Rule of Interpretation
Rule of Interpretation
The symbolic must
always bend in interpretation to the plainer, more literal statements, as soon as their
symbolical character is recognized. Whenever a literal interpretation would do violence to
reason, and also place the passage in direct antagonism to plain statements, such a
passage should be considered figurative, and its interpretation as a symbol should be
sought in harmony with obviously plain and literal passages, and with the general
character and object of the revealed plan.
Dark Clouds - Sun -
DARK CLOUDS - represent "trouble."
Dark clouds mean a storm is coming. If you wanted to draw a
picture of fear of disasters, you might draw dark clouds in the sky.
"When Michael [Jesus Christ] stands up, there will
be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Dan. 12:1 -
"All the tribes of the earth shall mourn, for the Son of man will come in
clouds." Matt. 24:30
SUN - represents "the Gospel."
Sunshine cheers us; sunshine warms us. What better picture could we
have of the joy of the Gospel - Good News - of salvation and God's planned Kingdom of
Righteousness? It provides us with spiritual health and gladdens our hearts.
Even now, God has blest the just and the unjust (Matt.
5:45). In his Kingdom, he will give all mankind the opportunity for everlasting life on a
perfect earth, demanding only their obedience.
STARS - represent "those who radiate light
- spiritual instruction."
The twelve apostles. In the new Jerusalem, the wall will
have twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The
words of the apostles still speak to us, of Christ as Redeemer, as Savior, as Messiah.
Seven SPECIAL servants of Christ's Church during the Gospel
Age. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches." Rev. 1:20 A
different angel [messenger] receives a message from the glorified Jesus during the
existence of each of the seven churches of history. "I saw the seven angels which
stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets." Rev. 8:2
Eye - Face - Feet
EYE - represents "wisdom, understanding,
Moses told the children of Israel, "Stand still and SEE the
salvation of the Lord." Salvation cannot really be SEEN. It is the consequences of
salvation that can be seen. Israel SAW that they were delivered from the Egyptians by the
saving grace of God.
Rev. 1:7 says: "Every EYE shall SEE him." Jesus
said [Jn. 14:19], "The world will SEE me no more." What the world WILL see will
be the trouble, the punishments, and the blessings which the Lord will offer to all so
that they will have a full opportunity to live eternally if obedient [repentant and
reformed from their former disobedience].
FACE - represents "favor."
When God's face is turned toward you, it indicates His
favor. When God's face is turned from you, it indicates His disfavor.
1 Pet. 3:12 says: "For the eyes of the Lord are
over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the FACE of the Lord is
AGAINST them that do evil."
Matt. 18:10 - "Take heed that ye despise not one
of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the
FACE of my Father."
FEET - represent the last members of Christ's
The feet are the last members of his Church, the last
members of his Bride, just before they are all united in glory, ready to bless the world
"How beautiful upon the mountains [every nation]
are the FEET of him [the last members of the Body of Christ remaining on earth before the
earthly Kingdom is set up] that brings good tidings [the ransom for all, and the blessed
Kingdom to come]."
"He shall give his angels charge over thee, to
keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy FOOT
against a stone."
Ps. 91:11,12 is a part of a Psalm discussing those who
dwell in the secret place, particularly NOW in the final times of perilous temptations.
Because of today's insidious enticements, we need special help to be protected from
stumbling-stones in our path, false doctrines in our search for Truth.
Wheat - Tares - Field - Reapers -
WHEAT - represents "the children of the
In the parable of the wheat and the tares [Matt.
13:24], Jesus said the good seed [the wheat] are the children of the Kingdom, the product
of Truth which the sower had sowed.
The wheat are the TRUE church, gathered with the sickle of
Truth. "Gather MY SAINTS together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by
sacrifice." Ps. 50:5
TARES - represent "children of
Tares stand tall and proud, while wheat bow humbly. Tares
try to pose as true Christians, but are imitations. Tares are the product of false
FIELD - represents "the civilized
Jesus said, "The field is the world." The wheat
and the tares both came from the world of mankind. After the true Church is glorified in
heaven, the work must be done to clear, plow, and prepare the field [the world] for the
REAPERS - represent "God's servants"
They are "begotten of his holy spirit, who are
gathering the wheat [Jesus' faithful followers] into His barn [separate from worldly
interests, and finally into heaven itself]."
