It has been alleged that Rahm Emanuel, Barak Obama’s Chief of Staff, once uttered, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste”. True or not I don’t know but he wouldn’t be the first to consider the implications of making hay while the sun’s shining. So, it should come as no surprise that the prophetic gloom and doomers are working overtime on this one. “And the Sea Became Blood“, the next apocalyptic thriller, is likely to hit a Christian bookstore near you. (Actually, it’s yet to be written but probably will be.)
The end is perpetually “near” and every negative event from school shootings to financial meltdowns to man-made or natural disasters, are always proof that we are living in the “last days” of this late great planet earth. We may not always buy into the gloom but the incessant barrage wears like a grease-soaked shirt on a hot muggy day.
I wrote the following to a friend yesterday regarding the growing disaster in the Gulf. Images of oil-coated pelicans perched upon a sea of black gold are enough to turn crusty old sailors tearful.
Thanks, Theophilus [name changed]. It kind of makes your heart stop doesn’t it? Mark my words. It won’t be long, if it hasn’t already begun, before the forever apocalyptically-minded prophecy “experts” begin talking about this as the sea turning into blood [from the book of Revelation]. They never miss an opportunity to capitalize monetarily on the gullible sheeple.
Revelation 8:8-9 (NASB) The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.
Keep your eyes and ears open. You can say you heard it first from me. On a serious note, all we can do is pray for the mercy of God to intervene. Thanks again for keeping me informed.
Then, today, less than 24 hours after my stab at prophetic infamy (move over Pat Robertson), I received the following video courtesy from a dear friend. He was borderline apoplectic.
Sure enough, my above prediction came to pass exactly as anticipated. The horrific Gulf oil spill (in this instance a seriously inadequate word—it’s more like a Gulf oil GUSHER) is now proof that we are living in the final stages of the “last days.” Before our very eyes, Revelation 8:8 is being fulfilled! The sea is literally turning into blood! Following is another specutologist warning of our impending doom.
And not to be outdone, the conspiracy theorists at InfoWars and PrisonPlanet have gone into overdrive. Alex Jones called the BP spill “A false flag event”.
Paul Joseph Watson, the editor, and writer of www.prisonplanet.com, made the following statements in the final segment of the Alex Jones Show.
Earlier in April, Alex Jones was on RT and said the following:
The point is that conspiracism is becoming an ever-growing problem. Along with the decentralization of the information flow through the internet, which has been a wonderful thing, there is a now a responsibility on individuals to be prudent.
Listen, at this point, let me make clear that this disaster is no laughing matter. I pray that God will have mercy on our negligence and greed. God’s intervention is our hope. So please don’t misunderstand me here. This is an incredibly serious incident which has catastrophic implications not to mention the significant loss of life.
Therefore, given my sensitivity to what may be a catastrophe of mega proportions, I never cease to be amazed how people take the heavily sign-ifed (Rev 1:1) book of Revelation and interpret literally what was highly figurative language. Is Revelation 8:8-9 really to be taken literally? How can we KNOW? Do you ever feel driven and tossed by the winds of these prophetic speculators?
If we want to get to the bottom of this issue, I believe we need to first determine to whom Revelation was written and when this vision was to take place. Jesus made certain both were clearly delineated in the first few verses of the vision. So after we make this discovery, the rest of the apocalypse must be interpreted in that context. To do anything else is, in my view, irresponsible.
Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
This book was written directly to the seven real first century churches in Asia (latter 60’s AD), shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. These churches were a staging ground for the proliferation of the Gospel throughout Asia. So I believe it is imperative that we first consider the relevance of this book to the audience at hand. In other words, how can we determine what this book means (today) if we don’t know what it meant (in the first century)? The Revelation wasn’t given to the early Church to confuse them but rather to offer hope, comfort, and direction.
Now we know to whom it was written, next we need to ascertain when it was to take place? As Jesus spoke to John through the angel, I don’t think He could have been clearer.
Revelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
How could they “heed the things which are written” if it didn’t apply to them? If we ignore the audience and timing of this book, we will never understand the complex imagery that exists within. Multi-headed beasts, stars crashing to planet earth, locust-like scorpions wreaking havoc…and the list goes on.
Disasters throughout history have been pinned to various sections of the Revelation because people chose not to take the timing of God’s prophesies literally. They chose to allegorize the clear timing while literalizing the flowery apocalyptic-styled language. From my earlier days as a believer Pastor, James Saxon used to always say, “Interpret the unclear with the clear.” The timing is clear, the imagery is unclear, and not as clear to those of us 2,000 removed from the culture and times surrounding this book’s writing.
