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WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (3)

PMW 2020-062 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is a third installment in my series presenting the various scholarly approaches to John’s all-important opening verses to Revelation. These verses are too easily overlooked by the average Christian trying to get to “the good stuff” about the Beast and the Harlot. But to jump over these is to miss John’s point.

How are we to understand Revelation 1:1 and 3? What else have the scholars attempted with these verses?

These verses read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We are now ready for the fourth and fifth approaches.

4. The events will occur rapidly

The events will unfold rapidly whenever they begin to occur. Dispensationalist scholar John Walvoord (Revelation, 35) understands Rev’s opening comment thus: “That which Daniel declared would occur ‘in the latter days’ is here described as ‘soon’ (Gr. en tachei), that is, ‘quickly or suddenly coming to pass,’ indicating a rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place. The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but that when it does, it will be sudden (cf. Luke f18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20). A similar word, tackus, is translated ‘quickly’ seven times in Rev.” Charles Ryrie (Revelation, 13) also holds this view. Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (2)

PMW 2020-061 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a short series that is presenting the various views of commentators in their understanding of the opening verses of Revelation, specifically Revelation 1:1, 3. These verses introduce the book and are therefore crucial for its understanding. However, commentators disagree on how these verses are to be interpreted.

So now I will be presenting two more view of these verses.

2. John was ambiguous

The events were prophesied to be soon, but as was customary with Israel’s prophets, the special prophetic language is intentionally “ambiguous.” Prophetic ambiguity is intentional and designed to heighten the hearers’ expectations for moral purposes of readiness. Though not applying his discussion to Revelation, we may easily see how Scot McKnight’s understanding of Hebrew prophecy would explain John’s nearness imagery. Continue reading

DISPENSATIONALISM’S LITERALISM FRAUD (2)

PMW 2020-038 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last posting, I began a studying exposing the error of dispensationalism claimed literalism. Since this is such a big feature in the system and such a drawing card for it, it is important that Reformed Christians be able to refute it. I hope these two articles will be helpful to that end. The more recent form of dispensationalism, known as Progressive Dispensationalism, has largely recognized the problem and made important changes to the system. However, pew-sitting believers are still enamored with dispensationalism and its claim to literalism.

So, let us continue exposing the error.

Ezekiel and Literalism

In The New Scofield Reference Bible at Ezekiel 43:19 we read: “The reference to sacrifices is not to be taken literally.” How can this be? Indeed, on the opposite side of the issue we should note the dispensationalist treatment of Isaiah 52:15, which reads: “So shall he sprinkle many nations.” The New Scofield Reference Bible comments: “Compare the literal fulfillment of this prediction in 1 Pet. 1:1–2, where people of many nations are described as having been sprinkled with the blood of Christ.” Is this literal? When was Jesus’ blood literally sprinkled on the nations? This sounds more like “spiritualizing” than “consistent literalism.” Continue reading

SATAN AND HIS ANGELS IN REV 12:4

Satan rev 12PMW 2020-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader asks:

Dr. Gentry, I just got done watching your Revelation series on DVD. I just had a few questions.

I noticed you didn’t really touch much on Rev 12:4, and I’ve always been curious as to the meaning of that verse. A lot of people use it to say that when Satan rebelled he took a third of the angels with him. But that verse doesn’t seem to be talking about his rebellion at all, but rather his defeat during Christ’s earthly ministry. If that’s the case, then are there any other verse that talk about a “third of the angels”? Or is Scripture actually silent about that?

My reply:

Thanks for watching my lectures on Revelation in the “Survey of the Book of Revelation” DVD set. Obviously I could not deal with every verse and every topic in the twenty-four lectures, but this is a good question and deserves a reply. Please consider the following comments on Rev 12:4. Clearly, the dragon is Satan, as John makes clear in Rev 12:9. But what does he mean we he speaks of his “tail” which “swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth”? Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

CALVIN’S POSTMILLENNIALISM? (4)

PMW 2019-093 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my final posting of Calvin’s exposition of the latter verses of Isaiah 19, which present a postmillennial hope.

In that day shall Israel.

Isaiah concludes the promise which he had briefly glanced at, that the Egyptians and Assyrians, as well as Israel, shall be blessed (Isa 19:24).

Isaiah concludes the promise which he had briefly glanced at, that the Egyptians and Assyrians, as well as Israel, shall be blessed (Isa 19:24).

Formerly the grace of God was in some measure confined to Israel, because with that nation only had the Lord entered into covenant. The Lord had stretched out a cord over Jacob (Deut 32:9,) as Moses speaks; and David says, “He hath not done so to any nation, and hath not made known to them his judgments.” (Psa 147:20).

In a word, the blessing of God dwelt solely in Judea, but he says that it will be shared with the Egyptians and Assyrians, under whose name he includes also the rest of the nations. He does not mention them for the purpose of shewing respect, but because they were the constant enemies of God, and appeared to be more estranged from him and farther removed from the hope of favor than all others. Accordingly, though he had formerly adopted none but the children of Abraham, he now wished to be called, without distinction,” father of all nations.” (Gen 17:7; Exo 19:5; Deu 7:6). Continue reading

IS CHRIST’S RETURN “IMMINENT”? (2)

PMW 2019-087 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last blog article I began a brief analysis of the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ. I began setting up the matter and also showing its problems for dispensationalism. In this article I will conclude the study.

Often dispensationalists try to distinguish between Christ’s return being imminent and its being soon. This strives to protect them against charges of date-setting. This does not protect them from the charge, however, because it is inconsistently held.
In a letter to me dated June 1, 1994, from Thomas D. Ice, Executive Director of the Pre-Trib Research Center, Ice writes: “We distinguish between imminent and soon in the sense that soon would require a near coming, while imminent would allow, but not require a soon coming.” Bundled in that very letter was his first newsletter entitled: “The Pre-Trib Research Center: A New Beginning.” The first sentence of the newsletter (once past the headings) was: “Our purpose is to awaken in the Body of Christ a new awareness of the soon coming of Jesus.” The system giveth and taketh away. In fact, in a book edited by Ice, Tim LaHaye speaks of “the soon coming of Christ.” Continue reading