Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Review of Revelations--Part 14--Wrap Up

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part 11] [Part 12] [Part 13]

        This is a continuation of my series reviewing The Book of Revelation: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass by G. Erik Brandt. Today, I will be wrapping up.

"The Second Coming" (Source)
      In my last installment, I covered chapters 12 and 13 of the Book of Revelation, which discussed the War in Heaven and the Beast. I decided, however, that I really couldn't do Brandt's book justice by a continued chapter by chapter commentary, so I've decided to wrap up with some of my own thoughts.

     Obviously, Revelation has 22 chapters and in my last installment we had only gotten half-way through. The Revelation continues much like the last few chapters by giving us a peak behind the curtain, so to speak, as well as focusing on certain events in more detail. Some of the things covered in the remainder of the Revelation include such things as the Whore of Babylon, further details on the wars and judgments poured out on the wicked prior to the Second Coming. Then it discusses various aspects of the Second Coming, from the destruction of the remaining wicked, to the restoration of Jerusalem and the descent of a New Jerusalem. As LDS readers know, the two are separate capitals, one in the old world, obviously, and the New Jerusalem in the new world. Finally, we are given just the slightest glimpse of the Millennium and final war of Gog and Magog at the end of that era, after which is the final judgment (the Great White Throne Judgment). Brandt covers all of this in detail referencing scripture and writings of the brethren.

      I want to go back and discuss some specific points. 

     When John finishes the Revelation, there are a couple interesting things he writes. First, in Rev. 22:10, he is commanded to "[s]eal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand." This is in contrast to some other end-time prophecies where the particular prophet was told to seal up his writings or what he saw until the end times. But John was specifically told not to, which suggests to me that what he wrote pertained to the people at the time and, more importantly for us, that what John wrote should have been understandable to members of the Church at the time he wrote it.

     Second, John gives a warning in Rev. 22:18-19:
        For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 
       And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I have heard of some Christians claiming that by "this book," John meant the New Testament or, even, the whole of the Holy Bible. The context, however, shows that he was only referencing the Book of Revelation, which is only underscored by the fact that the writings that eventually were collected together to form the New Testament or the Holy Bible as whole had not yet been collected; some of the New Testament books had not even been written at the time of John's prophecy. 

      We must be cautious of the warning against adding to or subtracting from the Revelation. While this can include those outright trying to fabricate new material or excise material, I believe it also applies to how the book is interpreted. Many people read into the Revelation things that are simply not there, either directly or by inference based on other scripture, or become wed to their pet theories.

     Worse, in many ways, are those that interpret the Revelation too strictly and, thereby, limit its scope. In this latter case, I have in mind those that interpret the Revelation as only pertaining to events in the First Century and/or being only symbolic. These people would lead you to believe that the Revelation is irrelevant for us.

     My last installment covered the Beast and Brandt's explanation. I am going to simplify all that, because the Beast represents whatever organization(s) advance the cause of Satan and attempt to hinder the efforts of Christ and his true Church. That is, the Beast is "Church" of the Devil. The horns and such are particular leaders important to this movement. We should not become obsessed with trying to identify it with a particular organization or movements, because as we have seen, Satan has many tools and organizations doing his will, or cabals within certain organizations that seek to advance Satan's cause.

     The Whore of Babylon is somewhat more interesting. Brandt discusses this in detail, and the Revelation describes the Whore as the great city that is the antithesis of the City of God. Unfortunately, it includes organizations that are, on their surface, seemingly advancing the cause of the Gospel.

       A whore is a woman that has exchanged that that which is "most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue" (Moroni 9:9) for money, popularity and passing pleasure. Although the Bible is full of references to harlots and whores, the one "whore" that we encounter again and again in the writings of the prophets, however, is the Israel that has turned from God to idols. (See, e.g., Ezekiel 16:15, 28 and 33; Jeremiah 2:20 and 3:1, 6, and 8; Hosea 2:5, 3:3, 9:1; Isaiah 1:21). Thus, I believe that the Whore of Babylon includes not only Israel (the Jews who rejected Christ) but also those Christians that have sold what is most precious (the Gospel and salvation) in order to gain the popularity and riches offered by the nations of the Earth. In the end, the Whore will be destroyed, however, by the Beast. (Rev. 17:16). 

       We see this today with churches that have substituted popular sentiment and worldly philosophies for the truth of God. I have blogged about this topic many times, as have others, but churches which are converged are increasingly failing and being rejected by the world. Their congregations are evaporating even as they go chasing after new members with promises of ever greater license and worldly views. 

        As we just saw this past week, "between 6,000 and 10,000 churches in the U.S. are dying each year." Vox Day noted that these churches are, for the most part, dying because "[t]hey are not Christian churches, they are Churchian organizations that have been converged and are following the lead of the world into total irrelevance and eventual extinction." The Church of England, it was recently reported, is in crises because attendance has plummeted and only 2% of British young adults identify as being members. This is the same church that recently had a Bishop advise against referring to God as "He." It doesn't matter how much these Churchian organizations and their members confess their commitment to worldly philosophies and commitment to popular causes, the Beast will destroy them.

      For those who keep their faith, however, the Revelation promises us great glory, for "[Christ's] reward is with [Him], to give every man according as his work shall be," (Rev. 22:12) and "[h]e that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Rev. 21:7). "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4).

     Be good; do good.

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