Should Genesis and Revelation be spiritualized? Speaker Dr. David Reagan answers at the Christianity Under Attack conference shown on television’s Christ in Prophecy.
Last aired on July 12, 2015.
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Dr. Reagan: Genesis and Revelation are two of the most abused books in the Bible because they have been spiritualized into meaning anything except what they say. In the process the Genesis story of Creation has been transformed into a mythical legend. And the promises of Revelation have been dismissed as pie in the sky abstractions. My position is that they should be accepted for their plain sense meaning. And that is the rule I apply to all of God’s Word. Namely if the plain sense makes sense, don’t look for any other sense lest you end up with nonsense. Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our blessed hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Last week I shared with you a portion of a presentation of mine entitled, “The Beginning and the Ending.” In it I expressed my consternation over the fact that most Christians have spiritualized both the book of Genesis and the book of Revelation arguing that they are poetic expressions of broad truths, but certainly are not to be taken literally. Well folks I believe that attitude is dead wrong. I believe that both Genesis and Revelation mean exactly what they say. Namely that human history began about 6,000 years ago when God supernaturally created the Universe in six literal days. And that human history as we know it today is soon going to come to a screeching halt with the supernatural return of Jesus to this earth.
Last week I expressed my disgust with the way in which most Christians have tried to accommodate God’s Word to the depraved scientific theories of men who claim that our universe is billions of years old. And that man evolved from some lower form of life over a period of millions of years. The fundamental point I made last week in response to the claims of science that our universe is very old was that supernatural creation always produces an impression of age. Let me repeat that. Let me repeat it for emphasis, special creation always produces an impression of age. And thus if I were to instantly create a full grown man as God did at the beginning of human history and then I were to introduce him to you. You would think that he was at least 18 years old. When in reality he would be only a few minutes old.
I also pointed out that the aging of the earth has been accelerated by the curse that God placed upon the creation when Adam and Eve sinned. As the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 8:21, “The whole of creation was placed in bondage to decay.” Regarding the fossil record I pointed out that it’s not a record of an evolutionary historical process. Rather it is the record of a historical event namely the Flood of Noah. And I further pointed out that it does not contain any transitional forms. A cat is a cat. A dog is a dog. No dats have ever been discovered.
This week I want to pick up where we left off last week and I will present some further comments about the validity of the creation account of the book of Genesis. And then I will shift to a consideration of the book of Revelation, arguing that it means what it says.
Dr. Reagan’s Presentation
Dr. Reagan: Well let’s return to the biblical text. We are told in Genesis 1 that God created the universe and life in six days and then rested on the seventh day. Now how do we know that those were 24 hour days? Well as John Morris pointed out today the answer is simple. We know the text is speaking of 24 hour days because it says so. Each day is described literally as an evening and a morning. The fact that the Genesis account is speaking of 24 hour days is underlined in Exodus 20. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep in holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God and in it you shall not do any work. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them and He rested on the seventh day. Let the Bible interpret the Bible, and that’s what that does.
And how do we know that all this happened only 6,000 years ago? Because the biblical genealogies going back to Adam and Eve cover a time span of only 6,000 years from today’s time. And you know it is interesting that Jesus himself said in Mark 10:6, Mark 10:6 Jesus said, “The beginning of creation dates from Adam and Eve.” In this regard I think it is interesting to note that the Bible is the only written account of human civilization that provides historical information before the Flood of Noah that took place about 4,300 years ago. All other records of human history such as the Chinese and the Egyptians date back only to the time of the Flood.
Well what about carbon dating? Hasn’t is revealed human skeletons much older than 6,000 years as well as animals like dinosaurs that are even millions of years old. The problem with carbon dating is that it is based on evolutionary assumptions. The primary one being uniformitarianism which is the scientific theory that life on earth has been uniform ever since the beginning and therefore the carbon content in the atmosphere has always been the same. But even those who put their faith in carbon dating would admit that it there was ever was a worldwide flood carbon dating is inaccurate. But they deny the occurrence of such a worldwide flood even though there is overwhelming evidence of it throughout the earth and there are references to it in the lore of all ancient civilizations. Some skeptics respond at this point by saying, “Look the Bible is not a science book so we cannot take it seriously, what it says, about scientific matters.” Well it is true that the Bible is not a science book. But it is also true that when the Bible speaks about scientific matters it speaks with authority. It speaks with truth. In fact it would be impossible for the Bible to contradict true science because God is the author of both.
Here are some examples of scientific truth that can be found in the Bible and these examples are only a few that I could cite. The Bible clearly reveals in Isaiah 40 and Job 26 that the earth is a sphere suspended in space. That was in the Bible long before scientist ever discovered it. Every one of these things I am going to mention were in the Bible long before they were discovered by science.
