Saturday, September 8, 2012

Preface and Four Rules of Interpretation

I do not know when Jesus is coming back. This book will not tell you an exact date for when the end of the world will be or when the “Rapture” will happen. As Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).

This book will, however, provide you with an understanding of the Scriptures and a Biblical knowledge of what will happen in the end times.

Four Rules of Interpretation

Successive visions, such as those given to the prophet Daniel or to the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, are not necessarily chronological. A subsequent vision can:

further interpret the first,
reveal something after the events in the first,
reveal something that takes place before the events in the first, or
be a combination of the above.

No vision or prophecy reveals the entire picture. All related passages must be considered together to see the complete picture. As the old saying goes, Scripture interprets Scripture. One passage sheds light on and helps us to interpret another. Daniel gives us some great information, but adding the information given in Revelation to what we’ve learned from Daniel gives us an even greater understanding.

The earliest interpretations are to be favored. I do not consider myself to be smarter than the first century Christians. They were closer in time to the writing of the Scriptures and were taught by the Apostles and the Apostles’ successors themselves. They are the ones who formed the Church. The beliefs they held are to be preserved unless overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise.

The simplest solution is probably the right one. It is not our job to get creative with the Scriptures or to assign symbols and codes where there are none. Our job is to soberly study the entirety of Scripture, to let Scripture interpret Scripture, and to summarize it in as understandable a way as possible.

With these four rules of interpretation in mind, let us proceed.


This blog post is included in my book, Last Days: A Biblical Guide to the End Times.

Last Days: A Biblical Guide to the End Times by [Wilson, Rev. Stephen R.]
Kindle $4.99, Print $7.99

Read the answers to more interesting questions on my Theology 101 - Simple and Surprising Answers to Your Questions! page.

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