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Revelation Q&A: IS THERE DOUBLE FULFILLMENT IN REVELATION?

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  July 18, 2014 — 3 Comments

In this brief series I am providing “talking points” in answer to common questions. I hope these are helpful.

Is there double fulfillment in Revelation which can account for both the preterist relevance but also the futurist anticipation?

No, for at least two deadly reasons:

(1) The book itself claims the events are “near.” Who are we to say, “Yes, but”? An angel commands Daniel to “seal up” his prophecy for later times (Dan. 12:4), but commands John to “not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:10) If you adopt a dual-fulfillment view, you are doing so on the basis of theological desperation, not exegetical conclusions.

(2) Are we to believe that all of the details of Revelation occur twice? Two six sealed scrolls? Two beasts? Two groups of 144,000? Two “two witnesses”? Two Armageddons? Two Millenniums? On and on we could go.


The Climax of the Book of Revelation (Rev 19-22)
Six lectures on six DVDs that introduce Revelation as a whole,
then focuses on its glorious conclusion.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

3 responses to Revelation Q&A: IS THERE DOUBLE FULFILLMENT IN REVELATION?

  1. Hi Ken,

    I agree, however we do see a double fulfilment of some other OT prophecies. The one that pops immediately into mind is the Isaiah 7 virgin birth prophecy which was fulfilled in Chp. 8 of Isaiah and then again a greater fulfilment centuries later at the birth of Christ. Which then makes you wonder could it be that the 70 A.D. fulfilment was a microcosm of a later worldwide fulfilment. Just putting it out there for further comment as I know others must be thinking about this as well.

    Thanks,
    -David

    • David, you are right that we see a few examples of a minor fulfillment and a complete fulfillment but some have gone so far as to call it a law which is uncalled for. I don’t think we have any examples of a complete fulfillment giving rise to a minor one. For example, having the types and shadow of the temple and sacrifices being finally fulfilled in Christ the ultimate Temple and ultimate sacrifice would not then give way to another earthly temple and earthly sacrifices. Should we expect a double fulfillment of the Messiah’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection? Of course not. So, double fulfillment demands are a vain exercise in salvaging an eschatology like Kenneth said.
      Greg

  2. Hi Greg,
    Thanks for your helpful comments. Yes I agree with you however you are talking about ‘types and shadows’ and I am referring to prophecy. The ‘types and shadows’ became the ‘real thing’ in Christ and is not/can not be repeated. But in my example of Isaiah’s prophecy, the people would have been well aware of its fulfillment in chp.8 (I know they didn’t have chapters and verses back then) and yet they were still expecting the coming of the messiah at the birth of Christ. A greater fulfillment. Maybe because I grew up premil disp I am having trouble completely clearing my thinking of it but even the regathering of Israel as a nation (in the very geography they started in) must have some significance. God is sovereign and in control of all things. Its not just a fluke. Again I am just throwing it out there to draw out what others might be thinking of these things.
    -David

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