Bible Truth Versus SDA Truth: Seven Churches, Seals, Trumpets
SDA "Truth" about Seven Churches, Seals, Trumpets
Seventh-day Adventists teach that the book of Revelation covers the entire history of Christianity, starting with John's era and proceeding through Christian history up to the present time. In their "Revelation Seminars" SDAs teach that the Seven Churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 represent long periods of Christian history:
"...you will clearly see they represent seven periods of Christian history, from the time of John to the time of Jesus' return."1
According to the same source, these are the periods in history represented by the Seven Churches:
|Ephesus||Era of the Apostles ||33 - 100
|Smyrna||Era of Persecution ||100 - 313
|Pergamos||Era of Compromise ||313 - 538
|Thyatira||Era of Apostacy ||538 - 1560
|Sardis||Era of Reformation ||1560 - 1750
|Philadelphia||Era of Revival ||1740 - 1844
|Laodicea||Era of Lukewarmness ||1844 - ?
The SDA prophetess Ellen White teaches the same:
"The names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era. The number 7 indicates completeness, and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend to the end of time, while the symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods in the history of the world."2
Seventh-day Adventists also teach that the seven seals of Revelation chapters 6-8 are...
"...seven symbolic events which face the people of God, from the ascension of Jesus until His second coming. They cover the same time period as the seven church of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3."3
|1st||First Cetury Church||33 - 100
|2nd||Persecuted Church||100 - 313
|3rd||Corrupt Church||313 - 538
|4th||Dark Ages Church||538 - 1560
|5th||Persecuted Church (again)||1560 - 1750
|6th||Current Church||1740 - ?
|7th||Second Coming|| ?
Finally, Seventh-day Adventists teach through their Revelation Seminars that the seven trumpets of Revelation chapters 8-9 and 11 represent the military history of the Christian nations.
|1st||Attack upon the Roman Empire by the Goths
|2nd||Assualt upon the Roman Empire by the Vandals
|3rd||Assualt upon the Roman Empire by the Huns
|4th||Attack upon the Roman Empire by the Heruli
|5th||Islam's assault upon Christian nations
|7th||Remnant Church gives three angels' messages
Problems with SDA "Truth" about Seven Churches, Seals, Trumpets
The main problem with the Seventh-day Adventist view of Revelation is that there is not a single verse in the book of Revelation to indicate that the prophecies contained therein have anything to do with events that transpired over thousands of years of Christian history. In fact, Revelation says just the opposite, that the events described in its pages are "near" and "soon." First century Christians were admonished to read and keep the sayings in Revelation "for the time is near" (Rev. 1:3). Why would John admonish first century readers to read a book that was describing events that were to transpire thousands of years in the future? What possible relevance or meaning could the papacy, the French Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, and the United States have to first century Christians? Why would John command them to read something so unfathomable to them?
Do the 7 churches represent 7 ages of Christian church history?4
In Revelation 1:4-6, John addresses his prophecy "to the seven churches in Asia". It is obvious from the descriptions that follow (chapters 2-3) that he definitely has these actual churches in mind. The notion propagated by Revelation Seminars, Uriah Smith and Ellen White that these represent "seven phases of the spiritual history of the church" is complete fiction, with no objective evidence; and it is quite arbitrarily and selectively applied. There are at least three fallacious presuppositions held by those who advocate this doctrine:
- First, the "seven ages" doctrine presupposes that Revelation covers all of Church history, from beginning to end. Who says the Book of Revelation covers Church history? John certainly does not. His only claim is that the prophecy covers "the things that must shortly take place" (1:1), and that the time of which it speaks is "near" (1:3). Thus, the most basic presupposition of the "seven ages" view is utterly false.
- The second presupposition holds that the Church will end in defeat and apostasy: The Laodicean, lukewarm, practically apostate church, about which Christ has nothing good to say
(3:14-22), is supposed to symbolize the Church of Jesus Christ at the end of the age. We disagree with that view and submit to you that the Church ends in victory and triumph. But it is important to note that the notion of end-time apostasy is a presupposition of the "seven ages" view; and those who hold it are assuming what they purport to prove.
