A Study of Revelation: Refuting False Doctrines

Refuting False Doctrines

Max R. King’s “A.D. 70 Doctrine” (also known as Realized Eschatology, Kingism, or the Max King Doctrine)

  • “The Holy Scriptures teach that the second coming of Christ, including the establishment of the eternal kingdom, the day of judgment, the end of the world and the resurrection of the dead, occurred with the fall of Judaism in 70 A.D.”
  • King struggles with the figurative language, and with separating the second coming or final judgment from the coming in judgment upon individual nations
  • King’s debate with brother Gus Nichols can be read online: http://icotb.org/resource/NICHOLS-KINGDEBATE.pdf
  • Brother Garland M. Robinsons refutation of King’s false doctrine: http://icotb.org/resources/AD70-Kingism.pdf

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Literal View of 144,000

  • Literal interpretation of Revelation 7:4
  • Contrast “those who were sealed” in verse 4 (“a definite number”) with “a great crowd” in verse 9 (“without a definite number”)
  • JWs do not believe all Christians go to heaven, but rather that “resurrection to heaven is closely related to an assignment given only to some humans”
  • Easily refuted with 2 Timothy 4:8 and Matthew 25:31-46

Premillennialism

  • Based in part on a literal application and a very twisted interpretation of the “one thousand years” of Revelation 20
  • Has all but disappeared from the Lord’s church, but still very prevalent in the denominational world
  • “The interpretation of the premillennialists is that the thousand years of Revelation 20 comes after the next resurrection, which they say will be a resurrection of saints only, and then, they say Christ will reign a thousand years on earth, and raise the wicked dead at the end of the thousand years. However, the chapter does not say this. Furthermore, hard-to-be understood scriptures should be interpreted so as to have to clash with plain passages whose meaning is not in doubt. Four times in one chapter Christ says he will raise the righteous dead ‘at the last day.’ (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54.) Millennialists deny this, and say the righteous will be raised a thousand years before the last day, and that the wicked will be raised at the last day, or after a thousand years.” (Gus Nichols, “Dangers of Premillennialism.” The Lipscomb Lectures, 1947, Vol. 1, page 127)
  • Refutation: What evidence is there that John was speaking here literally, in a book that was “signified” (Revelation 1:1) to the apostle?
  • “John said, ‘they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.’ The passage says nothing about ‘the thousand years reign of Christ.’ There is a great difference in the two expressions. Revelation 20 says, ‘they lived and reigned with Christ.’ They who? Lived—lived where? Reigned—how, with whom and where? ‘Lived and reigned”—with whom, in what place? It is not the reign of Christ, but the reign of souls ‘with Christ,’ that is mentioned in Revelation 20. There is a vast difference between living and reigning ‘with Christ’ and a millennial reign ‘of Christ.’ So let us be true to the facts in the case. It does not mention the reign of Christ, but the reign of souls ‘with’ him. They not only ‘reigned’ with him, they ‘lived’ with him. They ‘lived and reigned’ with Christ a thousand years. The two verbs ‘lived’ and ‘reigned’ are both limited by the thousand years. If the expression denotes time, then when the reign is over, and they ceased to reign; the living would be over and they would cease to live.” (Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation, 1966, pages 402-403)
  • In addition to Wallace’s commentary on Revelation, you can read his seminal work against premillennialism called God’s Prophetic Word: http://www.retainthestandard.com/Foy%20E%20Wallace%20-%20God’s%20Prophetic%20Word.pdf

Review
1. Does belief in the early writing of Revelation necessarily lead one to believe the Max R. King “A.D. 70 Doctrine”?

2. How would you show the fallacy of Max R. King’s “A.D. 70 Doctrine”?

3. What Scriptures would you point to in refuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses literal interpretation of the 144,000?

4. Expose as many errors of premillennialism as you can, using the Scriptures.

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Us Against the World

1 John 4:1-6

I. LOVE WITH EYES WIDE OPEN (1 JOHN 4:1)

    A. Stop believing every spirit
    B. Test the spirits (Acts 17:11)
    C. Many false prophets (Galatians 1:6-9)

II. CONTEXT: A SPECIFIC FALSE DOCTRINE (1 JOHN 4:2-3)

    A. Gnosticism stated the divine Christ did not actually inhabit a fleshly body
    B. The spirit of antichrist

      1. Disobedient (1 John 2:19)
      2. Deniers (1 John 2:22)
      3. Deceivers (1 John 2:26)

    C. If a teaching does not originate with God, it must be rejected by the faithful

III. CONTRASTING JOHN’S READERS TO FALSE TEACHERS, AND FALSE TEACHERS TO TRUE APOSTLES (1 JOHN 4:4-6)

    A. His readers had overcome (Jude 3; Romans 10:17)
    B. The false prophets are of the world (2 Timothy 4:2-4; Matthew 7:13-14)
    C. The apostles are of God (Acts 2:42; 2 John 9-11)

