Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                          May 25, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 12



Revelation 20 is a "hot bed" for all types of ideas and beliefs: (1) Thousand year reign of Christ on earth (2) The Rapture (3) The Battle Of Armageddon (4) More than one resurrection at Christ's return, etc. Many of these ideas are contained in the theory of "Pre-millennialism". If there is ever a verse quoted from the book of Revelation in support of these theories, chances are it will be from chapter 20.

There are some things we need to remember about the book of Revelation: (1) It uses signs and symbols to reveal its message. The reason for this is John wrote during troublesome times. The personal safety of both the writer and reader were in danger if the enemy understood the true meaning of the book. The proper way to understand symbols is like that of understanding parables: find the main point and let the details fit in the most natural way. (2) Revelation CONCEALS and REVEALS; Conceals the message from the enemy and reveals the message to the people it was intend for. (3) No interpretation of Revelation is correct if it is meaningless and fails to bring practical help and comfort to the Christian's of John's day. (4)The main point of Revelation is: Despite persecution and oppression, from whatever it's source, if we will remain true and faithful to the Lord, the victory will ultimately be ours through Christ. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." (Rev. 5:12)

The Bible is the best commentary we can use. So, let's allow the Scriptures to interpret themselves. Revelation 20 is similar to Ezekiel 37-39:6. In Ezekiel 37 we have the restoration of Israel out of Babylonian captivity being compared to the resurrection of a valley of dry bones. However, neither passage is talking about a bodily resurrection. It is symbolical: As God resurrected Israel from the captivity of Babylon, He would resurrect the martyred saints who had been killed by the beast.

Gog of the land of Magog were ancient enemies of God's people. (Ezek. 38:17). Thus, the Holy Spirit could have no better way to describe enemies against Christians in John's day than to describe them as "Gog and Magog" in Rev. 20:8. The battle of Armageddon was not a final "war to end all wars" in Ezekiel and neither is it here in Revelation 20. No sooner than Satan is "bound" by defeat until he is "loosed" to begin his work of deceiving again. No sooner is Satan defeated than he is out again to "make war" against God's people. It was true in Old Testament times and it continues to be true of Christians in the past as well as present. This will continue to be so until the final and ultimate destruction of the Devil in "the lake of fire and brimstone". (Rev. 20:10; Matthew 25:41.)

Revelation 20 says nothing about: (1) Christ setting up a kingdom (2) Christ reigning on earth a thousand years. (Does not mention anything about a reign of Christ but instead it speaks of a "reign of souls with Christ" (3) A rapture (4) A bodily resurrection (5) All Christians reigning. (6) Second coming of Christ (7) Throne of David, or any other throne on earth (8) Jerusalem or Palestine (9) Us.

There is a reign which the inspired apostle Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 15. Let us examine the contrast in this reign and the one in Revelation 20:

    Revelation 20  1 Corinthians 15

A. Christ reigns with beheaded saints.           A. Christ reign with all saints.

B. Christ reigns where souls are.        B. Christ reigns on David's throne.

C. Reign began when souls beheaded          C. Reign began on Pentecost. Acts 2:30-35

           and Satan was bound.

D. Reign continued until Satan loose     D. Reign continued until last enemy

           out of prison for little season.                  is destroyed.


The book of Revelation stands to assure us that if we are "faithful unto death", we will be given a "crown of life" (2:10). If we "do His commandments", we can have the "right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (22:14).

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

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"But he, desiring to justify himself, said . . ." (Luke. 10:29). These words were uttered by a certain lawyer, and how like that lawyer many of us become. We desire to justify ourselves, to excuse the sins we commit before God, to minimize, to overlook our own transgressions. May God help us to face our sins, to have a sense of sin, to be aware of our weaknesses, to be penitent and humble, to confess and forsake our wrong, to amend and serve anew.

One of the most common and, indeed, most tragic statements made by unfaithful brethren is this: "The only thing wrong in my life is that I just don't go to church." Surely such confession exhibits the climax of misapprehension and understatement. Be it understood that one sin persisted in before God is enough to condemn us, but, brethren, how can any one of us forsake "the assembling of ourselves together" (Heb. 10:25) without being guilty of a number of sins?

When we cease to meet with our brethren to worship God, we will soon cease to read our Bibles, cease to pray, cease to teach our neighbors, cease to train our children in things holy. We may continue to be morally upright, honest, sincere, and charitable as far as men are concerned, but we have turned away from God. When we "just don't go to church," do we obey God's instructions to eat the Lord's Supper, to sing together, to lay by in store of our means, to pray together and to study and learn together?  We cannot remember the sacrifice of God's Son nor show forth His death until He comes; we cannot teach and admonish one another; we cannot help to edify the saints and to glorify God; we cannot stand behind and support the work of God in this world; we cannot grow in grace and knowledge WITHOUT FAITHFULLY ASSEMBLING FOR THE APPOINTED PERIODS OF BIBLE STUDY AND WORSHIP! One Christian does not a congregation make, and the Lord's supper cannot be eaten privately at home (I Cor. 11:20-34; Acts 20:7).

A young couple who had not been to such services for a number of years asked: "What have we done wrong besides not going to church?" They had robbed God of thousands of dollars (I Cor. 16:2; cf. Mal. 3:8); they had forsaken the Lord's own memorial supper (I Cor. 11:23-26); for years their voices were unheard in the praises of the saints, their petitions and thanksgiving absent from the prayers of the saints, and their knowledge of God's word stifled and fading, while their spiritual growth was completely neglected -- to say nothing of the bad example set and the wrong influence exerted upon others around them!  Indeed, their souls had become dead to God, and yet they ask: "What have we done wrong besides not going to church?"  May God help us to see ourselves as He sees us!

Brethren, we need God and His church, and we need the local congregation. We need to serve and honor Him as God in the divinely ordered way of His will. Let us not forsake "assembling of ourselves together." And let us remember that all sins are not matters of transgression; some are matters of neglect - a failure to do right. James 4:17 warns: "To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” 

—Bill Crews

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





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