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A whole New World: The gospel according To revelation Greg Uttinger Reviewed by Dr. Don

A whole New World:

The gospel according To revelation

Greg Uttinger

New World: The gospel according To revelation Greg Uttinger Reviewed by Dr. Don Crowe R eaders

Reviewed by Dr. Don Crowe

R eaders may have seen articles by Greg Uttinger in the Chalcedon

Report. In this short book he gives an overview of the book of Revelation. Publisher, Gerald Nordskog writes, “I, too, was one who was influenced three decades ago by the interpretation

of Hal Lindsey’s theoretical theological views in The Late Great Planet Earth,

a strange version of the futurist view-

point of the end times. In The Gospel According to Revelation, Greg Uttinger

sees much of the book of Revelation fulfilled in God’s covenant acts in the first century, but also recognizes that its prophesies hold out a glorious future for the kingdom of Christ before He re- turns in glory.” Jim West, Associate Professor, City Seminary, Sacramento, Ca., writes in the Forward, “Mr. Uttinger’s book provides

a framework by which we can read the

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entirety of the Revelation with profit…. The book of Revelation is indeed a rev- elation, a revelation for all of God’s peo- ple. A Whole New World shows how this is true.” Uttinger discusses in brief com- pass 13 topics relating to the book of Revelation. A book so rich in imagery is not really taken literally by any school of interpretation. For an explanation of the imagery, we should look to the Bible itself (as in Old Testament Prophets) rather than the newspaper headlines. Paying attention to the book it- self leads us to believe John was writ- ing about things that would shortly take place. Many of the most dramatic prophecies would come to pass in the lifetime of the original readers. The same indicators of the timing within “this generation” are given in the gos- pels. Uttinger identifies the “Babylon”

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26 Councel of Chalcedon • Issue 2 • 2009 of Revelation as Jerusalem for the

26 Councel of Chalcedon • Issue 2 • 2009

of Revelation as Jerusalem for the same reasons named by Dr. Ken Gentry. For example, who but Jerusalem would be considered guilty of adultery and har- lotry? No other city was ever consid- ered as God’s covenant bride. “Babylon” is distinct from the cities of the Gentiles in Rev. 16.19. Uttinger gives 15 reasons why he makes this identification. The book of Revelation was written to the church. It is rich in symbolism. The temple’s seven branched lampstand will go out, but the seven churches now each had their lampstand. The Lord Jesus is the Shenikah glory incarnate, present among his churches.

the Shenikah glory incarnate, present among his churches. Titus Raiding the Temple Th e Opened Book

Titus Raiding the Temple

The Opened Book with seven seals in Revelation 4 concerns the “deed of in- heritance,” who shall inherit the prom- ised kingdom. The false bride, apostate Israel, is disinherited and the true bride, those whom Christ has redeemed, are recognized. The 144 thousand are the

redeemed of the Lord, the first-fruits of God’s New Covenant Israel. Follow- ing that, the judgments fall on apostate Israel. The last trumpet sounds the de- struction of Jerusalem and her temple. The triumph of Christ marks the “King- doms of the world” becoming the King- dom of our Lord and of His Christ. The Radiant woman in Revela- tion 12 is the Old Testament church. The Woman brings forth the promised Messiah of Gen. 3:15, born to rule the world with a rod of iron, Psalm 2. The Beast from the Sea is the Ro- man Empire; the land Beast is apostate Israel whose leadership encouraged Rome’s persecution of Christians. Ro- man Caesar Nero’s persecution lasts approximately 42 months.

NeroN
NeroN

The Mark of the Beast - “666”- Ut- tinger writes, must be delivered from all the volumes of nonsense that has been written about it. Its significance must be found in the Bible, not in the news- papers. Uttinger associates the number 6 with several references in the Old and New Testaments, associating it particu- larly with Solomon (1 Kings 10:14) and Nero. That Solomon received 666 tal-

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Councel of Chalcedon • Issue 2 • 2009 2 7 ents of gold, may be

