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Apocalypse for Everyman

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Title: Apocalypse for Everyman


1
Apocalypse for Everyman
  • By Brother Alfred D. Norris
  • Summary presentation for Avon Bible Class
    presented by Brother Dean Brown, June 2007

2
Ground Rules same as last week
  • Description without cheerleading for or
    against. This applies to all of us. No arguing
    for or against tonight.
  • Simple framework and confusing details.
  • Questions about the basic description and basic
    logic are allowed, but not questions about
    details, otherwise well get bogged down.

3
1.1 Things which must shortly come to pass.
  • This presents all expositors of the Apocalypse
    with a problem. On any showing the ultimate
    purpose of the Book to lead us to the second
    coming of the Lord has not been fulfilled
    quickly. No doubt we are being told that the Lord
    will come without avoidable delay we may also be
    told that, when He does come He will come at
    lightning speed, "as the lightning from one end
    of the heaven shineth to the other part under
    heaven" (Luke 17.24).
  • The meaning may also be that the earliest events
    with which the Book opens are on the doorstep.

4
1.11 The seven congregations.
  • It has been suggested that these communities are
    typical of seven ages of our era, culminating in
    the time of the Lord Jesus' return. But there is
    absolutely nothing in the Book itself, beyond the
    general statement that it is designed to teach
    Jesus' servants about things to come, which would
    support this suggestion. Nor is there any such
    orderly regression from purity to apostacy as
    would make the suggestion probable.

5
on continuous-historic history
  • The plain fact is that many Bible-readers have
    been put off seeking to understand the Apocalypse
    because of the critical knowledge of history
    which it has appeared to demand and many others
    have been content to accept the view of the Book
    offered to them by respected leaders, learning
    the history if they learned it at all, in the
    form in which it was provided, and without either
    the time or the inclination to put it to critical
    test.
  • Note Historical criticisms by Brother J.B.
    Norris

6
6.1-8 The four horses
  • The CH interpretation assumed that each of the
    four horses had its own historical period,
    running consecutively and continuously and not
    overlapping. But this assumption is nowhere
    suggested by the text, and does not conform to
    other parts of Scripture.
  • The white horse does come out, and there is no
    indication whatever that at the conclusion of its
    errand it returned with its rider to stable. The
    same is true of the other three horses. For all
    the record tells us to the contrary there could
    have been a rapid breaking of these four Seals,
    followed by the emergence each in its turn of the
    four horses.

7
The Seals and the Olivet Prophecy
  • The Seals and the Olivet Prophecy deal with
    related events. In the Olivet Prophecy, however,
    the "wars and rumors of wars", "famines and
    earthquakes in divers places", and "this gospel
    of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole
    world", are not located at particular periods
    during our dispensation. There are no doubt
    special periods when these things are more
    evident than at others, but these are
    characteristic of the entire epoch since the Lord
    Jesus ascended. The first four Seals can be
    readily understood as the Lord Jesus' revelation
    that the world in which the gospel is being
    preached will not be making constant progress
    towards the Utopia of the kingdom of God.

8
6.11 they should rest yet for a little time
  • If this analysis is at all correct, we are
    informed from within the Apocalypse itself that
    its major portion is concerned with the time
    close to the return of the Lord Jesus.
  • Revelation is doing again what has been done so
    often in Scripture, leaving out a large section
    of intermediate history and going on to detail
    the events which will accompany the time of God's
    direct intervention in the world's affairs. Such
    a gap is found in Joel 2-3, in Daniel 11-12, in
    Daniel 9, and also in the Olivet prophecy.

9
The persecution of the last days
  • In this Fifth Seal we are told, not only that
    martyred saints have been long dead and
    unrequited, but that living saints are not immune
    from the earlier sufferings. The words are now
    seen to speak clearly of a latter-day
    persecution.

10
  • This conclusion was so unwelcome to the writer
    that he meditated long and hard before concluding
    that it was inescapable, and that the duty of
    saying so could not be evaded. It is only the
    firmest conviction that the passage plainly
    states that there is to be a latter-day
    persecution of the saints of God which has led to
    the matter being written down at all. Indeed,
    were it not for the conclusion that the Book is
    actually and primarily written to prepare the
    saint for the problems which he will need to face
    as the coming of the Lord draws nigh, it is
    doubtful whether this writing would even have
    been contemplated.

