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November 07, 2004

Comments

bobstevens

Brouwer had an interesting medieval series targeted towards young adults that I read as a young adult and quite enjoyed. Not a bad author, I'd say from my limited experience.

I'm wary of dispensational premillenialism for a couple reasons. First, it's very very popular. Second, it supposedly originated from a vision. My reading of the NT says it's a closed book on special revelation, and therefore all visions and revelations since that of John are suspect... if not satanic. Laugh at that if you want, but it's what I believe and I try very hard to be right.

A view of OT prophecy seems to show that no one understood it until after it was fulfilled, and that most people that thought they did ended up being wrong. I suspect the same will be true of Revelations. If it's already fulfilled, then hey... I'm right. Woohoo! If not, I bet I'm still right because I am convinced that it won't happen anything like LaHaye or Hal Lindsey or anyone thinks.

Tim

BobStevens,

Though prophecy sorta creeps me out in general because it is so elusive and well...creepy, am I not correcrt in thinking that the warning given by John in Revelation about not adding to prophecy applied only to the Revelation of John and not the entire NT persay?

I have often been just a tad frustrated when that sentence is referenced in saying nothing can be added to the canon, which is silly since the canon was compiled much later than the writing of Revelation.

brooke

DAMMIT GREG!! And I thought you really liked left behind... there goes your christmas gift of the entire series!!! or, i could go ahead and give it to you and you could host a burning at your house if you like!!

Bob Smietana

Greg,

I was going to take a few days off from blogging but I'll have to mention this. We'll just have to see if Sigmund Brouwer is as good a writer as Jerry Jenkins. Whatever you think of Left Behind's theology--Jenkins has been pushing all the right buttons. (I'm not a fan, it's just that he's figured out what his readers think about the world, and then given them a whole series of books that tells them that they're right)

Bob Smietana

Greg

did you see the story in the Dallas Morning News? (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/110604dnrelendtimes.86ada.html)

Here are my two favorite lines from LaHaye:

""I don't know what science fiction he is reading"

"They are going to take the money we made for them and promote this nonsense,"

greg

I did catch the DMN article. It's about the only print thing I read weekly. I never miss the religion section on Saturday.

What's truly sad about this story is that most Christians won't recognize that Hanegraaff is far closer to orthodoxy here than LaHaye. You are right that LaHaye reads the climate well, as he should. He helped create this climate with his fear-mongering throughout the 80's and 90's.

I used to buy quite a few books on eschatological studies. I found that books about amillenialism weren't nearly as appealing as the LaHaye/Lindsey stuff, primarily because they don't rely on alarmist writing and pornographic fixations on the macabre to sell books.

Streak

Great book on this, btw, is Paul Boyer's "When time shall be no more" Boyer is a historian of great note (cowrote a great book on the Salem witch trials) and this really addresses the historical growth and background of the Tim LaHaye and the other hucksters. Worth the read.

Resident Atheist

Personally, I sort of like the idea of the rapture. I mean, imagine waking up one morning to find that a bunch of people like LaHaye and Jenkins and Joel Osteen (here, Google Google!) had just vanished. We could finally get around to talking about world hunger and social injustice without worrying about their bogus solutions. It'd almost be worth the tribulation just to get a rest from all this end-times talk.

But then, I'm an optimist.

Scott

Oh poo on all of you. Now my day is ruined at the fact that maybe the 85% of us is wrong about the rapture. I'm devastated.

Seriously folks; pre, mid or none of the above, I'm just trying to live a Christ like life. If I get raptured, if the rapture never happens, if I die and wake in heaven; it doesn't change how I should live...though it would change how some people evangelize.

Bernie Dehler

I also wrote about scandal with Hank Hanegraaff, see:
http://freegoodnews.blogspot.com/2004/11/greed-case-study-in-bad-cri.html

...Bernie
http://www.FreeGoodNews.com

Derrick

I must agree that LaHaye is a crackpot, but i still believe in a rapture. without even opening revelation, thessalonians plainly teaches one. i'm a post-tribulationist.

i don't care if hank hanegraaff disagrees with me as long as he gets on tv and tells the rest of the world how wrong "Left Behind" is.

greg

Derrick,

The standard for clear teaching must be very low when all that is required is an obscure text in Thessalonians. Only by assuming rapture a priori could the text ever mean that to anyone. The first century church that read it must have been terribly confused as to Paul's meaning, since the rapture didn't show up on the church radar screen until 1830. Odd that Paul would write such confusing information in a letter.

