Heaven, Hell and the ability to reason

We are a nation that is blessed with education; one where most of us can read and write.  A good portion of us even have degrees beyond that of High School.  This is great, but it is NOT EVERYTHING!!!  Have you ever known someone who was so smart they were stupid?  For the vast majority of us, the answer would be a resounding YES!!!  Doubt that?  Then I have to ask you why the TV show "The Big Bang Theory" is so popular? So, we come to the picture above and then to the scriptures...

Isaiah, Chapter 30
 6 The burden of the animals of the South. Through the land of trouble and anguish, of the lioness and the lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they carry their riches on the shoulders of young donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to an unprofitable people.  7 For Egypt helps in vain, and to no purpose; therefore have I called her Rahab who sits still.  8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.  9 For it is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of Yahweh;  10 who tell the seers, “Don’t see!” and to the prophets, “Don’t prophesy to us right things. Tell us pleasant things. Prophesy deceits.  11 Get out of the way. Turn aside from the path. Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”  12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on it;  13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly in an instant.  14 He will break it as a potter’s vessel is broken, breaking it in pieces without sparing, so that there won’t be found among the broken piece a piece good enough to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.”  15 For thus said the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, “You will be saved in returning and rest. Your strength will be in quietness and in confidence.” You refused,  16 but you said, “No, for we will flee on horses;” therefore you will flee; and, “We will ride on the swift;” therefore those who pursue you will be swift.  17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill.  18 Therefore Yahweh will wait, that he may be gracious to you; and therefore he will be exalted, that he may have mercy on you, for Yahweh is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him.  19 For the people will dwell in Zion at Jerusalem. You will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the voice of your cry. When he hears you, he will answer you.  20 Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers won’t be hidden anymore, but your eyes will see your teachers;  21 and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.”  22 You shall defile the overlaying of your engraved images of silver, and the plating of your molten images of gold. You shall cast them away as an unclean thing. You shall tell it, “Go away!”  23 He will give the rain for your seed, with which you will sow the ground; and bread of the increase of the ground will be rich and plentiful. In that day, your livestock will feed in large pastures.  24 The oxen likewise and the young donkeys that till the ground will eat savory provender, which has been winnowed with the shovel and with the fork. 25 There shall be brooks and streams of water on every lofty mountain and on every high hill in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.  26 Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, in the day that Yahweh binds up the fracture of his people, and heals the wound they were struck with.

  27 Behold, the name of Yahweh comes from far away, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke. His lips are full of indignation, and his tongue is as a devouring fire.  28 His breath is as an overflowing stream that reaches even to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction; and a bridle that leads to ruin will be in the jaws of the peoples.  29 You will have a song, as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a flute to come to Yahweh’s mountain, to Israel’s Rock.  30 Yahweh will cause his glorious voice to be heard, and will show the descent of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and the flame of a devouring fire, with a blast, storm, and hailstones. 31 For through the voice of Yahweh the Assyrian will be dismayed. He will strike him with his rod.  32 Every stroke of the rod of punishment, which Yahweh will lay on him, will be with the sound of tambourines and harps. He will fight with them in battles, brandishing weapons.  33 For his burning place has long been ready. Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made its pyre deep and large with fire and much wood. Yahweh’s breath, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

Revelation, Chapter 21
 1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.  2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.  3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”

  5 He who sits on the throne said, 
"“Behold, I am making all things new.”" He said, "“Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.”"  6 He said to me, "“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life.  7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.  8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”"

The reasoning of the picture sounds very plausible, doesn't it?  Yet, the person who compiled this is as ignorant as ignorant can be!!!  How can I say this?  Well, consider this... These are two different books of the Bible, separated by several hundred years, written to two different audiences, with two completely different contexts.  They were never meant to be used together and both use symbolic language. If you read either of these books literally-- you have missed the point!!!  Quotations from the Bible should be understood in light of their immediate context and type of language (literal or figurative), the overall meaning of the book and THEN the Bible in general.  That is just how it is done with communication.  If one is going to reason from the Bible, then use basic Bible methods of understanding (fancy word is Hermeneutics).  Scientific methods are great, but to use them as the basis of understanding for something that is not primarily based on human science is to reveal the critic's obvious bias.  Just because someone is educated does NOT make them RIGHT!!!!  The immediate context of the Isaiah passage denotes blessing (see the underlined), whereas the fate of sinners refers to punishment.  Also, to equate the temperatures of the old things (now) to that of a new heaven and Earth (future) is nonsense.  New means new, which is different from the old.  Remember, just because something sounds right, doesn't mean it IS RIGHT!!!  Even Satan can quote Scripture...

