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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

End times part 2

My freshman year at Wayland broke the hold of premillennialism and much of fundamentalism. Take away the rapture and most of the Bible has to taken literally fades away. I also give credit to Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Jamar, my English professors who developed my ability to analyze and discover metaphor and symbolism in the stories we were reading and applying it to the Bible. Here is where I left behind (no pun intended) the childish understanding of the Bible and moved from Piaget's concrete operations to abstract thought.  
Over that summer I spent time with my brother and talked about end times. His father-in-law also our pastor gave him a book to read and he gave it to me. It was Worthy is the Lamb by Ray Summers.

This introduced me to amillennialism. The premise of the book is that for any book of the Bible, but especially Revelation it must be understood in the context of to whom and when it was written. The fancy term for this is hermeneutics. A lost subject at today's seminaries and Baptist universities.
The first half explains apocalyptic literature. Books like Daniel, Ezekiel, and others in the Bible that were written symbolically. Also was the Book of Enoch, not in the Bible.
The purpose of these books was to express and instill hope in a time of despair. Daniel and Ezekiel predicted that God's people would leave their captivity and return to the promised land.
The second part is a detailed interpretation of Revelation. He explained much of the imagery and symbolism and when placed in the context of the Christians living in the Roman Empire.
The imagery of "The Beast" and "False Prophet" he explained as Emperor worship. This is what the Christians of that day were being persecuted and died. They refused to offer sacrifice to the emperor. Christian don't have a temple and offer sacrifice. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice and it is no longer needed. To offer sacrifice to the emperor was to deny Christ and His sacrifice.
Note: There is not mention of the "Anti-Christ" in Revelation. The only passage where that is mentioned is in I John and concerns a leader of the Gnostics.
Summers explains that Revelation was intended like all other apocalypses as a way to encourage the believers to hold true to the faith, that emperor worship would end and Jesus would prevail.
The battle of Armageddon took place on the cross, when Jesus defeated death. It's not something that will happen in the future, but has already happened and that is why believers should keep the faith. The victory is already won. The thousand year reign is not intended to be taken literally, but figuratively as infinity. The Kingdom of God is eternal and Jesus is at his right hand. If you die for your belief you will be with Jesus who is with His Father.
Note: the Rapture destroys the intended purpose of John's writing. Instead of encouraging believers into holding steadfast to their faith through a time of trial, they are evacuated and sit out the tribulation. 
The ending of Revelation give the imagery of the Great White Throne Judgement, and heaven with streets of gold. Much of this imagery was written a hundred years earlier in the book of Enoch.
Here is the hope and glorious future for all believers. This is the purpose of John's vision and his writing.
Summers believe Jesus will come again. Again as mentioned in Matthew: "No one knows the time."

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