- The third presupposition is that we are living in the last age of the Church. This presupposition is erroneous. The prophecies of the glorious condition of the Church, to be fulfilled before the return of Christ, are far from their accomplishment. We may have many years to go before the End. We are still in the early Church! And, while it is fashionable for modern Christian intellectuals to speak of our civilization as "post-Christian," we should turn that around and make it Biblically accurate: Our culture is not post-Christian, our culture is still largely pre-Christian!
Does Revelation Cover Thousands of Years of History?
John makes it clear from the outset this his book is a revelation, an unveiling or disclosure of God's purposes. It is not intended to be mysterious or enigmatic; it is, emphatically, a revealing of its subject. Specifically, it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him--in other words, a revelation mediated by our Lord Himself about the things that must shortly take place. The Revelation, therefore, is not concerned with either the scope of world history or the end of the world, but with events that were in the near future to John and his readers. Revelation is a "covenant lawsuit," prophesying the outpouring of God's wrath on Jerusalem. It is a prophecy of the period known in Scriptures as "the Last Days," meaning the last days of the covenantal nation of Israel, the forty-year "generation" (Matt. 24;34) between the Ascension of Christ (AD 33) and the fall of Jerusalem (AD 70). It foretells events that John expected his readers to see very soon.5
Consider, it makes little sense to take seven messages directed to seven literal churches and claim that these are in reality messages addressed to specific eras of Christianity. This philosphy leads to gross over-generalizations. Let us examine one example: Philadelphia. Was the only time that the Church exhibited the brotherly love of Philadelphia during the period of 1740-1844? Have there been no reformations prior to 1740 or since 1844?
The reason many people Christians are challenged by Revelation is because they have been taught to apply the prophecies and symbols of Revelation in a way that was never intended. Revelation was written for the Christians living in the apostle John's generation. We are wrong to interpret it futuristically, as if its message was primarily intended for a time 2000 years after John wrote it. Of course, the events John foretold were "in the future" to John and his readers; but as John indicates in his book, the events occurred soon after he wrote them. To interpret the book otherwise is to contradict the book itself. For us, the majority of the Revelation is history: It has already happened. There is a brief wrap-up at the end of Revelation where John transports us briefly into the future to see the reward of the righteous in the Millennium and the New Earth, but the rest of the book is exactly what John said it was: Events that were shortly to take place. Once we grasp this concept, we find that the book is easy to understand and the symbols make perfect sense in light of actual historical events that occurred in the first century.
Do the 7 trumpets represent the military history of 7 ages of Christianity?
One can read the SDA definition of the seven trumpets and rightfully ask, "How on earth do these seven trumpets correlate to the events the SDA Church says they do?" The truth is, there is NO discernable connection between the trumpets and the events SDAs claim the trumpets correspond to! Only those with a vivid imagination can match the historical events picked by SDAs with Revelation's symbolic events, and even then, the connection is at best vague, and at worst, non-existent. Seventh-day Adventism's view of the trumpets is forced upon them because they previously interpretted the "churches" and the "seals" as covering long periods of church history. Thus, to be consistent, they must do the same with the trumpets, but their choice of events seems arbitrary. For example, the first four trumpets are said to represent attacks by four tribes (out of the forty) that attacked Rome. SDAs do not tell us why Revelation is only concerned with four tribes out of the forty that attacked the Roman Empire. Regardless, while these particular tribes engaged in some fierce battles against Rome, their significance is minor on the grand stage of Christian history, and does not seem to match the great significance placed upon them in Revelation 8.
We will examine just one of these trumpets in detail, the 6th trumpet, because SDAs spend more time on this trumpet than on any of the others, and because they also claim it has a most dramatic fulfillment in context of SDA Church history.
Is the 6th trumpet the Ottoman Empire?
SDAs claim that Revelation 9:15 indicates the exact length of time the Ottoman Empire was to rule the earth:
And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
Revelation Seminars claims that the year-day principle can be applied to this passage to calculate the length of time that the Ottoman Empire ruled:
1 year =360 prophetic years
1 month = 30 prophetic years
1 day = 1 prophetic year
1 hour = 15 prophetic days (an hour being 1/24th of a prohpetic year)
Total 391 years and 15 days
Revelation Seminars claims this period began during the "final phase" of the Ottoman Empire, on July 27, 1449. They say this period ended on August 11, 1840, when the Ottomans accepted the protection of the European powers.
