PMW 2021-036 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Evangelical laymen love to hear about the book of Revelation. Unfortunately, they tend to approach it as if it were a child’s toy. Many of contemporary dispensationalism’s best-sellers focus on Revelation. In a childish, shallow way.
We must recognize that even the trained, diligent scholar must approach Revelation with extreme caution, humbly recognizing that he is opening a book that has perplexed the finest minds and confounded the most godly saints throughout Christian history.
Gaius of Rome (d. 296) laments that “having formed an idea of it as a composition exceeding my capacity of understanding, I regard it as containing a kind of hidden and wonderful intelligence on the several subjects which come under it. For though I cannot comprehend it, I still suspect that there is some deeper sense underlying the words. And I do not measure and judge its expressions by the standard of my own reason, but, making more allowance for faith, I have simply regarded them as too lofty for my comprehension; and I do not forthwith reject what I do not understand, but I am only the more filled with wonder at it, in that I have not been able to discern its import” (Dion., Works 1:1:3). Continue reading
PMW 2019-023 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Revelation 13:1–2 we are introduced to the beast from the sea who will play a prominent role in Revelation from this point forward: “I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”
We must understand the “first beast” in Rev 13 both generically and individually. This is not unusual in Scripture: Christ’s body is generic (the church) and specific (Jesus); Adam is generic (man) and specific (Adam). Generically the “beast” is Rome; individually it is Nero Caesar, the head of the Roman Empire of the day. Continue reading
PMT 2015-043 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Postmillennialism involves the whole system of biblical doctrine. In the basic Christian philosophy of history, eschatology is a key plank. In my last blog article I began a brief overview of the basic elements of the Christian view of history. In that article I focused on the basic doctrine of God. I will now complete my overview by considering the remaining elements.
All of reality derives from a personal, moral, sovereign being. The Christian’s creational viewpoint puts man under God and over nature (Ge 1:26–27; Ps 8). It imparts transcendent meaning to temporal history and sets before man a high calling. Continue reading
PMT 2014-088 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Rev 13:11 we see a beast “coming up out of the earth” in order to serve the beast from the sea (which is Rome). I argue that we might better translate the beast from “the earth” as the beast from “the Land,” i.e., the Promised Land, Israel. Specifically I hold that this Land Beast refers to the high-priestly aristocracy of Israel (as I have argued elsewhere).
But in Rev 13:13 we read of a remarkable action of the Land Beast: “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men” (Rev 13:13). What is going on here? How is this relevant to the first century high-priesthood? Continue reading
PMT 2014-087 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Rev 14:14–16 we find the following vision:
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
What is this harvest? Is it a negative image of judgment? Or is it a positive image of something else? The next vision of the grape harvest is certainly one of judgment (Rev 14:17–20). Continue reading
PMT 2014-085 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Rev 21:1 an unusual statement appears at the coming of the new heavens and earth: “and there is no longer any sea.” Commentators have long debated the meaning of the absence of the sea (thalassa) in this text. Is this literal? And if it is literal, why would the sea not be part of the consummate order? Or is it metaphorical? And if so, of what is it a metaphor? Continue reading
PMT 2014-046 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Revelation is a book as fascinating as it is difficult. Unfortunately, it is made more difficult by approaching it in the wrong way and viewing it through out-of-focus lenses. In our day the naive dispensational view is the dominant evangelical approach to eschatology — despite its many and continuing failed predictions of the date of the rapture and its erroneous identitifying of the Antichrist.
So many Christians have been raised in this system that they cannot even understand any other approach. This makes reasoning with them extremely difficult. In fact, reasoning with a populist dispensationalist is a lot like saddling a cow: It is a whole lot of work and there is not much point in it. Continue reading