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 20:11 – 22:21 (All Things Made New)

Revelation chapters 20:11 – 22:21 (All Things Made New)

20:11-15 – The final judgment scene
This passage can bring great joy and hope to some, while others read it with terror (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; John 12:48; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
The Book of Life contains the names of those approved of God
Those whose names are not in the Book of Life face eternal punishment and separation from God (Exo. 32:32-33; Ps. 69:28; Rev. 3:5; 20:15)

21:1-8 – What is the new heaven and new earth? The spiritual rule of Christ and His church
The New Jerusalem is the church – both now and forevermore
The thrust of this passage is the relationship between God and “he who overcomes.” God says, “I will be his God, and he shall by My son.” There is no greater relationship than this; there is no force that can break this bond in eternity.
Sins that will prevent the impenitent from eternity (Revelation 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:3)

21:9-21 – Description of the glorified church
Twelve = completeness
Precious stones show “the eternal beauty and value of the church of the living God” (Coffman)

21:22-27 – The old temple was a type of the new; it had passed away

22:1-5 – The tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17; 3:23-24)
Christ removed the curse of sin (Galatians 3:13-14)

22:6-11 – Return to John’s present time
Judgment upon the harlot (Jerusalem), the end of Palestinian persecution, and then the beast (Rome) would be conquered
Jesus: “Behold, I am coming quickly” – not reference to second coming, but coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in 70 AD
John is told, “Do not seal the words” here; compare to Daniel 8:26 – in one instance the fulfillment would come soon; in the other it would not pass for “many days in the future”

22:12-17 – “Do His commandments” (KJV/NKJV) = “wash their robes” (ASV/NASB/ESV/NIV) [cf. Acts 22:16; 2:38; Rom. 6:3-6]
Contrast with those who disobey – “dogs” and “sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie”

22:18-21 – Warning against changing the Word (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; Galatians 1:6-9)

Review
1. In the final judgment, what will be the standard of judgment?

2. What are some of the things that will be no more, according to chapters 21 and 22?

3. What are some of the sins that will lead men to the second death in chapter 21? What will prevent men from entering the gates of the city in chapter 22?

4. Why are the warnings against tampering with the revealed Word so severe?

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 19:11 – 20:10 (The Defeat of the Beast)

Revelation chapters 19:11 – 20:10 (The Defeat of the Beast)

19:11-14 – White = either purity or victory
These events follow Jerusalem’s destruction; Christ’s war is now against Caesar-worship and heathenism
“Faithful and True” (cf. Revelation 3:14; 21:5; 22:6)
“Eyes…like a flame of fire” (cf. Rev. 1:14; 2:18) – refers to omniscience
Whose blood? Perhaps symbolizes judgment against Israel, or the eternal victory of the Cross
“The Word of God” = Jesus (cf. John 1:1,14)

19:15-16 – “Sharp sword” (cf. Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17)
Striking of the nations and ruling with rod of iron symbolized the impact of the gospel on the world (prophesied in Psalm 2:1-3)
Ogden: “By His powerful word, He either smites, or shepherds, the nations. His word either convinces, or it convicts.”
“King of kings and Lord of lords” (cf. Revelation 11:15) – spiritual, not literal; accomplished by the spread of gospel

19:17-21 – The judgment against Jerusalem was past, but persecutions continued via the Roman Empire (the beast)
Christ will reign victorious; evil will not and cannot defeat the Lord
Ultimately accomplished by 313 AD with Constantine

20:1-3 – Now that the harlot and the beast have been defeated, John sees the binding of Satan himself
The thousand years is not a literal, specific amount of time; it refers to the complete success of Christ’s cause over persecution
Wallace: “There are twenty figures of speech in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters alone. In a series of symbols such as these, it is not reasonable to make a literal application of the thousand years and a figurative application of all the rest of the symbols, without a contextual or historical reason for doing so. The thousand years, like the other parts of the vision, is a figure of speech—a symbol of something else.”
Coffman: “The ‘little time’…beginning at the point after which God shall have finally achieved the full salvation of the total number of the redeemed, and lasting only a relatively short while. Satan will be ‘loosed’ without any restraint whatever during that brief period.”