11
  • We must obviously not be satisfied to base so
    far-reaching a conclusion as this, that saints
    will be called upon to face a fiery trial before
    the Lord returns, merely on the evidence of the
    interpretation of this fifth Seal. But when we
    do face the rest of Scripture, it becomes ever
    plainer that there is no escape from the
    conclusions arrived at here.
  • We have repeatedly stressed the parallels with
    the Olivet Prophecy then can the warnings of
    Luke 21.12-19 Mark 13.9-13 Matthew 24.9-13, be
    restricted to the events immediately before the
    destruction of Jerusalem in 70? Plainly they
    cannot, but must also, perhaps in some cases
    primarily, refer to the events preceding the
    Lord's return.

12
8.1 THE SEVENTH SEAL
  • The first four Seals may not represent a
    sequence, but they are succeeded by the Fifth,
    and Sixth and Seventh, and this Seventh does
    immediately lead to the sounding of the Seven
    Trumpets. It is plain that the Trumpets are to be
    compressed within the short period of time which
    follows on the expectation of the near return of
    the Lord. The earth and sea are to be sorely
    "hurt" by the pending judgments of God (7.2-3),
    and now that the servants of God have been
    securely sealed there is nothing to prevent those
    judgments being executed.

13
8.1 silence about half an hour
  • Whatever problems may be presented by the
    "silence for about half an hour", there is no
    problem about the meaning of "heaven" in the
    present context. It is where John has been
    admitted in his vision, where in symbol the
    throne of God is to be found, and in which the
    Lamb now sits by His Father's side, opening the
    Book of the future. It is beneath the altar in
    this symbolic heavenly temple that John has seen
    the lives of those that were slain. Here is no
    'political heaven' where the rulers of this world
    dwell but God does not. God's angels are here,
    and hither the prayers of the saints ascend.

14
  • And there is as little warrant for convoluted
    double reasoning about the length of the half
    hour as there is for ignoring this meaning of the
    word 'heaven'. To take half an hour as a 24th of
    a day (which it is not), and, having made that
    into 1/24 of a year, and then go through the
    exercise again, taking the 15 days which this
    would represent and expanding them to 15 years,
    is to take liberties with exposition after which
    nothing would be impossible.
  • cf. Eureka vol. 2, p. 359 comments on Rev 81

15
8.6-11.19 THE SEVEN TRUMPETS
  • Observe the striking parallel between the
    Trumpets here, and the Vials of chapter 16.
  • There is no denying the common plan. The
    capitalized words in the first four cases show
    that the spheres of operations, whatever their
    significance, are the same EARTH - SEA - FRESH
    WATERS - HEAVENLY BODIES. There are torment and
    darkness in the fifth of each series the River
    Euphrates and the assembly of armies are found in
    the sixth and the portents of thunder, voices
    and an earthquake introduce the kingdom,
    resurrection and judgment in the seventh.

16
  • Yet the series are far from identical. In the
    Trumpets it is repeatedly emphasized that a third
    part of the area affected is desolated. No such
    restriction operates in the Vials. It is as
    though two sets of judgments are inflicted by God
    on the world, Trumpets first and Vials
    afterwards. And between the two there is strong
    evidence of a period of witness giving the
    nations their last opportunity of repentance
    before "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
    heaven . . . taking vengeance on them that know
    not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord
    Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1.7-8).

17
SEALS, TRUMPETS, AND VIALS
  • It is a question needing to be answered, why the
    three series of disclosures should be given these
    names to be sure, seals have to be broken to
    make it possible to open the Book, and to that
    extent the symbol might not have any special
    appropriateness of its own. But trumpets and
    vials are freely chosen signs, and there must be
    some good reason for selecting them. And so there
    is, and for the seals too. For if a Book is
    unsealed its contents can be read. There may not
    be anything in the contents of the Book which
    speaks of special action on God's part, but at
    least there is His foreknowledge of what is to
    come, and it is this pre-eminently that the Seals
    do disclose.

