Post Number: 15152
|Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 12:34 pm: || |
Thanks to Charles "Trans4mer" Cochran for sharing this link this morning. This is a really interesting read showing John Calvin's commitment to a normal interpretation of the Bible in general but embracing an allegorical one when it comes to prophecy.
It seems that eschatology is one of the most troublesome issues formers face after they've been "out" for a while. The clear, normal interpretation of Scripture that lets us see the simple gospel gets sidelined, often, because that same hermeneutic gives us a picture of eschatology that just upsets our world view.
I wanted to share this blog by John MacArthur and see what you all think:
Post Number: 783
|Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 3:22 am: || |
I don't think it's only formers who find eschatology a troublesome issue. It's a very difficult subject and there are lots of conflicting views. It's probably a good idea not to get obsessive about it and concentrate on things which are more important, and more clear in the Bible!
About the article. I know these are typical arguements raised in favour of premillennialism, but... No-one really takes the Bible 100% literally. The problem is with the word literal, which ia a pet bugbear of mine I'm afraid. Like when people say, "I got soaked on the way home, it was literally raining cats and dogs." Really?
So the word literally is redefined to mean something like emphatically or definitely, i.e. it has to be taken non-literally.
If the Bible were all literal, then Jesus would have to be a tree-branch, a road, a door, a lamb with seven eyes and seven horns... So some things are figurative, right?
We can say that the Bible is true, inspired, accurate, reliable, but not all literal. It should be taken as the original author intended, that's fine too. Some is literal, like the historical narratives, some is poetic, some figurative, some even clearly allegorical, like Isaiah 5 about Israel being a vineyard, for instance.
So we still have to decide on how to interpret each genre and each passage, which is where much of the dispute arises.
An interesting point is, forget Calvin and John MacArthur, the apostles in the Bible often used used Old Testament prophecies which seemed to refer to Israel, and applied them to the church and to what was happening in their own days. For instance, Paul takes Isaiah 10:22 about the restoration of Israel and applies it to the church in Romans 10:27. Also check out Acts 4:24. "All the prophets foretold these days" - says Peter. Anyway, complicated subject, as I say.
I was brought up pre-trib, pre-mil, but I am no longer convinced of either. What to replace it with? Jesus is coming back, it could happen suddenly, at any time, so let's be found doing the work of the Lord when he returns (Luke 11:35 ff.)
Post Number: 15154
|Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:58 am: || |
Adrian, good points. I also have trouble with the word "literal" and would rather talk about a grammatical and historical hermeneutic. If you read with the normal rules of grammar, there will be figurative language as well as specifically factual language. Normal rules of grammar include reading figurative language figuratively.
I agree that it's a complicated subject, and I also agree that the timing of the rapture is just not clear. I think that for me, the really big shock is that there does seem to be some future for Israel, and the millennium is not in heaven (as per Rev. 20). I'm certainly not dogmatic about how these things play out; I do find it somewhat exciting, though, to think that God's promises to Israel might actually be promises He will keep, not just transfer to gentiles/church.
Again, I don't know how any of this will look. I just find consistency and comfort in the idea that God keeps His promises, even to Israel, just as He keeps His promises to me as part of His body. If His promises to Israel aren't as sure as His promises to the church, I'm not sure how to "stand on the promises of God". I do understand that in the OT the reality of the church wasn't visible, and Jews and gentiles are brought into the church. But the promises to bring them back, to bring dead bones to life...again, I don't pretend to know how this might look, but I find it to be a great relief that I no longer have to "ignore" a great portion of the OT because Israel failed, supposedly nullifying all those prophecies.
My hunch is that the fulfillment of God's promises to the Jews will be as surprising as was His disclosing the mystery of the church as His body. Again, I have no "agenda" here...just an amazed awareness that perhaps those promises made to Israel weren't just about "transfer" but rather inclusion, or "both/and". Somehow. And of course, the timing of the rapture, in my mind, is not clear although I no longer see a pre-tribulation rapture as impossible.
I like your conclusion: "Jesus is coming back; it could happen suddenly, at any time, so let's be found doing the work of the Lord when He returns."