20:4-6 – The same martyred souls as those who were “under the altar” in Revelation 6:9
According to the false doctrine of premillennialism, this living and reigning is still future, will occur on the earth, and is inclusive of all Christians
          * Note the past tense “lived and reigned”
          * “On earth” is nowhere stated nor implied
          * “They” refers specifically to those “who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands”
Those who have part in the first resurrection are those who overcome (cf. Revelation 2:11)

20:7-10 – The need to evangelize (cf. Galatians 1:6-9; Romans 1:16)
Gog and Magog represent any religion or faith that is not expressly from God
The torment of eternal separation from God:
          * “The lake of fire and brimstone” (Revelation 20:10)
          * “Outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 15:30)
          * “Eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41)
          * “Unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:44)
          * “Hell, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48)
Hell is eternal (Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41,46)

Review
1. In what four ways is the rider of the white horse identified in chapter 19?

2. What is the sharp sword of Revelation 19:15, and how was it used to strike the nations?

3. What is a possible explanation of the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 that does not contradict other Scriptures?

4. When will the end of the thousand years come?

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 17:1 – 19:10 (The Fall of Babylon)

Revelation chapters 17:1 – 19:10 (The Fall of Babylon)

17:1-6 – Apostate Jerusalem must be removed in order for the New Jerusalem/church/kingdom of Christ
The harlot woman is Jerusalem; the beast is Rome
Seven heads = complete power of the ruling Roman emperor
Ten horns = ten kingdoms over which the emperor ruled
The woman appeared attractive, but underlying sin is destructive (cf. Matthew 23:28)

17:7-10 – Refers to the Roman emperors
“Five have fallen” = Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius
“One is” = Nero
“The other has not yet come” = Domitian

17:11-14 – Jerusalem will be destroyed, but persecutions against the church will continue in Diocletian’s “reign of terror” (Rev. 2:10)

17:15-18 – Rome was a tool used to serve God’s purposes
“Earth” of 17:18 = land of Judea; the city of Jerusalem was the royal city where the kings of Judah reigned

18:1-3 – “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen” (cf. Isaiah 21:9)
This is a view from the point of view of the Gentiles (“the nations”)

18:4-8 – Warning to the faithful to flee Jerusalem
Destruction of Jerusalem would come in “one day” or suddenly (cf. Matthew 24:16-18)

18:9-19 – Three groups lament over the fall of Jerusalem:
          * “Kings of the earth” (18:9)
          * “Merchants of the earth” (18:11)
          * “Shipmasters” (18:17)
The riches of this life are not eternal (cf. 1 Timothy 6:17)

18:20 – Joy that the apostles and prophets have been avenged by the Almighty

18:21-24 – The millstone metaphor
Jerusalem had stumbled, and had caused others to stumble, and was destroyed for it (cf. Matthew 18:6)

19:1-6 – Worship and praise for God’s righteous judgments upon the church’s oppressors
“Alleluia” = praise ye the Lord – used only in 19:1, 3, 4, 6

19:7-9 – The relationship of the church to Jesus (cf. Romans 7:2-4; Ephesians 5:22-33)
The wedding feast is ongoing; every time one obeys the gospel, he or she becomes wedded to Christ

19:10 – The Christian must put his or her trust in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Far too often, more trust is placed in preachers than the Word
Be a Berean – receive the teaching, but verify for yourself that it is of God (cf. Acts 17:11)

Review
1. In Revelation 17:10, who are the seven kings? To whom specifically does the phrase “one is” refer?

2. Who are the “ten kings” of Revelation 17:12?

3. What three groups of people lamented the fall of Jerusalem in Revelation 18?

4. Who is worthy of worship? In whom should we place our faith and trust?

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 15-16 (The Seven Bowls of Wrath)

Revelation chapters 15-16 (The Seven Bowls of Wrath)

15:1-2 – The seven seals had Christ as central figure; seven bowls have the bride of Christ as central figure
God works at His pace, often granting time for repentance (Genesis 15:13-16; 2 Peter 3:9)
“Mingled with fire” indicates the coming judgment of God

15:3-4 – The song of Moses could only be sung by Israelites; the song of the Lamb can only be sung by Christians
Both speak of deliverance: from the bondage of Egypt (OT), and from the bondage of sin through Christ (NT)
The song isn’t about the saint’s ability to overcome, but God’s mighty works

15:5-8 – The temple moves from Jerusalem to heaven; from temporal to spiritual
The seven angels’ clothing resembles Christ’s (1:13), indicating the authority of their task was from Christ
Moses was prevented from entering the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35); here men are prohibited from entering until God’s will was accomplished

16:1 – “The earth” = the Jewish nation, not the whole world
The downfall of Egypt is a type of the downfall of Jerusalem; they were once the oppressed righteous, the were now the unrighteous oppressors

