Welcome and Weigh In

If this is your first time here, welcome! Here are some posts from the past… feel free to comment on them and hopefully there will be some spirited, yet edifying, discussion. If some good natured sparring takes place, I will direct readers back to it no matter how long ago I posted the original topic:

Well, there you have it for starters. We are entering chapter 7 this week, so this may be a good time to discuss the 144,000. I’m sure everyone will agree on who they are (Bo wrote with a grin). I just posted some resources yesterday, as well as some mini-book reviews and you can see them below.

Thanks to John V. Lawing for his cartoon, which appears in The New Millennium Manual: A Once and Future Guide. This book is fun and very informative, tracing the history of Christian chiliasm and eschatology. It was published to counter some of the “millennial madness,” foisted upon the public during the ramp up to Y2K. The bad news is that Jesus didn’t come when the clock struck midnight, but the good news is that you can now pick up this book for as little as 28¢ at amazon.com!

5 Comments

  1. Dave Bussard said:

    I wish I could be a part of your Tuesday night study! It’s hard to find friends around here that want to spend much time on the subject. I admit I haven’t read all your stuff here, but it appears as though you’re leaning towards a preterist viewpoint.

    Here’s a portion from my blog. I’m sure I’m not the only one to think of this argument, but I haven’t heard it anywhere else. I’d like to know what a few of you think.
    ____________

    Preterist teach that because Jesus was speaking directly to His first century disciples, He must have been speaking about the first century generation in general, and therefore, the prophecies must have taken place in that generation. They claim that futurists do not interpret the bible literally, and that “turning the obvious meaning of ‘you’ into a designation for a future audience is highly irregular and contrary to all the rules of biblical interpretation (Gary DeMar, End Times Fiction, p.67).”

    But if a preterist is going to actually interpret this passage “literally” in the way they claim they do, they cannot say that Jesus is speaking to the first century disciples in general. He was not speaking to the disciples in general. Jesus was speaking to Peter, James, John, and Andrew…PRIVATELY. Jesus told them, the specific four, that THEY would see the abomination of desolation, and that THEY would see “all these things.”

    But as we know from Scripture, at least James (see Acts 12:2), and possibly Peter, was killed before the time when preterists claim the abomination of desolation took place in 66 AD. At least one of the four did not see what Jesus said he would see. Either Jesus was wrong and is a false prophet, or the preterists are wrong in their interpretation of the word “you.”

    Dave

    February 25, 2006
    Reply
  2. Bo Salisbury said:

    Hi Dave:

    Welcome! Actually, we are a pretty small fellowship, so we have a fairly good sense of where most are on the spectrum. I would say most in our fellowship are pre-trib, but not necessarily dispensational. The next largest group would be historic pre-mil or pre-wrath. I’ve asked around… perhaps you can help me out here… Marv Rosenthal would say that the day of the Lord would be a period of a couple of months or perhaps a year or so at the end of the tribulation, the great one. Believers are raptured just before that period of judgment begins. Is that correct? I’ve listened to quite a few of his tapes and I’ve read about a third of his book. We have a few folks who are amillennial and no post-millennialists that I know of.

    I am premillennial and this week I am a preterist when it comes to most of Matthew 24 (and parallels) and 70 AD. I think most of Revelation, however, lies in the future.

    You are a welcome addition… I’ve been hoping for a pre-wrath advocate to join in, since Mark B. (our local pre-wrath answerman) is downstairs with the teens on Tuesday nights, burning with envy 🙂

    Actually, we took a detour through Matthew 24 and others last Tuesday and that was one of the arguments advanced in favor of preterism.

    I think it would be fair to say that John certainly saw the fall of Jerusalem and we also discussed this passage:

    Luke 23:27- 30 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

    I think this is a refernce to the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple prophesied:

    Luke 19:41 – 44 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

    And:

    Luke 21:20 – 28 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

    This is judgment language which we’ve seen before in the prophets and there are definitely parallels in Revelation 6… John seems to line up with the Olivet discourse… Is the coming Jesus spoke of similar to God’s “coming” in judgment in the past, and, is it not possible that He will come in judgment again, universally? Respectfully submitted for everyone’s consideration.

