How do you know when you've taken the meaning of a passage too far?

Here's a helpful thread from Joel Richardson.

The Bible doesn’t actually teach that there will be a “One World Religion.”

When many Christians hear this, they will object that Rev 13 seems to suggest otherwise:

“[The Beast] was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All those who live on the earth will worship it”… (Rev 13:7-8)

To be clear, the authority of the Antichrist will be vast.

But is it true that “ALL who live on the earth will worship” the Antichrist?

Is this hyperbole or should it be taken in an hyper-literal sense?

Let’s begin with Israel. Will “all” Israel worship the beast? Everyone who worships the beast will be cast into the lake of fire. Paul tells us that all Israel will be saved when Jesus returns.

So “all who dwell on the earth” doesn’t include Israel.

Are there others who are not part of this “all”?

Isaiah 19, 60, and Zechariah 14 speak of whole nations of survivors who will worship the Lord after Jesus returns. So “all” must not mean “all” in a rigidly literal sense.

But I always take the Bible literally!!!

Always? Does the Bible not use expressions or hyperbole?

“YOU WILL… NURSE AT THE BREASTS OF KINGS; you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16)

The fact is that the Bible often uses expressions and hyperbole. Consider just a few examples:

"there shall be a 4th kingdom on earth... it shall devour the whole earth and trample it down and break it to pieces" (Dan 7:23)

Did Rome or Islam literally devour "the whole earth"?

"Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze (Alexandrian Greek Empire) which shall rule over all the earth" (Dan 2:39)

Did Alexander's Greek Empire literally "rule over all the earth"? Or did it only rule a part of the earth?

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that ALL THE WORLD should be registered." (Luke 2:1)

Did Caesar Augustus take a census of China and North America and Russia (yes, there were people in all of these places)?

No, it was only a census of the Roman Empire.

Did Nebuchadnezzar really rule the entire planet?

"You O king are the king of kings... the God of heaven has given the kingdom... wherever mankind dwells, or the beasts of the field roam, and the birds of the sky fly, He has made you ruler over them all" (Dan 2:36-38)

Did King Cyrus rule Persia or did he literally rule the whole world?

"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth" (Ezra 1:2)

Now check this one out. It uses almost identical language to Revelation 13:

"the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship... and majesty. Because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him" (Dan 5:18-19)

Did the peoples who lived in North America literally tremble before Nebuchadnezzar? Did the Chinese tremble before him? Or is this simply typical hyperbole? I am not going to answer any of these questions for you. That is up to you.

I can say that the Bible actually names at least some nations that will escape the Antichrist's hand:

"And he shall come into countries and shall overflow.. but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites." (Dan 11:40-42)

I also know that the Bible says there will be wars until the very end:

"And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and TO THE END THERE SHALL BE WAR." (Daniel 9:26)

The presence of wars proves that there will be resistor militaries. The presence of resistor militaries shows that there will be resistor nations.

We do not know all of the specifics. We know the dominion of the beast will be vast. I believe the biblical data strongly suggests that the Antichrist will not rule every last piece of the world emphatically.

I know he wants to. I believe the only One who will ever truly rule the whole world is Jesus—the only true King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Of this, the Scriptures are absolutely crystal clear. That is the day I am waiting for with every shred of my being! I hope you are as well.

On a similar note, did Jesus ever use hyperbole, to make a point?