The prophecies of the books of Daniel and Revelation are more relevant today than it has ever been in any other Christian dispensation. And many Bible students are expecting the predictions chronicled on the sacred pages of these two books to reach their climax in the not-too-distant future. The fact that a blessing is pronounced upon those who read and understand the prophecies of Revelation (Rev. 1:3) is proof of its importance to the proclamation of the gospel, and to the comfort of the last-day Church on whom the ends of the world are come (1Cor. 10:11). This prophecy e-course seeks to unearth important truths from the books of Daniel and Revelation that are designed to put us on the alert and shield us from the great deceptions that will be foisted upon the inhabitants of the earth in the latter days. With the great controversy between Christ and Satan as its overall theme, this e-course will zero in on the final showdown between the dragon (Satan) and the remnant of modern Israel (the last-day church) as described in the following scripture passage:
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 12:17
The common interpretations that are being applied to the end-time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation must be reexamined. Over the years theologians have developed some unfortunate habits in their application of prophetic symbols, which is the reason why we are not getting anywhere in terms of being on target on critical details. For instance, one of the main factors that are standing in the way of a sound interpretation of the prophecy of Revelation 13 is the mistaken notion that ‘the beast is a symbol of a system or organization’. The underlying factors that contribute to the lack of soundness and precision in our interpretations are as follows:
(a) A failure to adhere strictly to the interpretations of symbols given to us in the scriptures, which leaves us no other choice but to resort to conjecture (a guess)
(b) A failure to properly apply the principle of scripture comparison of parallel prophecies.
(c) We sometimes treat as a symbol that which the scriptures intend to be taken as literal, and take almost every phrase in a prophecy to be figurative when it should really be taken for its obvious meaning, thus mystifying that which the scriptures make very plain.
(d) We refuse to look beyond some of the obviously flawed traditional interpretations in our understanding of prophecy, as if we are not supposed to advance in scriptural knowledge (See Dan. 12:4).
(e) We fail to treat the prophecy of Revelation as a narrative development, thus creating confusion by destroying the concept of a cohesive story line.
(f) We seem to rely too much on the commentaries of theologians instead of divine revelation in arriving at our conclusions.
If we are to convince the world that we have the true gospel, we need to recognize that it is not God’s intention that we present end-time prophecies in a generalized and imprecise manner. Neither are we to wait until the prophecy is fulfilled before we warn people. The purpose of prophecy is to warn ahead of time. The gift of prophetic interpretation will be the main agency by which the people of God will draw the attention of the world to the gospel. When the prophecies are proclaimed as it should, and fulfilled to the letter, the world will be assured that what was proclaimed is the truth. This cannot be accomplished if we allow tradition and mainstream thinking to prevent us from nailing the prophecies down to accurate details.
It is very important that we understand that just as God is eager to shed light upon the world from the prophetic word, the Devil on the other hand is doing his utmost best to prevent that light from coming to as many as possible. And he is doing a masterful job of it.
As you study the prophecies via this prophecy e-course, I want you to just put yourself in Satan’s position for a while (not to be like him!) and ask yourself what strategy would you employ in the last-days to deceive the majority and keep them in darkness. It’s like the work of a detective where you are given the task to solve a complex crime. In order to make any significant headway with your investigation, you will have to think like the criminal! You will have to get into his thought process in order to find out why the crime is committed a certain way and, hence, the motive for the crime.
Bible prophecy has already painted the crime scene for us by giving us an accurate and comprehensive crime-scene report before the actual crime is committed! Today the Lord wants us to think like detectives in our attempt to solve in advance what will certainly be a high profile crime to be committed in the last days. In order for us to do this we must be trained to think like Satan, the most notorious criminal mastermind of all time. While the Bible provides adequate solutions to enable us to understand prophecy, knowing how Satan thinks and becoming acquainted with his devices can help us in the process of arriving at some of our conclusions and inform our understanding in certain areas of Bible prophecy where many are still puzzled and groping for answers.