Bible About The End Of The World – Are these the end times? Why does the Bible use the language of fiery judgment? And what is the mark of the beast? In this episode, Tim and Joan answer your questions about how to read apocalyptic literature.

QUOTE Living in a world with plagues and death and so on is a sign of a world that is slowly being put to death so that it can be raised from the dead. Key takeaways

Bible About The End Of The World

Bible About The End Of The World

Many people like to say that the Bible predicts the end of the world—things are going to get worse and worse, and more natural disasters, and cite various scriptures to support this. Especially during this time of coronavirus, people like to quote these different scriptures. I would love to hear your explanation of this and gain a better biblical understanding.

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Tim shares that throughout history, every generation has seen itself in some way through the book of Revelation. Tim summarizes Michael Gorman’s chart that divides Revelation into five interpretive approaches (see previous episode show notes).

Jon asks where Jesus would have landed on the interpretive grid. Tim shares that Jesus reshaped the biblical worldview of the Jewish audience of his day. According to the apostles, what was to happen to the whole world was first accomplished through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus introduces the “already and not yet” conclusion of God’s kingdom.

We will continue the days described as the end of the world, until the kingdom comes fully upon the earth as it is in heaven. Jesus quotes from Isaiah (which describes the fall of Babylon) to describe the fall of Jerusalem. In this way, apocalyptic language serves a metaphorical purpose—describing a moment in history as repeating itself until its ultimate fulfillment.

Each generation has their own experience of Babylon, but it leads to a final moment. That is why every generation can see themselves living out the drama of the Book of Revelation.

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Jon asks if it is helpful to use the term “end times” to describe the events taking place in our world. Tim shared that this phrase was often used to stir up excitement in the hearts of Jesus’ people, but the phrase was not unique to this generation. Every generation since the resurrection of Jesus has lived in the end times.

Followers of Jesus fall at different places on the spectrum of understanding Revelation, so we must seek to understand perspectives different from our own.

I am curious about the dreams that Joseph described about the kings while he was in Egypt. They are the apocalypse. However, they seem more personal and practical. They do not follow the throne room theme of the apocalypse of most major prophets. I’m curious what you think about that and if perhaps there is a parallel theme of apocalypse throughout the Bible that is more personal and/or practical.

Bible About The End Of The World

Tim explains the difference between cosmic apocalypse and personal apocalypse. In this series, Tim and Jon mainly talk about cosmic apocalypse. However, the Bible is full of other apocalyptic or prophetic dreams where God communicates to people through their dreams.

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There are three twin dreams in the story of Joseph—Joseph’s first two dreams that get him into trouble, Pharaoh’s cup bearer and baker’s dreams, and Pharaoh’s two dreams. Pharaoh’s dreams fit into the overarching story of Joseph’s ascension to cosmic kingship, and Joseph’s story itself ties into the biblical theme of the eldest son.

Are there any specific criteria for an apocalypse to be recognized as coming from the Lord? How are the apocalypses of the prophets received with authority? How has the church historically protected itself from revelations or visions not identified with the authority of God, such as those of Muhammad or Joseph Smith?

The challenge of determining which apocalypses are from God and which are from men goes back to the Bible and is an inherent risk in God’s choice to partner with humanity. The most basic criterion in the Hebrew Scriptures is to ask whether the words of the prophets lead people toward God or away from God.

Both Tim and Joan agree that these issues are complicated when they play out in real life, because humans are, by nature, limited and compromised images of God.

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In Ephesians 2 God himself informed Paul about how he could not trust Jesus. So does it mean by definition that everyone who believes in Jesus has an apocalypse?

Tim agrees that Paul makes it clear that every follower of Jesus is given new life through God’s generosity, and this is an apocalyptic moment by biblical definition. In Ephesians 1:15-19, Paul prays for an apocalypse for all of Jesus’ followers.

The word apocalypse means “unveiling or revealing.” Many things can be apocalypse, but this is different from apocalyptic literature, which is a collection of many of these universal apocalypses in a recorded work.

Bible About The End Of The World

Is there a connection between testing and the apocalypse? Since the test reveals what is in a person and the apocalypse reveals what is hidden, does it follow that these ideas are closely related in the Bible? I’m thinking specifically of Jesus being tested after the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism. what do you think

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The accounts of trials in the Bible reveal what is in people, while the apocalypses reveal something about God and His purposes. Many times in the Bible, a test narrative is accompanied by an apocalyptic moment. Tim gives four examples of four times God appeared on high in moments of trial—with Adam and Eve in Eden, with Abraham at Mount Moriah, with Israel at Mount Sinai, and with David at Mount Zion.

I’m a bit curious about how the imagery and language of fire or fiery judgment plays out in biblical apocalyptic from the Old to the New Testament? What are the implications of this for future reality as hope is restoration and not cosmic destruction?

Tim notes that the use of fire is a fascinating theme found throughout the Bible. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah shows the moments when humanity became so wicked that God consigned it to destroy creation on a local scale. Fire destroys the wicked, but it saves the remnant from the fire.

In the prophets, fire is destructive and purifying. Paul chooses the same analogy as Peter. The language used by Peter in 2 Peter 3:10-12 (Greek: stoichion) often translated “elements” can be used to refer to the elemental elements of the world or rebellious heavenly beings (see Isaiah 34 in the Septuagint). Purification is one.

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John mentions three sets of divine judgments in Revelation and how these are connected to earlier moments of judgment and redemption in the Hebrew Scriptures. Tim says that John the Visionary conveys the meaning of God’s judgment in any generation.

“It is a grave mistake to interpret the images of Revelation as mere signs of eternity. The role of John’s images in The Revelation is consistent with their context as a letter—a true letter to the seven churches in Asia in the first century. We need to understand the resonance of these images and their specific social, political, cultural and religious contexts for their meaning today. However, if the images are not lasting symbols, but rather the real work of writers and readers in the first century, we must also avoid the opposite mistake of taking the images too literally as descriptions of real world and imagined events. In the real world. Images are not a system of codes waiting to be translated into literal references to people and events. Once we begin to appreciate the origin of these images in the Hebrew Bible and in the present Greco-Roman culture of John’s readers, we realize that they are not meant to be read as literal descriptions or as cryptic, encoded descriptions. Images must be read for their theological meaning and power to evoke response. ── Richard Beckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation

Buckham believes that all the imagery in The Revelation helps us understand the meaning of God’s work in history as kingdoms rise and fall.

Bible About The End Of The World

At the end of the episode (55:59), Jon presents Tim with an illustration and Tim tries to answer it as he answered it. What would Tim say if someone came to him and warned him that the coronavirus vaccine contained a microchip that was the mark of the beast from Revelation?

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Jon first reflects that this question comes from someone who sees the statement as a code that predicts a certain set of future events. And Tim takes pictures


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