Over the next few weeks we will continue to share with you the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Revelation. The remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts continue to answer:
#2. What are the keys to understanding the book of Revelation?
Daymond Duck, Prophecy Plus Ministries
I would suggest that people begin by believing that God gave us Revelation. God wants to help them understand and God can help them. God will help them so that they can understand Revelation.
The next thing I would say people need is to first pray before getting started studying Revelation. So many never do that. They just blindly dismiss prayer. They claim that nobody can understand Revelation and that’s the end of it. The rest of their lives they never go back and look at it again. I think that’s a terrible shame, because God has given Revelation to them. He wants us to study it, and yet they don’t do it. So, I think people need to first pray for understanding.
Thirdly, I think people then need to open the book and they need to start reading. A lot of people don’t ever do that. I would suggest to people today that they get a verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Revelation. Probably more than one would be a good idea. They ought to get a commentary that was written by someone that believes in the Pre-Trib Rapture and the Premillennial Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Those resources will help, especially with all the symbols in the book of Revelation. I think people need to track down those symbols, because they are usually explained someplace else in the book of Revelation or in another portion of the Scriptures. So, use the marginal notes, use the footnotes, and use the commentaries. Search the Scripture. Let Scripture interpret Scripture.
The main thing is to get started and quit making excuses.
Nathan Jones, Lamb & Lion Ministries
Revelation is not a Chinese puzzle if you do five things. One, you have to be saved, or at least be led by the Holy Spirit. You’ll need the Holy Spirit to help translate the Bible for you. Two, you need to take the text for it’s literal plain sense meaning. Don’t spiritualize it, which is number three. Don’t make the Bible say what you want it to say, but let the Bible speak for itself. Four is context. You have to take everything in context. You don’t pull verses from chapters and books all over the Bible. Read the context that is already there.
Revelation is filled with symbols, so the fifth key is to let the symbols explain themselves. I’ll give you an example from Revelation 1:20, “The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Like that passage, let the symbols explain themselves.
If you do those five things, you will understand the book of Revelation.
Tom McCall, Tom McCall Ministries
The main key I think is to understand that much of Revelation lies in the future. For so long, for so many centuries, the book of Revelation was translated and understood to be happening at that time in history. Well, if you try to compare the destruction of a third of the earth with this plague, and a third of the earth with that plague, and the rise of the Antichrist and so forth and so on into what’s happening today, why it would boggle the mind and becomes so confusing. Once people understand that this book is a futurist thing, this is something that will happen after the Church is gone in the Rapture for instance and would happen in the future, then they can see how these things could develop and how they could happen not in our time and not in our circumstance, but in a future circumstance. That of course means the Tribulation and then the Millennium and then the eternal state.
Don McGee, Crown and Sickle Ministries
That the book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible is not an accident. The position of the book is just as much inspired as what’s in it. Because it is the last book of the Bible, it’s implied that we need a basic working knowledge of everything that came before it.
I believe that one of the keys is to have an understanding of the book of Genesis. I believe that Genesis is paramount in importance to understanding Revelation.
I also believe that there are particular passages in the Old Testament that need attention. For example, Deuteronomy 28 speaks of the wandering Jew. Second Samuel 7 speaks of the Davidic Covenant. Both of those topics play heavily into the events that happen as recorded by John in Revelation.
Then of course there are the Minor Prophets and the Major Prophets. Those books are key. They are important. You have to have an understanding, or at least a working knowledge, of those books in order to understand what John is recording in the book of Revelation.
Also, in the New Testament there are some foundational principles that need to be understood. A person needs to understand the book of Matthew because it was written by a Jew to the Jews. In the book of Matthew, particularly Matthew 24, there is information that is very relevant to the information that you’ll find in Revelation. Then there are the epistles that Paul wrote. Paul talked about some things having to do with the last days and end time events.
Once the books before Revelation are read, then a person needs to take the book of Revelation and simply read it as you read anything, like a novel or newspaper or whatever. Read it several times over a period of a couple of weeks. Once that’s done, then the student needs to sit down and study it. See, there’s a big difference between reading it and studying it. And, study it taking notes, comparing what that person sees in Revelation with what has already been said in the previous 65 books.
When you take all of those steps, you come to the idea that there is some preparation that’s needed to understand what Revelation is all about. It’s absolutely impossible to understand Revelation in my opinion without a basic understanding of those preceding books.
