbols (which apparently are IN Revelation) have oodles of different meanings?

    Ok...for sake of brevity, I won't put every verse that I could. But consider these two:

    saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” -Revelation 7:3


    After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” -Revelation 7:9–12

    So, we have God protecting actively, and we have a picture of a multitude of people worshipping God and the Lamb, aflood with praise!
    Let me ask you a few things: in our walk now, do we consider our Christian faith only sucessful if we're on top, wealthy, sucessful and alive? Do we see the news of our brothers and sister overseas dying horrible martyr deaths and think 'God failed them, their faith failed them'....or do we realised that although what happend wasn't 'fair', and was indeed horrible, ultimately those people have triumphed by the blood of the lamb...that even now they are before the throne singing praises, the second death never touching them.

    When you suffer, no matter if it's the sort of suffering that us 'blessed' Westerners face, or the sort of those who live in Middle Eastern or communist countries...the knowledge that 1: God will repay those who have done evil, and 2: ultimately, we will overcome by the triumph of the lamb....are the two most precious things a person can hold onto.

    And if you are not aware of that, or cannot see those two themes running through Revelation, there's not much I can do to open your eyes.

    Fair point, although most paint 'Idealists' with the same brush. Case in point above, where you said I, or we, symbolize every word.

    No Amillennialist I know has every denied that things must get worse. But pretty much every Dispensationalist I know happily denies that these events have been a main-stay in the interadvental period. Which should, I argue, suggest something about said period. But by brushing everything into a last 7 year period, the conversation cannot even be touched on, let alone acknowledged. Which I think is a shame, as it's sort of earth-shakingly clear. Pun intended.
     
  13. n2thelight

    n2thelight Well-Known Member

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    The word itself(Revelation)means to reveal,so the question should be,what is it revealing?
     
  14. n2thelight

    n2thelight Well-Known Member

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    The DAY of the Lord starts the millennium,which is a 1000 years!!!
     
  15. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    "Symbol: A mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object, function, or process; or - A thing that represents or stands for something else"

    So, how is symbolism...the using of symbols to represent something, not appropriate?
    Imagery is also relevent, as it's described as "Visually descriptive or figurative language". However, imagery is more in line with images...visual pictures of things, while it seems the use of symbols is more in line with representation. For example, Christ is represented as both Lion and Lamb. The image seen is Lion and Lamb...the symbolism is that the Lion is the conquering Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world.

    As I've previously said, the two really go hand in hand because the use of symbol in Revelation is through vision, which involves sight....images. To understand that the beasts stand for something, first the prophet...Daniel, or John, must see the image and understand that there is some symbolism going on...it is not just a simple 'image' of a natural beast, but there is a greater meaning beyond the image...it is a symbolic image.

    The majority of Dispensationalists place the AOD in the last 7 years. If you do not, sorry, it was not my intent to misrepresent you, but one cannot possible collate and store all offshoots ofthese doctrines, only what the main collective tends to stand behind.

    As a 'stickler', you must surely acknowledge that God is Spirit. That angelic and demonic beings are described as spirits. How is it, then, that when we are given glimpses of these beings, and of God Himself and His dwelling place, His very Throne, you do not admit you are being described, spiritual things, which are admittedly very real?

    I'm sorry if you feel my generalisation was out of bounds and not accurate. But, I also feel that you have been attempting to generalise my views to further your argument. By no means do I take everything symbolically.
    My point above, that I was trying to make, if clumisly, sorry, was that your quote doesn't necessarily disprove my own hermeneutical take. If the ''plain sense" of the passage is that a symbol is being presented, then the most sensible thing to do, is see it for what it is. When we have a whole book that is full of such symbols that have already been used before, in one way or the other, then why on earth would we think it makes more 'sense' to look to the newspapers to find out what that symbol might mean, rather than God's own word?

