I was interested in the prophecies from a young age. For decades now I have, from time to time, studied them and wrote about them. This remains my main “hobby” and a joy.
My approach was to study the texts of the prophecies in depth, rather than to read what other people wrote about the prophecies. Before the time of the computer tools of today, I made long lists of where the same word or concept would appear in the prophecies, and read the text over and over. In this way, I developed a perspective on the prophecies that is somewhat independent of the standard views, and in some respects unique. This in-depth study of the text, in various translations, forms one of the pillars of my interpretation.
VIEW OF GOD
My understanding of God has been influenced by the people I listened to. Due to a profoundly autistic daughter and other personal issues, I do not attend church much, but I do listen to many tapes and MP3s. From this I have developed a view of God that is perfect and good in everything He does. Everything He does is to the benefit of His creation because of His amazing love for His creation.
His highest creation is His intelligent beings, with the ability and with the freedom to choose between right and wrong, and that freedom is very important to God. He will not use His infinite power to force their will, because to do so would be to destroy His highest creation. He will not use fear to force His intelligent beings to conform to He will. He is love, and He wants us to love Him, and love cannot be generated by fear. That is why He is “absent” from the earth; namely to allow sinners to continue to do what they want to do, without fear. That is why sin could develop right in His presence, namely because the first sinner knew that he has nothing to fear from God.
EVIDENCE OF GOD
God wants us to love Him, and to love Him we must appreciate and understand Him. Therefore, in the beauty of His creation, and in the infinite miracles that are incorporated into life of earth, but particularly through the illustration of Himself which we find in Jesus Christ, He left sufficient proof on earth of who and what He is, for those that want to believe.
In this way, those that want to believe in a beautiful and wonderful God have sufficient proof for their faith, and those that do not want to believe because they want to serve themselves, are able to do so without fear.
But eventually, God must make an end of sin. He does not want the horrible destructive rebellion to persist for ever in the universe. How can He make an end to sin but still allow people and angels to choose for or against Him, without fear? Such thoughts have also been fundamental in my interpretations of the prophecies, and I believe the prophecies provide answers to questions such as:
- Why did God, who hates sin, allow sin to develop?
- Why did He allow sin to continue for 2000 years after the cross? What is He still waiting for?
- Why will a God, that loves His creatures, including His intelligent creatures that chose against Him, pour out His wrath on the people with the mark of the beast when there is no hope of saving them?
- Why will God resurrect the lost at the end of the Millennium, just to devour them by fire?
Since I started this website, my work methods changed. When I start a new topic, I search the web for good articles and websites from all schools of thought. These articles are summarized, deleting statements that I do not agree with. Sentences, paragraphs and thoughts from these articles are categorized into subject areas. The subject areas are, one after the other, integrated into cohesive units, to the best of my ability. The actual words of the original author are retained, and only adjusted where the language can be simplified or the thoughts clarified.
While I work on a topic over months, I listen to MP3s on the same topic whenever possible. Through reading and listening, I gain further insights. The end result of my articles is sometimes very different from any of the authors whose words I used, and in certain instances rather unique.
USE OF SOURCES
In the end, after several months, I cannot tell where a particular thought or phrase came from. I am very grateful for all that I have learned from various people, and I use their words where it explains my understanding well, but I do not provide quotes, except if it is to confirm something which I do not have the expertise to verify. One reason for not providing quotes is that I do not justify my views on the basis of the views of other people. From time to time, I do give credit to the authors that I found particularly useful.
My purpose is to make complex stuff simple, and to make jewels, hidden in complex academic articles, available to ordinary readers. Having the benefit of a number of good and sometimes scholarly articles, taking what I believe is the best out of them, based on a fair knowledge of the text of the prophecies, and summarizing the main points in simple words, I strive to develop something that is of a high quality but easy to read.
I have not attended any Bible school. My views have not merely been developed by learning what other people wrote, but on the basis of a personal in depth study of the books of Daniel and Revelation themselves, over a long period of time. I read commentaries of perhaps all persuasions. I am not an official of any denomination. I am a member of a church, but, as I indicated above, I do not attend church regularly. One reason is that I try to devote as much as possible time to these studies. My conclusions are sufficiently different from the views of my own church that I am viewed by the church as slightly dangerous. I am not paid for this work, nor do I strive for academic acceptance. For these reasons I can claim that I am more independent than most.
But is there a need for another interpretation of Daniel and Revelation? Commentaries of Daniel & Revelation can easily be categorized into the various schools of thought. This is an indication of the fact that most Bible teachers have never studied Daniel and Revelation for themselves without preconceived assumptions, but teach what they have been taught. Since I have spent most of my time on the text of the prophecies themselves, I am able to provide a different perspective on the prophecies, which perhaps justifies the existence of the commentary.
Many people would find this commentary complex, but Daniel and Revelation are not supposed to be easy. They are designed in such a way that only God’s people would understand. I am reminded of the statement in Daniel 12:10, referring to the prophecies of Daniel, that “none of the wicked will understand”. I am not claiming that I am not wicked, or that I understand. My point is that Daniel 12:10 contrasts the wicked with “those who have insight”. In “the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4). I am trying to argue that the study of the prophecies is important for God’s people. To provide you with the final conclusions only will serve no purpose. In the difficult times that I believe lie ahead, and that is described by Daniel and particularly Revelation, God’s people will be persecuted for their faith. Unless they understand the issues, they will, due to all the pressure and threats of persecution, find it difficult to stand for what they believe. An in depth study of Daniel and Revelation helps people to prepare for the end times.
My understanding of the prophecies is probably very limited. When we one day enter the eternal school, I think we would be amazed at how little we understand of the prophecies today. Even though I feel strongly that my views are superior to many other interpretations, I cannot claim that my interpretations are correct, or even that they really are superior. I remain a frail human being.
I try never to insult people with different views. When we stand before God, He is not going to ask us whether we understood Revelation correctly. He is going to ask us whether we loved our enemies. It we cannot even love people that also believe in a loving Creator, how are we to respond to God’s question?
This commentary is still under development. There is a huge amount of material that must still be sifted and prepared for publication.
Andries van Niekerk, Stellenbosch, South Africa