Gary Fisher, Lion of Judah Ministries
I was all over this when I first really started studying the Bible. I’d run into an individual — Dr. Henry Morris — who wrote a book about Revelation. He claimed about Revelation, and this is almost a quote but not word-for-word, he said, “Some people believe that Revelation is hard to understand. They are wrong. Revelation is not hard to understand, it’s just hard to believe. Those who will believe it will understand it.” So, my admonition to anybody that asks this question is to read Revelation and just believe it. Don’t allegorize it. Don’t spiritualize it. Just take it at face value and it will make sense.
In the next part of this series on reading and understanding Revelation, the members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will answer the third question, “What is the theme of the book of Revelation?”
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What do you thing of Irvin Baxter of Endtimes Ministries?
Concerning Irvin Baxter, check out Irvin Baxter Evaluated.
Thanks.. the reason I asked was I watched him the other day and he said Rome had already been revived, and even gave a date.. Also another time he had said that a verse in the Bible was insurance that The Antichrist would only be given one 4th of the world. I questioned that, so thought I would ask you.. I think the verse was Rev. 6:8. I always listen to different speakers on the pre rapture and then make sure they are right with the Bible… I also used to watch a show that was on every day for weeks.. He was speaking what the Bible said. and then BOOM.. he stated that the Church was now the Jews.. That was the last time I watched him.
Baxter is not pretrib i saw him with stone also a program and was confused by the purpose. However he have some on the nose instincts about the governments of the world and the one new world order( as many do). And saying that the things going on in mideast to say the least Egypt and their "fierce king" and the Russian sub being in Gulf and our Navy clueless really leads to the destruction of America and our less than powerful statis. Which has been the hope of those in power in Am. for awhile. The only thing holding Am up is the Lord with the prayers of his saints. It is getting stranger and stranger.
As much as Nate & Co, Missler & Co, Jack/Rexella & Co and Lindsey & Co would like it to be "pre" and can present 5,000 versus elluding to such, I just can't accept it… I sincerely want it to be "pre" but it sounds too good to be true… Do I hope it's "pre"? YEP! But it feels like so many people place their eggs in one basket on the topic and if it doesn't happen and someone else rises to power beforehand, I believe it'll be quite the let-down (or worse, fall into deception) to those who were taught to depend on it taking place at the "pre" point… The spirit-filled men who God has placed in my path (who are actually strong enough to minister to me, with supernatural coincidences/signs to prove they are of God) believe they're going to be here, going through some interesting stuff when it comes to end-times ministry… And by the way, for some reason when someone says "mid" or god forbid "post" well, then they're viewed as a negative person/Christian and that shouldn't be the case… We're all going up at the same time, no matter when it is… It's just a matter of expectation that should be re-evaluated and tempered… I'm just saying we should be cautious about timing the Rap… That's all…
I myself see where you are coming from.. Every since Obama and the Dems in DC came into power, I have been studying the Rapture.. I have read documents, with references everywhere I could find them.. I read pro and con..
My Thoughts on the subject.. there are a lot of references in the Bible that seems to be for a pre rapture. I myself, believe it, BUT, I am also preparing myself for the idea that if there isn't, then God will see us through the tribulations..I have read some that even call ministers preaching pre rapture to be Liars..I feel if these people are Of God, they would just accept that people have different beliefs on this subject. For a long time I questioned the trinity..I had some questions I couldn't understand.. until I read point blank… they are one.. I think you have to study, the way Lions & Lambs preaches we should..In the end, your salvation really depends on the only way to heaven and that is through Jesus. not whether you believe in pre, post or whatever rapture..
This is a great read on Rapture Ready by Grant Phillips. It gives the difference between the coming and the rapture..http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips95.html
Rapture Ready is also another great site to read,regarding the Rapture. Lamb and also rapture Ready really helped me a lot on this subject..The best way to handle it If you are unsure.. prepare you heart just in case we could be mistaken..God will take care of his children whatever the circumstances.
I think what people get confused about with the pretrib rapture is the fact they are thinking of it as individuals. What I think is as we are as the Church the Body of Christ we are one in Christ. This tells me that the Church will we saved as a whole out of trib. We as the whole Church will NOT be lost to all that will be the wrath of God on the earth.This helps me see that all the suffering of individuals in the name of the Church is something else altogether. The body of the human Christ already went throught trib for his Church ie the believers as a whole. This makes sense to me in the spirit and I hope it helps others.
I believe people get confused by the term "trib". The "trib" exists as a result of God's wrath. God's wrath causes the tribulation. It's quite different to what Christians experience now.