16:2-7 – God’s punishments are not arbitrary; He punished those who rejected Him and His Son
The rivers and springs turning to blood symbolized retribution for blood of the martyrs
It is not our place to exact vengeance, but God’s (Romans 12:17-21)

16:8-9 – The danger of rebellion in the face of correction

16:10-11 – More impenitence

16:12-16 – Frogs were considered magical creatures; here they represent deception
Armageddon is not the site of a great future battle; it represents a conflict in which God clearly and purposefully aids one side against the other

16:17-21 – “It is done” = the end of Jerusalem
Three divisions may be “the three sources of Jerusalem’s afflictions: pestilence, sword, and exile” (Wallace)
Three divisions may be “the dead, those waiting to die, and those that would be left alive to live the rest of their days with the horrid memories of the butchery and carnage” (Blake)
Our attitude toward discipline (Proverbs 3:11-12)

Review
1. What event in the Old Testament is similar to the events of Revelation 15-16?

2. What were the seven angels to pour out of the bowls?

3. When is the significance of the words, “It is done,” in Revelation 16:17?

4. What is a possible explanation of the three divisions of the city?

Love in Action

Love in Action

1 John 3:16-24

I. THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF LOVE

    A. “By this we know love” (1 John 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:9)
    B. No greater expression of love ever demonstrated (Luke 9:18-22; John 10:11, 15, 17-18; 19:10-11)

II. HIS LOVE SHOULD MOTIVATE US TO LOVE

    A. We are indebted to each other (1 John 3:16; Romans 1:14)
    B. Love in action (1 John 3:17; Acts 4:32-37; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4)
    C. Actions speak louder than words (1 John 3:18; James 2:14-17; Matthew 25:31-46)

III. TRUE, ACTIVE BROTHERLY LOVE

    A. Gives us assurance (1 John 3:19-20; 1:9)
    B. Gives us confidence in prayer (1 John 3:21-22)
    C. Ensures that we abide in Christ (1 John 3:23-24)

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 12-14 (The Great Conflict)

Revelation 12-14 (The Great Conflict)

12:1-6 – The woman = the church
Twelve stars = symbol of whole church typified in OT, fulfilled in NT
Pains = persecutions of the church; despite persecution, more children of God were being born
Great, fiery red dragon = Satan (red represents bloodshed he brought)
Seven heads = complete power of the ruling Roman emperor
Ten horns = ten kingdoms over which the emperor rules

12:7-12 – Michael represents the church’s protectors
Satan’s deception started in Eden (Genesis 3); Jesus called him “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44)

12:13-17 – Rebellions, uprisings, local wars distracted Roman authorities from the persecutions for a brief time

13:1-10 – Sea beast = Rome
Seven hills of Rome = universal symbol of the imperial city
Ten horns = tributary kings that served the Roman Empire

13:11-18 – Land beast = Jewish persecutors
Two horns = indicates power, but less than the sea beast possessed
Mark of the beast was not a physical mark
The right hand or forehead signified a binding oath of loyalty
Just as the mark of Christians is following God, the mark of the beast is following the devil-guided emperor
666 = Nero (Nron Ksr in Hebrew) – Observe: N=50, R=200, O=6, K=100, S=60, R=200, adding up to 666

14:1-5 – New song is not worship by earthly beings, but the victorious in Lord’s presence

14:6-11 – The importance of evangelism
Fear God and give Him glory (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
Argument against the identification of Babylon as Rome (Blake):
1) The beast hates and seeks to destroy the harlot (Rev. 17:16)
2) Rome was never faithful to God, but the harlot was (cf. Isaiah 1:1-21; Ezekiel 16)
3) Peter says he was in Babylon in 1 Peter, but there is no historical evidence he was ever in Rome
4) Revelation is not directly concerned with Rome; it enters the picture as the instrument of God’s wrath

14:12-13 – Immediate context is those who died in martyrdom
1st century Christians needed this encouragement, facing great tribulation; today we have the advantage of the complete, written Word, with all its promises at our fingertips

14:14-20 – Justice for the faithful and unfaithful
Harvest of grain = rich reward for faithful
Vintage of grapes = retribution against church’s enemies
Josephus: “The whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood.”

Review
1. Who is the woman of Revelation 12?

