Revelation is the key to understanding Bible prophecies:
When we read Matthew 24, there are two extreme interpretations:
1. The futurists say that the great tribulation is in the future. This is because they think that Jesus is talking about a future generation who would see all those signs. They think that Matthew 24 is about the end of the world.
2. The preterists say that the great tribulation and 2nd coming of Christ is already over in 70AD. This is because Jesus was talking about the generation of the Pharisees and Apostles who saw the destruction of the 2nd Temple. The preterists think that all Bible prophecy has been fulfilled and we live in the new heaven and earth.
Obviously both of the above are not true.
The reason is we cannot interpret Matthew 24 by itself.
We have to interpret all prophecy with the Book of Revelation.
In Revelation 22, it says that the prophecies are no longer sealed.
They were imminent in the 1st Century as mentioned in Revelation 1 – that the time is short.
The futurists must see that Matthew 24 was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in that specific generation of the Pharisees and Apostles.
But the preterists must also see that Revelation explains that the AD70 was NOT the end of all Bible prophecies.
This is because the Book of Revelation explains the concept of the 1000 years / Millennium between the judgment of Israel and the end of the world.In Revelation 6-19, we see the description of the judgment upon Israel in the 1st Century.
This was the “coming of Christ” in judgment upon Israel in AD70.At the end of that judgment, we see that the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 19 “20 The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came out of his mouth. So all the birds were filled with their flesh.”At that time, Satan was bound for the 1000 year period.
Revelation 20 “2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years”
We are living in the symbolic 1000 year period now.How can we be so sure?It is because when Satan is loosed, he will deceive the nations and be cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20 “9 They went up over the width of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven from God and devoured them. 10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever….11 I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”
Clearly, we can see that these are TWO separate events:
– First the beast and false prophet were condemned into the lake of fire in AD70.
– Then we have the beginning of the 1000 years- At the end of the 1000 years, we will have Satan and all unbelievers cast into the lake of fire to join the beast and false prophet who *were* there earlier.
– This means that the great white throne judgment is NOT the same as the event of AD70.The preterists incorrectly think that the 1000 years began at the cross. The problem is that the beast and false prophet were condemned in AD70.
Therefore the 1000 years has to begin in AD70.Then the book of Revelation tells us that in the new heaven and earth, there will be no more death, pain or tears.
Revelation 21 ” I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”
Preterists try to spiritualize it saying it is “spiritual death”.
But the problem is that if you look, spiritual death ended on the cross for believers. It is because the thief on the cross died and went to heaven on the day Jesus died.
Therefore, Revelation 21 is talking about the end of physical death. Clearly we still have physical death in this world.Therefore, we are still living in the old heaven and earth.
People still need to believe in Jesus to be saved from the coming judgment at the end of the world.This is how we use the Book of Revelation to unlock the Bible prophecies.
We use Revelation to interpret Matthew 24 and all other books in the Bible.