I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that Bible prophecy is the ultimate puzzle with there being so many pieces that must be accounted for in order to gain a fuller understanding of what God has planned in the future. I want to discuss the complexity of this puzzle again, but from a different angle. In this article, I will compare Bible prophecy to the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle.
The world’s largest jigsaw puzzle has 40,320 pieces. In comparison, the King James Bible has 31,102 verses and 789,931 words. If you treat each Bible verse as a piece of the puzzle, the Bible would have almost as many pieces as the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle. However, I do not think it is completely appropriate to equate a Bible verse with a jigsaw puzzle piece because many verses contain words/phrases which can be applied to multiple places, particularly the Bible prophecy verses. For instance, Daniel 9:27 covers the start of the seventieth week of Daniel, the middle of the seventieth week of Daniel, and the end of the desolate (Antichrist):
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
Since Daniel 9:27 covers three different time periods it practically contains at least three puzzle pieces instead of one puzzle piece. I believe this attribute, which many Bible prophecy verses possess, effectively means that the Bible has more puzzle pieces than the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle.
One major challenge in trying to gain a fuller understanding of what God has planned in the future is to identify which verses may be more relevant than others in understanding prophecy. Not an easy task as there are verses scattered throughout the Old Testament and New Testament which can help us gain a better understanding of God’s plan for the future. Fortunately, a large concentration of potentially relevant pieces can be found in the writings of the Major Prophets & the Minor Prophets and the Book of Revelation.
There are a lot of verses and words that must be considered when searching for relevant puzzle pieces in the writings of the Major Prophets & the Minor Prophets and the Book of Revelation. The following table provides a breakdown of how many verses and words appear in these writings:
- I’ve added the Book of Psalms to the table because a lot of verses in the Book of Psalms potentially have relevance to understanding what God has planned in the future.
As you can see above, there are 8355 verses and 219,053 words to deal with in these writings. This actually understates the total number of verses and words that need to be dealt with since there are many more verses and words that are relevant to understanding God’s future plan in books which are not listed in the table above.
Bible prophecy is also more difficult than a normal jigsaw puzzle, including the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle, because there is no way we can verify to see if we have every Bible prophecy piece fitted correctly when we are done nor do we have a clear reference point to check our progress along the way.
- The world’s largest jigsaw puzzle comes with a box which shows what the puzzle will look like when all the pieces are finally put together. The box can tell the person putting the puzzle together whether they’ve put all the pieces together correctly when they are done and can provide the person putting the puzzle together a sense of what the puzzle is supposed to look like as they work on it.
- The Book of Revelation may be the closest thing we have to a puzzle box, but the Book of Revelation is a challenge in itself to understand. For instance, we have to figure out when the Book of Revelation is expanding on a detail that it previously mentioned and figure out when the Book of Revelation is telling us about a new event.
Just to clarify, I am not complaining when I compare Bible prophecy to the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle. I am just trying to give people who may not be very familiar with Bible prophecy a sense of appreciation of how difficult/challenging it is to study Bible prophecy.
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I’m so grateful to have read your scriptures. There are so many blessings and constructive divine thougts there. May God bless you abundantly.
Thanks for reading Lewis.
I love the high piece count jigsaw puzzles, but I could never do a puzzle with that many pieces. I’m working on a beautiful Sistine Chapel puzzle at the moment. Good comparison btw.
Interesting, it seems Futurism has been around for almost 2000 years. Thanks for sharing
[Wayne, catch this. I caught it while netting away. God bless.]
70 AD Futurism !
Preterists claim that the “Antichrist” and the “great tribulation” were fulfilled during the 70 AD period.
If so, why do we find that the arrival of the Antichrist was still expected by writers who lived during and after 70 AD?
Polycarp (70-167) wrote that “He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead.”
Justin Martyr (100-168) said that “[Antichrist] shall venture to do
unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians….”
Irenaeus (140-202) wrote that the ten kings (Rev. 17)”shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight.”
It’s not true that Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) “revived” futurism
because it was never lost during the Middle Ages or prior to that period
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) stated: “There
remains only one thing – that the demon of noonday [Antichrist] should
Roger Bacon (1214-1274) spoke of “future perils [for the Church] in the times of Antichrist….”
John Wycliffe (1320-1384) referred to “the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii.”
Martin Luther (1483-1546): “[The book of Revelation] is intended as a
revelation of things that are to happen in the future….”
(Google or Yahoo “Famous Rapture Watchers” to see quotes from many
Christian leaders throughout the Church Age which prove that they
expected a future Antichrist and a future great tribulation.)
Preterists use Matt. 24:34 (“This generation will not pass….”) to try
to prove a 70 AD fulfillment of “Antichrist.” Since many of them see
“these” (Matt. 25:46) fulfilled in the future in Rev. 20, why can’t they
apply futurism as easily to Matt. 24:34? After all, the word “this” is
the singular form of “these”!
Church history is fascinating, right?
Fulfilled bible prophesy is not always recognized or acknowledged. Christ as the Messiah is a good example.
Myself, neither preterist nor idealist. I believe the primary fulfillment of most events in the Revelation are yet to come, notwithstanding that there have been foreshadowing similar events.
For instance, the primary Passover event is at the cross, where Christ is the Lamb slain. There’s a prior Passover in Egypt and coming echo of Passover in Revelation 12.
Likewise the primary Pentecost has already occurred in Acts, with a coming echo of Pentecost in Revelation 10.
The primary Trumpets and Tabernacles events are yet to come, notwithstanding foreshadows and echoes.
I find that set of articles on preteristpost a useful reference in presenting other interpretations of Revelation.
Thanks for the link. I consider myself a futurist based on the categories presented in the article
You’re very welcome Wayne. I appreciate your approach. There’s much to be said in recognizing that a single verse can apply to multiple fulfillments in an orderly fashion. And that important aspects of scripture are repeated. I believe that reflects the complex character of the Almighty acting across all time and beyond (transcendent).
You may find this reference useful:
Thanks for commenting Tea Ice. Your comment reminded me of one commonality between putting together a jigsaw puzzle and trying to figure out Bible prophecy. Like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, there are different methods/approaches/strategies that people use to try to put the Bible prophecy pieces together.
Well put Wayne!
To see the Revelation in “key word” array, please see:
It sounds like we might have a proxy war/civil war/covert war on the way. Russia + Iran + China helping the Assad regime vs. the West + the Arab league quietly arming the Syrian opposition.
With thousands of our troops now in Israel, the shipping in of hundreds of thousands of gas masks, and Russian troops pouring into Syria, do you think something is about to happen?