Rediscovering Revelation looks at our past and future. This book reviews the claims of futurism, a view held by millions of Christians today, and shows that Jesus and His current reign is the centre of biblical prophecy, rather than date setting and end-times speculations. There is a better vision in the scriptures that "pan-millennialism". Get ready for a gospel centred discovery of the Prophets and the Revelation, which is changing the world today! Be prepared to rethink your views.
Interpreting Matthew chapter twenty-four and the book of Revelation through the eyes of the disciples and churches that received these texts, and in the light of the Old Testament passages these texts drew upon, Rediscovering Revelation explains their meaning and relevance for our day.
Rediscovering Revelation begins with a critique of the popular teaching of dispensationalism, showing how it misguides the church in understanding both the gospel and the times in which we now live. After reviewing the main themes and applications of Revelation, this book ends with a Postmillennial view of Christ's present reign.
Revelation is a rich resource of encouragement concerning the current reign and victory of Jesus Christ and when properly understood it can be restored to today's pulpits to edify the church in the way God intended.
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REDISCOVERING REVELATION"I Will Build My Church"
By Kent Hodge
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Kent Hodge
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Dispensation of error
A Wrong Foundation
Since the mid-nineteenth century futurism has, in some quarters, become a popular view in interpreting the book of Revelation. This popularity began with John Nelson Darby and became wide spread through the works of Scofield and Dake in their reference Bibles editions. Some popular forms of futurism teach that almost all the contents of the book of Revelation are yet to be fulfilled in the future. It is said that from chapter four of Revelation onwards the subject is about a seven year tribulation period that is still future. During this seven year period a man called antichrist will arise and cause everybody to receive a literal mark of 666 on their body. Some versions claim that half way through this seven year period the church shall be raptured out of the world. Then after a great tribulation Jesus will return and reign in Jerusalem for one thousand years.
This has produced constant speculation about the antichrist. All the theories proposed have proved abortive. Futurism has stimulated constant date-setting on the return of Jesus, while Jesus forbad this (Acts 1:7). This view of Revelation makes believers negative about the church's role in the world as salt and light, instead looking for the rapture to get out of the world: contrary to John 17:15 where Jesus prayed we be taken not out of the world, but kept from the evil. Escapism results in self-fulfilled prophecy regarding decay and falling away in our societies. The doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture is not once mentioned in the scripture and has never before been mentioned by any church father, neither among the first apostles nor since. The doctrine was developed from a "prophecy" in Scotland in 1830.
This future seven-year idea is said to come from Daniel chapter nine, where Daniel states there will be seventy weeks of years from his day to the coming of Christ to establish the new covenant. This, read in context, has nothing to do with Christ's second coming. However, dispensationalists claim sixty-nine weeks (483 years) passed till Jesus' first coming and the prophetic clock stopped, so we are still waiting for the last week (seven years) to usher in the second coming of Jesus. Daniel does not state, nor even hint, anything about this gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. It is wrong to build a system of belief on something that the scripture has not said.
"Gap teaching" is common in the Scofield and Dake Bible commentaries. They claim there was a gap of millions of years between God's creation in Gen 1:1 and a supposed second creation in Gen 1:2. Nothing in the Bible teaches this. They claim that before Gen 1:2 there was a pre-Adamic race of people that were all destroyed. They claim that millions of years later God started again and created Adam. This is not taught anywhere in the scriptures. The Bible states clearly that Adam was "the first man" (1 Cor 15:45).
They claim Satan rebelled and was cast down to earth after creation and this caused the first destruction on earth. Nowhere do the scriptures teach this. These ideas come from Jewish myths. Paul told Timothy to give no heed to the Jewish myths circulating in the churches of Ephesus (1 Tim 1:4-7). Dispensationalism (see below) itself is a Jewish myth, which predictably leads men back to the law and away from Christ. It wrongly interprets Isaiah chapter fourteen and Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight, which plainly speak of men and not of Satan. (We look at this in more detail in our book Christ in You: where it is shown that Lucifer is not a name for Satan.) Inevitably, these errors focus attention on the devil (which is his aim) and not on the Son. Satan was not cast down to earth before the creation of man. His role as accuser was cast down when Jesus brought us grace and the gospel through His death and resurrection. (Luke 10:18, Matt 16:17-19, John 12:31, Col, 2:13-15, Rev 12:9-10.)
There is a gap: the gap is not in the scripture, but in their understanding of it! Scripture must be interpreted through the finished work of the Christ in the new covenant. All the Old Testament looks forward towards this and all the New Testament looks back to this.
Associated with futurism are the teachings of dispensationalism. These teachings come in different forms and often teach that God saves people in different ways in different dispensations. The English word "dispensation" may be used in a valid way and may refer to a stewardship given or time fulfilled, an era or age – the new covenant and revealing of Christ came in the fullness of time. But it is the teachings known as "dispensationalism" we are speaking of here.