To begin with, the Ottoman Empire was not an anti-Christian empire. As a matter of fact, the Ottomans were surprisingly enlightened in their treatment of other religions. The Ottomans did conquer the eastern Roman Empire by 1453 AD, but they were tolerant of both Judaism and Christianity, and the Eastern Orthodox Church continued on unabated. Rather than being opposed to Christian nations, throughout its history the Ottoman Empire was allied with various European countries in various military campaigns. Furthermore, European nations were the principle trading partners with the Ottoman Empire and engaged in considerable business with the empire. After understanding all this, one could wonder if this power is the same as the one described by the sixth trumpet.
What happened to the Ottoman Empire on August 11, 1840?
Examining history books, it is difficult to pinpoint anything of significance that happened on August 11, 1840. There were no treaties and no military defeats that occurred on that day. In fact, the originator of the date, Josiah Litch, had his own doubts when the day passed without any relevant news from the Ottoman Empire. Sometime later he supposedly learned that "a diplomatic ultimatum from the major European powers, suggesting war if rejected, had been delivered to the Turkish Sultan on August 11, 1840."6 Litch's view of the 6th Trumpet was accepted by SDAs as "truth" and incorporated into many of their books and taught for years.
While doing research for the 1911 revision of Great Controversy, SDA Professor W.W. Prescott discovered the 1840 date was unsupportable:
"I had known for some time that the date, August 11, 1840, would not stand examination. Two years ago we presented full information on this at the Fall Council, but nothing has been done and in the meantime our books and publications are repeating the old unwarranted statements ... "
Other Adventist scholars attempted and failed to find any confirmation for Litch's story. Professor Spicer writes:
"About this time Professor Benson received documents showing conclusively that the ultimatum of the Powers was not delivered to the Pasha of Egypt on Aug. 11, 1840."7
Josiah Litch himself later rejected the doctrine he originated and said the "year, a month, a day, and an hour; it is not an exact period" of time.8 Thus, nothing of importance happened on the ending date. What about the beginning date?
What happened to the Ottoman Empire on July 27, 1449?
The answer is nothing! There is no significant event in the Ottomon Empire that can be traced to July 27, 1449. So how did SDAs arrive at this date? SDAs base the starting date of the sixth trumpet on the ending date of the fifth trumpet. According to Revelation Seminars, the fifth trumpet was to rule for 150 years based upon Revelation 9:10:
...and their power [was] to hurt men five months...
According to Adventists, these "five months" are equivalent to 150 prophetic years that the fifth trumpet, the Moslems, were ruling. Subtracting 150 years from 1449 results in a date of July 27, 1299. SDAs teach that on this date Moslem leader Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia.
SDA Professors Prescott and Spicer went to the Library of Congress to verify the July 27, 1299 date. While there, they discovered that the historian that earlier SDAs had gotten the 1299 date from was mistaken. The true date was actually 1301!
Finally, to top it all off, Litch forgot to account in his calculations for the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582, in which ten days were lost.
What does Rev. 9:15 really say?
Revelation 9:15, in the original Greek, is not conveying that angels would release the Ottomans for a specified length of time. Rather, the Greek is saying that the fifth trumpet would be released upon a specific date. Notice how all modern translations accurately render the passage:
NKJV - So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
NLT - And the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth.
NIV - And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
ESV - So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
NASB - And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.
RSV - So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of mankind.
ASV - And the four angels were loosed, that had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, that they should kill the third part of men.
Conclusion on the Sixth Trumpet
- Litch began with an erroneous date from historian Gibbon--wrong by two years
- Litch forgot about the omission of ten days in the replacement of the Julian calendar
- SDA Professors found that the Sultan had not been contacted on Aug. 11, 1840
- The Greek does not say the sixth trumpet would be released for a certain length of time, but rather at a certain point in time
- Litch later repudiated his belief
The SDA interpretation of the 7 trumpets reads like a science fiction novel. They picked random events out of history and tried to make the square pegs of historical events fit the round holes of Bible prophecy. They calculated time periods based upon a misunderstanding of the Greek combined with a misunderstanding of history, and portrayed this to the world as Biblical "truth." What a tragedy! What is even worse, they are still propogating the same teachings today, even though their scholars know they are entirely fabricated.
Bible Truth about Seven Churches, Seals, Trumpets
The truth about the Seven Churches is that they were seven literal churches in Asia Minor to whom Jesus sent literal messages. The seven messages were meant for those seven literal churches that existed during the first century and there is nothing more to it.