Gregory George

I find it funny that Revelation is to be taken figuritivly when the profecy's about Jesus in the old testament are literal. Hmmmm sounds like people really do not understand GOD's plan for the ages.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


Isaiah 53:5

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.


These are just two simple examples of how literal the text is. When Jesus came and fulfilled the prophecy, people knew. It made perfect sense and people were willing to die for it. When GOD fulfills prophecy you can not deny its authenticity. There has been no clear distinction that we are either in the millennium or the tribulation. The idea that w can interpret these two passages as describing Jesus and say that a millennium is figurative is a flaw in ones hermeneutics. I will concede that the Amillenial view and post millennial view are easier to believe because not as much is expected of GOD, and that is why I feel people find themselves clinging to these doctrines.

greg

Gregory,

The amill view is easier to believe because it's more biblical and it solves more problems than it creates, which is one of the tests of a good solution. There is no flaw in hermeneutics to interpret apocryphal literature differently than prophetic literature. Apparently you're under the impression that Isaiah and the Revelation are the same genre. They aren't.

I won't quibble about predictive prophecy on this issue since it's irrelevant to the way Revelation ought to be interpreted.

Gregory George

In order to accuratly interperet the Bible as a whole you have to have a set standard to go by. If you say one part is true and others arent accurate then you might as well throw the whole thing out. If you question part of scripture being true, you can pick and choose the parts you like and do not like.

This also applies to hermeneutics. If you say a part is literal, you can't base that off of what it describes. The same is true for the figurative approach. Otherwise you can say certain things are literal because that is easier to believe and others are allegorical because I do not see that happening in my lifetime. If you say it is literal there has to be a standard. You have to approach the Bible thinking it is all GOD breathed and held under the same standard. You can't say past prophecy is literal and future is allegorical. That makes no sense and that is a huge problem with me. Changing the way you interpret each and every book is a scary form of hermeneutics.

If you want to talk about what is easier to believe and not to believe, talk salvation. It is hard to believe that this free gift extends to anyone and everyone you wants it. It is hard to believe that Jesus would do what He did for us, but he did. Are we to abandon that because it is hard to believe? Are we to abandon the doctrine that GOD is ever-present and has not beginning or end because it is irrational to our finite minds? Certainly not!

Resident Atheist

Grasshoppers have six legs (cf. Lev 11.20-23), therefore the resurrection didn't happen? That seems like a scarier and much more arbitrary standard to me.

Cheers,
RA

greg

RA,

Also, God has feathery wings. He collects our tears. He's dancing around my head right now in some weird dance. Jesus will have a big sword sticking out of his mouth when he returns (not sure how he'll talk). Lacking a body, God is still a mighty warrior who tramples stuff and gets covered in blood.

Gregory,

As you can see, some parts are meant to be understood literally, some metaphorically or even allegorically. Some parts are poems. Others are narratives. Some apocalyptic. Each genre requires its own method of interpretation. Just as you don't read a poem and a sales ad the same way.

Please be precise: what does God-breathed mean and what's with the capital letters on GOD?

Revelation is not prophecy; it's apocalyptic.

Gregory George

Yes, but what I am saying is they they are refering to literal events like the profeceys of the old testement. Why are the prophecies of the old testament referring to literal events an the ones of Revelation referring to figurative events. The Bible is full of colorful language, but what is it describing literal or figurative events? I am saying you must have the same standard for all the Bible, a very literal or normal interpretation to keep it as accurate as possible.

greg

George

Once again, Revelation is not a prophetic book; it is apocalyptic. The events it is discussing happened almost two millenia ago. The only exception is the very end, which is a message of hope for a church that is enduring persecution. The other strange symbols refer to the political (i.e., Roman) situation at the time of writing.

