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

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

PMW 2020-060 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

All agree that Revelation is a difficult book. Except for televangelist Hal Lindsey. In this regard, one theologian has noted that for every five commentaries on Revelation you can find six different views.

How is this problem to be solved if we are ever to understand Revelation? The answer: exegetically. We must read what John says he expects at the very beginning of his mysterious work. And what does he say in his opening?

In Revelation 1:1and 3 we 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.

Unfortunately, we will learn that most commentators do not see these words as meaning what they seem to mean. For if they did accept them at face value, they would all be redemptive-historical preterists. In this short series I will be presenting several of the leading interpretations of these verses. I will here present some of the leading options for interpreting John’s declaration. Some of these concepts can be and are blended in some of the writers highlighted. Continue reading

WORLDVIEW APOLOGETICS (4)

PMW 2020-059 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the fourth and concluding article on worldview apologetics.

Presuppositions Make a Difference

Reality (Ontology). When asked to give the basis and starting point for the orderly universe and all external reality, the Christian points to the self-contained, omnipresent all-powerful, all-wise God of Scripture.

When the non-Christian is asked to give the basis and starting for the orderly universe and external reality, he points literally to nothing. All has risen from nothing by the irrational mechanism of chance. When asked if something can miraculously pop into being from nothing in an instant the non-Christian vigorously responds in the negative. Instant miracles are out of the question! But when asked if something can come out of nothing if given several billion years, the non-Christian confidently responds in the affirmative. As Van Til, has noted, the non-Christian overlooks the fact that if one zero equals zero, then a billion zeros can equal only zero. Continue reading

WORLDVIEW APOLOGETICS (3)

PMW 2020-057 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the third installment of four articles on worldview apologetics. As we continue, we must consider:

The Christian System and Presuppositions

What is the Christian’s starting point? What is his most basic presupposition upon which he builds his entire world and-life view? Where do we begin our argument?

Christian thought holds as its logically primitive, fundamental, all-pervasive and necessary starting point or presupposition, the being of God who has revealed himself in Scripture. Thus, our presupposition is God and his word. The Scripture, being his own infallible word (2 Tim. 3:16), reveals to us the nature of the God in whom we trust.

God is self-sufficient, needing nothing outside of himself at all (Exo. 4:11; John 5:26). All else in the universe is utterly dependent upon him (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). God is the all-powerful Creator of the entire universe (Gen. 1:1; Exo. 20:11; Neh. 9:6). God is personal, thus giving meaning to the vast universe (Acts 17:28). And God has clearly and authoritatively revealed himself in Scripture (2 Pet. 1:20-21), so we may build upon his word as Truth (Psa. 119:160; John 17:17). Continue reading

WORLDVIEW APOLOGETICS (2)

PMW 2020-057 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second of a four-part series on worldview apologetics. I will open with a continuation of:

The Role of Presuppositions in Thought (2)

The Impossibility of Neutrality. Everyone holds to presuppositions. No one operates—or even can operate— from a vacuum. We simply do not think or behave “out of the blue.” It is impossible to think and live as if we were aliens having just arrived in this world from a radically different universe, totally devoid of all knowledge of this world, absolutely objective and utterly un-predisposed to ideas about truth: People behave in terms of a basic world-and-life view which implements their conceptions regarding truth. Continue reading

WORLDVIEW APOLOGETICS (1)

PMW 2020-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

God calls upon Christians to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15). As we obey him we must defend the faith in such a way that it “sanctifies the Lord” in our hearts. We must defend the faith from a position of faith. Too many defenses of the faith cede the method of approach to the unbeliever and end up “proving” at best the possibility that a god exists — not the certainty that the God of Scripture exists.

In this four-part series, we will see how we may do this. Continue reading

MORE ON THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION

PMW 2020-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Over the past few months I have written several articles on the disciples’ questions to Jesus in Matthew 24:3. Their two questions are: “Tell us, [1] when will these things happen, and [2] what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Thus, their two questions are asking “when” (Gk. pote) and “what” (Gk. ti). Understanding their questions and their state-of-mind is important for us if we ourselves want to understand the Olivet Discourse (known in academia as the “Eschatological Discourse”).

In those earlier articles I pointed out that the disciples were frequently confused at Jesus’ teaching, which often caused them to misunderstand it. I noted that their tendency to confusion explains why they ask him about his “coming [Gk.: parousia] and the end of the age [Gk.: sunteleias tou aiōnos],” when he prophesies the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2). They obviously assumed that the temple’s destruction would occur at his Second Advent at the end of history. And they were mistaken in this Jew-centric supposition. Continue reading