Matthew, Chapter 4
 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  2 When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward.  3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

  4 But he answered, 
"“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”"

  5 Then the devil took him into the holy city. He set him on the pinnacle of the temple,  6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you.’ and,

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.’”

  7 Jesus said to him, "“Again, it is written, ‘You shall not test the Lord, your God.’”"

  8 Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.  9 He said to him, “I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.”

  10 Then Jesus said to him, "“Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”"

  11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and served him.  

Bible Reading, Nov 4

Nov. 4
Isaiah 33-36

Isa 33:1 Woe to you who destroy, but you weren't destroyed; and who betray, but nobody betrayed you! When you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed; and when you have made an end of betrayal, you will be betrayed.
Isa 33:2 Yahweh, be gracious to us. We have waited for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.
Isa 33:3 At the noise of the thunder, the peoples have fled. When you lift yourself up, the nations are scattered.
Isa 33:4 Your spoil will be gathered as the caterpillar gathers. Men will leap on it as locusts leap.
Isa 33:5 Yahweh is exalted, for he dwells on high. He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
Isa 33:6 There will be stability in your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of Yahweh is your treasure.
Isa 33:7 Behold, their valiant ones cry outside; the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly.
Isa 33:8 The highways are desolate. The traveling man ceases. The covenant is broken. He has despised the cities. He doesn't regard man.
Isa 33:9 The land mourns and languishes. Lebanon is confounded and withers away. Sharon is like a desert, and Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare.
Isa 33:10 "Now I will arise," says Yahweh; "Now I will lift myself up. Now I will be exalted.
Isa 33:11 You will conceive chaff. You will bring forth stubble. Your breath is a fire that will devour you.
Isa 33:12 The peoples will be like the burning of lime, like thorns that are cut down and burned in the fire.
Isa 33:13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and, you who are near, acknowledge my might."
Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless ones. Who among us can live with the devouring fire? Who among us can live with everlasting burning?
Isa 33:15 He who walks righteously, and speaks blamelessly; He who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing to take a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from looking at evil--
Isa 33:16 he will dwell on high. His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. His bread will be supplied. His waters will be sure.
Isa 33:17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty. They will see a distant land.
Isa 33:18 Your heart will meditate on the terror. Where is he who counted? Where is he who weighed? Where is he who counted the towers?
Isa 33:19 You will no longer see the fierce people, a people of a deep speech that you can't comprehend, with a strange language that you can't understand.
Isa 33:20 Look at Zion, the city of our appointed festivals. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tent that won't be removed. Its stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken.
Isa 33:21 But there Yahweh will be with us in majesty, a place of broad rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars will go, neither will any gallant ship pass by there.
Isa 33:22 For Yahweh is our judge. Yahweh is our lawgiver. Yahweh is our king. He will save us.
Isa 33:23 Your rigging is untied. They couldn't strengthen the foot of their mast. They couldn't spread the sail. Then the prey of a great spoil was divided. The lame took the prey.
Isa 33:24 The inhabitant won't say, "I am sick." The people who dwell therein will be forgiven their iniquity.