The Bible is so simple to understand when we simply take it at face value instead of trying to concoct secret meanings for its plainest teachings. Nearly every religious group who believes in a futurist interpretation of the seven churches has their own idea of the beginning/ending points and what the churches symbolize. Even within the SDA Church differing views exist. The reason there are so many varying and contradictory interpretations is because man has gone far beyond the original intent of the Revelation and attempted to imbue it with meaning that its author never intended.
The messages of the Seven Seals (Rev. 6-8) would have been easily understood by Christians living in the first century. The four horsemen and the other seals accurately describe events that happened in that era:
- The White Horse went out to conquer, and the gospel of Jesus Christ advanced faster and with more power than at any time in human history. It literally conquered the Roman Empire, eventually becoming the dominant religion in the empire.
- The Red Horse symbolizes the bloodshed predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24, when He said there would be "wars" and "rumors of wars" that would be the "beginning of sorrows" that would come upon "this generation." During the "last generation," the Roman Empire engaged in numerous military campaigns including wars in Britain, Egypt, and Palestine, culminating in the seige of Jerusalem in 70 AD. There were also bloody persecutions of Christians and Jews throughout the Roman Empire instigated by Nero and others.
- The Black Horse describes deadly famines. During the reign of Claudius Caesar one of the worst famines in human history occurred (see Acts 11:28). Josephus also testified of a terrible famine during this generation. When Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman armies food was scarce in the city. Countless thousands died of starvation, and many bartered away all of their possessions for food.
- The Pale Horse whose rider is death, and who is followed by Hades (the grave) is a fitting symbol of the destruction of Jerusalem, where nearly a million people died from the sword, famine, pestilence, or crucifixion.
- The Fifth Seal describes the martyrs of the first century, many of whom died under the persecutions of Nero and other Roman Emperors.
- The Sixth Seal describes astronomical events and a "great earthquake". Although there was a literal great earthquake during the reign of Nero, the darkening of the sun and moon, stars falling, and shaking of the heavens are figures of speech familiar to first century Christians.
In Old Testatment prophecy, signs in the sun, moon, and stars are portents of the destruction of a nation. Hence, Jesus' and John's use of this figure of speech to first century Christians would draw their attention to the destruction of Jerusalem and the final termination of the nation of Israel in 70 AD.
- Jesus used these same figures of speech in Matthew 24:29 to describe what would happen immediately after He told Christians that those in "Judea" must "flee into the mountains": "...shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."
- Isaiah used the same figures of speech to warn of the destruction of Babylon: "...stars of heaven...shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened....the moon shall not cause her light to shine." (Isa. 13:10).
- Ezekiel used the same figures of speech to warn of the destruction of Egypt: "...the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light." (Eze. 32:7)
- The Seventh Seal depicts silence in heaven for half an hour. After the terrible destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, God's Old Covenant with Israel is finally and irrevokably terminated, and it is only fitting for there to be a period of silence in heaven in memory of this awful end to Israel's covenant with God.
In the interlude between the sixth and seventh seals, there is a section describing the 144,000, who are "from every tribe of the sons of Israel" (Rev. 7:4). These represent those Jews who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and are preserved from the destruction of Jerusalem. These heed Christ's command to flee to the mountains and are not harmed in the ensuing destruction of the city.
The evidence just presented is merely a brief synopsis of how events in Revelation find their fulfillment in the first century. This brief survey hardly does justice to the subject, but it is sufficient to illustrate how these passages could easily be understood by first century Christians as applying to events happening in their day. It is far beyond the scope of this page to present all the Biblical and historical evidence, but there are resources available at the end of this web page that provide much more information.
The Seven Trumpets likewise hail the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, just as "seven trumpets" sounded before the fall of the city of Jericho (Josh. 6:4,5). Resources available at the end of this web page that provide much more information about the seven trumpets.
Revelation Written for First Century Christians>9
John stated that his book was intended for "the seven churches which are in Asia" (1:4), and we must assume that he meant what he said. He clearly expected that even the most difficult symbols in the prophecy could be understood by his first-century readers (cf Rev. 13:18). Not once did he imply that his book was written with the twentieth century in mind, and that Christians would be wasting their time attempting to decipher it until Uriah Smith published Daniel and Revelation in the nineteenth century! The primary relevance of Revelation was for its first-century readers. Of course, it still has relevance for us today as we understand its message and apply its principles to our lives and our culture.