Post Number: 71
|Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 6:20 pm: || |
I, too, love the idea that God keeps His promises - even when we don't. I don't know how He will orchestrate it all, but somehow He has not forgotten Israel and I find comfort in that.
Post Number: 786
|Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 10:58 am: || |
There is no other church that I am aware of, besides the SDA, which believes that the millennium is in heaven. Everyone thinks it is on the earth, premil, postmil and amil, but not that it refers to the same period of time.
The official view of the chuch after Augustine (about 5th century?) was amillennial, this still being the view of the RCs. The fact that Calvin was amil (as mentioned in the cited article) is not so surprising,because everyone was in his day - the reformers just adopted the accepted view.
Postmillennialism was popular in the 1700s as I recall, then primillenialism from the early 1800s onwards.
I suppose I am a bit wary about this by now, because ever since I got saved - about 35 years ago - people have been saying Jesus will definitely be back within the next five years. There are people I know here in Hungary that are saying it again. I don't believe it any more. Maybe, maybe not. He will certainly come back at some point, but...
I just think all this "crying wolf" ends up making Christians look stupid, and no-one will believe us any more, even though we are right about Jesus coming back sometime :-)
Anyway, rambling again.
God bless, Adrian
Post Number: 15157
|Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 11:44 am: || |
I totally agree with you re: that "crying wolf" thing, Adrian. Christians have no business talking about a time frame for Jesus' return, especially since He Himself said no one but the Father knows the day and the hour. I've heard people argue that doesn't forbid speculating about general years and time frames, but in context, I can't embrace that rationalization.
Our job is to do the next right thing that our Father puts in front of us. I've come to believe that Ephesians 2:10 is extremely important: we are His handiwork created to do the good works He prepared in advance for us to do. He knows our days and frames; He planned our existence and the time we would be here. He prepares our work in advance and creates us for it...equipping us when we are born again with His power and wisdom for His work.
I was just pondering John 21: 20-22 this morning, where Peter has just received the three-fold command to tend and shepherd Jesus' sheep. Peter turns and sees John approaching and asks Jesus, "What about this man?"
Jesus response is clear: "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
We are asked ONLY to follow Jesus once we have believed and have been born again. He brings us His will and His work. The secret things (like His return and its timing) belong to God (Deut. 29:29). The things He has revealed to us belong to us and to our children. We are to follow Him. Period.
It takes a huge load off our shoulders, but it also reminds us that our life is not our own, and God hasn't given us the luxury of spending our time calculating our "escape" from this world.
Jesus is enough!
Post Number: 10325
|Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 12:09 pm: || |
I just take life one day at a time as recommended in Matthew. I can't relive yesterday and tomorrow is not here yet. I no longer have the burden on me that tries to figure out how close His coming is.
With the condition our world is in I like to say that this means, to me, that Jesus coming is one day closer.
Post Number: 905
|Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - 7:38 pm: || |
This August it will be 20 years since I've been saved. I have tried studying all the different viewpoints of eschatology and all I can figure out is that in the end God wins and I'm on the winning team.
And I like what you say Diana each day we are one day closer to seeing how it plays out.
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Tuesday, October 06, 2015 - 8:36 am: || |
Haven't been on here in months. Earlier this year I left the sda church. After visiting different churches I joined a Southern Baptist church on Easter Sunday of this year. Things are going well. The darkness is fading. I still have trouble with end time beliefs. My church and the church I grew up in were pre-tribulation and pre-millennial. I understand the ideas behind it. I also really want to believe it. I'm not saying that I don't, I'm just saying I don't know everything on the subject. I don't understand amillenialism or the other views but some are very confident in it. I'm curious. Did most of you former adventists end up being pre trib and pre millennial?
My old sda pastor use to make fun of Christians who believe in a pre trib rapture. Then I brought to his attention that the SDA church would not exist if there was no pre trib rapture belief. The Adventists in 1844 believed Jesus was coming back that year. They were looking for His return but weren't expecting tribulation first.
Also there are the mid trib, post trib, pre-wrath views. Any advice would be appreciated.
Post Number: 1874
|Posted on Tuesday, October 06, 2015 - 9:16 am: || |
Welcome back to the Forum !