Isa 34:1 Come near, you nations, to hear! Listen, you peoples. Let the earth and all it contains hear; the world, and everything that comes from it.
Isa 34:2 For Yahweh is enraged against all the nations, and angry with all their armies. He has utterly destroyed them. He has given them over for slaughter.
Isa 34:3 Their slain will also be cast out, and the stench of their dead bodies will come up; and the mountains will melt in their blood.
Isa 34:4 All of the army of the sky will be dissolved. The sky will be rolled up like a scroll, and all its armies will fade away, as a leaf fades from off a vine or a fig tree.
Isa 34:5 For my sword has drunk its fill in the sky. Behold, it will come down on Edom, and on the people of my curse, for judgment.
Isa 34:6 Yahweh's sword is filled with blood. It is covered with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Isa 34:7 The wild oxen will come down with them, and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; and their land will be drunken with blood, and their dust made greasy with fat.
Isa 34:8 For Yahweh has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
Isa 34:9 Its streams will be turned into pitch, its dust into sulfur, And its land will become burning pitch.
Isa 34:10 It won't be quenched night nor day. Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation, it will lie waste. No one will pass through it forever and ever.
Isa 34:11 But the pelican and the porcupine will possess it. The owl and the raven will dwell in it. He will stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.
Isa 34:12 They shall call its nobles to the kingdom, but none shall be there; and all its princes shall be nothing.
Isa 34:13 Thorns will come up in its palaces, nettles and thistles in its fortresses; and it will be a habitation of jackals, a court for ostriches.
Isa 34:14 The wild animals of the desert will meet with the wolves, and the wild goat will cry to his fellow. Yes, the night creature shall settle there, and shall find herself a place of rest.
Isa 34:15 The arrow snake will make her nest there, and lay, hatch, and gather under her shade. Yes, the kites will be gathered there, every one with her mate.
Isa 34:16 Search in the book of Yahweh, and read: not one of these will be missing. none will lack her mate. For my mouth has commanded, and his Spirit has gathered them.
Isa 34:17 He has cast the lot for them, and his hand has divided it to them with a measuring line. They shall possess it forever. From generation to generation they will dwell in it.

Isa 35:1 The wilderness and the dry land will be glad. The desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose.
Isa 35:2 It will blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing. Lebanon's glory Lebanon will be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They will see Yahweh's glory, the excellence of our God.
Isa 35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Isa 35:4 Tell those who have a fearful heart, "Be strong. Don't be afraid. Behold, your God will come with vengeance, God's retribution. He will come and save you.
Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Isa 35:6 Then the lame man will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing; for waters will break out in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
Isa 35:7 The burning sand will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water. Grass with reeds and rushes will be in the habitation of jackals, where they lay.
Isa 35:8 A highway will be there, a road, and it will be called The Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it will be for those who walk in the Way. Wicked fools will not go there.
Isa 35:9 No lion will be there, nor will any ravenous animal go up on it. They will not be found there; but the redeemed will walk there.
Isa 35:10 The Yahweh's ransomed ones will return, and come with singing to Zion; and everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."

Isa 36:1 Now it happened in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all of the fortified cities of Judah, and captured them.
Isa 36:2 The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to king Hezekiah with a large army. He stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool in the fuller's field highway.
Isa 36:3 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder came out to him.
Isa 36:4 Rabshakeh said to them, "Now tell Hezekiah, 'Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, "What confidence is this in which you trust?
Isa 36:5 I say that your counsel and strength for the war are only vain words. Now in whom do you trust, that you have rebelled against me?
Isa 36:6 Behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised reed, even in Egypt, which if a man leans on it, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.
Isa 36:7 But if you tell me, 'We trust in Yahweh our God,' isn't that he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'You shall worship before this altar?' "
Isa 36:8 Now therefore, please make a pledge to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.
Isa 36:9 How then can you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
Isa 36:10 Have I come up now without Yahweh against this land to destroy it? Yahweh said to me, "Go up against this land, and destroy it." ' "
Isa 36:11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; and don't speak to us in the Jews' language in the hearing of the people who are on the wall."
Isa 36:12 But Rabshakeh said, "Has my master sent me only to your master and to you, to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you?"
Isa 36:13 Then Rabshakeh stood, and called out with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and said, "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!
Isa 36:14 Thus says the king, 'Don't let Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to deliver you.
Isa 36:15 Don't let Hezekiah make you trust in Yahweh, saying, "Yahweh will surely deliver us. This city won't be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." '
Isa 36:16 Don't listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria, 'Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and each of you eat from his vine, and each one from his fig tree, and each one of you drink the waters of his own cistern;
Isa 36:17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
Isa 36:18 Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, "Yahweh will deliver us." Have any of the gods of the nations delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria?
Isa 36:19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria from my hand?
Isa 36:20 Who are they among all the gods of these countries that have delivered their country out of my hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?' "
Isa 36:21 But they remained silent, and said nothing in reply, for the king's commandment was, "Don't answer him."
Isa 36:22 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.