"The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his
harvest." Other saints have labored faithfully in the past, sowing the precious seed
which we are now privileged to help in harvesting.
BARN - represents "the place where the
ripe wheat is taken, away from the field and the tares; ultimately, heaven itself."
The wheat is gathered from worldly surroundings to be with
other wheat: true Christians gather together to study God's Word. In the final sense, the
wheat, true Christians, are garnered to the heavenly barn.
Air - Earth - Sea
AIR - represents "spiritual powers."
Satan is the prince of earth's religious systems, which are
sometimes symbolized by the term "heavens."
In God's Kingdom, there will be a new "heavens"
and a new "earth." They will replace and destroy the present powers of Satan.
EARTH - represents "society," not
literal dust or mud.
Ec. 1:4 correctly states: "The EARTH [meaning the
land, the country, the field, the ground] will abide forever." But Ps. 46:1-3 says,
"Though the earth be removed," and as we look around we see that things on the
earth are indeed unsettled, disorganized, troubled, and in the process of disintegrating.
Is. 1:2 speaks to the earth - not that the land could hear
or respond to his proclamations; he speaks to the PEOPLE of the earth.
SEA - represents "restless masses" of
society, usually unruly and lawless.
Is. 57:20 - "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters
cast up mire and dirt."
Again Isaiah says [60:5]: "The abundance of the sea
shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee."
Isaiah is speaking to Israel - spiritual Israel, another name for the heavenly Church, and
also natural, fleshly Israel, which will then be the capital of the world, as God's chosen
people, repentant and reformed for the sin of crucifying their Messiah.
Mountains - Valleys - Hills
MOUNTAINS - represent "kingdoms" or
"strong, powerful governments."
THE mountain usually refers to THE Kingdom of God. "It shall come to pass in the last
days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the
Mountains in general often refer to worldly kingdoms. When
the complete Gospel church of TRUE Christians is glorified in heaven, it will guide the
princes of earth [God's chosen of the PRE-Gospel age] to rule the world of mankind [the
kingdoms of this world] well and righteously.
VALLEYS - represent "the lowly and
meek," whom God loves, so it sometimes means "a place of blessing."
Sometimes the meek and humble become discouraged. God will
lift them out of their degradation or despair by encouraging and rewarding their obedience
to Him. The conditions of society will be leveled.
HILLS - similar to "mountains," which
More specifically, "hills" sometimes mean a
lesser government or kingdom than "mountains" - possibly less powerful kingdoms,
or less dictatorial [like republics].
The "hills" of Satan's dominion will be humbled
and made low. Sometimes, "hill" is used in a phrase like "the hill of the
Lord" or "my holy hill of Zion." THAT "hill" will NOT be made
unimportant in God's Kingdom.
Wind - Earthquake - Fire
Blowing winds represent "wars." The worst
winds of Rev. 7:1 [violence, anarchy] will not reach their fullest culmination until the
true Church is removed from the earth into heavenly glory.
When the world recognizes its helplessness in this Greatest
Time of Trouble [when God pours upon them His indignation, His fierce anger, for their
flagrant disobedience and dishonor to Him, their Creator], THEN He will bless and restore
all the repentant and reformed world, and bless them abundantly.
Four winds represent "all parts of the nominal
church." From whence are God's elect gathered? Not from America alone, not from
only one denomination. They are gathered from every direction, from every quarter of the
"field." There are NOMINAL Christians in every denomination. In between are
scattered TRUE Christians - a remnant here, a remnant there.
EARTHQUAKE - represents "revolution."
Rev. 16:18 speaks of a mighty earthquake, such as was not
since men were on the earth. This great revolution will overthrow everything that is not
of the Lord's establishment and approval. This revolution will affect all the governments
of the world, socially, politically, financially and ecclesiastically.
FIRE - represents trouble, anarchy,
destruction, or trials.
In 1 Pet. 4:12, Peter writes to the true Church, "Beloved, think it not strange
concerning the FIERY TRIAL which is to try you...Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of
Zeph. 3:8 speaks of the fire of God's jealousy. We talk
about people with hot tempers, or fiery tempers. We do not mean that they are literal
fire-eaters. After this present social order is destroyed, God will turn to the people to
bless them. If they or the earth had been literally burned up, He could not bless them.