18
  • It is the Seventh Seal which ushers in the
    Trumpets, and these Trumpets are sounded by God's
    angels. Trumpets sound alarms to call people
    together, or they sound the note to assemble
    armies to battle or they issue a warning of
    dangers against which precautions must be taken.
    In the Old Testament the silver trumpets were
    used to summon Israel in the Wilderness to make
    or strike camp, and accompanied the dedication or
    rededication of the Temple, while the shophar was
    used both in religious services and in calling
    people to battle. So here in the Apocalypse the
    Trumpets sound alarms and warnings.

19
  • Here is action by God, which people can heed if
    they will, and in heeding might avert the worse
    things yet to come. But if Trumpets are warnings,
    Vials are outpourings. We have gone beyond mere
    disclosure, and again beyond the sounding of the
    alarm, and have reached the point where there is
    no return the end has come. God is pouring out
    His final judgments on the world, and there can
    be no turning back.

20
THE TEMPLE OF GOD CLOSED
  • After these things I saw, and there came out
    from the temple the seven angels that had the
    seven plagues And one of the four living
    creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden
    vials full of the wrath of God, and none was
    able to enter into the temple, till the seven
    plagues of the seven angels should be finished.
    (15.5-8)

21
  • The angels come out to pour God's vengeance on
    the world (15.6), but only those who have already
    repented and received the gospel have now any
    right to His care and protection under the
    visitations to come.
  • A very clearly written NO ADMITTANCE notice is
    posted outside the sanctuary, and, like the
    unrepentant Pharaoh of the Exodus, the world must
    now accept and endure the tribulations which it
    has brought upon itself by its refusal to listen
    to the final appeal.
  • Before attempting any more detailed analysis of
    these chapters, let us summarize the general
    position arrived at

22
  • (a) At a time when the saints have been told that
    the end is not far away, and men are recoiling in
    fear from the anticipated pouring out of God's
    wrath, the saints are reminded that they are
    secure in God's care whatever now may come, and
    whatever may befall them.
  • (b) Under the symbolism of the Trumpets, God then
    proceeds to pour out severe and destructive, but
    not final, judgments on every sphere of human
    interest earth, fresh waters which may be
    drunk, salt waters for navigation and fishing,
    and the heavenly providers of heat and light
    followed by yet more severe judgments in the
    shape of the last three Trumpets, the "three
    Woes".

23
  • (c) In the course of the Sixth Trumpet, the
    Second Woe, the gospel is powerfully preached
    throughout the world, to which men in general
    decline to respond by way of repentance, just as
    they did during the judgments which precede this
    witness,
  • (d) As a result, the world is now told that the
    door to fruitful repentance is to be closed.
  • (e) The last, inescapable, judgments are then
    poured out on the impenitent world, and finally,
    after the "battle of the great day of God
    Almighty", the "kingdom of this world" is
    abolished, and replaced by "the kingdom of our
    God and of His Christ".

24
  • This summary shows clearly how much this Book
    concentrates on the last days. It needed but one
    chapter (6) to bring us within eyeshot of the
    end-times, but then it takes nine (7-15) to
    prepare the scene. We then have four more
    chapters in which the last crisis is worked out
    in detail, and we are taken to the installation
    of the Lamb and His saints on the thrones of the
    kingdom.

25
THE FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS (8.1-13)
  • The point emerges that these are divine
    judgments, and we might think that the world
    should see them to be such, as clearly as Pharaoh
    did the signs wrought through Moses. In these
    circumstances it is doubly difficult to make any
    confident guess as to what the signs will prove
    to be on fulfillment because they will be
    inflicted in some way by God Himself, and because
    we have not yet reached the point referred to.
  • When this Trumpet sounds, the very core of man's
    daily life will be painfully touched, with damage
    comparable with the wreck of the agriculture of
    Egypt by the Plagues.

26
Bound at the great river Euphrates (9.14)
  • Why Euphrates? The river is referred to again in
    the Sixth Vial. Ever since Joseph Mede (ca. 1640)
    the opinion has been widespread that the
    reference in the latter case is to the downfall
    of the Turkish Empire, which was to be the last
    step before the return of the Lord Jesus. This is
    already rendered improbable by the fact that the
    bigger part of a century has passed since Turkey
    ceased to control the Holy Land and in any case
    to introduce the power of Turkey is not to
    provide a biblical solution of the problem,
    attractive though it might have seemed under the
    political conditions of the 17th century.