Forms of dispensationalism teach that in Abraham's time people were saved by following their conscience, but when the Law of Moses came people were saved by the law. The Bible consistently refutes this. Scripture shows (e.g. Paul in Romans and Galatians) that people are saved only one way, in all eras – by Jesus Christ through faith. No one has been or can be saved by the law:
For as many are of the works of the law are under a curse ... That no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Gal 3:10-11 & Hab 2:4
Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom 3:20
Even in Habakkuk in the Old Testament it is said that the just shall live by faith. The law was never given to save, but to point us to Christ:
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be saved by faith. Gal 3:24
Faith was preached to Adam and Eve, when God clothed them and spoke of the coming seed of woman. The gospel was preached to Abraham and he was given the promise by grace, not by works (Gal 3:8, 16-18, John 8:56). He was justified by faith (Rom 4:3). Isaac and Jacob were also called by grace alone (Rom 9:9-13). David was justified by faith (Rom 4:6-7). If we claim that any man in any age can be commended to God by conscience or by law, we speak against the gospel (Gal 3:22). Moses broke the law, so not even he was saved by it. Every man has broken both his conscience and the law of God and stands condemned by both of these (Rom 1-3).
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Rom 3:23-24
Most Pentecostals and many Evangelicals are impacted today by dispensational teachings, even though they might not even be aware of it. Dispensationalism has fostered spiritism, extreme arminianism (works salvation), speculative end-times teachings and withdrawal from society. A denial of the gospel has led many into misguided spiritual warfare activities, not knowing that Christ has broken every curse, whether the curse of the law, ancestral curses or those put on them by other people.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every man that hangs upon a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles ... Gal 3:13-14
If the blessing has come through Jesus then the yoke is broken by faith. But "faith comes by hearing" and since some people haven't heard this from the Spirit of God within their heart they don't have faith and they go chasing after demons. People who falsely call themselves men or women of God also prey on them for money, promising them freedom.
Because dispensationalism can foster spiritism (the manipulation of spirits, believing one gains personal advantage), many people stray from the gospel into false teachings, such as sowing of seeds (money or the like), to manipulate God for one blessing or another. This brings us back to pre-Reformation days where indulgences were paid to gain God's favour: whereas the scriptures plainly teach we are saved, healed and delivered freely by grace, through His shed blood and not by works or any payment of our own. His blood and grace are the "keys of the kingdom", which hypocrites, false ministers and thieves hide so they can beguile others and use them. This is throughout much of the "body of Christ" today and is identified in scripture as the "harlot church". As Reformed truth delivered people from the "priest craft" or earlier years, it delivers from a different form of "priest craft" today, by upholding the supremacy of Christ.
Not Knowing the Scripture
Some forms of dispensationalism have taught that the church age (or age of grace) is temporary. This teaching claims the church was an afterthought of God when the leaders of Israel rejected Jesus. It says that when Jesus returns the Law of Moses will be restored and the church and grace will no longer be required. It denies the scriptural truth that the church is the ultimate and eternal purpose of God in creation and sending of His Son.
Because this claims that the church was a temporary afterthought, it maintains that the church was not anticipated or prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. It says that when the prophets spoke about a new temple and of the coming kingdom of Messiah, they were speaking about a restored nation of Israel in a coming 1,000 year reign in Jerusalem on earth, and not of the church after Christ's resurrection. This teaching thus claims that the church is not mentioned at all in the Old Testament prophecies.
Some forms of dispensationalism thus teach that Jesus will return to Jerusalem and reign for 1,000 years, during which time the temple will be rebuilt, the Levitical priesthood will return and sacrifices will once again be offered as before. Thus it is denied that the priesthood of Melchisedek in the church is eternal.
These forms of dispensational teaching are contrary to the book of Hebrews which states that Christ put away sacrifice and offering forever, by the offering of Himself once and for all. God will never bring back offerings under the law or old covenant system. He has perfected the saints eternally with the shedding of His blood. The teachings explained above are therefore antichrist in that they deny the efficacy of the blood of Christ for salvation in all ages since creation into eternity. The church and bride of Christ are an eternal state and will never be replaced by a return to the law or old covenant.
In that He said, A new covenant, He has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away. Heb 8:13
This verse above was written in Hebrews before AD 70, before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. When the temple was destroyed the whole old covenant system was seen no more. Christ brought in the new covenant and made the former covenant old. When Hebrews was written the whole sacrificial system going on in the temple at Jerusalem was about to vanish with the destruction of Jerusalem soon after Hebrews was written.
By which testament we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:10
The offering of Jesus and the church redeemed by that offering are eternal.