In Ecclesiastes 1 you can read about atmospheric circulation. In Psalm 8 you can read about ocean currents. In Isaiah 55 the whole hydraulic cycle is revealed of water evaporating into the sky and falling back in rain. Or consider the life is in the blood, Leviticus 17 that is one of the oldest concepts in the Bible. That wasn’t discovered by science until the 19th Century. In the 18th Century at the end of the 18th Century George Washington died of a cold because the doctors bled him to death. They bled him to death because they thought that by bleeding that would make him well. They had no concept of the life being in the blood.
Or consider the first law of Thermal Dynamics the Law of the Conservation of Mass and Energy; one of the fundamental concepts of physics. This is clearly outlined in 2 Peter 3:7 and 3:13, it wasn’t discovered by science until 1850. Or the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics the Law of Entropy; that all of creation is in bondage to decay that is going from order to chaos- not discovered until 1850.
Or consider the basic laws of hygiene in Leviticus 11-15 let me tell you something those didn’t come from Egypt. There are no ancient civilizations that had laws of hygiene like the laws that God revealed to Moses. They were far beyond anything that science understood. That’s the reason that in the Middle Ages when the Black Plague swept Europe that the Jews were accused of poisoning the Gentiles with the plague. Because the Jews did not get the plague and the Jews did not die of the plague because the Jews followed the laws of hygiene in the book of Moses where they washed their hands after they went to the toilet; where they washed their hands after they touched a dead body. They had all kinds of hygienic laws.
One of the most fascinating stories of science is the Hungarian doctor who was working in Vienna in 1849. 1849. He noticed there was a high rate of infection and death in the OB ward. He began to study it, to observe, to apply the scientific method. And he decided that hey what’s happening is that every morning the doctors go first to the morgue and perform autopsies, then they go over and do vaginal exams. He said I think they are bringing something from the dead bodies to the live bodies. So he suggested that they start washing their hands after doing the autopsies. And they did that and the infection rate and death rate almost totally disappeared. But do you think medical science accepted that? No. Doctors were outraged. They were insulted. They said, “Who do you think you are talking to, to tell us we must wash our hands. Are you implying that we who are men of culture are unclean? We don’t need to wash our hands.” And they hounded him to the point he lost his job, he lost his career and he ended up in a mental institution and died at the age of 47 before the 1860’s when Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister discovered the germ theory of disease.
Moses knew about it 1,000’s of years ago because of the revelation of God in Scripture. All these scientific principles were expressed in the Bible long before they were quote-on-quote discovered by scientist and some of you may be thinking at this point, “So what? So what? What difference does it make how Genesis record of creation is interpreted?” Well let me tell you I think it means a lot of difference. For the one thing the integrity of the Word of God is at stake. If we cannot believe what the Bible says about creation then how can we believe what the Bible says about the resurrection? Or what it says about the return of Jesus Christ? And that brings me to the ending of the Bible.
Like the beginning the ending of God’s Word has been spiritualized into meaning anything except what it says. The viewpoint of end times that prevails in the Church today both Catholic and Protestant, both Catholic and Protestant is Amillennial; the belief that there will never be a millennial reign of Jesus Christ. This view is based upon a total spiritualization of Scripture. Because the Bible says point blank, point blank the Bible says Jesus will return to this earth to reign for a thousand years. The Bible says Satan will be bound during that time. The Bible says that the earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness, and justice as the waters cover the sea. The Bible teaches that at the end of this period of the millennium the earth will be consumed with fire. A new perfected earth will be provided for our eternal home. And God will come down to earth to live in our presence forever. The Amillennial view spiritualizes all of this. It argues that the millennium began at the cross with the binding of Satan. And the millennium continues to this day with Jesus reigning from Heaven through His Church. In other words the Church Age is the Millennium. There is no Rapture in this viewpoint. There is no great Tribulation in this viewpoint. And most Amillennialist would further argue that when Jesus comes He will never return to this earth. He will simply appear in the sky, take us all take us to an ethereal world like Heaven where we live as disembodied spirits for all eternity.
Now the problems with this view are simply overwhelming. If we were in the Millennium now why isn’t the world flooded with peace, righteousness and justice? I don’t see a world flooded with peace, righteousness, and justice. If Jesus is reigning now then why does the Bible portray Him instead as our High Priest before God’s throne? And if He is reigning now why is He doing such a bad job of it? The Bible says Jesus came the first time as Savior. It says right now He is serving as our High Priest before the Throne of God. It says that He will return as the King of Kings. If Satan is bound now then why does evil abound in the world? And why do Scriptures written long after the cross portray Satan as still the ruler of this world.
