Interpreting Biblical Apocalyptic (11): From Exegesis to Application—Futurism

The futurist approach to apocalyptic prophecy, particularly to Revelation, sees the fulfillment of most of Revelation being restricted to a short period of time still future to our own day. In its dispensational form, this approach limits most of Revelation to the last seven years of earth’s history, following a secret rapture of Christians. Even within the Adventist context, increasing numbers of Bible students are seeking end-time understandings in every corner of Daniel and Revelation.
On the positive side, there are clearly many aspects of Daniel and Revelation that were intended to portray the far future from the perspective of the prophets’ time and place (Dan 2:44-45; 8:26; 11:40; 12:4,13; Rev 1:19; 6:15-17; 7:15-17; 19:11-21; 21:1-22:5). Most of what these passages portray has not occurred to this day. So an examination of Daniel and Revelation without an openness to understanding of future events would be an inappropriate limitation on the divine supervision of these books.
Approaches to Daniel and Revelation that limit the meaning of most of the text to end-time events, however, have consistently proven to claim more than they can deliver. Dispensationalism trumpets a literal approach to the Bible, yet imposes a system upon biblical interpretation that forces texts into molds which resist sound exegesis of those same texts. Adventist forms of futurism tend toward an allegorism of dual or multiple applications that quickly lose touch with the original setting and context of the prophecies. A futurism that ignores the cues in the text in the name of relevance, ends up abandoning the text for a contemporary system. An appropriate search for unfulfilled prophecy will always ground itself in the original meaning of the prophecy.

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