Please take a moment to consider five topics before reading this book:
First, depending on your religious beliefs and background, you may find certain concepts in this book to be disturbing, crazy, or even inflammatory. Be assured, I have no desire to offend or insult anyone. Jesus had no desire to offend or insult anyone when He was on Earth, but He offended many people by revealing new concepts the Father wanted revealed. Bible truth is progressive. The Bible is a gold mine full of treasure. When a new truth is found, it requires rethinking everything previously understood! Every Bible student faces a challenge to move forward with the Holy Spirit as He guides us into all truth (John 6:13).
The truth about God and His plan for our redemption is ever unfolding. (Ephesians 3:8-10) God releases information about Himself and His plans through His Word when the time arrives! For example, God sealed the book of Daniel until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9) This forward moving process makes the Bible exciting. Some people are happy with what they know and are unwilling to receive new light. Others eagerly search the Scriptures because they know there is an endless supply of new things to learn. I was imprisoned by my inherited religious paradigms for many years, basically, studying the Bible to prove what I already believed. However, as the years went by, I began to find cracks in my own theology. Eventually this led to an awakening when several “puzzle pieces” snapped together. I was overjoyed to find answers to my question and at the same time, stymied by the social consequences. I have been blessed by the fact that Bible truth is progressive. I now believe and understand Bible teachings I did not know or believe previously. My growth in God’s Word and my love and admiration for God continues to expand, because more than anything, I want to know God! The best way to know God is to allow His Word to speak for itself. Resolving each apparent conflict is exciting. For more than forty-five years my prayer has been, “Lord, I do not care what the truth is, what it costs, or where it leads. I just want to know truth!” No one should expect to find and embrace greater truth if he is unwilling to let go of faulty assumptions and presuppositions.
God’s Word is full of wonderful treasures! If we will take what it says to heart, it will constantly challenge, change, and shape our lives and knowledge of God. This concept irritates those who insist that religious beliefs should never be challenged or changed. As you read this book, you need to be aware that my understanding of the Bible is “a work in progress.” If you have read any of my previous works, you may notice minor changes because I continue to search for truth. Conclusions are proven true by the harmony that comes from the sum of its parts. Because the Bible is God’s Word, consider looking up each Bible reference as you read along so that you can confirm what the Bible says for yourself.
Second, I am writing this book because I want to share a short summary of coming events and in the process, I hope to show that Jesus’ behavior is justified for what He is about to do. I also hope that after reading this book, you will be inspired to study deeper into the many diverse topics that are involved with apocalyptic prophecy. Because this book is deliberately brief, it may create more questions than answers in some areas. If you want more information about topics presented in this book, there are hundreds of articles and many hours of video covering various issues on our website. You may freely download them or view them at www.wake-up.org.
Third, if you have to stop reading because you find the information in this book is too “troubling,” please do not throw it away! Place this book in your bookcase and let it serve as a time capsule. Then, after World War III begins and several million people have been killed by nuclear exchange, find this book and give it another try. Time will tell if its story is true. You are reading this book because you are interested in Bible prophecy, so keep it around and compare it with the facts as they unfold.
Fourth, if a math teacher tells a student that 3 + 3 = 6, would his answer be an opinion or the result created by the laws of addition? Of course, if you know the laws of addition, you would conclude the math teacher is presenting the result. However, put yourself in the student’s shoes. If the student does not know the laws of addition, he cannot tell the difference between a result and an opinion. This is a critical point! Much of the story you are about to read is not my opinion. It is the result that four rules of interpretation produce. I believe four self-evident rules were sealed in the book of Daniel until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:4,9) These rules produce a result I wish was much different. There is only one way for apocalyptic prophecy to teach what we do not want to believe, and this is through the use of valid rules of interpretation. These self-evident rules may be difficult to appreciate and understand at first, but they are crucial to reaching the intended meaning of apocalyptic prophecy. Like the laws of mathematics, they must be properly applied to produce legitimate results.
