Author

About Me

I am a software developer/mathematician by profession. I am a former atheist, and I once held some strong atheist views:

  • Religion was for gullible and fearful people.
  • Religious people are afraid of death and feel comforted by the notion of eternal life.
  • They are afraid of the eternal torments that religions threaten people with.
  • They are willing to live a subservient life in hopes of gaining riches in some promised “afterlife”.
  • There is no great or important difference between the various religions.
  • Religion is blind faith where people believe preposterous things for the flimsiest of reasons.
  • The notion that there is some “invisible, all-knowing god” is ridiculous on its face.

As a person with a healthy sense of skepticism, having the attitude that we should rely on logic and reason while avoiding beliefs we cannot defend, I felt that atheism was the only sensible choice.

Becoming a Christian

I would still be an atheist today except that I once took the time to review the prophetic evidence that supports the Christian faith.

The evidence shows that the Old Testament prophets confidently stated that a special person would come to the earth. They foretold several specific things about this special person: His lineage, his roles as king and priest, his birthplace, the time of his coming, his purpose, the manner of his birth, his betrayal, and his death, among several other details. This special person is commonly referred to as the Messiah, or (equivalently) Christ.

When combined, all of these prophecies constitute a very strict set of requirements that must be met by anyone who might claim to be this foretold Christ.

Of course, since an atheist believes that there is no God, he must also believe that there is no such thing as a “true prophet of God”. This means that these “prophecies” can be nothing more than the ramblings of mere men who are (at best) deluded, or (at worst) liars. Therefore, the atheist must expect that there is no realistic chance that these prophecies will ever be fulfilled by any one person.

However, some four centuries after the Old Testament books were completed, a fellow named Jesus was born in the land of Judea, which was under control of the Roman Empire. Jesus seemed to be satisfying the strict requirements specified by the Old Testament prophecies. He was of the right lineage, he was born in the right place, and at the right time. At a later point in his life, he even claimed to be the Christ foretold by the prophets.He was ultimately betrayed by a friend and crucified — all as the prophets had foretold. The prophets had also indicated that he would not stay dead, and the account of Jesus records that he was resurrected on the third day after his death. Later, he ascended to heaven, with the promise that one day he would return as he left to establish his kingdom on earth.

Again, to the atheist, it would be astonishing enough that there would be any person at all to credibly fulfill the prophecies that were written by these (presumably) deluded prophets. However, this Jesus did not only fulfill them all, but against inconceivable odds, he became objectively the most special person the earth has ever seen. Perhaps, as a Christian, I’m a bit biased to state that, but I think even atheists cannot deny the massive influence Jesus made upon the world. In time, the small group of Jews who followed Jesus exploded into the most populous religion in the world — and this growth often occurred despite great persecution. Jesus actually foretold this tremendous growth when he likened the growth of God’s kingdom to the growth of a mustard seed (Matt 13:31-32).

It’s worth mentioning that the Bible offers several other impressive prophecies besides those referring to Christ. These other prophecies include some that foretold the series of kingdoms that would rise and fall, up to and including the Roman empire. They foretold the fall of the Babylonian empire even before Babylon rose to power. They foretold the name of the Persian king (Cyrus) who would bless Israel long before that king was born. They foretold a decree issued by a Persian king to rebuild Jerusalem. The prophets also said that Israel would be finally regathered in their Biblical homeland  — which has now been fulfilled in relatively recent times (as of May 1948).

All of these prophecies, as well as the overall harmony of scripture, had a cumulative effect upon me. I might have been able to dismiss one or two impressive prophecies, but together, the whole body of prophetic evidence caused me to conclude that the most reasonable explanation is that the Christian Bible must come from a source that is beyond anything natural. It seemed best to take it for what it claimed to be: the words of God. This conclusion led me to become a Christian myself, and I must say that many years later, I am still somewhat shocked by this!

By the way, I still believe it is right to have a healthy sense of skepticism, to use logic and reason, and to avoid indefensible beliefs. However, in view of the evidence, atheism is no longer the most sensible choice.

The Study of Revelation

After becoming a Christian primarily on the strength of the prophetic evidence, I became aware that the same God who gave us that impressive prophetic evidence also gave us several other prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled.

However, the prophecies concerning the future are scattered throughout the books of the Bible, and the book that focuses the most on future prophecy — Revelation — was not easily understood due to the symbolism and the peculiar way in which its prophecies are presented. I found that Revelation was oddly redundant within itself and it was difficult to gain any reliable sense of chronology. Reconciling Revelation with all the other future prophecies in scripture seemed to be a daunting task.