27
  • The biblical solution must surely go back to the
    Old Testament, where the river is preeminently
    the River of Babylon, especially in the Book of
    Jeremiah, and when that prophet sent Seraiah to
    bind a stone to the manuscript of the prophecy of
    the fate of Babylon and cast it into Euphrates,
    he linked the River with the fate of the city in
    a way which must provide the basis for the
    interpretation of both symbols.

28
  • Though we have not so far met the name Babylon in
    Revelation, we shall do so in chapters 14, 16,
    17, and 18. Here Babylon clearly appears as a
    principal enemy of the gospel and of the saints,
    shortly before the Lord returns. In 16.19 the
    city appears in close proximity with the River,
    and when we recall that the literal city fell
    when a by-pass channel was constructed so as to
    dry up Euphrates, so that a way might be provided
    for the kings from the Sun's Rising, those of the
    Medes and Persians (Isaiah 41.2,25), there can be
    little doubt that the fall of the actual city in
    Old Testament times provides the model for the
    fall of a spiritual Babylon-on-Euphrates in the
    Apocalypse.

29
CHAPTER 11 THE TWO WITNESSES
  • Since everything we have so far found points to a
    short and sharp sequence of events during these
    days, it would seem that, if a precise period is
    defined by this time-period at all, it must be a
    literal 3.5 years, and could not be anything
    approaching an actual period of 1260 years, which
    a principle of a day for a year would require.

30
CHAPTER 12 THE WOMAN, THE MANCHILD, AND THE
DRAGON
  • The woman here depicted is adorned with sun,
    moon, and twelve stars, and the only place in
    Scripture where these precise symbols are
    combined is in Joseph's Dream. The woman is
    therefore the ideal Israel, at this stage
    despite aspersions sometimes gratuitously cast on
    her character by those who wish to present her as
    a harlot community giving birth to an apostate
    quasi-Christian ruler, glorious in appearance
    and about to give birth to a glorious Child.

31
  • The dragon represents universal hostility to
    godly people .
  • In addition to the indications we have already
    had, the "rod of iron" well-nigh identifies
    positively this Manchild with the Lord Jesus
    Christ. It is true that the Lord promises similar
    authority to His saints (2.27), but this is to be
    in the Kingdom where He will exercise the same
    authority as their Leader (19.15). This last
    reference, in fact, makes the identification even
    more certain, for the Manchild is caught up to
    God's throne, and it is from heaven that the
    Conqueror will emerge.

32
  • The movements from now on of this woman are not
    without considerable difficulties of
    interpretation. Her flight into the wilderness
    seems to have occurred in stages first it
    involved persecution by the Dragon which had
    failed to devour her child, and continued with
    her flight into the wilderness by means of the
    two wings of the great eagle, to a place prepared
    by God, but with the help of the earth, which
    swallowed the flood with which the Dragon thought
    to overwhelm her. When she is safely in the
    wilderness, the Dragon turns its attentions to
    the persecution of "her seed, which keep the
    commandments of God and hold the testimony of
    Jesus", which might suggest that she herself no
    longer kept these commandments.
  • Omitting the time periods, it is easy to fit some
    of these events into history.

33
  • The woman was given two wings, by means of which
    to flee into her wilderness, and it is quite
    plain that the imagery is once more drawn from
    the Old Testament
  • Zechariah 5.7 This is a woman sitting in the
    midst of the ephah . . . Behold there came forth
    two women . . . (who) had wings like those of a
    stork. . . Whither do these bear the ephah ?...
    To build an house in the land of Shinar and when
    it is prepared she shall be set there in her own
    place.
  • In both cases we have a woman originating in
    Israel. In both she is borne away with wings. In
    Revelation she is taken to the wilderness, and in
    Zechariah to Shinar, and there is no doubt what
    Shinar means. In short, it is a synonym for
    Babylon.
  • And if we ask in what sense a symbolic woman, in
    the days of the restoration from Persian
    captivity (for that is the time of Zechariah's
    prophecy) could be said to be about to fly to
    Babylon, the answer can only be apostacy. And if
    there could be any doubt it is set at rest by the
    description of the woman in Zechariah "This is
    wickedness and he cast her down into the midst
    of the ephah, and he cast the weight of lead on
    the mouth thereof (5.8).