Here is the evidence the book was intended for first-century Christians:
- First, there is the general tone of the book, which is taken up with the martyrs (see, e.g., 6:9; 7:14; 12:11). The subject is clearly the present situation of the churches: The
Revelation was written to a suffering Church in order to comfort believers during their time of testing (which took place under Nero). J. Stuart Russell?s remarks on this point are particularly apt:
"Was a book sent by an apostle to the churches of Asia Minor, with a benediction on its readers, a mere unintelligible jargon, an inexplicable enigma, to them? That can hardly be. Yet if the book were meant to unveil the secrets of distant times, must it not of necessity have been unintelligible to its first readers; and not only unintelligible, but
even irrelevant and useless? If it spake, as some [Uriah Smith] would have us believe, of Huns and Goths and Saracens, of medieval emperors and popes, of the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution, what possible interest or meaning could it have for the Christian churches of Ephesus, and Smyrna, and Philadelphia, and Laodicea? Especially when we consider the actual
circumstances of those early Christians, many of them enduring cruel sufferings and grievous persecutions, and all of them eagerly looking for an approaching hour of deliverance which was now close at hand; what purpose could it have answered to send them a document which they were urged to read and ponder, which was yet mainly occupied with historical events so distant
as to be beyond the range of their sympathies, and so obscure that even at this day the shrewdest critics are hardly agreed on any one point?
"Is it conceivable that an apostle would mock the suffering and persecuted Christians of his time with dark parables about distant ages. If this book were really intended to minister faith
and comfort to the very persons to whom it was sent, it must unquestionably deal with matters in which they were practically and personally interested. And does not this very obvious consideration suggest the true key to the Apocalypse? Must it not of necessity refer to matters of contemporary history? The only tenable, the only reasonable, hypothesis is that it was intended to be understood by its original readers; but this is as much as to say that it must be occupied with the events and transactions of their own day, and these comprised within a comparatively brief space of time."
- Second, St. John writes that the book concerns "the things which must shortly take place" (1:1), and warns that "the time is near" (1:3). In case we might miss it, he says again, at the close of the book, that "the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place" (22:6). It must be stressed that the Greek expression for our English word shortly plainly means soon, and those who first read the phrase would not have understood it to mean anything else (cf. Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 22:6). A futurist
interpretation is refuted in the very first verse of Revelation. Given the fact that one important proof of a true prophet lay in the fact that his predictions came true (Deut. 18:21-22), John's first-century readers had every reason to expect his book to have immediate significance. The words shortly and near simply cannot be made to mean anything but what they say. Some will object to this on the basis of 2 Peter 3:8, that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." But the context there is entirely different: Peter is exhorting his first-century readers to have patience with respect to God's promises, assuring them that God's faithfulness to His holy Word will not wear out or diminish. The Book of Revelation is not about the Second Coming of Christ. It is about the destruction of Israel and Christ's victory over His enemies in the establishment of the New Covenant Temple. In fact, as we shall see, the word coming as used in the Book of Revelation never refers to the Second Coming. Revelation prophesies the judgment of God on apostate Israel; and while it does briefly point to events beyond its immediate concerns, that is done merely as a "wrap-up," to show that the ungodly will never prevail against Christ's Kingdom. But the main focus of Revelation is upon events that were soon to take place.
- Third, John identifies certain situations as contemporary: In 13:18, he clearly encourages his contemporary readers to calculate the "number of the Beast" and decipher its meaning; in
17:10, one of the seven kings is currently on the throne; and John tells us that the great Harlot "is [present tense] the Great City, which reigns [present tense] over the kings of the earth" (17:18). Again, the Revelation was meant to be understood in terms of its contemporary significance. A futuristic interpretation is completely opposed to the way John himself interprets his own prophecy.
- Fourth, we should notice carefully the words of the angel in 22:10: "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." Again, we are told explicitly that the prophecy is contemporary in nature; but there is more. The angel's statement is in contrast to the command Daniel received at the end of his book: "Conceal the words and seal up the book until the time of the end" (Dan. 12:4). Daniel was specifically ordered to seal up his prophecy, because it referred to "the end," in the distant future. But St. John is told not to seal up his prophecy, because the time of which it speaks is near.