If I did not attend a Calvary Chapel, I would be a member of a Baptist Church!
I am not ashamed to say, I believe Scripture teaches a "Pre-Trib" Rapture !
It is the "Blessed Hope" for the Church!
It makes me sad that so many people try as hard as they can to make
the Rapture a "Blasted Hope"~
My advice~~~ allow the Holy Spirit to teach you what He wants you to know~
We are told that God gave the Believer a sound mind. Pray for discernment~
Praying for you~
Post Number: 1825
|Posted on Monday, October 12, 2015 - 2:02 pm: || |
It doesn't look like you've received many responses so I'll throw one out, for what it's worth. At best, I am very tentative on this subject and hope that I remain teachable. At times, I have leaned somewhat towards an amillennial position and still see some significant merit in it. However, I would say I now tend to lean more towards a historic premillennial position (i.e. no pre-trib rapture).
I personally find the post-millennial position to be the hardest to swallow. Although I understand the arguments for taking such an optimistic view, I don't find them terribly convincing in light of the entirety of scripture.
In regards to pre-trib/premillenialism, I think it's entirely possible, but Occam's Razor argues against it in my opinion. I feel like the hermeneutic involved is a close cousin to the one that generated an 1844 Investigative Judgment. Perhaps that's an unfair comparison since the IJ is heretical and there is nothing heretical about pre-trib/pre-mill. I'm really just talking about the process for "proving" it. The word "convoluted" comes to mind. But again, who knows. It's certainly possible.
Post Number: 15258
|Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 3:01 pm: || |
I also feel as if I'm still figuring it out. I don't feel certain about a pre-trib rapture although I see that it is possible. Like Chris, I struggle with the ways it is "proved". It seems unclear, although I see enough evidence to say it certainly is not heretical and may well be true.
I have become fairly certain, based on continuing reading of both the OT and the NT, that Jesus will return prior to the millennium, and I have come to believe that a millennium on earth with Jesus reigning over the nations makes the most sense as far as understanding the prophecies and promises in Scripture is concerned. To me, a certain future for Israel is the most significant part of this ongoing study.
I also see the post-millennial position to be the least consistent in terms of explaining Scripture.
As I've continued to read, I see the biggest issue between amillennialism and premillennialism to be the hermeneutic involved. If one takes an allegorical position regarding the OT prophecies and promises to Israel and sees them as having been redefined and actualized in the church, one can see an amillennial framework. If one takes a more literal/grammatical approach and sees the church as the mystery (a la Colossians) that had not yet been revealed in the OT but which is a concurrent phenomenon with the fulfillment of God's promises and curses on Israel, one can see a premillennial position.
Interestingly, these two methods of interpreting Scripture diverged very early in church history. John Chrysostom, in the late fourth century, became known for his eloquent sermons. He was from Antioch in Syria, and he "focused heavily on the original intent of biblical texts."
John (called Chrysostom, which means "golden-mouth") came to represent one of two styles of preaching which developed during those very early years of the church. Here's how the two methods are described in the book Christian History Made Easy by Timothy Paul Jones:
Two preaching methods arose in the early church. One method developed in Antioch, Syria; the other emerged in Alexandria, Egypt. Preachers from Antioch (like Chrysostom) searched the Bible for the messages that the authors intended.
Alexandrians (like Origen and Ambrose) had a tendency to search for allegorical meanings that were often unrelated to the text's original intent.
All to say...these two hermeneutical "tracks" are very old. I'm not suggesting that a more allegorical method means that a person using this method is not taking Scripture seriously. I'm just saying that the way one reads the words of Scripture really makes a difference in the end-point, especially when we're looking at the less well-defined teachings of Scripture.
Post Number: 616
|Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 4:00 pm: || |
That is such a fascinating subject! Especially how the Antiochians and the Alexandrians developed separately; leading to the first "divorce" of 452 AD, when the Oriental Orthodox (which included Alexandria)split from the rest of Christianity. 25 percent of Christianity permanently-split from the main body that year, against the expressed wishes of the Roman Bishop. Tell me again how the Pope had "supremacy?"
