Example Exegesis of Symbols and Words

One. The Beast Symbol
(Dan.7:5) And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. (6) And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.

Here we have the expression of two beasts preparing to battle one another. How do we know that they are not literal animals perhaps conveyed in a parable of a sort in order to simply teach some principle or tactic of war to the reader?

If we go on the isolated text alone, what other conclusion could we come to? Perhaps we could even compare it with Jesus’ parables in order to conjecture support for our assumption.

But we find later in the same chapter an express explanation:

Dan 8:20-21 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. (21) And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

This is what is referred to as divine interpretation. It is more than viable, it is absolute. Our first hypothesis was viable, until we found the express explanation which excluded it. This express explanation may now justly be considered for application for similar symbols used elsewhere, such as for the Revelation Beasts.

Two. The Two Witnesses
(Rev 11:3) And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Here we have expressed in the text two witnesses and they are clothed in sackcloth. By this statement alone we would simply understand that we are talking about two individual witnessing men who are wearing the clothing of mourning and distress or want. But the next verse gives us more clues in that they are likened to several objects.

(4) These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

So. we should search for these objects first in either the same chapter or the same book for an express explanation. I cannot find olive tree in the same book anywhere else, but it does appear symbolically as one that is fruitful in God’s presence elsewhere. I do however find candlesticks five times in chapters 1 and 2. In Rev.1:20 we are even given an express explanation of the symbol, “the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

Now, we understand by divine interpretation that the text is referring to the church, and not individual men. And we also know by scripture that two witnesses were the least number required to establish a fact in the law. Therefore, we understand that the symbols combined reveal to us that, “the faithful witnessing church suffering persecution, want, and martyrdom, however few but adequate, would continue in that state for most of the prescribed era.”

Three. The Millennium

We have six verses in Revelation chapter 20 that definitely express a thousand years.

Some believe that the expression there is to be taken symbolically for a “long period of time,” thus not to be taken literally. They may even find hundreds of scriptures from which to conjecture support for their hypothesis from the Bible. However, they cannot find even one single express explanation to support their hypothesis that “it is to be taken symbolically for a long period of time,” and thereby exclude the plain interpretation.

Therefore, that interpretation, while it may be a viable hypothesis, it is not absolute. And it will remain as such until (a) An express explanation can be found somewhere, as was found in our first two examples; or (b) History proves them to be true.

They can continue to believe, but I’ll wait, because despite all of their explanations, I find that the proposition of a literal bodily reign of Christ for a thousand years with His saints, not only reasonable and viable, but easily harmonized with the whole of God’s Word and His creation, not to mention that it is plainly expressed in the text.

Four. Pre-Tribulation Rapture

(1Th 4:16-17) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The word rapture here does not appear in the text, or even the Greek text from which our Protestant Bible has been derived. The word is rather taken from the Latin Vulgate. This is a curious deviation from the norm, an event which requires a new word, because the biblical word used in history to which this phrase previously referred was the resurrection, and from the time of the infant church, in this context, was always considered a singular event.

However, our symbol here is the word rapture, which means “a divided or separate resurrection event for church era Christians only” as it is used by Rapture Adherents. In the Greek, ἁρπάζω, pronounced har-pad’-zo, is everywhere else in the scripture understood by the plain meaning in the context found. It should be as well understood here alike.

The Rapture however, upheld with ten thousand conjectured scriptures and a multitude of supporting propositions, all of which do not include one express explanation anywhere from the scripture, reduces the hypothesis to nothing but speculation with no express or explicit support from the scripture whatsoever. This one, for me, is even more difficult to swallow than the amillennial proposition.

May the Almighty Bless each and every one of you, as you travel the narrow way that leads to life!

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