One of the greatest harms that Dispensationalists commit is an insistence on interpreting the Bible literally. They are actually ignoring the plain reading of a text, forcing symbolism, metaphors and similes to read as truth. If they were indeed interpreting the Bible literally, they would all be missing an eye or a hand thereby staying out of hell.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matt 5:29-30
According to these modern commentators, nothing or very little of the book of The Revelation has been fulfilled. They claim the prophecy was intended for our time, 2000 years after it was written (between 96-98 A.D.).
However, the testimony of the book itself is completely contrary to a distant fulfillment.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, Rev. 1:1
Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near. Rev. 1:3
And behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Rev. 22:7
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Rev. 22:10
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. Rev. 22:12
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 22:20
It said these are the things “soon” to take place. How can “soon” be interpreted as “literally” later? What crazy hermeneutic could allow such repudiation of the plain reading of the text? Any young child could tell you what these verses should mean.
The Greek word tachei means soon, quick, or quickly. [Luke 14:21; Luke 16:6; John 11:31; John 13:27; John 20:4; Acts 17:15; 1 Cor 4:19; Gal 1:6; Phili 2:19; Phili 2:24; 2 Thess 2:2; Heb 13:19; Heb 13:23] It is never used to mean two thousand years later. The Dispensationalists suggest that it means that the events will happen quickly once they start, however it is never used in this way any where in else in Scripture. There is no use that even suggest a two thousand years gap. It must mean that what the text is talking about, at the very least, begins quickly.
The word or phrase that we would expect to see describe something occurring centuries in the future is: After many days, in the latter days. [1Kings 18:1; Is. 24:22; Jer. 13:6; Acts 18:18]
The problem is the word “coming”. The casual reader may think “coming” means the “Second Coming”. This is the effect of lazy preaching and not doing your own homework. We were told to wait for the Lord’s “Return” not His “coming”.
In Matthew 24 the disciples asked, when are you coming? They cannot be asking about what we call the second coming or return. They had no expectation that He was going to leave. So, clearly our understanding of the word “coming” and the disciples first century use of the phrase, or just the word “come,” does not mean “return,” “coming again” nor “second coming” of the Lord.
They had to be asking “when are you coming to judge Jerusalem”? How do we arrive at this conclusion? Because, whenever God had informed someone He was “coming” it meant He was coming to judge.
- When God came to look at the Tower of Babel it meant that they were about to be judged. [Gen 11:5-8]
- When God came to look at Sodom and Gomorrah it meant that God was about to judge the two cities [Gen 18:21]
- Other examples where the expression is used: [Ex 3:8; Ps 50:3; Isa 64:1-3; Isa 66:15; Mic 1:3-4]
All those “soons” in The Revelation are about the “coming” judgments that each particular passage is about. They are clearly not “the Return of the Lord”.
See Also: Clouds