You see there are delayed benefits of the cross. One of the delayed benefits of the cross is your glorified body. Another delayed benefit of the cross is the ultimate defeat, He was defeated at the cross but His defeat will not be consummated in history until Jesus Christ returns. The Bible furthermore says that Satan is going to be bound in a special way. He will be restrained it says so that he can no longer deceive the nations of the world. And yet everywhere we look today what do we see? Every nation of the world deceived. What would God have to do to convince us that Jesus is returning to reign for a 1,000 years? Repeatedly in the Old Testament we are told that the Messiah will reign over all the world from Mount Zion in Jerusalem. And in chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation we are told six times that that reign would last a 1,000 years. Does God have to put it in the sky in neon lights so that it would blink on and off?
Finally how do you explain eternity in an ethereal world as a spirit being when the Bible says that we will live forever in glorified bodies on a new earth? It all comes down to a matter of interpretation. As with the interpretation of the beginning of the Bible the interpretation of the ending depends upon whether or not you are going to accept the plain sense meaning of Scripture. Or whether you are going to insist on spiritualizing it to make the text mean what you want it to mean. I believe the fundamental rule for the interpretation of all the Bible from the beginning to the end is what I call the golden rule of interpretation. If the plain sense makes sense don’t look for any other sense or you will end up with nonsense.
And that applies to all of the Bible. But when it comes to the interpretation of prophecy there is a fundamental fact that must be kept in mind, and that fact is this: All first coming prophecies were literally fulfilled in their plain sense meaning. Why then would the Second Coming prophecies be any different.
The bottom line is that we need to stop playing games with God’s Word. We need to accept it for what it says and stop trying to make excuses for it. Hundreds of times in both the Old Testament and the New Testament the claim is made that the writers of the Bible were speaking the Word of God. If so what they wrote was without error, for God cannot lie, nor can God make a mistake. I therefore challenge you. I challenge you to accept the Bible for what it claims to be the Word of God. And I challenge you to believe it for what it says.
And I want to conclude by emphasizing that my challenge to you to accept the Bible for what it claims to be and to believe what it says is a challenge that comes directly from Jesus Christ Himself. Here is what He is recorded as saying in John chapter 5 to the Jewish leaders of His day, “If you believed Moses you would believe me for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings how will you believe my words?” Moses wrote the book of Genesis. We need to believe what he wrote. Your Christian faith will have full meaning only when you believe that the universe and the life it contains was supernaturally created by God for a purpose. And your life will never experience the fullness of Christian hope until you start believing the promises of God’s prophetic Word. The beginning and the ending may God forgive us for ignoring them. May God forgive us for abusing them. May God forgive us for playing games with Him. May we commit ourselves to the revival in the teaching and preaching programs of our churches. Thank you and God bless you.
Dr. Reagan: I hope that presentation was a blessing to you. And I hope it impressed upon you the importance of taking God’s Word at its face value. Folks the integrity of the Bible is at stake here. If we cannot believe what the Bible says about Creation and the Second Coming. Then why should we believe what it says about the virgin birth or the resurrection? I’d like now to emphasize the glorious promises of the book of Revelation by presenting a segment from another presentation of mine entitled, “The Promise of Victory.” It will give you an overview of end time events as they are literally presented in the Book of Revelation.
In summary let’s take an overview of God’s plan for the ages, a quick overview. It all begins on the Day of Pentecost; on that day the end times began. We have been in the end times for almost 2,000 years. The end times began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the Church was established and the Church Age began. We have been in the Church Age now for 1,900 plus years. We haven’t been in 2,000 yet but 1,900 plus years, almost 2,000. The Church was probably established around 30 AD so around 2030 it will be 2,000 years of Church history.
So we are in there, I think we are right at the end of the Church Age. And the Church Age is going to be followed by seven years of unparalleled tribulation, 3 ½ years and then in the middle the Antichrist goes into the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God. Then the last 3 ½ years Jesus called the Great Tribulation because it’s going to focus on the persecution of the Jewish people. Then that will be followed by the Millennium; 1,000 years. Which will be followed by eternity on a new earth. The Church age will come to a screeching halt when Jesus appears in the heavens and those who are members of the body of Christ, living and dead are raptured up to meet Jesus in the heavens. We will be with Jesus there during the period of the Tribulation. At the end of that period of time we will sit down with Him at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and we will celebrate our union with Him. Then we will get up and follow Him as He comes back and we will see Him, we will return with Him in what is called the Second Coming. We will see Him that day when His feet touch the Mount of Olives. We will see it when that mount splits in half. We will see it when He speaks that supernatural word. And millions and hundreds of millions of saints and angels will be there to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Hosanna to the Son of God.” Oh man come quickly Lord Jesus I can hardly wait I want to shout this out. So first we have the Rapture. Then we have the Second Coming, the return of Jesus in two stages; the Rapture and then the Second Coming.