And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. Rev 21:22
Contrary to dispensationalism, the Bible says that Christ, His faith and grace are the rock of all ages. He goes before David and upheld David in his time, and He comes after David. He is the root of David, meaning all old covenant believers had their root of salvation in Him by faith. He is the offspring of David, meaning He is the eternal fulfilment of David. David's day was a shadow, to which we are never going back. Christ is the eternal substance, the Alpha and Omega.
I am the root and the offspring of David. Rev 22:16
There are so many prophecies in the Old Testament that speak of the coming church. The church was set forth in prophecy as the coming new covenant, new temple and kingdom of Messiah. In Daniel chapter two the church is the rock cut out without hands, that fills the earth. When the prophets spoke of a new Jerusalem, new heaven and new earth they spoke of the church (2 Cor 5:17, Heb 12:22, Rev 21:2). This was a mystery in those days and Paul said this mystery of the prophets was fulfilled and revealed in the church (Col 1:26, 27, Eph 3:3-6).
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah ... until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall the gathering of the people be. Gen 49:10
The Old Testament is replete with hundreds of prophecies about Christ and the ecclesia, or church, the gathering of people to Him. All these are called out by God.
Behold, I and the children whom You have given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel. (Israel meaning all of God's called out people.) Is 8:18 (See Heb 2:13 showing this is referring to the church.)
And all Your children shall be taught of the Lord. Is 54:13
In this last verse, "children" means "seed". The seed of Christ are those who believe on Him, His church. Jesus quotes this same verse in John. "Taught of the Lord" means that Christ's seed are all those who are taught by the Father.
No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of the Lord. Every man therefore that has heard, and learned from the Father, comes to Me. John 6:44-45
Here Jesus said that the phrase "all your seed shall be taught of the Lord" means that the church shall consist of all those that the Father calls to Him. When the Father calls us, i.e. teaches us, we come to Christ.
All the apostles of the New Testament show how the church is the fulfilment of all Old Testament shadows and prophetic expectations. The passages are too numerous to mention here. In the Christ and His church are contained all the promises and hopes of Israel, thus Jesus said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." See Acts 28:20, Paul said "that for the hope of Israel (the gospel he preached) I am bound with this chain". That is, all the hopes and promises made to Israel were fulfilled in the gospel Paul and Jesus preached. But many then denied that and sought to fulfil those hopes through the law and through Jerusalem, as dispensationalism does today.
In Acts 15:16 the apostles show the church is the return of the Lord through His Spirit to restore Israel, after their judgement in Babylon and 400 silent years in the intertestamental period. The return here is not the second coming, but His returning again in mercy to those He had given over to judgement, to restore the elect (the residue) in the gospel. Dispensationalism completely twists the plain meaning of this text. The council of apostles stated that the Gentiles coming to Christ is the fulfilment of the prophets, that the church is the rebuilding of David's tabernacle through Christ, that the Gentiles might be joined to it. This passage is a clear reference to the church:
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, says the Lord, who does all these things. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God ... Acts 15:14-19
This prophecy is a reference to Amos 9:11-12 and to hundreds of other verses in the Old Testament. For example see 1 Chron 17:12,1 Sam 2:35, Ps 2:8, 22:27, 72:8, Is 2:1-4, 54:13-15, 55:1-5, 60:3, 62:2, 65:1, Hag 2:9, Zech 12:10, Ezek 47, John 7:37-39, Acts 7:48, 1 Pet 2:5-10.
Dispensationalism seeks a fulfilment of prophecy with Jesus reigning in earthly Jerusalem, just as the Jews in the first century sought a nationalistic solution to a political problem. For this cause they missed the gospel and with a stiff neck refused the truth. This is the same error being committed today. "My kingdom is not of this world." Reading the book of Revelation as a dispensationalist leads completely away from its intended meaning. The Crusaders of Europe 1,000 years ago committed this same error. Kingdom building on earth is the bane of all religions and is destructive to mankind. It is today just as Paul said in the first century:
Well spoke the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, Go to this people and say, Hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and not perceive. For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Acts 28:25-27
Excerpted from REDISCOVERING REVELATION by Kent Hodge Copyright © 2011 by Kent Hodge. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
A Dispensation of Error....................7
A Wrong Foundation....................7
Not Knowing the Scripture....................11
God Does Not have Two People Groups....................15
Correctly Dividing the Word of Truth....................22
The Destruction of Jerusalem....................32
The Opening of Revelation....................32
The Theme of Revelation....................34
Behold, He Comes Quickly....................37
Every Eye Shall See Him....................39
The Date of Revelation....................44
The Warnings of Jesus....................49
The Birth of the Church....................57
Old Out & New In....................57
Not Replacement Theology....................77
Interpretations of Revelation....................99
The Harlot Church....................103
The Mark of the Beast....................121
A Vision of Christ's Kingdom....................132
A Post-millennial Vision....................136