Jason Hommel recently reported that Jack Van Impe has ‘rethought’ his interpretation of the beast in Revelation. Evidently, the earlier interpretation that the 10 horned beast represented the resurrected “Roman empire” was disqualified after the EU expanded to 14 nations. Reverend Van Impe has come to the conclusion after ‘re thinking’ this, that a one world government would better describe the beast.
I am very happy to see that Reverend Van Impe has made it into this camp, but what is disturbing, again, is the faulty hermeneutics used by many expositors, that lead to faulty conclusions, and ultimately, can disenchant the faithful. It seems that’s why the warnings in revelation about adding or changing the meanings are so strong:
For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book:
The problem with making such interpretations is that it makes the ‘fulfillment’ contingent upon the interpreter and his knowledge. When reading the Bible and using proper hermeneutics, the conclusions should be consistent, as gravity is when dropping an object. The conclusions I have been writing about are held by a great many people, and do not need my approval or interpretation, as God is not dependent on any one of us to do his will or get the word out.
The question most pertinent is “How do you know your interpretation is correct?” I tend to answer the question in this way: It is not my interpretation that is the issue; it is the hermeneutical process that is the issue. The Bible is 1/3 prophesy, and luckily for us, the majority of prophesy is fulfilled. With the fulfillment of prophesy, we can ascertain the methodology of fulfillment (hermeneutics) and apply this to unfulfilled prophesy. For instance, God is unchangeable, and his laws are forever. So when someone makes a claim such as: “That’s the old way of looking at it, we are in a new age with different rules” they are in error due to the fact they are contradicting a tenet of God.
Using this same example, one then could conclude accurately, that if God condemns the murder of the innocent, then we are morally obligated to defend the innocent, and are accountable to God if we choose to not act on what we know to be true. We are taking principles that are as sure as gravity and successfully applying them to a situation. This then will result in accurately seeing the conclusion of the issue, or ‘looking into the future’. Because God’s word is conveyed in the simplest of terms, it does not take a ‘doctor’ of the church or others, to apply the basic tenets of the Bible to everyday life.
In the case of prophesy, the Bible overwhelmingly demonstrates that God fulfills what he promises EXACTLY as he predicts, and with precise timing. Jesus died at the same moment the paschal lamb was sacrificed in the temple, thus fulfilling to the moment, Christ’s role as ‘the Lamb of God’. There is no ambiguity or question about this, as it is a matter of historical record, as well as recorded in the Gospels. As in this example (along with many others), God is very intricate in following the details of his prophecies, and leaves nothing to chance. So, when one makes claims to have had a ‘prophecy’ or seems to come up with a differing account of revelation, total fulfillment is the criteria for it to be from God.
Now, there is a distinct difference between application of God’s laws, and using proper hermeneutics to interpret scripture, versus a direct revelation from God, or making claims to have the ‘inside track’ to a particular interpretation. Like the example of gravity, one can successfully predict the outcome of someone jumping off a building (hitting the ground at a high rate of speed), but cannot predict whether the person would die, or when they will do it. Likewise, understanding Revelation and its 14 events can be clearly understood by properly studying and following proper hermeneutics, but one cannot predict when it will start or many of the nuances of the trumpets and bowls.
Following hermeneutically sound interpretations of scripture will result in an ‘anti’ sensationalist view of the scripture. When seeing that prophetic events happen in the order written, in the timeframe given, and fulfilled as written, there is no need to speculate, or ‘sensationalize’ the events. It may take the fun and excitement out of prophesying, but the purpose of prophecy is to warn and prepare believers for God’s actions. If there is too much speculation and unfulfilled ‘prophesy’ then people’s faith can be shaken, and they will not be prepared when the ‘real deal’ takes place.
Revelation will occur, and will happen the way it is written, and in the order it is written. When this will happen is anyone’s guess, but one needs to understand the basics of the prophesy, and what to do to prepare oneself for such events. I have known too many people who put their lives on hold, believing Revelation was imminent, only to have missed out on many wonderful opportunities in life, and some had become bitter as a result. God does not desire for us to become bitter and disenchanted over his word, and worrying about matters that may not apply to our life span.
I constantly tell people I hope Revelation does not happen in my life time, and I try to live the most optimistic life possible. However, I also believe one cannot ignore the times we are in, the ‘quickening’ of world events and some sinister happenings that will need some sort of resolution, no matter where we happen to be in the prophetic timeline. This is why it is so important to be the ‘hands and feet” of God and to continue the good fight until Jesus comes again, or until death takes us to him.