    Ok...so you like imagry. Revelation gives us plenty to go on here. These things come "from the bottomless pit" where smoke "rises like a great furnace"....thinking of anything yet?
    They have human faces, womens hair, lions teeth, breastplates and wings. They have tails and stings like scorpions and they have over them "as king the angel of the bottomless pit, his name in Hebrew is Abaddon." Or, Apollyon.
    So...what is an exegete to make of these images? Should we think the most likely candidate would be helicopters or an emergence of strange new bugs?
    Or, can we find somewhere else that speaks of strange amalgamations of creatures?

    As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf's foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. -Ezekiel 1:4–10

    This vision of the Throne of God shows angelic beings. The similarity is profound. We know demons are fallen angels and we are told in Revelation 9 that these 'scorpion' creatures come from the bottomless pit and have a demon of some stature as king over them. I don't think it is such a stretch to suggest, therefore, that they are demonic creatures. Do you? And wouldn't that BE the most literal interpretation of the text, all things considered?

    The possibility of one does not discount the other, and historical facts are not easy to bury, try as this generation might on some things.

    And there we go with the strawman misrepresentation again! Have I ever said that there are not 7 days in the week? Have I ever said that when God demanded the Israelites to walk around the city of Jericho 7 times, they didn't actually do it 7 times? Have I ever said there were not 12 tribes of Israel or 12 Disciples?
    No. God really uses these numbers, but he really uses them for a reason. That is why we see them again and again and why we must also look for a deeper purpose if we can. So, when we read that there are 24 thrones before the Throne of God, we don't just go "24, whatever." We say "wow, that must represent 12 and 12, the OT people of God and the NT people of God...all of God's people coming together in his plan for us!"
    Now...I ask you...what is wrong with seeing that? Was it wrong of me to go "24...that's cool! God is wise and is showing his intricate working all the way from the OT to the NT"?
    Is it wrong for me to point to Christ using 7 (forgive 70x7) to make a symbolic point....keep forgiving, and keep forgiving, and keep forgiving....there is no way he used that number literally. Is it wrong for me to understand that?
     
  16. farouk

    farouk Well-Known Member

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    There's a lot of symbolism in Scripture, not least in relation to the Lord's Supper and the vital doctrines behind it.
     
  17. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Very true!
     
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  18. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    Hi Naomi, I hope this day finds you doing well.
    No...the bible paints a clear picture: Christ returns, he raises the dead, the living, gives new bodies, judges all, remakes the cosmos, etc.

    Obviously, it’s not that clear or thousands of us wouldn’t be having these discussions. We agree that there is an order of fulfillment but differ in the amount of time involved, specifically, the thousand years.

    We have 2 Peter 3 telling us that with the Lord a day is like a 1000 years and vise versa. And then 1 John 2 says that "it IS the last hour". Then...it was THE last hour. That was 2000 years ago. And some people have a hard time with amillennial thoughts that the time period between Christ's 2 advents being the 1000 years! And John just told us that over 2000 has been "the last hour"!!

    First, 2 Peter 3 isn’t a guide for prophetic interpretation, it’s simply saying that eternity will seem very different from normal time, secondly, 1 John 2 can mean hour, but it can also mean “season”. As history has shown, what is “near” from a heavenly perspective is much longer when viewed from our human perspective. Even if we consider that the 1000 yrs. is as a day as an accurate view of “heaven” time, then from Jesus’s pov it’s only been a couple of days!

    And I have to disagree. If Rev 19 was the only passage describing Christ's return, why do the other verses showing that people can see his face? Why does it say that the kingdom of earth HAS BECOME the Kingdom of heaven. Why does it say that it IS finished? These are not events of 'announcing nearness'. Seeing the face of Christ, of becoming, of being finished...they are ultimate and DONE statements.

