Rule 2: Context, Context, and Context…

What does the passage say in its surrounding, in its history, and/or the nature of the word used? The definition of a word is predicated (attached) to the situation and context of the sentence. Is it a metaphor, such as object is defined by how it is described and used in the surrounding sentences? Or it may be a symbol, such as; we come to a fork in the road. Do we eat with it? Context tells us, because the Bible was not written to us, it was written to a specific people, situation, and culture, yet, it is still God’s Word. In addition, God’s Word was not just written to them, it also is written for us. Therefore, we can easily extract its meaning and make effectual applications for today’s and tomorrow’s Christian living, including cross culturally. Then there are other contexts such as the language and the relevance of the audience. For example, what did it mean to the original hearers and readers? We do this before we come up with an application today, because our application must not contradict the intended meaning. If we do not follow this rule, we can easily make any passage mean whatever we want it to mean, or make it apply to whomever or whatever we desire while disregarding what God has to say!

For example, in Revelation 14:14-20, John is giving us a portrayal of the “Last Days” and the “Second Coming” of Christ our Lord where Christ is the great Director, directing His representatives in the reaping and the harvesting of humanity’s souls. This passage represents the quintessence of how most people, including many Christians, see Revelation. Yes, this is correct to a point; but, it is also so much more. Thus, most commentators miss the main points. It is not just about judgment; it is about how we are called to life too! It is a great hope for the faithful who bear good fruit for Him, and a great fear to the godless who bear rotten fruit (Gen. 19:24; Psalm 112:10; Joel 3:12-16; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 13:36-43; 24:14; Luke 3:17; John 15:1-8; Gal. 5; Rev. 1:13).

Thus, many commentators come to this passage and see this as just the horrific, ultimate judgment of the wicked while Christ gathers His saints to safety. The Son of Man is seen as Christ Himself and His Second Coming, of His judging the wicked. They see no problem with the angel giving commands to Christ, as it is a message of the Father to the Son. The sickle represents God’s love and the gathering of the faithful as they are separated from the unfaithful. Some see this happening after the rapture and these as the Christians who are saved post-rapture (a pre-tribulation view), while others hold a view that the rapture takes place (post-tribulation view) when Christ comes—after the tribulation. Some see this as the battle of Armageddon and these as literal images of that battle. In addition, there are lengthy views of this battle and what it means; very speculative, but not essential doctrine. A problem with this view is this: according to the Bible, the battle of Armageddon never takes place; it is only prepared for, “gathered” (Rev. 16:16).

Thus, to get this theory that the battle took place and many of the theories in this camp, you have to take a whole bunch of passages out of their context, string them together, and ignore the context and actual meanings of the words. You would have to create your own word meanings, ignore Jewish culture, and completely disregard the Old Testament, Matthew 24, and the original languages in order to create this view. This is very minor stuff theologically; I am not sure how Christ would feel about that, do you? Perhaps, a look into 2 Peter should cause us to tremble if we dare seek to twist and/or read in our ideas to His Word. Always be careful not to read into the Bible what you want it to say; rather, seek what The Word actually says, even if it goes against your personal thinking!

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