When one takes the time to study the whole Bible and begins to consider matters, especially prophecy, it should become apparent in short order that the majority of prophecy in the Bible is fulfilled. The reason I use the word should, is there are many instances in which the so called apparent is not apparent at all to the readers, or ‘experts’ at the time. One glaring example of this is the Magi’s request of the Jewish ‘experts’ to give the location of the Christ. The Jewish experts tell the Magi to go to Bethlehem, but don’t bother to check it out for themselves, thus demonstrating how even the ‘experts’ can miss a glaringly obvious fulfillment.
Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled throughout the ages and has ALWAYS MET these two qualifications: The prophecy is fulfilled in its totality as written, and in the order given. This is the universal template one must use to even BEGIN to speak with any legitimate authority on the matter. This method requires scrutiny to the tiniest detail, and the second there is any discrepancy in the matter, it is scripture that takes precedent over whatever event is being considered. It is in this way that ALL of the prognostications pertaining to the ‘start’ of revelation, and ‘appearance’ of the mark are false.
I was stunned by comments made by Jerry Jenkins, one of the co-authors of the ‘left behind’ series. My wife and I were watching a program on prophecy, and Mr. Jenkins made this remarkable statement concerning our current times and Revelation: “Historically, Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled in its entirety, so I don’t understand what God is doing differently, as it seems things are happening out of order”. Mr. Jenkins is dead on accurate with the first part of his statement, but unfortunately is demonstrating the propensity of sensationalism with the second believing that God has made an ‘exception’ with revelation, and decided to break with the way He does business, and ‘shake’ things up. The truth of the matter is that Revelation is not being fulfilled, and we cannot take the trumpets and bowls out of order. It is not God that has changed; it is our insistence that we are seeing trumpets and bowls out of the written order that is causing confusion.
This is why the vast majority of expositors do not have it right, and why so many people are getting frustrated with the whole aspect of prophecy to begin with. The more bad hermeneutical processes are used, the further off most of these people are, and the average person sees how these predictions come to naught, and begin to lose faith in both prophecy and in God. We are seeing a significant amount of indifference and apathy concerning these matters, as people have huge doubts about the validity of scripture in general, and Revelation in particular when time and time again, ‘authoritative’ figures boldly proclaim revelation is here or ready to commence, only to be proven wrong in real time.
Proper hermeneutics is the antithesis of sensationalism, and when applied properly to scripture and prophecy, paint a clear picture in which an individual can come to understand what is happening and why it has to happen. It also becomes rather easy to disprove assertions not grounded in solid methodological application of hermeneutics (which is the vast majority of claims). Revelation is a one-time event, and is the book end of the cannon of Scripture. Like the first advent of the Christ (which could have been fulfilled by only one man that has ever existed) Revelation must fulfill the exact requirements written, and must occur in the exact order as written, or it is not fulfilled. Period, end of story. ANY OTHER CLAIM OR EXCEPTIONS TO THIS IS FALSE.
Finally, one must understand the hermeneutical methods used in reading the book of Revelation successfully. For anyone who read my earlier posting of what hermeneutics is, I will review it quickly here. The four structures used in interpreting scriptures are: 1) literal, reading scriptures as is, 2) allegorical, scripture utilizing symbols that are then interpreted in other texts, 3) moral, such as law, traditions and parables, and 4) eschatological/mystical, which touch upon matters such as salvation, heaven, hell, judgment and the end of time. Revelation uses the first two methods only, as the rest of scripture covers all of God’s moral teachings, and Revelation is a FULFILLMENT of eschatology.
When using the literal and allegorical methods of hermeneutics, Revelation becomes much easier to understand, and more importantly, allows the common believer to understand the story without needing an ‘expert’ to interpret the book for them. God’s whole plan of salvation requires an individual make a choice, and this can only be done if the individual understand the choice they need to make. Revelation can be understood by ANYONE WILLING TO TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN ABOUT IT. That is God’s promise to anyone reading, contemplating and praying over the book of revelation. The good news is it does not take a middle man to make this happen. Just someone with an open mind and a willing and searching heart.