We are sharing a series of articles by Frank Speer, in which he responds to some of the most common objections to Covenant Eschatology. I very much appreciate Frank’s apologetic efforts, and while I would differ with a few of his responses, nonetheless, he has done a fine job overall, and his thoughts are more than worth sharing. Take a look and pass them along!
Don K. Preston
Objection: “But to both full and partial Preterists, hardly anything is taken literally; mostly all is allegorical or symbolic, particularly the Book of Revelation.”
Response by Frank Speer:
Very few Bible scholars would argue that the Book of Revelation is NOT “allegorical” or “symbolic” – much like the rest of the Bible. Consider the writings of the Hebrew Prophets – they are chock full of metaphor – take 2 Sam 22 as one example – did God really surf down from Heaven through the clouds on the back of an angel, shooting lightening bolts out of His bow in order to deliver David from the wicked King Saul? In actuality – King Saul committed suicide on a battlefield. Jesus’ PARABLES are ALL ALLEGORY.
Does Jesus literally “hold lamp-stands and stars in His hands?” Of course not – He Himself tells us that these were “SYMBOLS” in Rev 1:20.
Is Jesus “literally” a lamb or a lion sitting on a chair in the heavens (Rev 6)?
Are war, famine death and Hades literally beings who “ride horses”? Or where these symbolic representations of “events”? (Rev 6)
Can a woman literally “clothe herself with the sun, moon and stars” (Rev 12)?
Does a woman actually “ride a beast with 7 heads” (Rev 17)?
When Jesus offered the woman at the well “the water of life” – we all agree He was not offering her H20 but the new birth – WHY THEN when we come to Revelation 22:1 must “the river of life” all of a sudden be viewed as a literal body of water? If that were true – then maybe Jesus was talking to the woman at the well about a body of water also?
Of course not.
It is the same with “the Tree of Life”, “the Lake of Fire” and the land and sea “beasts” etc. etc. These are ALL divine ALLEGORICAL visions given to an ancient Hebrew Prophet (John) just like they were given to ALL the Hebrew Prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel etc). The book of Revelation was no more to be taken “LITERALLY” than was Ezekiel’s vision of “wheels within wheels” – are there “wheels with eyes” in Heaven or stairways leading from earth to Heaven that the angels have to LITERALLY walk up and down on?
The careful Bible student will note that the very OPENING VERSE of the Book of Revelation informs us that it is a book of “SIGNS/SYMBOLS”…
Revelation 1:1 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it (“signified” – ?σήμανεν – “communicated in signs”) by His angel to His bond-servant John.”
Much like Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrims Progress‘ or Lewis’ ‘Narnia Chronicles’ – The Book of Revelation is an allegory describing the actual historical events of the fall of apostate Israel in the first century AD.
Be sure to read Don K. Preston’s book Who Is This Babylon? for a fuller understanding of the nature of prophetic language.
More to come!