Nov. 4
1 Timothy 4

1Ti 4:1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,
1Ti 4:2 through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;
1Ti 4:3 forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving.
1Ti 4:5 For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.
1Ti 4:6 If you instruct the brothers of these things, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which you have followed.
1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables. Exercise yourself toward godliness.
1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come.
1Ti 4:9 This saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance.
1Ti 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
1Ti 4:11 Command and teach these things.
1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.
1Ti 4:13 Until I come, pay attention to reading, to exhortation, and to teaching.
1Ti 4:14 Don't neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders.
1Ti 4:15 Be diligent in these things. Give yourself wholly to them, that your progress may be revealed to all.
1Ti 4:16 Pay attention to yourself, and to your teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Revelation, Introduction, Mark Copeland

                        "THE BOOK OF REVELATION"


AUTHOR:  John, identified as one "who bore witness to the word of God,
and to the testimony of Jesus Christ" (1:1-2).  While debated by some,
he was most likely the apostle John, brother of James, and author of
the gospel of John and three epistles.  His authorship of this book is
supported by the testimony of Justin Martyr (165 A.D.), Clement of
Alexandria (220 A.D.), Hippolytus (236 A.D.), and Origen (254 A.D.).

THE UNIQUE NATURE OF THE BOOK:  Revelation is certainly different from
other books of the New Testament.  It is also very different from any
kind of writing that is familiar to most people today.  Unfortunately,
this has caused some people to shy away from the book; or on the other
hand, to misuse it in propagating wild and fanciful theories.  Most
people conclude it is just too mysterious to understand.  But it was
actually written to make things clearer!  The word "revelation" in the
Greek is apokalupsis, which means "an uncovering" or "unveiling."  It
is therefore a book designed to uncover or unveil, not conceal.

Part of the challenge in understanding the book is that it is written
in a style not familiar to modern man.  It is an example of what is
called "apocalyptic literature" which was quite popular from 200 B.C.
to 200 A.D.  As such, it was a type of literature well known to the
Jews and Christians of the first century church.  Features of
apocalyptic literature include the use of highly symbolic or figurative
language (cf. "signified", 1:1).   It was normally written in times of
persecution, usually depicting the conflict between good and evil.

There are other examples of apocalyptic literature in the Bible.  In
the Old Testament, for example, the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and
Zechariah each contain elements of this style of writing.  In the New
Testament, Matthew 24 contains apocalyptic elements.

not have the problem understanding the book we do today.  They were
well acquainted with the style of apocalyptic literature.  They were
living at a time when the symbols of the book were likely familiar to
them (similar to how a picture of a donkey fighting an elephant would
be understood by us as depicting conflict between the Democratic and
Republican parties).  In fact, I believe the book was originally
intended to be understood by a casual hearing, as implied by the
opening beatitude:

   "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this
   prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for
   the time is near." (1:3)

This verse suggests a setting in which one is reading while others
listen.  The listeners were expected to understand enough to be blessed
by what they heard.

Our difficulty with this book is due to our unfamiliarity with
apocalyptic literature as a method of communicating a message.  We are
also far removed from the historical and cultural context of the times
which would make the symbolism easier to understand.  To properly
interpret the book, we must try to understand the historical context in
which it was written.  We must also interpret it in a manner that would
have been meaningful to those to whom it was first addressed.