You cannot have the same standard for the whole Bible because the Bible is composed of many genres: poetry, narrative, prophecy, wisdom literature, apocalyptic, parable, allegory, etc. Each genre demands its own standard of interpretation. Revelation is not describing literal events in the way you are indicating. Yes, it is describing events in a sort of "code," but those events are contemporaneous with the writing not with some distant age wherein a "one world government" and antichrist will arise. It already did. It was Rome. And the emperors who persecuted the church were wonderful examples of the antichrist figure.

Gregory George

So the Bible is written Code now?

Again, the profecies of the old testement were not coded. Why would they future ones be coded? You change your enturpritation to fit your beliefs and ideas.

Gregory George

I believe John is using the language he is useing because he has no other way of describing the unknown things of another age. He is not codeing it. He is describing it the only way he knows how. Think about it a little.

greg

George,

Not to be rude, but are you reading anything I write? Revelation is not a book of prophecies. Let me say it again, Revelation is not a book of prophecies. No, the Bible is not a code. The Revelation functions as something of a code to ensure the messengers who carried the manuscript to the seven churches would "safe." At least, that's a popular theory and one that makes sense of the otherwise pointless imagery and symbolism.

You are completely ignoring everything else I'm saying about interpreting different genres. Are you getting any of this? If you disagree, that's fine. Just acknowledge that you've read it and tell me why you disagree.

Assuming I believed in predictive prophecy, how could you even pretend that the alleged predictive prophecies of Daniel aren't "encoded?" Rams and goats and statues. Please.

Gregory George

I am reading what you write, but you insist on believeing that Revelation is n ot a profetic book and conclude that is the case, and I am arguing from the point that it is. You are ignoring what I write and not at least considering that it is a prophetic book. I have contested that John is writing from a past generation trying to describe future events as well as Daniel. Yet you give no merit to that point and just blurt out that it is not prophetic. OK I am saying it is, and I am giving reasons to back it, yet you don't. You simply make jokes about the viewpoint. You have already been rude.

Also, people on this message board have already referred to me as Gregory like my name is listed. Why call me George?

So basically you say that anything that is either poetic or mediforical can't possibly be describing Literal events and you strive to s say that the "figurative" events have been fulfilled (which is weak). Have your point of view, but spare me the sarcasm because your argument has no weight.

Resident Atheist

Gregory (not George),

What reasons have you given to support the idea that Revelation is prophetic? In fact, what arguments have you given? I've reread your posts three times, and I can't find anything in your posts besides assertions.

Best,
RA

greg

George (because my name is Greg and so will hopefully avoid confusion),

Pick up any commentary or NT introduction not written by a dispensationalist and you will find that Revelation is classified as apocalyptic, not prophecy. The overwhelmingly dominant interpretation of that book until the mad, drunk Scottish Churchman concocted dispensationalism less than 200 years ago was that it refers to the Roman empire and the persecution under Domitian. A few commentators even believe in an earlier date and refer to Nero. Could be, I suppose. That's why I'm ignoring your insistence that it's prophecy. It's not. I used Daniel as an example of obvious obscurantism in OT prophecy. However, since Daniel was written in the intertestamental period, it cannot be referred to as prophecy, since the events it "predicts" had already happened. That makes Daniel apocalyptic, not prophecy.

Your other confusion lies in your insistence that prophecy in the OT sense refers to predicting future events. That is not the definition of prophecy. The role of the prophet was to call the people back to the way of Torah and justice and peace, etc. Telling the future had nothing to do with it.

marv

Too many Gregs. Anyway to whoever refers to Revelation as Apocryphal, you surely mean Apocalyptic, as I believe you correctly use the term in a later posting. However the category of Apocalyptic literature can be a bit misleading. Revelation refers to itself as prophecy, and a number of prophetic books have Revelation-like elements, if not Isaiah then Ezechial and Zechariah, not to mention Daniel, which despite its placement in the Writings is prophetic, at least if you give some credence to that Jesus guy, and was not pseudepigraphal nor intertestamental. If some writers produced pseudo-prophecies that were contemporary socio-political commentaries disguised in a Daniel or Zechariah style of prophecy employing a pseudonym, giving rise to a "genre" called Apocalyptic--i.e. Revelation-like literature...this does not make it logical to conclude that a genuine canonical self-described prophecy, i.e Revelation, should be reinterpreted as the same type of contemporary commentary. In other words the argument from so-called genre that is used to support preterism seems like nonsense to me.