Nowhere in Scripture is time allegorized, and please don’t cite 2 Peter 3:8 as a proof text to say that God can’t communicate clearly. He is not a God of confusion. The mysteries that had been hidden were revealed in the person and work of Christ.
Colossians 1:26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
Ephesians 3:9-10 (NASB) and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
The Revelation was to be understood by the original recipients! The mystery, which for ages had been hidden, was now being made known. Amen and amen.
If, presuppositionally, we begin with the premise that the Bible was inspired by the very breath of our Creator, is it possible that God deliberately used words disingenuously? Did God intentionally mislead His precious children by creating false expectations? (We did an entire radio program debunking the God supposed inability to tell time and speak clearly. HERE) If we continue to commit this logical fallacy that near can mean far because to God time is irrelevant, I think we unwittingly bring disrepute to His Word and lend credence to the subversive attacks of liberal scholars.
So as we hearken back to Revelation 1:1, it should be noted that Jesus didn’t say, “things which MIGHT shortly come to pass”. He said, “Things which MUST shortly come to pass.” Therefore, why is it that we continue to ignore these clear words and chase after visions of sugar plums? For thirty-three years I, like so many, caved into the pressure of the “experts” (whom I assumed knew far more than a criminal justice major). Although I was never comfortable with this kind of treatment of the Bible, I truly thought I had no viable alternative. I praise God that is no longer the case.
If Jesus was intentionally lying to those hurting, heavily persecuted first-century Christ-followers, leading them to believe these things were imminent when they weren’t, we may as well pack it in and stop the charade. I realize that sounds harsh, but I don’t believe we can continue to run the Bible aground, giving credence to the views of atheists and agnostic. I simply will not subscribe to the notion that Jesus lied, and there’s no way to sugarcoat it, if the Christians living in Asia Minor in AD 66, were told these things were “must soon take place” if they were still thousands of years future.
I admit that this is a difficult book to understand but I believe in its past fulfillment for one very basic reason. I believe God was faithful to carry out His prophetic Word in the timing He predicted. Was God faithful or not? I believe He was and therefore is. Five years ago I said, no mas to the massive industry of “Left Behind”. I finally refused to be driven and tossed by the winds of this kind of prophetic speculation.
I don’t doubt Henning Kemner (the producer of the above video) is a sincere man. who probably loves God. However, if we continue on this interpretational path, misapplying these horrific events to a book that “MUST” have been fulfilled in the first century, we will continue to lose our resolve to tackle these kinds of severe problems. If this sea of gushing oil is an inevitable fulfillment of Bible prophecy, why try to stop it? Can anyone stop the hand of God?
So what is the basis of Kemner’s conclusion? Is it based in the least on some sort of scientific hypothesis that this is an underwater volcano? It appears that he commits the same logical fallacy that many before him have fallen prey to. He’s captive to an eschatological system that is guaranteed to fail. And it should be asked, when was the literal mountain burning with fire thrown into the sea? Or a third of the ships destroyed? The Revelation 8:8-9 passage Kemner is using (quoted above) was about the termination of the nation of Israel in AD 70. But that’s another story that would take time and Scripture to flesh out.
Consider The Black Death plague epidemic that swept through Europe killing between 25-60% (75,000,000 – 200,000,000 people) of the population from 1348 through 1351…people surely thought they were nearing the end. Since the incarnation of Christ, history is replete with these kinds of horrific events. It’s imperative that we maintain perspective when these kinds of things come our way.
I pray this growing oil crisis may not have equally disastrous consequences…but if we are to adhere to the hope and clarity of God’s Word, we simply cannot continue to ignore the Scriptural time referents as they pertained to the second coming. Words like “shortly”, “at hand”, “soon”, “near” and “in a little while”, are screaming to be heard. I hope this kind of Kemner prophetic fatalism, misapplied in my humble opinion, does not destroy our resolve to be faithful stewards of God’s creation.
This kind of newspaper exegesis is the worst manifestation of premillennialism where people are convinced that the ship is sinking and there’s nothing we can do about it…that bailing water is futile because we’re told the hull has a deep irreparable gash.
As always, I offer my thoughts not as dogma but as things merely to ponder. I always reserve the right to be wrong but in this case, if I am wrong on God’s sincerity re the first 3 verses in the book of Revelation (and almost 100 similar NT references), I’ve wasted a lifetime of attempted service when I could have been out living it up. God WAS, IS and FOREVER shall be faithful. I’m convinced of that.