Thank you for your gracious response. None of us will have a complete understanding of Bible prophecy in this life. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.
However, I think that there is a difference between interpreting the Scriptures and changing them. And that is my main concern with your timeline of Revelation, because it switches the order of events that are plainly set forth in the text.
If God says something is A then B then C, but you say it is A then C then B, then you have altered the Word of God. It is one thing to muse over what A, B and C may mean (i.e. interpretation); but it is another thing to change their order.
Just take a look at your own example of the Lord rebuking Peter. Why was he rebuked? Well, Jesus had just been explaining the future sequence of events that was to take place in his life:
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matthew 16:21-23.
Peter rejected the sequence of events that Jesus said must happen. He tried to alter the word spoken by the Lord – and that is why his statement was Satanic. He did not understand that our salvation depended upon the completion of the events cited by the Lord and in the very order cited by the Lord. He did not see the whole picture; but he should have trusted that the Lord did not make a mistake in any point of His prophecy.
None of us have the right to change the Word of God. That is the crux of the warning in Revelation 22:18-19.
You may think that I am blowing your timeline out of proportion. But those of us who use the internet to share our views on the Bible must be especially careful. Our posts, blogs, vlogs, ebooks, etc. can potentially reach a world-wide audience and could have a future impact when people become desperate to know what is going to happen. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11-12. So we should strive to present the Word of God accurately – even if it we do not always agree with what it says.
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that includes the sequence of events set forth in prophecy. Even Peter learned from his previous mistake:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21.
Please do not think that I am trying to single you out on this issue. I just don’t want you, me or anyone else to be subjected to the consequences of that warning in Revelation. I would encourage you to ask God to speak to you about your timeline. Ask Him to show you if you are on the right track or if you are on the wrong track. Measure your interpretations against the entire Bible, because they should be consistent with the written Word. If they contradict Scripture, then they are your own interpretation of things – not insight from the Lord.
Finally, please find encouragement in the following verse:
“But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.” Job 32:8-9 (NIV).
God bless you in your studies.
– Lisa Taylor