greg

Marv,

Good points. However, prophetic books aren't books that tell the future. They are books that give insight to the ways of God. My point is still made. Revelation is not a book about the future. I'll grant you that apocalyptic and prophecy can be in the same book, and often are, as you note. But the interpretive key for Revelation is apocalyptic not futurist prophecy.

marv

Naturally, prophecy is more than telling the future, but it is an essential part of the prophet's role, and is EXPLICITLY what Revelation is about--the future.

Rev. 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things
that must soon take place.
1:19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to
take place after this.
22:6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of
the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.

Whether it was 2-4 years in the future or 2000+ years in the future, we are still talking about predictive prophecy. Admittedly 2-4 years sounds more like "SOON" than 2000+ years does but Peter does inform us of the following:

2 Pet 3:4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

The true test of predictive prophecy comes when it is fulfilled, the "this is that" quality (Acts 2:16). So then for a preterist the prophecy of the Revelation has been fulfilled. If the preterist can look at the multitude of detail in Revelation (and elsewhere in Scripture) and at anything that has yet happened in human history and with a straight face say "this is that"... well, God bless him.

Others of us find it a tiny bit hard to swallow, and for what has not YET happened in earth's past must still be future. And we cannot yet say what the nature of the prophecy's fulfillment may be. God is not obligated to fulfill his word as literally as we might be comfortable with. But the prophecies are not infinitely malleable, the
detailes or Revelation (for example) have to mean SOMETHING.

If even the prophets themselves had difficulty putting all the details of Christ's first advent together, as Peter further tells us (below), then we might be excused for having some points of disagreement as we look forward to the fulfillment of prophecies we believe have not yet happened.

1 Pet. 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

At any rate, if you can't buy fitting all the data of eschatologic Scripture into A.D. 70 (and I can't) AND if you want to try to fit it together AND you feel the need to take the
details at least somewhat seriously... Then you'll probably end up with something akin
to the typical premillennial scheme (AKA "Silly Talk"). But even premils have to admit that all this could be wildly wrong...because it hasn't happened yet. Futurist of course don't have the
benefit of all the prophecies being fulfilled as the preterists do.

Of course none of this means that the Left Behind books are not cheesy crap.

(But God help us if we have to hitch our wagons to Hank Hanegraaff.)

greg

Let me see if I understand. The book should be read literally as to the prophetic scheme except for that part about soon come to pass. Now it seems to me that a system which posits soon in terms of the life of the hearers solves a lot more problems than a system that backs soon up 2000 years. I've heard all the standard, dispensational schlock. I grew up with it. It is thoroughly unconvincing, relies on prooftexting, relies on comparing unrelated passages from diverse genres and books of Scripture, makes Jesus and Paul liars or knuckle-heads, ignores standard hermeneutical practices, and is just plain silly. I'm sorry. It is. I've been hearing for all of my forty years that Jesus is coming soon. That the Rapture, that ridiculous concoction of a lunatic Scotsman, is soon to happen, this despite the fact that the so-called Rapture is attested once in all of Scripture, and if the entire verse is read in context, it is apparent no Rapture is intended. It's sheer lunacy from beginning to end. You're welcome to hang around, but save your arguments for people who are foolish enough to be duped by a system I rejected as nonsense twenty years ago. If you want to read the other side, as well you should, try Last Days Madness or Amillenialism Considered. Both make short work of the dispensational nonsense.