    The word “face” from cp. 6 simply means his “presence, appearance or countenance” not that they could see his actual face, it’s an expression. The phrase “has become” is “are become” in the present/future tense in the KJV. It could also be read “are becoming”. It is showing that the wrath of the Lamb (the Son) is over and is announcing the wrath of God (the Father, Rev. 11: 17-18) is about to begin. The bowls might be completed in as little as 30 days, where the trumpets will most likely be spread over a couple of years. From the first trumpet through the 7th bowl every prophesied event that occurs is bringing us nearer and closer to his actual earthly return. If you’re speaking of Rev. 10:7, then it is the “mystery” of God that is finished, not the prophecies of his return.

    Well, hang on, that doesn't make any sense. Didn't you just say before:

    You perceive it as Christ returning more than once, where we see it as different aspects of the same event.

    I told you that I see it as Christ returning once, with, like you, different visions showing us different aspects of the same event. How is it now that you see these things as "single events". Do you see them as different aspect of the same event, or not?

    You were speaking of times that you thought were showing Christ’s arrival, I’m assuming, like Rev. 6:16, 11:15, the beginning of cp. 14. The latter part of cp. 14 is speaking forward to the time of the sheep and goat judgement of Matt. 25 which will occur shortly after the bowls, when Armageddon is done, then leading up to the actual time of his return in cp. 19.

    Apocalyptic literature arose during and after Judah's exile in Babylon....it's a subgenre of prophecy and is represented in scripture mostly in Daniel and Revelation, although we see it also in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah also.

    Actually, that’s not historically accurate. As a genre, it didn’t begin until roughly 150 yrs. after the last of the OT prophets was written. When historians began to identify it as a genre, they back dated it to include some of the OT prophets because they had similarities but really, no one (except the Catholics) believe the Apocrypha have any God given authority or accuracy to them.

    My point being: if Revelation, genre wise, is seeking to paint the picture and encourage Saints about what is happening on the grand scale in these last days, from differing angles...then it looses not a drop of accuracy or authenticity if those visions differ slightly in their telling. In point of fact, I would say it actually strengthens the case that these different visions must be from different angles.

    I don’t believe that John saw multiple “visions”. I believe he was shown, just that one time while he was actually, in heaven the events in the order that he later described, that he wrote down when he returned from heaven. One experience = one angle.

    It's full of triumph and not at all freaky to me. It helps to get a better understanding of the audience John was writting to. For churches who had been living under Nero, now Domitian, who had to be members of guilds to work...in other words, to buy or sell, and to be members of a guild, they had to sacrifice to idols and participate in all manner of debauched things. There was a well known rumor (and fear) that Nero was going to come back from the dead (recover from a fatal wound). The Churches of this time struggled immmensely; persecution from Rome and Jews who rejected them, financial hardship because of their unwillingness to 'toe the line' with the guilds. It was like everywhere they turned they were being asked to pay for their faith. Was it worth it? Did God care? What was God's plan in all of this?

    We see these things from different perspectives. I think that what the seven churches were experiencing was a “starting point” but not “the main” point! John was on Patmos for a long time and he wrote to many churches during that time, not just these seven. So, why these seven? I believe that God knew they were the best to ensure that his message for future generations would be preserved and passed on. I think that only the small parts for each church in cps. 2 & 3 were for them, the rest of Rev. was for all the future generations that might be here when the time for all these thing to be fulfilled came to be. Another reason is because these churches were on the Christian “mail route” that started at Patmos and took a circular route to return to Patmos because I believe that he received messages of encouragement as well as sending them. I’m sure Rev. was not the only message he sent to them during his exile. A third reason is because God knew that what was happening to these churches would be reflective of what all individual Christians and churches would be going through throughout the passage of time so it serves as encouragement to all the future generations as well. I also don’t see Rev. as being “full” of triumph. Do we triumph in the end? Yes, but the vast majority of Rev. is warning both sinners and saints of what is to come. Judgment for the unrepentant sinners and (the great) tribulation for God’s church. Well, I’ve got some work to do, so more to come in a little while.
     
  19. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    So....there is no mysterious or symbolic language. At all? You willing to put money on that? Especially since you then go on to talk about the symbols and how to interpret them...
    You don't know the 'details' but know what it's talking about?