Here are some other differences between the two cities:
a). Alexandria was the source of the Septuagint and was a fount of Hellenized Jewry, which had abandoned Sabbath-Keeping, circumcision and Kosher laws 200 years before Christ's birth. The overwhelming majority of Jewish Christian converts were Hellenized Jews (both in Greek-dominated areas and Palestine). Only the tiniest minority of Jewish Christians ever kept the Sabbath, since the vast, overwhelming majority of Jewish converts were Hellenized Jews. The Hellenized Jews actively assisted Antioch Epiphanes in persecuting observant Jews during the Greek occupation of Palestine, with the aid of two consecutive Hellenized Jewish High Priests. Alexandria was a HUGE center of Classical Rhetoric, so it was only natural that the Septuagint was translated there. Thus, Oriental Orthodoxy to this day has classical "sermons" that are similar to Protestant sermons.
b). Antioch/Constantinople was the Capital of the Roman Empire, and as you note, the home of the celebrated John Crystostom. Notable for his skills in Classic Rhetoric, he insisted that the Divine Liturgy (which he wrote and is still used to this day) was predominant in the worship service, while the "Homily" is merely a side-note and must be integrated into the Divine Liturgy and the Church calendar year.
Many think these profound linguistic/Etymologic differences between Rome (the "Latin" western part of Christianity); Alexandria (the "Greek" part of Christendom); and Constantinople (Rome's Capital and the center of Chrysostom's "Byzantium" orientation) led to both the schism of 452 and the "Great schism" of 1054.
Post Number: 617
|Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 4:27 pm: || |
I should add:
Modern research methods on the Hellenized Jews of Alexandria, Rome, and Jerusalem that converted to Christianity have shocking implications for Adventism's Sabbath fetish.
It is conservatively-estimated that in Rome and Alexandria, 95 percent of all Jews were Hellenized (Remember, the Hellenized Jews had jettisoned Sabbath-keeping, Kosher food laws and circumcision, long before Christ). In Jerusalem, the lowest estimates are about 80 percent, with many far higher. It was determined that virtually 100 percent of Hellenized Jews converted to Christianity. They were 50 percent "on the way there even before Jesus," having abandoned nearly all of the Jewish practices and customs and relying exclusively on the Septuagint's rich topological emphasis (as opposed to the Masoretic Text's "legal" bent).
The research is fascinating. I found three different research projects that sampled funerary records from the three major centers of Jewish Christianity, and through various techniques established BOTH the Hellenized Jewish status (usually because of Greek names, but Jewish funeral services); and the conversion to Christianity (graves adorned with Crosses and so forth). The statistics on the percentages of Hellenized Jews are jaw-dropping, having been determined by appropriate sampling methods and multi-variate regression analysis. It is clear that the vast, overwhelming majority of Jewish Christians were Hellenized Jews that had never kept the Sabbath.
This is why the early Christian Church's mention of it's tradition of Sunday worship is so seldom and scarce in the New Testament. No Gentile had ever kept the Sabbath, since the Mishnah Torah and the Talmud sternly imposed the Death Penalty on Gentiles that attempted to keep the Sabbath. And the Hellenized Jews similarly had never been circumcised, therefore they could not and did not observe the Sabbath either (not that they ever wanted to, or ever did). Btw, the Books of Maccabees spell out in detail the rejection of the Sabbath, Circumcision and Kosher laws by the Hellenized Jews. Thus, Christianity with its convert base almost exclusively Gentiles or Hellenized Jews simply had no other place and time to meet for weekly services! They never mentioned the Sabbath or Sunday, since the Sabbath was completely out of the question for both Hellenized Jews and the Gentiles. The Hellenized Jews and the Gentiles simply settled on the most obvious day of worship as Sunday, which began on Resurrection Morning. There simply was no discussion and no dissent on that. Neither group was permitted in the Temple. The Apostles' visits to the Synagogues and the Temple to proselytize was for the benefit of the tiny number of observant Jews that were attracted to Christianity.
This is precisely why the Sabbath is never mentioned as a continuing Christian obligation in the New Testament. And why Sunday is only mentioned a few times.
Post Number: 618
|Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 5:25 pm: || |
Sorry, I meant "typological," not "topological" above.
Spell checkers can eat your lunch if you are not vigilant.