Adam

DDAAAAAMMMMNNNNN! GREG THROWIN THE HAYMAKERS!

greg

Adam,

I know. It seems a bit harsh, but I have no patience for dispensationalism. Reading one book outside the spectrum would convert most honest, thinking people. The frustrating thing is how these folks are duped into believing this is what the Bible teaches, as opposed to this is the false construct or filter they've been handed. I used to have a professor that would hoist her Bible above her head and say, "This is the word of God!" Usually she was referring to something she had just said which was a hair-brained interpretation of something in Scripture, but the 18-year olds in class with me were very impressed. That's one of the benefits of going back to school at 30.

greg

Marv,

I don't like Hanegraaf either, for the record.

Nikki

I don’t mean to jump in late here. But I read a few things that were a tad troubling.

I noticed in Greg’s response that he misuses various texts from the scriptures to justify an “elastic” timeframe exegesis to justify a futurist perspective of eschatology.

For instance, I have to wonder why he makes mention of Revelation Chapter 22 verse 6 but fails to include verse 7 which leaves no semantic justification for a 2000 year “delay”.

6 Then he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." And the Lord God of the holy[a] prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

7 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

(I suggest one does a study of the meaning of the words “shortly” and “quickly” in their expository. There is certainly no room for a 2000 year stretch. But that’s only if one is a “literalist”.)

However, there may be those who would still cling to the idea that “shortly” means extended and “soon” means thousands of years,of course, to make these assertions, one has to overlook how soon The Revelation teaches Christ would return:

How soon? This soon…

10 And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still."

So, if the "literalistic" futurist interpretation is correct, then the Christian must allow the unjust to remain unjust!! I notice that this is a scripture that gets “overlooked” or exegetically tortured in many commentaries but it is what it is to a “literalist”.

I really like why the unjust are to remain unjust. Because the Lord’s own words state as to why:

12"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

Was that a literal “quickly” or does the Holy Spirit lack the ability to tell time? Remember, it is he and not John Who inspires these words!!!

I also want to point out that it is interesting that Greg quotes Revelation 1:1 and 1:19 but skips this verse in between:

Revelation 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Nowhere in scripture does the term “time is near” ever imply, suggest or mean a 2000 year delay.

Neither does this term:

Hebrews 37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Or better yet:

Hebrews 37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not delay.

I have to wonder, is “will not delay” to be taken literal or figurative??

Thanks for giving me any of your attention.

Nikki

Er...make that Hebrews 10:37. Nie first impression, huh??

Nikki

Ooops! I am so sorry Greg!! I am so used to the posters name being near the top of the post and not at the bottom. It appears that the scriptures that I am responding to are from Marv.

Again, I am so sorry!!

Zossima

Dispensationalism sucks. Let's base a whole system of thought on the fact that the Greek word ekklesia does not appear after Revelation 4. That makes sense. Jeebus, if I want to hear what some drunk created, I'll go listen to Hendrix.

Revelation is prophecy, because it says it is. BUT what is prophecy? Greg is right on this one. Prophecy exists primarily to call people back, not to predict the distant future. Read some Brueggemann, everyone. The people who heard the forecasts recorded in Isaiah took them to be immediately applicable (in the near future), not to be applicable for several hundred years down the road.

Finally, my current take is that Revelation was not written to people being seriously persecuted. The historical record supports a date around 95ad and also indicates that there was no formal persecution under Domitian. I think that John was pulling the veil back on Roman culture that Christians, by virtue of their association with Jews, were generally (though perhaps stealthily) participating successfully in. John says that there are two kingdoms warring, provides an indication of the outcome (the Good Guy wins because of his blood, not because he's some bad-ass Rambo), and directs the churches to choose whose side they're on.

shane

the bible answer man was a radio program before hank took it on...just lettin you know..walter martin did it before him

pete z

a preacher once said "all means...ALL."

actually, it can't or the bible makes no sense.

the bible says ALL will be saved. and then some goto hell.

(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

"but....." dude. stop. dont but.

either jesus saves all men
or he don't.

i think there is validity that in one sense he DO, and in another, he DONT.

but that is an INTERPRETATION.

everyone has a CANON within the CANON. we all pick the ones we like and understand. the WISE amongst us look at the ones we hate and don't undertand and try to figure out what the heck is going on.

the bible is not easy to undertand. my proof? the fact that there are 13000 freaking different interpretations of it.

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