Well my friends you can understand now why Paul would write these words, look at these words these are incredible words, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Folks there is a lot of suffering going on, a lot of suffering. I’m tired of suffering. I am weary of suffering. I’m tired of cancer, and heart disease, and all birth deformities. I’ve dedicated 2 books to my grandson Jason. Who was born normal but at the age of 3 he began to act strangely. By the time he was 4 years old, 5 years old he was vegetative, because he had a very rare genetic condition that caused his body to attack his brain and perform a frontal lobotomy on him. Not supposed to live beyond the age of 12, he is still alive in his mid-20’s. But has to stay in a padded room because nobody can touch him. His mother can’t hold him. Nobody can touch him. He has to be put asleep to have his hair cut. I’ve dedicated 2 books to him because he is a constant reminder to me that one day when the Lord returns Jason will receive a new mind, a perfect mind. And I’ll have all eternity to talk with Jason. Throw a ball to Jason. Enjoy him and get to know him. Oh I can hardly wait for the Lord to come.
Folks when you consider the tales of God’s glorious plan for the ages how can you possibly be passive or apathetic? We’re promised victory and it’s going to be achieved in a number of ways. But let me just emphasize this one more time. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared with the glory that is yet to be revealed to us. And here he repeats it in a different way. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man even conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Do you know what he says in the next verse? “The Holy Spirit has revealed those things through His Word if you’ll only dig them out.” It is no wonder that Peter said of these glorious promises I’ve taught to you here is what Peter had to say about them, “They are precious and magnificent promises.” And what are those precious and magnificent promises? The Rapture of the Church; the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; the Millennial Reign of Jesus on Mount Zion in Jerusalem; and Heaven in the presence of Jesus Christ and God our Creator in glorified bodies on a New Earth.
My friends clouds of darkness may be gathering all around us, but the light is about to break through. It is the worst of times, but it is the best of times. For the signs of the times are shouting the good news that Jesus is coming soon. And in response you and I need to be shouting, “Maranatha, maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus.” Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.
Dr. Reagan: For those of you who may not be familiar with Bible prophecy the overview of end time events that I just presented may have literally overwhelmed you leaving you with more questions than answers. So let’s present that chart, just the chart one more time in an effort to help you put together the sequence of end time events. If you still have questions after viewing the chart a second time then go to our website and submit your questions to us.
In summary let’s take an overview of God’s plan for the ages, a quick overview. It all begins on the Day of Pentecost; on that day the End Times began. We have been in the end times for almost 2,000 years. The end times began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured and the Church was established and the Church Age began. We have been in the Church Age now for 1,900 plus years. We haven’t been in 2,000 yet but 1,900 plus years, almost 2,000. The Church was probably established around 30 AD so around 2030 it will be 2,000 years of Church history. So we are in there, I think we are right at the end of the Church Age. And the Church Age is going to be followed by seven years of unparalleled tribulation, 3 ½ years and then in the middle the Antichrist goes into the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God. Then the last 3 ½ years Jesus called the Great Tribulation because it’s going to focus on the persecution of the Jewish people. Then that will be followed by the Millennium; 1,000 years; which will be followed by eternity on a new earth. The Church age will come to a screeching halt when Jesus appears in the heavens and those who are members of the body of Christ, living and dead are raptured up to meet Jesus in the heavens. We will be with Jesus there during the period of the Tribulation. At the end of that period of time we will sit down with Him at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and we will celebrate our union with Him. Then we will get up and follow Him as He comes back and we will see Him, we will return with Him in what is called the Second Coming.
That sequence of events you just viewed contains many glorious promises about the future. And my question for you is this: Are you an heir to those promises? Can you look forward with confidence to them being fulfilled in your life? All the promises in the Book of Revelation are made to overcomers. That word appears over and over. The last time it appears is in Revelation 21:7 where we are told, “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be His God and he will be my son.” Are you an overcomer? The meaning of that term is revealed in 1 John 5 where it says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” And whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And who is the one who overcomes the world? But he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. So an overcomer is one who has put his faith in Jesus as his Savior. He is a person who is trusting in Jesus for his salvation. I sincerely hope that you have done that, and if not why not? Why would anyone want to miss the glorious promises of God’s Word? And the best news of all about those promises is that they are completely free of charge. There is nothing you can do to earn them. They are a free gift of God’s grace to anyone who places their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If you have not done that then I invite you to do so by reaching out to God in prayer confessing that you are sinner, repenting of your sins and receiving Jesus as your Savior. If you do that then I would urge you to seek out a Bible believing, and Jesus exalting church where you can make a public profession of your faith, and where you can manifest that faith in baptism. And then find a Bible study group that will help you to grow spiritually.
Well folks that is our program for this week. I hope it has been a blessing to you. I hope you’ll be back with us next week. Until then this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries’ saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our redemption is drawing near.”
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