The Four Rules
- Each apocalyptic prophecy has a beginning and ending point in time, and the events within each prophecy must occur in the order God has provided. (God has declared the chronological order of the elements within each prophecy so that events are not subject to human speculation. If God has not declared the order of events in each prophecy, who has the authority to declare God’s intent?)
- A fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy occurs when all of the specifications, within a prophecy, are met; this includes the order of events outlined in the prophecy. (God has declared the specifications for each element within a prophecy. Therefore, when all of the specifications are met, the prediction is fulfilled. A prophetic element within a prophecy cannot have more than one fulfillment because no one (a) has the authority to break the chronological order given and (b) no one can declare the number of times that a particular element will be fulfilled.)
- Apocalyptic language can be literal, symbolic, or analogous. To reach the intended meaning of a prophecy, the student must consider the context, the use of parallel language in the Bible, and relevant statements in the Bible defining that symbol if an element is thought to be symbolic. (Many people claim something in apocalyptic prophecy is symbolic without producing a relevant statement from Scripture that defines the symbol! When God uses a symbol, He defines the symbol. When God uses literal language, He means what He says. When God uses analogous language, He offers a metaphor to help us understand His thoughts. When apocalyptic language is treated properly, God’s intended meaning is not ruined.)
- God uses time in apocalyptic prophecy in two ways: a day for a year and literal time. The presence or absence of the Jubilee calendar determines how time is defined. (The 70 weeks in Daniel 9 amounts to 490 years because the 70 weeks occurred during the operation of the Jubilee Calendar, which ended in 1994 (1437 B.C. to 1994). However, the 1,290 and 1,335 days of Daniel 12 and 1,260 days granted to the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11 are in the future. These time periods are in literal days because they occur after 1994.)
Because millions of Christians have different views on Bible prophecy, unbelievers scoff at our diversity. They claim the Bible can be made to say anything that people want it to say, and point to the endless confusion among Christians as proof! The only way to turn this sentiment around, especially with apocalyptic prophecy, is to use valid rules of interpretation. Faulty rules of interpretation will always produce faulty results. The evidence behind the four rules of interpretation is not included in this book because it only presents the results of applying them. If the four rules I use are valid and if I have properly applied them, the result will be the story that you are about to read. To learn more about the four rules and how they are applied, please go to wake-up.org and look for a short article about the rules of interpretation at wake-up.org/?p=7801 You can also freely download my 600+ page book, “Jesus’ Final Victory” (wake-up.org/?p=2706#ref7) for a comprehensive study showing why the rules are self-evident in the book of Daniel, and how they are applied to Daniel and Revelation.
Fifth, if separated from the larger context of this book, the first chapter could give an impression that God is very cruel and unfairly harsh, so please do not stop reading until you have completed Chapter 2. The devil delights in distorting God’s character and love, causing people to falsely think that God is either a tyrant or a divine Santa Claus. The same God who drowned men, women, and children in Noah’s day (Genesis 6,7) also sent His Son to die on the cross for us because of our sins. (John 3:16) God loves people. He is a great king, changeless, generous, fair, and reasonable. (Malachi 1:14, 3:6; Exodus 15:11-13; Psalm 11:7; Isaiah 1:18)
God’s love for human beings is balanced in three ways. First, He understands the curse of sin and how it affects everyone on Earth. Second, He knows what is best for individuals short and long term. Finally, He knows what is best and most beneficial today for future generations. God has sustained life on Earth for thousands of years, and manages the human race according to policies that are righteous and necessary. He has no evil intent or selfishness. Instead, He acts with love and infinite wisdom. The Bible says the foundations of God’s throne are righteousness and justice. (Psalm 89:14) He is long suffering and patient, “not wanting anyone to perish.” (2 Peter 3:9) He generously extends mercy to sinners day after day, year after year, until a day comes when He determines that extended mercy will have no redeeming effect. When this point is reached, God responds to man’s wickedness. He destroys defiant and degenerate generations so future generations will be free of their ancestor’s perverted values and poisonous attitudes and ways. If we could see everything going on in the world today as God sees it, I am sure we would agree that God has to act very soon or, as I heard Billy Graham once say, “He will owe Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.