Every once and a while, Jehovah's Witnesses come around to people's houses with their message of a coming doomsday. They cite Bible verses that appear to predict dire consequences for the people of this planet. In fact, this theological cult has predicted worldwide disaster for more than a century. Each time their predictions fail, their leaders set a new date.
But will this world end with apocalyptic plagues, falling meteors, and the deaths of millions in a global war? Up until this year, I believed that a time of tribulation would precede the return of Jesus Christ to this world. Hank Hanegraaff, the president of the Christian Research Institute, has convinced me that all these dire predictions are based on a misreading of The Revelation of John the Divine. According to The Apocalypse Code, the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the terrible persecution of Christians by Emperor Nero was the great tribulation.
Hanegraaff further explained in his book that John's descriptions of the sun turning black, the moon turning blood red, and the stars falling from heaven are symbolic, not literal events. Similar language has been used by various Old Testament prophets to describe the fall of empires
Similarly, the mark of the beast isn't some sort of RFID chip or tattoo, as many "end times" pundits claim. The mark of the beast and the mark of the lamb are metaphors for character. Those who had the mark of the beast were wicked and unbelieving people who refused the gospel message. They were easily recognized for their opposition to Christians proclaiming salvation through Christ. Believers were also recognized by their behaviour.
The great red dragon in Revelation chapter twelve wasn't communism or Islam but a picture of Satan's attempt to kill the Christ child. The woman mentioned was Israel and the flood was the soldiers of Herod searching for Jesus.
The key to Revelation is to understand that book by the other sixty-five in the Bible. It was written to the seven churches in Asia and the message was of what would soon take place. Nobody in the first century could possibly guess the identity of a twenty-first century antichrist. Therefore, Hanegraaff says that six-hundred, threescore, and six are the numbers indicating the name of Nero.
I could write much more about the false and true interpretation of Revelation but I'll leave it for The Bible Answer Man to do. Check out www.equip.org for details about The Apocalypse Code and other resources.