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ents of gold, may be interesting, but not conclusive, however. We cannot pro- nounce with certainty that this number of talents has anything to do with the same number in Revelation. The sign or mark on the forehead has an OT history and significance that is carried on in Revelation. [There is everything from the “mark of Cain” to the exhortation to let the Word of God be on your forehead, the high priest’s headband—“holiness to the LORD.” The woman Babylon appears as a nega- tive of the high priest, for on her fore- head is “Mystery Babylon, mother of harlots….”] If a specific person be in- tended by 666 it would be a first cen- tury persecutor of Christians, internal evidence points to NERO. We should therefore reject countless attempts to calculate the numerical value of notori- ous 20 th or 21 st century persons. The Blood and Wine in Revela- tion 13-14 concerns the war against the saints. There is no rapture or miracu- lous escape; many Christians suffered

no rapture or miracu- lous escape; many Christians suffered R e f o r m e

Reformers & Martyrs

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and many died. BUT the Lamb is in the midst of His people and Jerusalem the harlot is doomed. Victory is certain. In Revelation 18 heaven rejoices at Baby- lon’s fall. The true bride is vindicated. Revelation 19, the marriage supper of the Lamb, celebrates His victory, the deliverance of His people. The “millennial kingdom,” Rev- elation 20, the first resurrection, is the reign of the saints, a present reality, based on the victories of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all we read of the be- liever’s victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. For in Christ’s kingdom spiritual dominion must precede cul- tural dominion. The Church will see a gradual but progressive increase in do- minion through history before the end. Revelation 21-22 is about “A Whole New World.” God’s covenant with His people is all embracing. Involving us in God directed restructuring of our own personal lives is only the beginning. We must think Christ’s thoughts about all things, about every issue, every endeav- or. There is nothing outside the Lordship of Christ where neutrality can prevail. What is Uttinger’s conclusion? The living Christ reigns and His church reigns with Him, ruling not by sword or politics, but by worship and the gospel. Political action and social reform are important as outworkings of our faith, but the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”

The last items of the book include

1. An overview of Revelation consisting of a one sentence summary of each chapter.

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Revelation consisting of a one sentence summary of each chapter. A Whole New World Review 6/19/09
28 Councel of Chalcedon • Issue 2 • 2009 2. A blank verse pentameter poem

28 Councel of Chalcedon • Issue 2 • 2009

2. A blank verse pentameter

poem Apocalypse by Brittney Todd.

3. Recommended reading list.

The books recommend include authors Roderick Campbell, David Chilton, Ken Gentry, and James Jordan. The author brings up various key topics and sets forth his understanding of the symbolism. Obviously one must be brief in a 65 page book, so those whose interest is stirred by a different (historic Reformed instead of pop- dispensational) way of looking at the book of Revelation can be directed to resources for further study. In general Uttinger interprets the book of Revelation in much the same way as Ken Gentry as far as the date of Revelation and the identity of Babylon the harlot. Some of Chilton’s “inter- pretive maximalism” enters into the discussion of “666,” however. Does this mean that everywhere 6 or 60 or 666 are mentioned we are to see a symbolic meaning? Chilton’s commentary on Revelation introduces several specula- tive ideas, many derived from Austin Farrer. For example: It is true of course that 6 x 6 is 36. It is also true that if you put down a line of 36 stars, then build a triangle-pyramid with one fewer star in each row until you reach the one star at the top—you would have a total of 666. Such things may be interesting (or not!) curiosities, but some of us fail to see how that is sound exegetical practice. What hidden meaning should we find in the fact that Solomon received 666 talents of gold each year? 2 Chronicles 9:13, “The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold.”

But surely we cannot draw some sinister conclusion every time the num-

ber “six” occurs in the Bible (117 times).

If we multiply the number of times “six”

appears in the Bible by SIX, then sub-

tract the SQUARE of 6, we get 666: (117

x 6) – (6 x 6) = 666. Is it bad that the

seraphim have SIX wings? Would seven be better? Should Solomon have insti- tuted an across the board tax increase in order to raise revenue to the 777 tal- ents of gold per year level?

Some suggested controls on imagery thinking:

• Insist on the historical reality of the account. Maybe the reason the bible re- ports 666 talents of gold is that it is ex- actly the amount he received each year.

• For there to be an OBJECTIVE meaning for Scripture, we need to give first place to the historical-grammat- ical interpretation. The theologico- imagino-guessico method gives about as many interpretations as there are interpreters.

Donald D. Crowe

• Ph.D. American University of Biblical Studies

• M.Div. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

• B.A. Asbury College

His book Creation without Compromise is due to be released this summer from Creation Ministries International, publishers of Creation magazine.

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