Thus, the focus of the Book of Revelation is upon the contemporary situation of John and his first-century readers. It was written to show those early Christians that Jesus is Lord,
"ruler over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 1:5). It shows that Jesus is the key to world history and that nothing can occur apart from His sovereign will, that He will be glorified in all things, and that His enemies will lick the dust. The Christians of that day were tempted to compromise with the statism and false religions of their day, and they needed this message of Christ's absolute dominion over all, that they might be strengthened in the warfare to which they were called.
What does the term last days mean?
New Testament writers understood themselves to be living in the last days. For example, Peter said the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy:
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit...". (Acts 2:16,17, Joel 2:28-32)
The last days is not a reference to the last days of human history. Instead, it is a reference to the last days of the old covenantal relationship of God with the nation of Israel.
The following is a list of some New Testament verses that Christians indicate the "last days" were in the first century:10
- Jesus to His twelve apostles:
...you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.
- Jesus to His disciples:
...there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Mt.16:27,28)
- Jesus to His disciples:
...this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Mt. 24:34, see
- Paul to all who were beloved of God in Rome:
...it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. (Ro. 13:11,12)
- To the Hebrews:
God...in these last days has spoken to us in His Son... (Heb. 1:1,2)
- James to the twelve tribes who were dispersed abroad:
...the coming of the Lord is at hand. ...the Judge is standing right at the door. (James
Note: The judgment that Peter mentioned began shortly after this letter was written, when the house of Israel was judged at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
- Peter to those who resided as aliens:
...according to His great mercy has caused us...who are protected by the power of
God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Pet. 1:3,5)
...you...may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus
Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6,7)
...grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:13)
The end of all things is at hand...(1 Pet. 4:7)
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God... (1 Pet. 4:17)
- John to those who believed in the name of the Son of God:
And the world is passing away... (1 Jn. 2:17)
Children, it is the last hour...from this we know that it is the last hour. (1 Jn. 2:18)
- The revelation of Jesus Christ communicated through John to His bond-servants:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the
things which must shortly take place... (Rv. 1:1)
...for the time is near. (Rv. 1:3)
I am coming quickly...(Rv. 3:11)
...I am coming quickly. (Rv. 22:7)
...Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
Behold, I am coming quickly...(Rv. 22:12)
Yes, I am coming quickly. (Rv. 22:20)
These verses present a dilemma for Christians. Were the disciples deluded and not inspired in writing these statements? If so, can we trust anything else they wrote in the New Testament?
The truth is that there is no dilemma at all! The disciples were living in the "last days" of God's covenant with Israel. In a sense, Jesus returned in 70 A.D., just as He had promised in Matthew 24, to execute vengeance upon the Jewish nation. Clearly, those were the last days of the Jewish nation. This is not to be confused with the end of human history.
Days of Vengeance has been called the "finest, fullest commentary on the book of Revelation ever written." This ground-breaking verse-by-verse study of the book of Revelation written by a leading Christian theologian provides substantial evidence revealing that much of Revelation was fulfilled in the first century A.D. This book is available online in PDF format by clicking here. This book is also available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com.
Paradise Restored A Biblical Understanding of Bible Prophecy by David Chilton
1. Revelation Seminars, Lesson 5, "Seven Special Messages from Jesus", (Keene,Texas), http://www.tagnet.org/battlecryministry/revelation_seminarspage.htm, as of Aug. 8, 2009.
2. Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 585. See also Manuscript Releases Vol. 1, p. 372.
3. Revelation Seminars, Lesson 9, "The Four Horesemen of Revelation", (Keene,Texas), http://www.tagnet.org/battlecryministry/revelation_seminarspage.htm, as of Aug. 8, 2009.
4. This entire section is an edited abridgment of David Chilton's excellent book, The Days of Vengeance, pp. 55-57.
5. This paragraph an abridgment of Chilton's The Days of Vengeance, pp. 51-52.
6. Thomas S. Kidd, American Christians and Islam, p. 33.
7. W.A. Spicer, letter of Nov. 30, 1914.
8. Josiah Litch, A Complete Harmony of Daniel and the Apocalypse, p. 170.
9. This entire section is an abridgment of David Chilton, Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion, chapter 18.
10. http://lynnish.tripod.com/visible.html, all verses taken from the NASB.