    The only symbolic “language” I can think of is called hieroglyphics.

    The problem with saying people like me use a 'false decoder of symbolism' is that we pretty much just pull our meanings from scripture. Babylon, in the OT, was always the enemy of the people of God. The two witnesses...we are told there and then how to interpret that...it says that they are the two olive trees and lampstands. Where have we seen that before? How about in chapter 1, where we are told the Churches are the lampstands, and Christ walks amongst them. Why only 2? Perhaps because there were only 2 Churches that Christ didn't find any fault with.
    So...you can see that we don't just pluck things out of the air for feel good, liberal motives. How we interpret these things comes straight from scripture itself...which I would content is a little better than just 'winging' it...airplanes...really? (cute)

    Some people may use scripture but others do not. Actually, this is a pretty good example to work with. When interpreting images such as these we need to search all of scripture and not just jump to conclusions based what first comes to mind. You’re right in that we need to look in scripture for our answers. Was the lampstand (candlestick in the KJV) and olive tree (branch) imagery used before Rev. 1? Btw, when picturing the (7) lampstands, picture “a” Menorah. Go back to Zech. 4. The Rev. 1 imagery comes from this. We are told that they represent the seven churches and by Rev. 4:5 we know they are “lit”. That is the key, they are spirit-filled (Rev. 4:5, Zech. 4:6) churches. The two olive trees comes from this same chapter (Zech. 4:3, 14). These are not churches, they are individuals. I believe they are Enoch and Elijah because as far as we know they are the only two prophets which have not experienced death…yet. The latter part of Rev. 11 can only be speaking of individuals. Check out Zech. 4:12. These two are really full of the Holy Spirit, so much so, that they can through the spirit, spew out flame from their mouths Rev. 11:5. Why are they called lampstands? Because while they are ministering on the earth they are the only two physical remnants of God’s messengers. They will be doing the job that the churches did but by this time the church has been raptured. God will not leave the church w/o a witness. When the church goes, the two witnesses come, when they go angels of the Lord come, Rev. 14:6-11. During each stage of representation some people will heed their warnings and turn to God for salvation as Rev. 14:13 shows.

    Imagery and symbolism are two different things. The point is that although Daniel sees images, they are usually explained in the context whereas symbolism usually isn’t explained and leaves you guessing what they might stand for. For example Rev. 1:12, 16 gives us imagery, Rev. 1:20 defines that imagery so, by definition that is NOT symbolism. Symbolism is abstract w/ many possible meanings. Look up the definition of symbolism for yourself.

    The fact is, what Daniel sees and what is seen in Revelation is very similar. Because it is explained in Daniel, we can know what that symbolism means in Revelation. I wonder if you've realised that the times that things are 'explained' in Revelation, it's often when they've not been explained elsewhere in the bible. If we have already been shown elsewhere in the OT or NT what a symbol means, then it's pretty clear how we are supposed to take it.

    So...let me get this straight...you say that there are no symbols in Revelation, but then you go on to show what some 'clear' explanations of symbols are. You've told me that 'prophecy'...which is what Revelation is...must be 100% accurate...and now you are saying that symbols (which apparently are IN Revelation) have oodles of different meanings?

    Please, let’s not add to what I have said. I never said there weren’t any symbols, I said that they are not some form of “mysterious or symbolic language.

    Ok...for sake of brevity, I won't put every verse that I could. But consider these two: saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” -Revelation 7:3

    After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” -Revelation 7:9–12

    The first one isn’t saying: “I see you, I love you, look at what I am doing" and the second one is, in my opinion, the raptured church arriving in heaven so of course we would be praising and thanking God for His deliverance.
     
