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Revelation: The Distant Triumph Song (1985)

by Siegbert W. Becker

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Perhaps no other book of the Bible has been so grossly misinterpreted as the book of Revelation. Already in the early church false teachers used this book to introduce millennialistic views into the theology of the church.
"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God"

"The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church"
"Heaven is my home." "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;" "Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
"And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, namely, to every nation and tribe and language and people," (Revelation 14:6)

"The vision of the angel flying in midheaven with the everlasting gospel to preach has in Lutheranism traditionally been interpreted as a prophecy concerning the Reformation. ... We have no quarrel with this interpretation if these verses are not treated as a direct prophecy pointing specifically and only to the work of Dr. Martin Luther. ... in these verses, he (John) in a symbolic way reminds the church of the Savior's promise that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the end of time (Mt24:14). In spite of the efforts of the devil and the unbelieving world to silence the proclamation of the pure doctrine, the angel proclaiming the gospel will keep flying in midheaven.
It is perfectly proper, then, to see one fulfillment of that promise in the Lutheran Reformation which is history's most prominent illustration of the principle that God will not allow his word to be silenced."
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