Fire represents destruction of the evil systems - their final end. Ashes represent memory
of what had once been.
Jn. 14:19 "...the world seeth me no more"
Rev. 1:7 "...every eye shall see him"
How can both be true? Because the verb "to
see" is used in two senses in the English language. With our literal eyes we perceive
the world around us with its trees, clouds, and flowers. But we also "see"
mental concepts that are not visible to the eye. Even a blind man, being convinced that an
argument is correct will correctly say, "I see."
Jn. 3:8 "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.
So is every one that is born of the spirit."
Since one of the attributes of Jesus' divine spiritual
nature is invisibility, he manifests his presence with many signs. As the signs become
clearer and clearer, they are ultimately perceived by all until "every eye shall see
16:15 "Behold, I come as a thief"
Luke 17:26,27 [In the Days of Noah] they "knew
not until the flood came."
Matt. 24:38,39 "...The
Kingdom of God cometh not with observation" [margin].
"The day of the Lord will
arrive as a thief." 2 Pet. 3:10 [Rotherham]
How can the Lord come as a "thief" - unknown -
without observation, if he "descends from heaven with a SHOUT, with the VOICE of the
Arch-angel, and with the TRUMP of God" and in "FLAMING FIRE"? [1 Thess.
4:16 and 2 Thess. 1:7-8]
To harmonize these scriptures, we must "rightly divide
the word of truth." 2 Tim. 2:15 Which are literal and which are symbols? Is the Lord
literally a thief? Or is the manner as a thief in certain aspects?
A thief enters a house quietly, secretly. No one knows he
is there unless they are watching carefully. Likewise, our Lord's 'secret presence' is not
known by the world. Only his faithful church. "But ye brethren are not in darkness
that that day should overtake you as a thief." I Thess. 5:4
If the manner is quietly, secretly, the "shout,"
"voice," and "trumpet" are also symbolic.
"Shout" [Gk. "Keleusma"] signifies a
shout of encouragement. A shout implies a public message designed for the ears, not of a
few, but of a mixed multitude. To some the message will alarm and terrify, to others the
same message will assist and encourage. The "shout" of our Lord at his return is
to wake up men to their rights and privileges. And men have been listening and demanding
their civil rights and social liberties as never before. Woman's rights; children's
rights; rights of the aged; rights of every minority group; rights of animals; etc.
The "voice of the Archangel" represents Christ's
authority and command. Christ is the Archangel, the chief messenger of Jehovah. [Dan.
12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 9] This symbol represents Christ as taking control, or beginning
his reign and issuing his commands, his official orders, announcing the change of
dispensation by the enforcement of the laws of his kingdom. The great time of trouble will
be precipitated when the new King utters his voice. The sword out of his mouth [truth on
every subject] shall cause the havoc.
The "trump of God" is
the same as the "seventh trumpet," the "last trump" in a series of
symbolic trumpets. Rev. 11:15; 1 Cor. 15:52 The proof that these references are to the
same trumpet is found in the events connected with each. Since the six preceding trumpets
in Revelation were symbols and not literally heard across the earth, the seventh is also
The "flaming fire" is a symbol of the Lord's
consuming wrath and destruction of the present evil systems of this world. Pride and evil
will be destroyed.
Mal. 4:1 "Behold, the day cometh that shall burn
as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the
day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them
neither root nor branch." No root or branch of evil will remain in God's
Zeph. 3:8,9 "Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the
LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the
nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my
fierce anger. For all the earth shall be devoured with the FIRE of my jealousy.
"For then will I turn to the people a pure
language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD to serve him with one
Fire is symbolic of the destruction of evil. The people
remain to receive a "pure language" of truth that they may call on the Lord.
Time prophecies about our Lord's return were not given to
alarm the world, nor to awaken a sleeping nominal church. They were given so that the
consecrated, faithful, earnest students of God's plan may be informed of the significance
of transpiring events, and not be in darkness on the subject and with regard to events in
no other way discernible with certainty: the harvest, the presence of the great Reaper,
the threshing and sifting of the true wheat, the bundling and burning of the tares in the
time of trouble, etc.
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