By Jay Rogers
Published April 27, 2008
We need to be careful when interpreting Revelation in such as way that we use all scriptural language to interpret the symbolism of this book. The original readers of Revelation (the seven churches of Asia Minor) probably did not have access to all three texts of the “little apocalypse” found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 or Luke 21.
I am taking the preterist view that Revelation was written during the reign of Nero in the persecution of Christians that lasted from 64 to 67 AD. However, the churches of Asia Minor had heard at least one or more Gospel accounts — oral or written — and were aware of Jesus’ teaching on the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. It is much more likely that the hearers immediately thought of Daniel’s prophecy, then they did Jesus’ Mount Olivet Discourse. Because the book of Revelation is a letter directed at specific churches, the readers must have had some background information to interpret the symbols. The primary meaning of Revelation is what John intended its hearers to understand it to mean. And to understand that primary meaning, we need to look first at Daniel.
This is one reason why I find it unlikely that the application of John’s Revelation had much to do with events outside of the first century. While Daniel’s prophecy was sealed up until the last days, the meaning of John’s prophecy is revealed (hence the title: Apocalypse or Revelation). Daniel’s prophecy was written and then sealed. Even Daniel did not understand everything he wrote. John’s prophecy was written to seven living churches. The hearers were expected to “understand.” The hearers were expected to “count the number of the beast” — and so on. John’s prophecy was unsealed and there is no indication that John or his hearers would not understand what Revelation was about.
While some preterists have found a lot of parallels between the Mount Olivet Discourse and Revelation, I think it makes much more sense to first recognize John’s use of images from prophecies such as Daniel, Ezekiel and other books of the Old Testament. Once we have done that, then it is also good to see how these same images line up with the Jesus’ Mount Olivet Discourse, whose hearers were also familiar with the Hebrew scriptures. Revelation was written primarily with the Old Testament scriptures in mind. While there is not always a perfect correspondence between the two, the symbols and images are consistent.
We also need to be aware that there are static and fluid images within the prophecy. For instance, the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5) turns out to be Christ. There is only one lion in Revelation; but this image also appears in Genesis. The dragon is Satan; just as the serpent is the devil in Genesis. These images are static. The woman in chapter 12 is a virgin; but the woman in chapter 17 is a whore. This image is fluid.
For the most part, with only a few exceptions, if a symbol is found in the Old Testament, we can assume that John meant it to represent the same thing in his prophecy. If there is a large degree of correspondence between the beasts of Daniel and the Beast of Revelation, then we should use this correspondence in our interpretation. It is important to gain a full understanding of Old Testament parallel passages before locking into a static interpretation of the images in Revelation.
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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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