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Exploring Revelation
3446
“Revelation 8:10”
by Art Sadlier   
September 21st, 2008

Last week we looked at the second trumpet. Today, before we look at the third trumpet, we want to pause and consider the issue of interpretation. I believe we should read and interpret these verses literally. When we spiritualize and interpret the stars and the sun to mean something other than the stars and the sun, I believe we are in error, at that point everyone has their own interpretation. Interpret it literally and there is no problem. When the firsts trumpet is sounded we have literal hail and literal fire falling from heaven. When the second trumpet sounds, we have a literal burning mass falls from heaven and turns the seas into literal blood.

When we study Moses in Egypt, we interpret the turning of the waters into blood literally. We interpret Exodus literally, we must be consistant and interpret Revelation literally. Attempts to spiritulize and symbolize limits the omnipotence of God.

A basic rule of interpretation that applies to all of scripture. Always interpret every statement in the Word of God literally as meaning exactly what it says, unless it is definitely stated otherwise or the structure and the context are such that you can plainly see that the passage contains a figure and a symbol. This rule is vitally important when interpreting scripture. When a verse in scripture states plainly that what follows is a parable, then we do not need to interpret the passage literally. When the grammatical structure indicates that a passage is not literal or a literal fact. For an example, this statement, `The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman,` we know it is a parable or a figure. Another example is found in Rev. 8:8 where it says:`And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.` Notice the verse does not say it was a mountain but `as it were a great mountain,` It looked like a mountain, so it is obviously a symbol of something else. It is not difficult to know when a symbol is intended. Our daily language is filled with such figures and symbols and metaphors and we have no difficulty in knowing what they mean. When we call someone a star, we know what is meant. So the rule of interpretation is, Always interpret literally unless otherwise indicated, thats our daily practice.

We can avoid a lot of confusion by following this simple rule. Just interpret scripture in the same way you interpret any other literature.

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