Christ's Second Presence
Conflicting Scriptures

Rule of Interpretation
Biblical Symbols
Conflicting Scriptures

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.

Biblical Symbols

Dark Clouds -  Sun -  Stars

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, comprehension."

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 Body

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 of mankind.

"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 - Barn

WHEAT - represents "the children of the Truth."

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 error."

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 teachings.

FIELD - represents "the civilized world."

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 next age.

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."

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 represent "kingdoms."

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 Christ's sufferings."

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.

Conflicting Scriptures

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 him."

Rev. 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 symbolic.


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 Kingdom.

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 consent."

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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