Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins by William Blake (1822)
This is the latest
book I’ve finished about the book of Revelation
and the end times.
I’ve heard so much about different view
points I was glad to come across a book that categorizes and defines each view
This book takes the entire book
of Revelation and outlines each verse and step by step gives each view’s
interpretation of that piece of scripture.
into the actual book of Revelation, the editor gives a historical background, the years people believe the book was written, and why John the Apostle is the author. He also analyzes its structure as to how the
different prophecies were grouped and the order in which they were revealed.
The next section describes each end time interpretation.
viewpoints included are: Historicist, Preterist,
Futurist, and Spiritual Approach
Revelation surveys the whole of church history. It aligns specific historic events with
certain details in Revelation.
Those who teach
this approach today are rare but Gregg includes it in this volume because it
survives today in most of the classic commentaries of the past centuries. Historicists of the past include: John Wycliffe, John Knox, William Tyndale, Martin
Luther, John Foxe, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and C.H. Spurgeon.
believe that God revealed the entire church age in advance through the symbolic
visions of the apocalypse.
the breaking of the seven seals (chap 6-7) is often said to be the barbarian
invasions that sacked the Western Roman Empire
The Scorpion/locusts that come out of the
bottomless pit (ch 9) are the Arab hordes attacking the eastern Roman Empire
beast” (ch. 13) represents the Roman papacy.
(From the Introduction.)
fulfillment is in the past, shortly after the time of writing. There are two types of Preterism.
The first type of
Preterists are also called Contemporary-Historical. They are also called hyper or full Preterists- and are not Preterists in
the evangelical sense.
They believe that
contemporary elements of John’s own day can be identified in the symbolic
language he uses.
They do not believe in
any actual fulfillment in ensuing events of the things prophesied in the
They believe the date of
writing to be during the Roman Emperor Domitian’s reign (A.D. 95-96).
In contrast, Classical Preterism believes in the infallibility of Scripture and dates the Book of Revelation prior to A.D. 70.
Classical Preterists-also known as partial Preterists- point out many details in Revelation
that they believe were fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem, and see in later
chapters the prediction of the fall of Rome and beyond to the second coming of
favorable to the early-date Preterist approach is that the prophecies of
Revelation exhibit many points of correspondence with the fall of Jerusalem
as recorded by the eyewitness historian Flavius Josephus
Since Josephus was not a Christian and
probably never read the book of Revelation, these correspondences seem
to bolster the credibility of this interpretation.
The Futurist approach:
Everything after chapter three awaits fulfillment in the future.
approach is primarily a literal interpretation of Scripture.
Most futurists believe in a dispensationalist
point of view.
They believe a world leader will
arise, seeming to bring peace but will eventually turn out to be a world
He will seem to help the Jews
rebuild the temple but will then set himself up as the object of worship (the
Abomination of Desolation
who sits on the throne).
He will demand
that everyone comply and worship him and carry his mark on his arm or forehead.
Those that don’t won’t be able to keep jobs
or buy or sell anything, including food.
There will be a seven years’ tribulation followed by the return of
Christ where He will destroy this antichrist Beast
and will Himself reign from Jerusalem
for one thousand
years with all the believers.
At the end there
will be one final battle with the enemies of God before they (the enemies) are
completely destroyed and thrown into the lake of fire, along with Hell and
death. (Revelation 20:14)
No single fulfillment: only transcendent principles and recurrent themes.
Spritiual appraoch includes all approaches that do not look for individual fullfillments of the prophecies of Revelation but which believe only that spiritual lessons and principles are depicted sympbolically in the visions. There are many spiritualists who hold Scripture to be inspired and that John had visions revealed to him exactly as he claims, but who believe that their meaning is to be spiritually understood in a way that would be edifying to believers of any age.
To give one example of the four different approaches I’ll
write out one excerpt of Revelation followed by the different viewpoints. The following are all direct quotes from pg.202-207:
I saw still
another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head; his face was
like this sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his
left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered
their voices. Now when the seven
thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from
heaven saying to me, “Seal up he things which the seven thunders uttered, and
do not write them.
fell to the barbarians in 476, as signified in the
first four seals, the power of the papacy arose in its place in Western Europe
The peoples and the system that sustained their authority became
In fact, they became
antichrist, the principal opponent of the pure faith of Christ in Europe
The rise of the
papacy has not been mentioned in Revelation until this point. The fall of the eastern empire in the sixth
trumpet now turns our attention back to developments in the west. The prophecies of chapters 10 and 11:1-5 are
about the Reformation period in the early 16th century. This follows
naturally the identification of the second woe with the fall of the Byzantine
(Greek) Empire in 1453.
mighty angel is, no doubt, Jesus Himself.
His face shining like the sun is a feature mentioned in the vision of
the first chapter.
The rainbow, which is
now on his head, was seen around the throne of God in revelation.
The second prophecy, contained in chapters
13-19 concerns the fall of Rome
, as the first was
concerned with the fall of Jerusalem
The things uttered by the seven thunders could have been too horrible to record
or it could have been for John’s ears only.
descending angel is thought to be by some Christ Himself, The little book in the
angels hand is interpreted as representing the authority given to the angel to
fulfill his mission. The sealing up of
the prophecy illustrates a divine principle that while God has revealed much,
there are secrets which God has not seen fit to reveal to man at this
Spiritual: The mighty
angel who appears here is either Christ Himself or a special envoy of Christ
bearing a striking resemblance to him.
This angel has a message for the whole world, indicated by his having a
foot on the land and a foot on the sea...the seven thunders represents the
voice of the Lord. The sealing of the
seven thunders, leaving them unwritten, suggest that the whole counsel of God
has not been revealed or that never shall we be able to know and to describe
all the factors and agencies that determine the future.
I’m someone who likes to be clear on different positions and
I found this book fascinating, not the least of which of how I could see the
different viewpoints not necessarily contradicting each other but rather
complementing different aspects. I could
see how scripture could apply to the people of John’s time period but also how
they apply to us today. I saw how
certain things could be taken as meaning certain epochs in history as well as
historical figures but also how it could mean actual times in the future as
well as spiritual principals that could be applied everyday.
I don’t know why
God wrote Revelation the way He did but one thing I do know:
how we should live our lives and be prepared
to watch the signs and times is very clear.
Like the wise virgins, we better have enough oil in our lamps to keep
them burning. (Matthew 25:1-13)
The Second Coming by John MacArthur
The False Prophet by Ellis Skofield
The Harbinger by Johnathon Cahn
The Apocalypse Code by Hank Hanegraaff
What is the abomination of desolation