THE THRONE AND THE SCROLL IN REV. 4

PMW 2019-078 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In Revelation 1:12-20 John’s first vision shows Christ in history (spiritually) walking among the churches as their ever-present Protector and Head (cp. Matt. 18:20; 28:18, 20; Acts 18:9-10; Heb. 13:5). The focal judgments of Revelation do not begin until Revelation 6. In Revelation 4 and 5, though, God braces John for those coming fearsome judgment scenes by spiritually transporting him above history to God’s throne room in heaven (Rev. 4:1-2).

The Heavenly Throne

Here in Revelation 4 John sees God sitting on his judicial throne actively ruling over all creation (Rev. 4:2-6, 11). The four “living creatures” closest to the throne seem to be angels of the highest order: they ever watch (they are “full of eyes,” v. 6) over creation (they appear as creatures and sing of creation, vv. 7, 11), ready to do God’s holy bidding (they have six wings to swiftly fly and they sing of God’s holiness, v. 8) in all of creation (their number represents the four points of the compass, v. 7; cp. Rev. 7:1; 21:13). Whatever John witnesses thereafter — however terrifying the judgments, however vicious the opposition — he may rest assured that not only does Christ concern himself with the affairs of his people in history (Rev. 1), but that God is actively controlling all things from above history (Rev. 4; cp. Dan. 2:21; 4:35; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11). Continue reading

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THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND SYMBOLISM

PMW 2019-077 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

When opening the book of Revelation, the would-be interpreter must understand that it is a highly figurative book that cannot be approached with a simple, straightforward literalism. It constantly amazes me that when I discuss Revelation with many evangelical laymen they are immediately alarmed that I am not taking Revelation “literally”! Perhaps one of our first tasks in convincing laymen of the preterist view of Revelation is to disabuse them of literalism.

The first thing we need to do is to point out that though Revelation is highly symbolic, the preterist view does understand Revelation’s prophecies as strongly reflecting actual historical events in John’s near future. And this is despite their being set in an apocalyptic drama and clothed with poetic hyperbole. As even premillennialist commentator Robert Mounce notes: “That the language of prophecy is highly figurative has nothing to do with the reality of the events predicted. Symbolism is not a denial of historicity but a matter of literary genre.” Continue reading

JOHN’S “MANY WATERS”: ROME OR JERUSALEM? (2)

PMW 2019-076 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second and final part of a brief series arguing that the “many waters” of Rev. 17:1, 15 refer to Jerusalem’s influence over the diaspora Jews, many of whom were proselyte from the nations.

My second observation regarding the Babylonian-harlot’s sitting on many waters represents Jerusalem’s political influence exercised by means of the diaspora — particularly against Christians —- which is exerted throughout the empire and among the “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (17:15).

Remembering the Jewish danger to Christians (Rev. 2:9; 3:9; cp. Acts 4:3; 5:18; 8:3; 9:2; 12:4; 18:6; 22:4; 24:27; 26:10; Rom 15:31; 2 Cor. 11:24; 1 Thess. 2:14-17; Heb. 10:33-34) and the role of the martyrs in Rev (Rev. 6:9-10; see also: Rev 1:9; 2:9-10; 3:9-10; 11:7-8, 11-13, 18; 12:10; 13:10; 14:11-13; 16:5-6; 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:2; 20:4, 6), this is a quite significant implication of John’s image. After all, we discover “the common reflection of Jewish opposition in the NT writings” (Rick Van de Water, “Reconsidering the Beast from the Sea (Rev 13.1),” 248). Continue reading

JOHN’S “MANY WATERS”: ROME OR JERUSALEM? (1)

PMW 2019-075 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my 9/5/19 post regarding Babylon as an image of Jerusalem in Revelation, Fred V. Squillante responded:

“Revelation 17:1 says that the woman sits on many waters. Verse 15 says The waters where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. The woman is sitting on the beast (many waters). This can only mean the Roman Empire.”

Rev. 17:1 and 15 rare the two texts in question, and they read:

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters” (v. 1).

And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (v. 15).

This is a frequent challenge brought against the Babylon=Jerusalem interpretation. And it certainly offers a reasonable interpretation. In fact, it is a key argument in favor of the identity of the harlot as Rome among standard preterists (as opposed to my Redemptive-historical preterism, which sees the bulk of Revelation as directed against Jerusalem and Israel). Thus, it deserves a response. I will provide a two part response, beginning in this posting and continuing in the next. Continue reading

THE MYTH OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION

PMW 2019-074 by Patrick Hines (The Aquila Report)

In an excellent lecture on homosexuality still available from Ligonier Ministries from long ago, the late Dr. R. C. Sproul said:

First of all, to deal with the homosexual is one of the most difficult problems we have to deal with. It would be so much easier for all concerned to just ignore the problem and say to people and to the world and to the homosexual, “Look, it’s ok. It’s alright. You’re just left-handed. It’s fine.” For me to do that is to commit perjury to the Word of God. … The problem is that so many have bought the myth that they are intrinsically homosexuals … and they have no hope of changing. They’ve been listening to a society that tells them they are sick and there is no cure for their disease. … That is telling them, in effect, “there is no hope.” There is no transforming power available to change my nature. … What we must do in order to help them is begin with this fundamental thesis: Biologically, essentially, and intrinsically, there is no such thing as a homosexual. Let me say that again. Biologically, essentially, and intrinsically, there is no such thing as a homosexual.

The surest way to guarantee you will lose a debate is to allow your opponent to define the terms, parameters, and worldview that will lie beneath your conversation. If we let them do this, our opponents will have won the argument before it even starts. While they pretend to be neutral, they are not. While they tell us to be open-minded, they are not. Continue reading

REVELATION AND THE LENGTH OF THE JEWISH WAR

PMW 2019-073 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader of this blog site wrote an insightful and important question. This question is important because preterism emphasizes the history of the Jewish War as it relates to the judgment scenes in Revelation. Rather than treat his question as a comment which would not be seen by many, I thought I would make it an article. I hope you find this helpful.

Bryan Kuranaga question

I don’t know if this question is completely relevant to this post, but I figured it’s a good place to ask it. I was wondering if you have heard/read Phil Kayser’s messages on Revelation? He is also a partial preterist postmillennial and in preaching on Revelation 11:1-7, he writes (taken from the sermon, “The Two Witnesses, Part 1” preached on January 29, 2017):

“So how long was the war? If the only thing you read was the Partial Preterist commentaries (and I am in the Partial Preterist camp that believes most of chapters 1-19 has already been fulfilled) you would get the impression that the war was only three and a half years long. But all the early and later histories of the Jewish War with the Romans refer to it as a seven year war. Josephus, Eusebius, Hegesippus, Yosippon, Seutonius, Tacitus, and other ancient historians are consistent. And modern historians like Cornfeld, Mazar, Maier, and Schurer say the same.” Continue reading

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN THE BIBLE

In this post, I simply provide a list of helpful verses for demonstrating God’s absolute sovereignty. These might be handy if you stumble onto an Arminian Bible study and want to start a fight.

God’s Absolute Sovereignty

Indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. (Exo 9:16)

And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” (Exo 33:19)

For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Josh 11:20)

Then Job answered the Lord, and said, / “I know that Thou canst do all things, / and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.” (Job 42:1–2) Continue reading