34
  • The interpretation has to be pieced carefully
    together. We denied that there was anything
    wicked about the woman of the Apocalypse when we
    met her in 12.1, where she was about to give
    birth to the Son of God. But it has already been
    hinted that all did not remain well with her
    when persecuted by the dragon she received and
    accepted the help of the earth and although this
    preserved her from its vengeance, it seems that
    it also caused her to leave to "the remnant of
    her seed" the duty of continuing to keep the
    commands of God and the testimony of Jesus. She
    did not first appear as an apostate, but it seems
    that she became so before the story ends.

35
  • Though she is preserved by God from destruction,
    she is established in a position where her
    apostasy can take root and flourish. If we
    combine together the description of her as
    'Wickedness' in Zechariah, and the fact that her
    sojourn in the wilderness is limited to a period,
    it appears that we are to expect two things one
    is her emergence from the wilderness when this
    time has expired, and the other is that she will
    be seen in her new, true character, fully
    justifying the name of Wickedness given her by
    the prophet.
  • At this point we have to take a leap to chapter
    17 to continue her history.

36
  • At first sight there is nothing to connect a
    glorious personage such as the woman of 12.1 with
    the abomination disclosed in 17.3. Yet the two
    chapters themselves provide the link that woman
    was carried into a wilderness for a period of
    time, and would therefore be expected to return
    this one is found in a wilderness, in the only
    other place in the Apocalypse where such a thing
    is referred to at all. Couple that with the fact
    that the place of sojourn of the woman in
    Zechariah 5.11 is identified as Shinar or
    Babylon, the name which this woman now bears, and
    it becomes nearly impossible to dismiss the
    parallels as accidental.

37
  • If we are not absolutely compelled to identify
    the two figures as belonging to different stages
    of development of a single entity, it is hard to
    see a reasonable alternative. We repeat if the
    woman of 12.14 is to remain in the wilderness for
    a finite period, whatever its length may be, must
    we not expect her to emerge at the end of it, and
    where else is her emergence spoken of if it be
    not here?
  • Isaiah 1.21 How is the faithful city become an
    harlot, she that was full of judgment
    righteousness lodged in her, but now murders.

38
Specific identity of the harlot
  • Neither the possibility that natural Israel is
    still intended, nor the possibility that an
    apostate degeneration of Christian, spiritual
    Israel, is meant, is automatically excluded by
    the figure employed.

39
Option 1
  • It would be possible to understand Revelation 12
    and 17 as saying that is was from the natural
    Israel that the Lord Jesus took His birth, and
    this Israel suffered in part grievous persecution
    afterwards, but was nevertheless also befriended
    by the world and afforded refuge. Under these
    conditions the nation apostatized and so (it
    could be said) became a spiritual Babylon. In
    this event it would be the same nation which
    emerges in chapter 17 as restored to power, once
    again persecuting the saints of God as it did
    throughout the apostolic period during a period
    of authority over the nations, only to find
    itself ruined by those same nations in a disaster
    from which only the Lord Jesus Christ will be
    able to deliver it.

40
Option 2
  • But it would also be possible to understand the
    same passage as saying that it is the faithful in
    Israel which gave spiritual birth to the Lord
    Jesus Christ that it is the community which He
    founded on the rock of His own resurrection which
    then bears His name that this community endured
    grievous persecution from the pagan world until
    it was befriended by Christendom and became
    corrupted and that it is this apostate
    Christianity which rises to the seat of power
    over the nations, resumes persecution of the
    saints, is destroyed by the nations it rides, and
    is thus betrayed and overcome.

