If you are a serious long time student of prophecy like me, you probably have something to show for it: dozens of books, DVDs, videos, audio tapes, charts and even seminars or conferences memories that cost you hundreds of dollars. Not to mention all the time that you have invested searching in reading, watching and attending them. I even took a tour of Israel with prophecy teacher Michael Rood in 2003 which cost me thousands. Understanding Bible prophecy was not the primary reason for taking that trip and I certainly have no regrets at all and would do it again. However, you have to figure that of all the ministries offering tours of Israel out there, since I picked a prophecy teacher to be the host of the one I went on, that at least some of that package price has to fall into the prophecy research expense category.
After All That Money, Why Don’t You Know More For Sure?
You may have spent even more than I have, perhaps with multiple trips to Israel or with dozens of prophecy books on your books shelf. But the question I want to ask you is, what else do you have to show for it all and when will this expense category in your budget go away? In other words, why haven’t you understood it yet or at least figured out enough to feel like you know the important things you need to about the End Times to make better plans. I mean, putting the satisfaction of your curiosity aside, isn’t the real practical application of studying Bible prophecy to know the future and to then be able to plan better for it? (If you like spending the money because the many divergent teachings entertain or fascinate you, then you may not be looking for how to change that.)
Or after all these years of hearing one plausible interpretation after another have you lost any hope in actually concluding what the right sequence of end times events are, when the rapture falls in that sequence, who the Antichrist is, or even what year Jesus will return? Can we know these things or not? Why are we studying book after book and never really getting solid answers to these questions? The reason for our lack of real results with this is not because there is no way to find out solid answers to these questions. If you believed that was the case then you would not be wasting time and money on this area of study. If after all this time you are starting to doubt this assumption, then let me remind you that God specifically told Daniel that his prophecies (which even he could not understand), would be understood by the wise in the End Times when knowledge was increased, but the wicked would not understand (Dan 12:7-11).
Is there any doubt that we are in those End times now when many would go to and fro and knowledge would be increased? Also, since I don’t know too many reprobates who have a hobby of studying Bible prophecy, let’s rule out that wickedness on your part is the problem here :). If you want to study Bible prophecy then you probably are a good person who wants to understand all God has to say, not just the parts you like.
Flawed Prophecy Interpretation Model
That leaves us with the matter of being a biblically wise person. There is always a good chance we lack wisdom in an area because we all start out in any field as beginners with lots to learn. A lack of success in any endeavor can often indicate that we are missing essential wisdom for succeeding in it. But what wisdom do we need to unravel Bible prophecy?
There is one piece of wisdom that most Bible prophecy teachers don’t seem to know. They usually start out with some unique insights that carefully explain some plain passages of the Bible that others have not addressed as well. However, in fitting their theory in with the rest of the Bible or even just related prophecies, at some point just about every prophecy teacher will say, “that passage does not mean what it plainly says.” Because if they took that passage at face value, they would be forced to change all or part of their theory! You may not have noticed this because you may feel that given the symbolic nature of prophecy, especially the Book of Revelation, this is acceptable handling of God’s word.
Prophecy: Primarily Symbolic or Primarily Literal Like the Rest of Scripture?
What if that assumption is wrong and we have not taken things literally enough? I’m not saying that the Book of Revelation is not symbolic. It certainly does make use of symbols that are usually only explained plainly elsewhere in the Bible. However the question we need to ask before we interpret prophecy is whether it is primarily symbolic or allegorical or is it primarily literal. Put another way, is it a special case or is it just like the rest of the Bible of which Jesus said “[the face value meaning of] scripture cannot be broken” by any interpretation of any other scripture?
More importantly, if we really believe it’s a special case where the “scripture cannot be broken” rule does not apply, then how do we have any hope of ever coming to the right understanding? And if we somehow do, how do we have any way of verifying that it is right if it cannot be validated by being held to not breaking the face value of other scripture? A person can then just find ways to spiritualize or typify other scriptures to a meaning that fits his teaching and no one can say its wrong because one persons imagination of what a passage can mean is just as valid as another’s if there is no standard to hold them all to. This is how we have ended up with innumerable seemingly plausible eschatologies and books explaining them. They are all to some degree breaking (or ignoring) scripture to arrive at yet another different interpretation.
Do you begin to see the problem? If prophecy does not have a primary, usually literal face value meaning with the symbols adding extra detail or depth built on top of that face value meaning rather than contradicting it and replacing it, then we are wasting our time and money studying it because we’ll never really be able to know what it means short of another Holy Spirit-filled prophet coming to literally pull the answers out of a hat. By the way, I said “usually literal” because I’m not saying all prophecy is literal. There is some clear allegorical use of language found but these things are always explained as such right there or elsewhere in the Bible. The problem is when a teacher does not understand this and treats everything like an allegory or freely-definable symbol he supports by using typological interpretation of other scriptures such as the acts of the patriachs in the Old Testament. For example, a famous pretrib rapturist teacher once freely admitted that the pretrib teaching is based on allegory and typology rather than any clear plainly read passages of the Bible. He clearly saw nothing wrong with this situation.
The only thing that the status quo gives us is an endless stream of tantalizing new prophecy books limited only by the imaginations of each new prophecy writer. Since most of them contradict each other, not all can be right—but all can be wrong. Are you ready to find out how to avoid wasting time and money on such fundamentally flawed theories? Here’s how:
- Be willing to change how for years you have treated prophecy differently than the rest of the Bible and begin rereading the Bible afresh with the new “primarily literal prophecy” paradigm.
- Study the articles on this site like How To Understand Bible Prophecy for Sure which gives several examples of mistreated prophecies that can be taken at face value.
- When you have confirmed that there is something to the approach to Bible prophecy I advocate, go ahead and purchase one of my $10 books which are written following this model of interpretation. I promise you’ll never find me say in my books, “that doesn’t mean what it plainly says” and then proceed to offer some contradictory meaning for it. At most I will say it doesn’t mean what you thought it says and direct you to read the passage more carefully and notice a few easily missed details that are really there and change the meaning significantly so that the face value properly meshes with the face value of the rest of the Bible.
Can $10 spent on one of my manuals really save you $100s on lots of other prophecy materials down the road? I wholeheartedly believe so (and I have a money back guarantee if you think I’m wrong). It is difficult to see things differently than you have been taught for years. But a little guidance can go a long way in saving you further trial and error.
See, once you let me show you how several major prophecies such as Wormwood or the 144,000 make literal plain sense as written, you will find it easier to break the old patterns and to apply this approach to other prophecies on your own for finding solid, satisfying answers. And when you see an offer for a new typical allegory/typology-based prophecy book and look into its premise and assumptions and find that they contradict your new foundation based on plain reading of all scripture including prophecy, you will not even think “maybe they have the answer, maybe i should get that…”