DIFFERENT VIEWS OF INTERPRETATION:  Different views of interpreting the
book generally fall into four categories:

   The "preterist" view - The book refers to events that were fulfilled
   in the first century A.D., or shortly thereafter.  It was written
   primarily to encourage the original readers.  Its value for today
   would therefore be didactic (teaching the value of faithfulness to

   The "historicist" view - The book provides a panoramic view of the
   future of the church from as it goes through history.  This view
   finds in the book such events as the rise of Catholicism, Islam, the
   Protestant reformation, world wars, etc., ending with the return of
   Christ.  As such it would encourage Christians no matter when they

   The "futurist" view - Apart from the first few chapters, the book
   depicts events which immediately precede the second coming of
   Christ.  Therefore most of the book has yet to be fulfilled (or is
   being fulfilled now), and its value is primarily for Christians who
   will be living at the time Jesus returns.

   The "idealist" view - The book does not deal with any specific
   historical situation.  Instead, it is simply enforcing the principle
   that good will ultimately triumph over evil.  As such the book is
   applicable to any age.

PREFERRED METHOD OF INTERPRETATION:  I believe a proper interpretation
of the book incorporates some of all these views.  In my estimation,
the "preterist" view has the most merit for the following reasons:

   * The book was written specifically to seven churches in Asia
     (modern Turkey) - 1:4

   * Its purpose was to uncover or reveal "things which must shortly
     come to pass" - 1:1, 3; 22:6,10

   * John was told, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this
     book, for the time is at hand" - 22:10

Compare the last two points with Daniel 8:26, where Daniel was told to
"seal up" his vision, "for it refers to many days in the future".  Yet
we know that his vision was fulfilled within several hundred years.
John, however, was told "do not seal" what he had seen, "for the time
is at hand".  How could this be, if the bulk of Revelation refers to
what has yet to occur almost two thousands later?  This is a problem I
see with the "futurist" view, which places primary fulfillment of the
book thousands of years since its completion.

Place yourself in the position of those Christians in the churches of
Asia in the first century.  They were told that the things described in
the Revelation would "shortly come to pass", which should comfort them.
But according to the "futurist" view, it has been nearly 2000 years and
much of the book has yet to be fulfilled!  That would be like someone
today writing that something is soon coming to pass, when in reality it
will be 4000 A.D. before it does!  How would a book depicting events to
occur thousands of years in the future comfort those who were suffering
in the first century A.D.?

This is not to say there are no "futurist" elements in the book.  I
understand chapters 20-22 to deal with the ultimate destiny of the
redeemed, which would have been of great interest and comfort to the
Christians suffering in the first century.

My approach to the book, therefore, will be primarily from the
"preterist" viewpoint, with occasional elements from other viewpoints.

THE DATE OF THE BOOK:  Dating when the book was written is not without
controversy.  When one dates the book will certainly have a bearing
upon one's interpretation of the book, especially if one follows the
"preterist" view.  Two dates are usually proposed:

   * An "early date", around 64-68 A.D., during the reign of the Roman
     emperor, Nero.

   * A "late date", around 95-96 A.D., during the reign of emperor

The "external evidence" (evidence outside the book itself) is
inconclusive.  In support for the late date, appeal is often made to a
statement of Iraneaus who lived in the late 2nd century A.D.  His
statement is rather ambiguous, however, and can be understood in
several ways (see Redating The New Testament, by John A. T. Robinson,
for a detailed examination of Iraneaus' quotation).

In support of the early date, the Syriac version of the New Testament
(dating back to the 2nd century A.D.) says the book was written during
the reign of Nero.  The Muratorian Fragment (170-190 A.D.) and the
Monarchian Prologues (250-350 A.D.) claim that Paul wrote to seven
churches following the pattern of John's example in Revelation, placing
the book of Revelation even before some of the Pauline epistles (cf.
Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12; p. 406).