41
difficulties in accepting either alternative
  • If one were obliged to choose in advance whether
    natural Israel, or apostate Christianity, best
    fitted all the facts of Revelation 12-17, the
    choice would have to fall on apostate
    Christianity. This is for the following reasons
  • (i) the persecution of the woman by the dragon in
    12.6,13 appears in the first instance to be the
    affliction of a faithful people, who only later
    become apostate. But Israel was an unfaithful
    nation throughout the 'entire period at issue
  • (ii) the picture of Babylon the Great formed from
    the Old Testament is that of an international
    system, with many nations taking their shelter
    beneath its shade (Daniel 4.10-12 Jeremiah
    25.14), which is better represented by an
    international apostate Christendom than by an
    isolated and isolationist Israel assuming the
    suggested power over the nations.

42
  • But surprising things have already happened in
    current developments, for which students of
    prophecy were quite unprepared. There is no
    reason to think that we are at the end of the
    surprises. It is wise to keep all possibilities
    in mind and hold our minds open to evaluate them
    as events unfold. We are not telling God what His
    revelation means. We are waiting humbly to find
    out.

43
CHAPTER 13 THE BEAST FROM THE SEA
  • A. The activities of the Beast and its associates
    in these chapters are certainly latter-day ones,
    because
  • a. The Beast persecutes the Two Witnesses, who
    are concerned with preaching the gospel very
    shortly before the Lord's return
  • b. It is consigned to perdition, or the lake of
    fire, as a result of its defeat by the Lamb, and
    immediately before the Judgment
  • c. It exercises the authority of the ten kings
    for "one hour" (17.12).

44
  • B. Nevertheless, the Beast is firmly rooted in
    Bible history and Old Testament prophecy, having
    characteristics of all four beasts of Daniel
    7.4-7, and therefore in some way reflecting the
    dominions of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and
    Rome. It embodies in itself the characteristics
    of all the world empires with which Daniel deals,
    and so represents the entire image of Daniel 2.
    For although that chapter pictures successive
    empires under the symbols of gold, silver, copper
    (sic), and iron when the kingdom of God is set
    up, all these metals are said to be ground to
    powder together by the Stone cut out without
    hands. All horns and heads and crowns and beasts
    and metals which ever represented the rebellious
    powers of men will be demolished at a stroke and
    given to the flames.

45
17.9 The seven heads are seven mountains and
they are seven kings
  • It is already impossible to accept the
    interpretation offered by continuous-historic
    interpreters. Adam Clarke supposes that John is
    telling us of seven systems of government in the
    Roman Empire Kings Dictators Decimvirs
    Consuls Triumvirs and Emperors of which the
    last would be the one existing in John's time.
    The one yet to come on this view would be the
    "Carlovingian Patriciate", a system set up in
    Rome by Charlemagne, and said to have lasted a
    mere 45 years. This view arouses total
    incredulity in the present writer. To what
    purpose would John and ourselves be invited to
    look back more than a millennium before Christ to
    governments existing in Rome when even the
    Babylonian Empire was in the remote future?

46
  • The Speaker's Commentary offers (but not with
    approval) another list, ranging from Kings to the
    Popes before the attainment of temporal power,
    while Brother John Thomas, lists the following
    Regal, Consular, Dictatorial, Tribunitial,
    Imperial (-31 to 476), and Gothic (476 to 554).
    But all this seems far removed from the purpose
    of this chapter, which it is very hard to see
    concerning itself with the trivialities of the
    internal organization of the Roman state.
  • Brother Peter Watkins is surely right thus far in
    asking us to direct our attention to the beasts
    of Daniel 7 but if the first beast is Babylon,
    with one head (Daniel 7.4) the second
    Medo-Persia also with one (7.5) the third Greece
    with four (7.6), and the fourth Rome with one
    (7.7), making seven in all, then the fifth fallen
    head would be the third of the Greek four, as he
    supposes, so that "one is" would be the fourth of
    these, with the Roman head yet to come! On every
    count the interpretation of this is difficult,
    and the solutions offered tortuous.