  20. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    "Symbol: A mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object, function, or process; or - A thing that represents or stands for something else" So, how is symbolism...the using of symbols to represent something, not appropriate?
    Imagery is also relevant, as it's described as "Visually descriptive or figurative language". However, imagery is more in line with images...visual pictures of things, while it seems the use of symbols is more in line with representation. For example, Christ is represented as both Lion and Lamb. The image seen is Lion and Lamb...the symbolism is that the Lion is the conquering Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. To understand that the beasts stand for something, first the prophet...Daniel, or John, must see the image and understand that there is some symbolism going on...it is not just a simple 'image' of a natural beast, but there is a greater meaning beyond the image...it is a symbolic image.

    This is the crux of our problem, you see symbolism as simply “the use of symbols”, where many of us see symbolism as the “interpretation of symbols”. I’m going to use some quotes from spiritandtruth.org as they say it better than I. Speaking of Revelation, Fruchtenbaum has observed the tendency toward two extremes:


    “The existence of these symbols has led to two extremes. One extreme states that the existence of these symbols shows that this book cannot be understood and must simply be interpreted in terms of a general conflict between good and evil, (your viewpoint) the good winning out in the end.” Because of this “they bring with them a certain amount of “interpretive baggage”—biases and pre-understandings which flavor their assessment of the facts of history and the text. These have a huge effect upon the interpretation of the book of Revelation for two primary reasons:


    1. The book is often categorized as being written in an apocalyptic literary genre by design.
    2. The book contains numerous symbols.

    Once a work is defined to be apocalyptic in genre, the door is opened to a wide array of interpretive treatments as it becomes fashionable to understand the surface-level literary work on the basis of hidden, mysterious, or unstated secondary meaning below the text itself. The inclusion of symbols leads in this direction as various interpreters see license in the symbology for a further separation between the meaning of the text and the real intent of the author. The wider the gap which can be asserted between the text itself and the intended meaning of the author, the greater the room for conjecture and supposition by the interpreter. When given free reign with the book of Revelation, the sad result of such license is often the very negation of the stated purpose of the book of Revelation:


    The Apocalypse (“unveiling”) has become Apocrypha (“hidden”). This should not be. The book was written to show those things which were coming to pass, not to obscure them in a maze of symbolism and dark sayings. Great blessing was promised to all who would read (or even hear) the words of the book of this 1:3), but how could anyone be blessed by words he could not even understand?”


    This minimalist (literal) interpretation is the way a reader would most likely understand the text when absent from the guidance of an allegorical interpreter. The best interpretation of a historical record is no interpretation but simply letting the divine Author of the record say what He says and assuming He says what He means. For example, “If one were on a desert island and read Revelation for the first time, how would he normally interpret the book? The answer would be “actual and literal,” unless there was an amillennialist and allegorist around to say, “No, no, these events are not real! They have some hidden meaning that no one is sure of, but don’t let that bother you!” (end of quotes)


    The majority of Dispensationalists place the AOD in the last 7 years. If you do not, sorry, it was not my intent to misrepresent you, but one cannot possible collate and store all offshoots of these doctrines, only what the main collective tends to stand behind.

    Is the aod in the time frame of the 70th week? Yes, but it is not the whole of the seven years as you seemed to imply.

    As a 'stickler', you must surely acknowledge that God is Spirit. That angelic and demonic beings are described as spirits. How is it, then, that when we are given glimpses of these beings, and of God Himself and His dwelling place, His very Throne, you do not admit you are being described, spiritual things, which are admittedly very real?

    It’s simply based on what can be seen. If seen, it’s real even if operating under a spiritual power. If unseen it’s spiritual in nature, but that’s only me.

    When we have a whole book that is full of such symbols that have already been used before, in one way or the other, then why on earth would we think it makes more 'sense' to look to the newspapers to find out what that symbol might mean, rather than God's own word?

    It’s not that cut and dried. Sometimes multiple symbols are used to describe the same thing, other times once a symbol is used and a meaning defined, believing it must always have the same interpretation is, imo, close-minded and errant. For a quick example, some believe the fig tree in Matt. 24:32 is symbolic of Israel, but that would not be the same as the symbolic (imagery) use of the fig tree in Rev. 6:13.
     
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