Because of the contradictory nature of the "external evidence", I place
more weight on the "internal evidence" (evidence from within the book
itself).  I believe the book itself supports a date of 70 A.D., before
the destruction of Jerusalem and during the reign of Vespasian.  This
evidence includes the following:

   * In 11:1-14 the temple, which was demolished in August of 70 A.D.,
     is still standing.  Advocates of the "late date" naturally
     understand this passage in a strictly figurative sense.  While
     somewhat figurative, the allusion to the crucifixion of our Lord
     (11:8) compel us to think of the historical Jerusalem (Philip

   * In 17:9-11, we find mention of EIGHT "kings".  If these "kings"
     are emperors of Rome, then starting with Augustus the first FIVE
     were:  Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero (who died
     June 9, 68 A.D.).  Nero's death left the empire in an uproar.
     This may be the "deadly wound" in 13:3,12,14.  Three men (Galba,
     Otho, and Vitellius) tried vainly to consolidate power over the
     empire, but it was Vespasian who restored order in 70 A.D.  Thus,
     the "deadly wound" was healed, and Vespasian would be the SIXTH
     "king" (or the "one is" in 17:10).  This would make Titus the
     SEVENTH emperor and Domitian the EIGHTH.

   * Notice carefully, that in 17:8,11 John was told that the beast
     "is not".  It "was", and "is about to come" (ASV), but at the time
     the Revelation was being given, the beast "IS NOT"!  If we
     understand (as I do) that the "beast" represents imperial Rome as
     personified in its emperors Nero and Domitian, then Revelation
     could NOT have been written during the reigns of either Nero or

   * The condition of persecution that had been experienced already by
     those in the book are similar to that mentioned by Peter.  He
     wrote to the Christians in Asia Minor also, just a few years
     before (cf. 1Pe 1:1).  They were undergoing persecution similar
     to that described in Re 2 & 3 (cf. 1Pe 1:6; 4:12; 5:9); i.e.,
     persecution by the Jews with the help of Roman authorities,
     something that had been going on since the days of Paul's first
     missionary journey.

Therefore I suggest that the internal evidence indicates that the
Revelation was given during the reign of VESPASIAN, the SIXTH emperor,
while the "beast is not".  This would place the date of the book around
the spring of 70 A.D. (as suggested by Philip Schaff, History Of The
Church, Vol. I).  A date between the death of Nero in 68 A.D. and the
fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was also favored by F. J. A. Hort, J. B.
Lightfoot, and B. F. Westcott (John A. T. Robinson, Redating The New
Testament, p. 224).

Referring to Philip Schaff, who at one time held the "late date", I find
his following quotation to be of interest:

   "The early date is best suited for the nature and object of the
   Apocalypse, and facilitates its historical understanding.  Christ
   pointed in his eschatological discourses to the destruction of
   Jerusalem and the preceding tribulation as the great crisis in
   the history of the theocracy and the type of the judgment of the
   world.  And there never was a more alarming state of society."

   "The horrors of the French Revolution were confined to one country,
   but the tribulation of the six years preceding the destruction of
   Jerusalem extended over the whole Roman empire and embraced wars
   and rebellions, frequent and unusual conflagrations, earthquakes
   and famines and plagues, and all sorts of public calamities and
   miseries untold.  It seemed, indeed, that the world, shaken to its
   very center, was coming to a close, and every Christian must have
   felt that the prophecies of Christ were being fulfilled before his

   "It was at this unique juncture in the history of mankind that St.
   John, with the consuming fire in Rome and the infernal spectacle
   of the Neronian persecution behind him, the terrors of the Jewish
   war and the Roman interregnum around him, and the catastrophe of
   Jerusalem and the Jewish theocracy before him, received those
   wonderful visions of the impending conflicts and final triumphs
   of the Christian church.  His was truly a book of the times and
   for the times, and administered to the persecuted brethren the one
   but all-sufficient consolation:  Maranatha!  Maranatha!"

               (History of The Christian Church, Vol. I, pp. 836-837)

THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK:  Its purpose is clearly stated at the
beginning and end of the book (cf. 1:1,3; 22:10,16):


In particular, it is a revelation from Christ Himself of the judgment to
come upon those who were persecuting His people (cf. 6:9-11; 16:5-7).
This judgment was directed especially toward two enemies:

   * "Babylon, the harlot" (cf. 17:6; 18;20,24; 19:2) - Many think the
     harlot is the city Rome, but I lean toward the view it was
     Jerusalem.  If so, then Revelation describes the fulfillment of
     Jesus' prophecy found in Mt 23:29-39; Lk 21:20-22.

