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Allegorical reading of the book of Revelation Sep 18, 2008
Sadly, Grimsrud gets many of the small things right, but is wrong at the core.
Commentators on Revelation usually interpret it as allegory, present-day history, or literal prophecy (fore-told history). Grimsrud falls in the allegorical and present-day history camps. To do so, he has to mudge up many passages that are straightforward and obviously literal.
For example, he says that the 144,000 from Rev. 7:1-8 represent the "whole people of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament." The number can not represent a literal 144,000 saints because "the multiplication by 1000 implies infinity or innumerability." First, the 144,000 are by definition not innumerable, because John just enumerated them quite precisely. And secondly, they don't "represent" anything, they are quite clearly and literally 144,000 (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes) children of Israel saved out of the Tribulation (which Grimsrud also apparently does not believe is a literal period of horrible tribulation in future history).
Then, he says that these 144,000 from vs. 1-8 are the same as the "great multitude" in 7:9. 144,000 is clearly NOT a "great multitude, which no man could number", nor are they the same two groups of people, because John just numbered the one group, and the other cannot be numbered!
Later, Grimsrud says these 144,000 symbolize "the whole people of God. This vision is a sign that God is still in control." Forgive me for laughing, but there are 6 billion people alive in the world today; 144,000 saved would hardly constitute a sign that God is still in control! There will be billions of people in heaven, from the beginning of time to the last saint saved in the tribulation. The purpose of the horror of the last days is for God to destroy Satan and his forces and drive untold millions of sinners to salvation before it is too late! It is sad that Grimsrud's God is so small and powerless.
I won't go on, but let me point out one last absurdity--the placement of the millennium sometime between Christ's first and second comings! Grimsrud is necessarily vague about the timing of this, because there is no thousand-year period between 33 and 2003 AD when Satan is not deceiving the nations, and when saints are living and reigning with Christ.
I don't mean to castigate or belittle Grimsrud, except as a representative of those who so sadly misinterpret and misunderstand the book of Revelation. I don't understand everything here, and I don't know if LaHaye and Jenkins have it 100% right in their "Left Behind" series, but I do know that Revelation relates real future events that will occur in real time on the real Earth. There is no need to spiritualize or allegorize these events. They may not all make human sense, but they must be understood to be literal.