Part Three of IssuesEtc Discussion of the End Times with Dr. Kim Riddlebarger
Dispensationalists base their whole system of end times teachings on six unclear verses in the Bible, Revelation 20:1-6, disregarding all other clear teachings about the end times:
That the “last days” is the whole period between the two comings of Christ.
That this period is the so-called “thousand years” and “tribulation period.”
That the book of Revelation, being an apocalyptic book, is necessarily a book of symbols majorly, and mostly not to be taken literally. Revelation 20:1-6 is a great example. Why can’t this passage be taken literally? Do you think Satan could be literally bound by a chain? Do you think he could be locked up for one thousand years in a “bottomless” pit? Is there really such a thing as an infinitely deep pit? Why not? Is Satan a physical being like us, who could be bound hands and feet by a chain and locked up in prison? If these are all symbolic, how can the “thousand years” be not symbolic?
Here are some other examples: (1) Is there really going to be such a huge woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1)? (2) Can you imagine humongous angels with humongous bowls pouring out God’s wrath on the earth and the sun? (Rev 16)? (3) Most numbers in the book — 2, 4, 7, 10, 12, 1,000 — are symbolic as seen, for example, in (a) “the seven spirits who are before his throne” (Rev 1:4); (b) a beast “with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns” (Rev 13:1); and of course, (c) the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 (see Exod 20:6; Psa50:10; Eccl 6:6; 2 Pet 3:8).
Practically all of this book is apocalyptic symbolism, with the exception of the seven churches in Asia Minor, which we know were historical churches. But alas, dispensationalists again turn the book on its head, making the real seven churches symbolic, and the symbolic numbers, characters and events real!
For a good article on the sound understanding of Revelation, click here.