   * The "beast" which supported the harlot (cf. 17:7-13) - I take the
     beast to be the Roman empire when led by her persecuting emperors
     (e.g., Nero, Domitian), which at first supported the "harlot" in
     her persecution of God's people, then turned on her (cf. the
     destruction of Jerusalem, 70 A.D.).

Again, I would suggest that the purpose of the book is to reveal how
Christ was going to bring judgment on Jerusalem and Rome for rejecting
God and persecuting His people.  This judgment occurred with the
destruction of Jerusalem in the fall of 70 A.D., and with the final
cessation of persecution by Rome in 313 A.D. when Constantine became an
emperor supportive of Christianity.  As stated by Philip Schaff:

   "Undoubtedly he had in view primarily the overthrow of Jerusalem
   and heathen Rome, the two great foes of Christianity at that time."

In fulfilling this purpose, the book is designed to warn and comfort.
For erring disciples, it is a book of warning ("repent" or else, cf.
2:5,16).  For faithful disciples, it is a book of comfort ("blessed"
are those who "overcome", cf. 1:3; 2:7; 3:21; 14:13; 22:14).

KEY VERSE:  Revelation 17:14

   "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome
   them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who
   are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."


   1. Introduction and benediction (1-3)
   2. Greetings to the seven churches of Asia (4-6)
   3. Announcement of Christ's coming (7)
   4. The Lord's self-designation (8)



      1. The church at Ephesus (2:1-7)
      2. The church at Smyrna (2:8-11)
      3. The church at Pergamos (2:12-17)
      4. The church at Thyatira (2:18-29)
      5. The church at Sardis (3:1-6)
      6. The church at Philadelphia (3:7-13)
      7. The church at Laodicea (3:14-22)

   C. THE THRONE SCENE (4:1-5:11)
      1. God on the throne (4:1-11)
      2. The Lamb worthy to open the seven-sealed scroll (5:1-14)

      1. First seal:  The white horse and its rider (6:1-2)
      2. Second seal:  The red horse and its rider (6:3-4)
      3. Third seal:  The black horse and its rider (6:5-6)
      4. Fourth seal:  The pale horse and its rider(s) (6:7-8)
      5. Fifth seal:  The martyrs under the altar (6:9-11)
      6. Sixth seal:  Cataclysmic disturbances (6:12-17)
      7. Interlude:  Sealing of the 144,000 on earth, and the great
         multitude in heaven (7:1-17)
      8. Seventh seal:  Silence in heaven (8:1)

      1. Seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets (8:2-6)
      2. First trumpet:  Third of vegetation destroyed (8:7)
      3. Second trumpet:  Third of sea creatures and ships destroyed
      4. Third trumpet:  Third of rivers and springs become bitter,
         many men die (8:10-11)
      5. Fourth trumpet:  Third of sun, moon, and stars struck,
         affecting day and night (8:12)
      6. Three-fold woe announced (8:13)
      7. Fifth trumpet (first woe):  Locusts from the bottomless pit,
         sent to torment men (9:1-12)
      8. Sixth trumpet (second woe):  Four angels with an army of two
         hundred million, killing a third of mankind (9:13-21)
      9. Another interlude (10:1-11:14)
         a. The angel with the little book (10:1-11)
         b. The two witnesses (11:1-13)
     10. Seventh trumpet (third woe):  The victory of Christ and His
         kingdom proclaimed (11:14-19)


   A. THE GREAT CONFLICT (12:1-14:20)
      1. The Woman, the Child, the Dragon, and the rest of the Woman's
         offspring (12:1-17)
      2. The beast from the sea (13:1-10)
      3. The beast from the land (13:11-18)
      4. The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion (14:1-5)
      5. Proclamations of three angels (14:6-13)
      6. Reaping the earth's harvest, and the grapes of wrath (14:

   B. THE SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATH (15:1-16:21)
      1. Prelude to pouring out the seven bowls of wrath (15:1-8)
      2. First bowl:  Sores on those who worshipped the beast and his
         image (16:1-2)
      3. Second bowl:  Sea turns to blood, all sea creatures die (16:3)
      4. Third bowl:  Rivers and springs turn to blood (16:4-7)
      5. Fourth bowl:  Men are scorched by the sun (16:8-9)
      6. Fifth bowl:  Pain and darkness upon the beast and his kingdom
      7. Sixth bowl:  Euphrates dried up, three unclean spirits gather
         the kingdoms of the earth for the battle at Armageddon (16:
      8. Seventh bowl:  Great earthquake, the great city divided,
         Babylon is remembered, cataclysmic events (16:17-21)

      1. The scarlet woman and the scarlet beast (17:1-6)
      2. The mystery of the woman and beast explained (17:7-18)
      3. The fall of Babylon the great proclaimed and mourned (18:1-24)
      4. The exaltation in heaven over the fall of the great harlot
      5. The announcement of the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:6-10)

      1. Christ the victorious warrior and King of kings (19:11-16)
      2. The beast, his armies, and the false prophet (land beast) are
         defeated (19:17-21)
      3. Satan is bound for a thousand years, while those martyred
         reign with Christ (20:1-6)
      4. Satan released to deceive the nations once more, but is
         finally defeated once for all (20:7-10)
      5. The final judgment (20:11-15)

      1. The new heaven and new earth, the New Jerusalem, God dwelling
         with His people (21:1-8)
      2. The New Jerusalem described (21:9-27)
      3. The water of life, the tree of life, and the throne of God and
         the Lamb (22:1-5)

CONCLUSION (22:6-21)
   1. The time is near, do not seal up the book (22:6-11)
   2. The testimony of Jesus, the Spirit, and the bride (22:12-17)
   3. Warning not to tamper with the book, and closing prayers (22:


1) What is this book called? (1:1)
   - The Revelation of Jesus Christ

2) Who is the author of this book?  (1:1-2)
   - John, who had born witness to the word of God and testimony of
     Jesus Christ

3) What is the meaning of the Greek word (apokalupsis) translated
   - An uncovering, an unveiling

4) What style of literature is the book of Revelation?
   - Apocalyptic literature

5) What are some of the typical features of such literature?
   - Highly symbolic; depicting conflict between good and evil

6) What is important to know to properly interpret the book?
   - The historical context in which it was written

7) What are the four major views of interpreting the book?
   - The preterist
   - The historicist
   - The futurist
   - The idealist

8) Which view is suggested in this introduction?
   - The preterist, with a little borrowed from the other views as well

9) What dates are usually suggested for the book?
   - An early date (64-68 A.D.), during the reign of Nero
   - A late date (95-96 A.D.), during the reign of Domitian

10) Which date is suggested in this introduction? (and by Schaff,
    McGuiggan, and others)
   - The spring of 70 A.D., during the reign of Vespasian

11) What is the purpose of the book? (1:13; 22:10,16)
   - To reveal things which must shortly come to pass

12) Who do I propose to be the two major enemies used by Satan as
    described in this book?
   - Jerusalem (i.e., Babylon, the harlot)
   - Rome (i.e., the beast which supported the harlot)

13) What is the key verse which summarizes the book?
   - Revelation 17:14


The Avenging Of The Apostles & Prophets, Arthur Ogden (Ogden
   Publications, 1985)

The Book Of Revelation, Jim McGuiggan (Montex, 1976)

The Book Of Revelation, Foy E. Wallace, Jr. (Wallace Publications,

History Of The Christian Church, Vol. I, Philip Schaff (Eerdmans, 1910,

Interpreting Revelation, Merill C. Tenney (Eerdmans, 1957)

The Lamb And His Enemies, Rubel Shelly (20th Century, 1985)

More Than Conquerors, William Hendricksen (Baker Book House, 1971)

Redating The New Testament, John A. T. Robertson (Westminster Press,

Revelation, Alan Johnson (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Zondervan,

Revelation, Leon Morris (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Eerdmans,

Revelation, Robert Harkrider (Truth Commentaries, Guardian Of Truth,

Revelation:  An Introduction And Commentary, Homer Hailey (Baker, 1979)

Worthy Is The Lamb, Ray Summers (Broadman Press, 1951)