    Jude 2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

    February 25, 2006
    Reply
  3. Dave Bussard said:

    Yo, Bo. Everything you said makes me want to beg you to read my fairly detailed piece (15 pages) called, “Are Matthew 24 and Luke 21 the same teaching?” If you go to the right side bar on my blog called “Must Read Posts” and click on “All Previous Posts” you will be able to scroll down and easily find the article. I’d love to see if it changes your mind. I say there is no possible possibility that the two accounts could possibly be speaking of the same persecution. Hopefully my drama will provoke you to check it out. :o)

    As for the timing of the Day of the Lord in pre-wrath: I actually think Marvin’s book is the last book I’d read on pre-wrath, but I like it. I don’t remember exactly what he thinks, but I think the only thing we can nail down is that the Day begins at least five months before the end of the 70th Week because Rev 9:5 indicates that the 5th trumpet plague will cause men to suffer for 5 months. Is it a literal 5 months? It seems a little too specific for me to write it off as a random number.

    February 26, 2006
    Reply
  4. Paul Legge said:

    Hey Bo,

    Thanks for starting this blog. This should be a fun place to weigh in and talk about related issues that keep coming up. I, admittedly, am coming from a preterist standpoint. I used to be futurist but as I have studied the bible more and more I seem to give the highest probable account to the preterist interpretation. It’s really the hermeneutic of reading the bible(the art of interpretation) that has changed my view. When I was a futurist, I was never even aware that a preterist view point existed and that many learned scholars believed in such a view. This being the case, I admit that even the preterist view along with other views find several points that are hard to explain; however, explaining the book of revelation seems much easier to do from a preterist view point than it does applying it to the future.

    When reading the first chapter of Revelation it seems almost unavoidable to see John writing to another audience other then the audience of the 1st century Jewish Christians that received this letter. In verse 1 “must soon take” and verse 3 “the time is near”, the natural reading would give the 1st century reader the assumption that the events really are going to take place rather quickly. It seems rather disingenuous to assume that John is talking about another time period after choosing to use the words “what must soon take place.” and “because the time is near’ when these words are given first and foremost to the 1st century Christians at the time who were in tribulation and eagerly awaiting a response from God. Softening these words with other scriptures that talk about a day being like a thousand years and the like doesn’t seem to excuse the reality that the recipients of this letter most likely took John at his natural word. It’s seems highly unlikely that the reader of this book in the first century would read these words and then stop to consider that maybe John wasn’t really being serious with his words “must soon take place” and “the time is near” and that maybe he wasn’t talking about events that would soon take place in their time but would “soon” take place in God’s eyes but would actually take place over 2000 years later in natural earth years. Granted that God can take all the time He wants to, to fulfill prophecy. (I.e. Abraham and his descendants and Noeh and the flood) but I can’t find another prophecy in the scripture that includes language of “coming soon” being disguised into some other form of time other than the obvious nature of time that we live in. With other letters we take at face value that the ultimate context of the book primarily rests with the historical space time audience that received it first. Especially when the book is actually addressed to a group of people or a church or churches. When Paul writes to the church of Corinth, we assume that there really is a church of Corinth with actual people that he is writing to in the actual period of time that the people of the church received the letter. The letter is written to them, with instruction for them because they have issues that are theirs. Paul isn’t writing to the church of Corinth 2000 years in the future secretly outside the knowledge of the church. After the local context of a book is understood I believe it is much easier to consider the “timeless” teachings or “universal” application that can be drawn from the book.

    Such is the case with Revelation. For some reason I was taught that the book of Revelation had everything to do with me and was never taught that it meant something to the original reader. Once I considered that this book actually meant something for the original readers, did I then consider that perhaps some of my starting points and assumptions about the book may be incorrect or misguided. Like the phrase, “must soon take place” and “the time is near”, I believe that the original reader of this book could take that statement at face value and the time really was near and things were going to soon take place. If John didn’t really mean what seems obvious in a natural reading then I ask what value or why did John use such language. Did John secretly want to reveal how “near” doesn’t mean near and soon doesn’t mean soon like we would naturally understand it? Apparently “near” and “soon” would no longer have any discernable meaning if they weren’t meant for us. If they didn’t mean anything to the first centuries Christians then it shouldn’t mean anything to me either. Furthermore, I have a hard time believing that the words “near” and “soon” mean anything to God since God is the one that created time in the first place and knows the beginning from the end.