47
  • We may, after all, be driven back to a vintage
    solution of this problem which sees the Beast as
    representing the whole succession of human
    kingdoms in biblical lands, so starting earlier
    than Babylon. In this event the heads which have
    fallen would be (i) Egypt, (ii) Assyria (iii)
    Babylon (iv) Medo-Persia (v) Greece. The one
    which still exists in John's day and is
    represented by its fragments now would be (vi)
    Rome and the one yet to come would be (vii) the
    'man of sin' regime to be destroyed by the Lord
    with the brightness of His coming (2
    Thessalonians 2.8). It fits in well with the
    assurance that when the last phase arises it will
    continue only a little while (17.10). The kings
    of the earth will share their power with it for
    only "one hour" (17.12 18.10,17,19). The Beast
    dominated by the Harlot would be the seventh and
    short-lived head, and the Beast standing alone in
    all its arrogance would be the eighth and last.

48
Chapter 20 THE BINDING OF THE DRAGON, THE
JUDGMENTS, THE THOUSAND YEARS
  • In favor of a literal reading of the number, it
    is often said that a 1000-year reign of Jesus
    would neatly finish off the antitypical
    creation-week, so that six thousand years of
    human history would be terminated by a
    thousand-day sabbath of millennial rest. But
    there are important reasons why this view should
    be treated with reserve
  • 1) We do not know for sure whether there will
    have been 6000 years precisely, or even
    approximately, of human history between the Fall
    and the Second Advent

49
Can a post-Millennial revolt be contemplated?
  • First let us face the objections raised against
    it

50
1 The kingdom of Christ is to produce lasting
peace and godliness.
  • If the Lord is to "reign until He has put all
    enemies under His feet" (1 Corinthians 15.25),
    then enemies do exist which have to dealt with
    during this period, and "putting under feet" is
    not the language of peaceful attainment.
    Zechariah 14.16-18, however unhappy the reading
    of it may be, does speak of men with rebellious
    hearts who will need to be coerced into rendering
    to God the worship He demands.

51
2 Rebellion against immortal powers is silly.
  • Of course it is. But then rebellion against the
    immortal Creator by Adam and Eve was silly, and
    yet the Fall occurred. To make a golden calf
    after the manifestations at Sinai was silly, but
    it was done. It is hard to see anything sensible
    about crucifying the Lord Jesus, after He had
    brought miraculous benefits which could only be
    interpreted as due to the power of God. We
    sinners are silly people, and if sinners survive
    into the Kingdom of God, then silliness will
    survive too. And if God could withdraw from
    evident presence to leave Eve to face her tempter
    as though He were out of earshot, may He not by
    whatever means He chooses leave the silly
    sinners at the end of the Millennium to face the
    serpent's counterpart, and find themselves
    willingly beguiled by its subtlety?

52
Chapter 20.11-15 THE JUDGEMENT OF THE GREAT
WHITE THRONE
  • This brings us almost to the last of the major
    controversial situations in connection with the
    conservative interpretation of the Apocalypse.
    When does the judgment represented by these
    verses take place? If the results accepted in the
    last few pages are correct, it would not seem
    that there can be much doubt. The earth by this
    stage will have enjoyed the reign of the Lord
    Jesus Christ for '1000 years' the saints will
    have reigned with Him, and 'Satan' will have been
    bound, during the same period. The revolt will
    have taken place and will have been crushed the
    power of sin will have been consigned to the Lake
    of Fire. The abolition of death and the grave are
    about to occur (20.14). Where else can this
    judgment be located than at the end of the
    Millennium, and therefore how can it fail to be
    additional to, and later than, the judgment of
    the saints who reign with Christ during the
    Millennium itself (20.4ff)?

53
Conclusions
  • Rejection of continuous-historic
  • Four horsemen (seals 1-4) ? the entire Gospel Age
  • Seal 5 ? predicting a latter-day persecution of
    the saints
  • Trumpets (literal, warnings), then period of
    witnessing and persecution, then Temple Closed
    sign, then Vials (final judgments)
  • Woman is Israel giving birth to Christ. World
    hostility directed against Christ, then against
    the woman and her seed
  • Meantime, Christianity apostasizes and becomes
    the Apocalyptic Babylon the Harlot, supporting
    the nations then judged by them
  • 7th head ? the future man of sin (no precise
    prediction)

54
Next Week
  • Brief consideration of other significant
    Christadelphian books and pamphlets
  • Brief introduction of annotated notes from
    Revelation Parallel Commentary, by Mr. Steve
    Gregg
  • Begin open discussion
  • Future weeks ? directed discussion
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