2. What is represented by the sea beast? What is represented by the land beast?

3. Who is most likely identified by the number of the beast?

4. What does Babylon represent?

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 8-11 (The Seventh Seal & the Seven Trumpets)

Revelation 8-11 (The Seventh Seal & the Seven Trumpets)

8:1-6 – Seven (completeness) trumpets – a great announcement that will be heard everywhere
Signaling the end of the Jewish world (Matthew 24:3,14)

8:7 – The earth represents the home of the Jewish persecuting powers

8:8-9 – Mountains symbolize government
The sea represents the Roman powers

8:10-11 – The great star falling from heaven represents the downfall of Jerusalem’s ruling elite

8:12-13 – Three woes directed toward the “earth” – Jewish powers

9:1-12 – The siege
The star falling from heaven is here the power of Satan (cf. Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12)
The locusts are noteworthy for their destruction
Scorpions bring great agony to victims
The “angel of the bottomless pit” = Satan personified in the persecutor
Abaddon = Apollyon = “destroyer”

9:13-21 – The fall of Jerusalem by sword
Angels were restrained in Rev. 7; their release shows that God’s faithful recognized these events as those about which the Lord prophesied (Matt. 24) and took flight
Idolatry (Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5)
The four sins of v.21 were the same as charged against Jezebel (1 Kings 2:14-15; 2 Kings 9:22)

10:1-4 – “Unknown things are greater in seeming proportion than the things that are known”
Position of angel’s feet showed power of persecuting powers of Jerusalem (land) and Rome (sea)
God has revealed all we need to know (2 Peter 1:3)

10:5-7 – Examples of God swearing by Himself (Gen. 22:16; Isa. 45:23; Psalm 89:35; Heb. 6:13)

10:8-11 – God’s promises are sweet, but the pronouncements against the disobedient are bitter (Romans 11:22)

11:1-6 – 42 months/1260 days = 3 ½ years, the exact length of the historical siege of Jerusalem – one of the very few instances of a literal number in Revelation
The power = the miraculous manifestation of the Spirit in 1st century preachers (Matthew 10:18-20)
Testimony of two based on Moses (Deut. 19:15; Heb. 10:28) and Christ (Luke 10)

11:7-10 – The beast = persecuting emperor = “angel of bottomless pit” (9:11)
Sodom and Egypt are used to illustrate Jerusalem

11:11-14 – Resurrection of witnesses shows the power of God’s truth; HIS TRUTH CANNOT BE DEFEATED
Earthquakes = uprisings and upheavals in human affairs

11:15-19 – The appearance of the ark “symbolized that what was lost in the old is restored in the new”

Review
1. The seven trumpets signaled the beginning of the end of what?

2. What is represented by the star falling from heaven in chapter 9?

3. Why is the little book sweet to taste but bitter in the stomach?

4. What is the power in Revelation 11:3?

A Study of Revelation: Revelation 6-7 (The First Six of the Seven Seals)

Revelation chapters 6-7 (The First Six of the Seven Seals)

6:1-2 – The first seal, the white horse
Thunder is the sign of an approaching storm; also symbolizes the demonstration of God’s power poured out in wrath upon His enemies
Horses were noble creatures and warriors
White represents either purity or victory – probably victory here
The bow indicated a long battle

6:3-4 – The second seal, the red horse
Red represents the bloodshed to come against the persecutors of God’s children

6:5-6 – The third seal, the black horse
Black is a symbol of distress; famine was coming
Scales were used to measure food so none was wasted
Oil and wine could be used medicinally

6:7-8 – The fourth seal, the pale horse
Pale represents death by sword (war), hunger (famine), death (pestilence or disease), and wild beasts (devoured)
Not separate events; all pointed to the fall of Jerusalem

6:9-11- The fifth seal reveals the martyrs

6:12-17 – The sixth seal, the fall of Judean power
Earthquakes = unrest between nations
Sun = great political leader
Moon = great religious leader
Stars = lesser officials
Mountains = people who worship God
Islands = pagan Gentile nations
Sky = existing government over all
Similar imagery used by Isaiah (29:6; 13:10) and Jesus (Matthew 24:7,29)
6:16 – similar to language of Hosea 10:8, which Jesus quoted in reference to destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 23:30)
6:17 – alludes to Nahum 1:5-6

7:1-3 – Interlude between 6th and 7th seals
While the children of God would be spared from the judgment upon Jerusalem, this did not prevent tribulation in their lives (cf. 2 Timothy 3:12)

7:4-8 – 144,000
Not intended to be a literal number
The use of 12 and 1000 indicated fullness and completeness
Designated the whole church, spiritual Israel

7:9-17 – Another vision of praise
The white of the robes could refer to the purity or the victory received

Review
1. Who opened each of the first six seals?

2. What did each color of the horsemen represent?

3. When would God execute His judgment against His people’s oppressors?

4. What do the symbols of 6:12-13 represent?

5. How many people in the tribes of Israel are sealed? Is this a literal number?

6. What are the two possible meanings of the white robes at the end of chapter 7?