I have spent a great deal of time on Chapters 4 & 5 because they, along with Chapter 12, have pivotal roles in interpreting the entire book of Revelation.
Critical Error of Modern Prophecy Preachers
A critical error today is found in those who interpret the Bible by reading the newspaper accounts of current events. Note the following claim about a book on prophecy —
“In my book [on] Daniel…, by using the key given by God when he unsealed for understanding the eighth chapter of Daniel in 1967, I explain all of the seven chrono-specific predictive prophecies in the Book of Daniel, and I show how everything prophesied in Daniel has now been fulfilled.” (Prophecy Teacher’s book on Daniel.)
Billy Graham is more correct in his assessment of our times —
“These warnings from the Book of Matthew [Chapter 24] are not parables or myths; they are the very headlines of our day. They are the evidence of Christ’s prophecy fulfilled before our eyes” (see Storm Warning, p. 37).
I enjoyed his earlier book The Approaching Hoofbeats: The four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He pointed out modern happenings as probable fulfillments of Revelation Chapter Six, but he did not use the headlines to interpret the Bible.
The Prophecy of Daniel can be unsealed by a newspaper account? Really! I think no one would see this as fulfillment in the 1st Century. Rather, we have seen John’s Revelation referring to various Old Testament prophecies as fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus Christ. The Last Days have been inaugurated at his first coming and will be consummated at his second coming. We do not need a newspaper in one hand and the Bible in another to un-seal Daniel or any other prophet in the Old Testament.
We start with the key verse of the chapter — 5:13b.
Focus on the Symbols in Chapter 5 in Review
Note on the chart, I list the 4 main Symbols in the chapter.
(1) The Scroll — “God’s testament” or “will” signifies that he rules the world for the benefit of his Church and all will result in God’s glory.
(2) The Lamb — Rather than symbolizing innocent submission, the Lamb in Revelation is a ‘mystic, apocalyptic designation (or title) of the glorified Christ, enthroned with God and destined to be victorious over all the opposing forces in the universe, both human and demonic.’
(3) The Kingdom-Priests — God’s kingdom people called to be intercessors in the last days.
(4) God’s Dominion — The ever-expanding throne room of God helps us view all of life as destined to mirror the majesty and glory of God.
How should we view the Symbols in our everyday life?
The Scroll and the Lamb
I combined the first two symbols since they are related. The scroll is taken by the Lamb. We may feel at times we are surrounded by the rubble of a civilization that is in free-fall away from God. We should derive hope from the fact that the Lamb has taken the rule of the world to support his Church and especially those who are persecuted for the Gospel’s sake. We are building for God in our spheres! We are not preoccupied with the rubble around us. We have our families and spheres of influence into which we can speak the truth of God.
An Example of Doing What One can Where One is
A doctor survived on the outskirts of Hiroshima after the A-Bomb exploded over the city. The city was devastated and few survived the 4000º F heat wave. As the doctor moved out of the building where he was, he began to come to terms with the magnitude of the effect on “survivors.” He wondered, “Where am I to begin to help with so many injured?” He stumbled on a fallen survivor who moaned in pain. He purposed, “I’ll begin where I am and work outward. I will help as many as I can as far as I can go.” (Old article from Our Daily Bread devotional).
We are in the business of building the Kingdom of God which was inaugurated at Christ’s first coming and will be consummated at his second coming. God uses means to do this, so second causes are valid. He has chosen to use us.
Kingdom-Priests and the Ever-Expanding Throne Room of God
I combined the last two images also since Kingdom Intercessors and the extension God’s dominion are related. A pastor writes —
“One of the most common questions that people have in church is, “If God is sovereign, why should we pray?” The idea seems to be that if God is sovereign, knows everything, is all powerful, and is all wise then surely, he doesn’t need our prayers. Although that is a difficult question, I think the more difficult question is, “If God is not sovereign, why should we pray?” If God is not sovereign, then there’s no need for us to pray because we’re praying to a God who is not able to do something about our situation. He is somehow limited in his power, his knowledge, and his ability to actually intervene in time and space and do something.” (see Richard below).
Since we have the Sovereign God at work in our behalf, we cannot fail. I suggested the throne room of God scene ought to evoke thoughts of Lord of Hosts who fights for us and defends us.
A Modern Example of God using Nature to Protect People
When the Ethiopian police found [a kidnapped girl] a week after her abduction, three black-maned lions surrounded her, guarding her as though she were their own. Seven men had kidnapped the twelve-year-old girl, carried her into the woods and beaten her. Miraculously, however, a small pride of lions heard the girl’s cries, came running and chased off the attackers. “[The lions] stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” police Sergeant Wondimu told one reporter. (see ODB below).
Our God is still the Lord of Hosts and he guards people! He has established everlasting ties between us and Him. Indeed nothing that happens here can sever us from our Great King of Glory!
Next time Chapter Six.
ODB. (2019). Taken from Our Daily Bread Devotional for 4 November 2019. Accessed 16 December 2019 from https://ourdailybread.ca/no-longer-afraid/
Richard, G. (2018). “If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?” Accessed 16 December 2019 from https://rts.edu/resources/if-god-is-sovereign-why-pray/
Storm Warning. (2010). Book by Billy Graham. Accessed 16 December 2019 from https://epdf.pub/storm-warning-deceptive-evil-looms-on-the-horizon.html
© 2019 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved
Thanks for this study,Rick. As I read along I thought of all the prophetic must have books I remember over the past few decades. That the authors pin pointed dates that came and went, should concern people since we are plainly told in Scripture that only God the father knows the exact time. Remember seeing the book ” Christ Returns by 1984″ . Or the Y2K books? Its endless. …You touched upon something that has helped me cope with bad situations. That is to make the most of wherever you are planted. Easy to say, hard to do but harder if you dont have your eyes upon God and his purposes in our lives. I resolved long ago that I’m not going to take my lit candlestick and hide it under my bed but instead let that light shine, especially in dark places. The times we live in appear especially dark as we wallow in prosperity and look to government to solve our problems. Nothing new under the sun. Thanks
Thank you for relating your thoughts. I agree that these truths are easy to say (or write) but more difficult to live out.