    So I come full circle and ask the question of why John would write about events coming “soon” and that they were “near”, especially since he so eloquently uses compare and contrast in his writing style (i.e. near versus far, soon verses later). John valued the concept as something that needed to be reiterated, that’s why he repeats himself in different terms in the first chapter about the events coming quickly. Why did he use the language of “near” and “soon” and send it off to the seven churches in the province of Asia, (actual) historical churches, if the events that were to unfold were actually going to take place in the “far” and “distant” future. How can I as a modern reader make sense of “soon” and “near” if they didnt mean anything to the reader of the first century. Is it any more “soon” or “near” for me then it was for them? 2000 years and counting if Revelation still hasn’t been fulfilled.

    February 28, 2006
    Reply
  5. Bo Salisbury said:

    Paul:

    Aside from the personal observations about your first exposure to Revelation and eschatology, I would say I’m in substantial agreement with your comment… and, I only say substantial and not “full” so I can save face later, when someone points out some inconsistency or problem with my point of view 🙂

    Yes, I think the place to start is Chapter 1 (duh!) and the letters to the seven churches… I mean, just like the epistles, I think we should consider the message to them and then move out to believers throughout history and then make the application to ourselves and the believers in this generation (Grammatico-Historical). I think arguments about God’s possible reasons (not explicitly stated in the text) are relevant, but I agree that the language — the text should be taken at face value. While chapter 1 and the letters to the churches do contain symbolism, they seem to me to be more straight forward than the rest of the book. So, I think “what must soon take place,” “near” and “soon” are to be taken literally, the way the believers took it when it was read to them.

    When I say I’m a futurist, I do think that chapters 18 – 22 lie in the future and probably quite a bit more. However, I think that chapters 4 and 5 are an immediate shift from the messages to the churches in 2 & 3 to a vision of their “heavenly counterparts,” and what’s happening in God’s presence. I am also open to the idea that 4 & 5 form a picture of what was going on in the first centruy and will until the consumation — an overview. Then, I think chapters 6 & 7 take place immediately, affecting the believers in the seven churches, and portraying an outline of the war between Jesus and Satan, until the end… like an overview. After that, I think things intensify at some point and (this week, anyway) I think there’s “the tribulation, the great one” some time in the future. So, I think the troubles in 6 & 7 are the things “that must soon take place” to the first Christians and they continue to take place.

    At this point, Paul, I think you and I are real close on chapters 1 – 5, but we differ from 6 on out… would that be accurate do you think? The way I understand these things can go either way at this point. It fits some amillennialists that I’ve read, and those holding to a pre-trib, mid-trib or pre-wrath rapture could agree (although I doubt many would). I haven’t read or heard any that would see things that way, but perhaps some progressive dispensationalists may.

    That brings my to where I am on my eschatological journey. I’m really just starting out in earnest and, so, I’m discovering different sources. Some show me things I hadn’t thought of or been exposed to, while others seem to hold the same view I do or they have already organized the thoughts running around in my head. I know it’s fatal to label myself, but I’m finding that guys like Robery Mounce, Alan Johnson and George Eldon Ladd seem to lay things out as I would, if I were half as smart. They are all, of course, premillennial but they are not dispensational and will often tend to agree with preterists. The odd thing is that Beale, the amillennialist is so helpful and spot on, even if I don’t follow his timeline.

    If I could sum up with a quote from brother Ladd, ” There is in biblical prophecy a tension between the immediate and the distant future; the distant is viewed through the transparency of the immediate… it is the nature of biblical prophecy to make it possible for every generation to live in expectancy of the end. A Commentary on the Revelation page 22

    Perhaps someone else will join in here… I’d like to hear from someone from a dispensational perspective on chapters 1 – 3

    Thanks.

    February 28, 2006
    Reply

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