For several years, I just accepted the conclusions taught by of the pastor of the church I attended. His view was one of the mainline views that takes a fairly literal interpretation of Revelation.

However, as time went on, I became increasingly dissatisfied with this state of affairs.

  • I was dependent on someone else to tell me what was written in the Bible, and I believe that the Bible should be reasonably accessible to anyone who is willing to study.
  • I couldn’t completely justify the conclusions that my pastor had taught based on my own reading of the scriptures.
  • Having become a Christian due to fulfilled prophecy, I felt convinced that the unfulfilled prophecy was certain to be fulfilled, and that it was important to understand what it said.

So, one day I decided to make it my objective to study Revelation (and other references to future prophecy in scripture) until I had a reasonable and defensible understanding of it. I began with a fresh start by discarding all the preconceived ideas about Revelation that I had been told. Then, I proceeded through Revelation (several times), determined to accept only those things that I could logically justify from scripture.

To make a long story short, I struggled for some time, but then I finally decided that all the structural cues in Revelation (seals, trumpet, bowls, sevens, interludes, patterns, etc.) must all be there for a purpose — and it’s purpose just might be to provide that overall sense of context that I thought had been lacking. This led to many productive questions: Why was Revelation laid out with all of this peculiar structure? What was the significance of all these pieces? How do they relate to each other? How do they connect with the earlier prophecies concerning the future?

To me, the process of asking these questions and trying to answer them was a springboard toward understanding. I believe that this time of study did provide me with a credible sense of context and timing, resulting in clarity about how each passage of Revelation fits into the the entire body of future prophecy in the Bible. Things that had previously been a confusing jumble of loose ends suddenly fell neatly into place, and began to make sense.

On several occasions, I felt a sense of confirmation, similar to how a scientist forms a hypothesis and then finds that it is confirmed by experimentation. My study into Revelation went on for a course of a few rewarding years before I decided to make this website.

This Website

This website is my effort to articulate the results of my studies of Revelation. It is my hope that others will benefit from it.

Now, I can’t say with perfect confidence that all of what I say on this site will turn out to be correct. But, as explained in How to Interpret Revelation, my objective was only to have a logical, scripturally sound, and defensible understanding of Revelation. I have reached that goal to a sufficient degree of personal satisfaction.

Side note: This website opened in late 2013, and I am still tweaking it in places and making little corrections. If you find a typo, please feel welcome to alert me (see Contact page).

Acknowledgments

When I began my studies, I spent time looking at various other commentaries that I found on-line. I discovered that there is a very wide range of quality out there! Frankly, I felt that most of the websites I visited were not very useful. However, there were some that were useful to me, even though I ended up disagreeing with some (or many) of their views. Of course, I never found any site that I could agree with completely. If I had, I wouldn’t have bothered to make this website!

Below are some organizations and websites toward which I feel sense of gratitude.

  • www.lockman.org – I thank the Lockman Foundation for giving me permission to make extensive use of the fine NASB translation of the Bible.
  • biblehub.com/nasb/revelation/1.htm – The BibleHub.com site is a marvelous source of scripture with parallel translations, commentaries, Greek and Hebrew translations, dictionaries and lexicons. I particularly found the commentaries of Jamieson-Fausset-Brown and Barnes’ Notes on the Bible to be helpful.
  • www.biblegateway.com/keyword – I found the search function at Bible Gateway to be particularly helpful, especially the ability to use the “match any word”, “match all words”, or “match exact phrase” options.
  • www.revelationcommentary.org – This commentary on Revelation (based on the Pre-Wrath view) is reasonable and interesting. For me, it raised several stimulating issues, and even though I ended up disagreeing with it on several points, it was still the most useful single commentary that I found.
  • www.helpsbible.com – This information provided by the HELPS Word Studies (The Discovery Bible New Testament, Gary Hill) is made available through the BibleHub sites, and it’s an excellent source for digging into the meanings of the original Greek or Hebrew words. I am grateful to have been given permission by Mr. Hill to copy some HELPS definitions on my website.
  • ldolphin.org – Lambert Dolphin’s Library site contains a fine collection of theological literature. Again, I don’t agree with most of the eschatological views presented there, but it contains numerous well-written and thought-provoking articles.
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