Lesson 9: Apocalyptic Literature and the Battle of Armageddon Introduction: Premillennialist teach that the battle of Armageddon will take place at the end of the Tribulation and before the Millennium, in which Christ will wage a worldwide battle with the world forces of evil and overcome them. During these last 7 years, there is a building of events which will lead to this great Battle of Battles. The development of world leaders causes this to take place. Revelation 16:13 speaks of these three influences that will drive the world to the brink of disaster.Apocalyptic literature is not be interpreted literally. For instance, geographical locations are used to depict a larger message. Geographical sights come to be used to signify ideas, based on events or other connections with that sight. E.g., “hell” (valley of Hinnom), “Zion” – place of spiritual rule of the Messiah, Ps 2:6, of covenant relationship, Jer 50:5, of fellowship with God, Heb 12:22 (part of Jerusalem); “Jerusalem” – e.g. Gal 4:26. We use similar language today such as “Watergate” (scandal involving abuse of power by public officials); “Waterloo” (final, crushing defeat). In Revelation, see also Babylon (14:8), Sodom and Egypt (11:8), and the Euphrates (16:12). What would a physical war in the mid-east in 2000+ have to do with avenging the blood shed by Judaism or Rome in the first century? The Scriptures must be kept in context.Premillennialist Position: “Fleshly Israel will pass through a seven-year tribulation consummated in the battle of Armageddon, after which they will return to God” (Orlin L. Mankamer, The Battle of Armageddon, p. 58). “Writers of this school of uniformity consider the Beast to be the personal anti-christ of the last days and think that his army will be a literal military force, brought to the repossessed the land” (Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John, p. 169). “With the United Arab and African armies neutralized by the Russian invasion, and the consequent complete annihilation of the Russian forces and their homeland, we have only two great spheres of power left to fight the final climatic battle of Armageddon: the combined forces of the Western civilization united under the Roman Dictator and the vast hordes of the Orient probably united under the Red Chinese war machine” (Hal Lindsey, “The Greatest Battle of All Time,” The Late Great Planet Earth, p. 162).Questions for Discussion (Biblical Position):Apocalyptic Language:1. Whose “revelation” is the book of Revelation (Re. 1:1)?2. The word “revelation” is from the Greek word “apokalupsis.” It means an uncovering, a laying bare, makingnaked: (Thayer). With the use of symbols, images, and visions, Jesus uncovers and reveals a message to His servants of impending persecution and ultimate triumph. This is highly symbolic writing has been termed “apocalyptic literature.” The term “apocalyptic” comes from the word “apokalypsis.” This literary style was used in times of intense trial and crisis. The Spirit chose this style in the book of revelation to dramatize the conflict between Satan and Jesus which played out in persecution of the Christians by Rome. Perhaps this symbolic language was used to protect Christians. If these prophecies had been written in literal language, the Christians who help this book could have been charged with treason.3. When John wrote this book in about 95 AD, when did he say the prophecies would come to pass (Re. 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10)?4. To whom was the book addressed (Re. 1:11)? 5. What was the situation of Christians at the time (Re. 1:9; 2:2, 10, 13-14; 3:9)?
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