Demythologizing Skeptics, Scholars, & Absolute Eschatological Systems

Papyri 115 one the most ancient examples of John's Apocalypse

Papyri 115 one the most ancient examples of John’s Apocalypse

“It seems like through out time, almost everyone has thought the end was near, what makes you think now is the time?” a famous radio host asked me.

First, I believe God has wanted every Christian in every era to believe it’s possible. In juxtaposition, I believe the devil has had a “man of lawlessness” ready in the wings, in every generation. It’s not a doctrine but I’m rather prone to it.  That said, there are unique things that characterize our current time that no other era could claim.

I was bit bewildered by the question because I had just explained that at no time in history-ever-could one man control the commerce of everyone, everywhere… But doesn’t the Bible imply as much?

“…and that no one was able to buy or to sell except the one who had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: the one who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number, and his number is six hundred sixty-six.(Revelation 13:17-18,LEB)

Seriously, do preterists expect me to buy this applies to Nero? He had no hope of such control — sure he probably tried and it’s likely the convinced preterist has an example of a tax to present — but the text seems global -every nation and tongue- and it doesn’t seem to mention he is a miserable failure. I think it is forecasting this period we are now in… Moore’s law, the technological singularity, Noogenesis, Nirvana, Oneism, Coexist, perhaps even Together 2016? But such a control grid is about to be possible and my money is on OneWeb. I think they are a wise investment choice. I believe in them from a computer science technical perspective.

I’m not demonizing them, they want everyone to access ONE webeducation, OneWeb is amoral – it is a category error to demonize technology. People can study wicca or they can attend online seminary if they like. They have new options, including the Gospel. So does the international banking community. I’m saying it makes an idea that seemed absurd when John wrote it down around AD 90, quite plausible in a few short years. Yes, I argue it is a “technology statement” as Chuck Missler points out.

If you want to dig deeper in the biblical text, learn ancient languages. You need a minimum of a year in Hebrew and Greek to even understand the issues and questions being posed in academic journals of biblical studies. There’s a wealth of bible commentary and, my favorite, bible backgrounds  commentary, i.e. advanced historical research available to the average student. At no other time in history, could you have a seminary library at your fingertips like today.  I use Logos but there FREE versions  and online 1; online 2; online 3; too. Technology can be wonderful and God honoring!

…and it is also terrifying.


This imagery from Hiroshima framed my childhood and, thus,the apocalyptic is no mere pipe dream. Now when we get to biblical prophecies and the end times, it can get tense between saved believers. Great scholars disagree. RC Sproul is a preterist. I purchased his philosophy course. I purchased his church history course. I quote him often. I respect him deeply. He has good reasons for what he thinks. I don’t agree with him. I quote Dr. Peter Jones—a Presbyterian no less–and promote his ministry TruthXchange. Chris Rosebrough —- a dreaded Lutheran — helped me prepare to debate Russ Hocus Pocus on the Trinity. How can I partner with people who differ with my eschatology? Its not as important as false teachers, sin, relativism, same sex marriage and abortion but mainly ONE thing: we all believe the Bible, we just disagree on the exegesis. But those guys have at least done the work in Greek and Hebrew,, Even so, (I’m in trouble now) their view of the Bible is not really the final test. There are hills to stand and die on. One is the Gospel. I work wit hose fellows because they are experts, but mainly because of ONE reason:

We are still in lock step on the Gospel —all are sinful and justified by faith through grace alone – the gift of God, so no man should boast. — non negotiable.

No one has the absolute answer to the end times, I have never claimed so much.  If you want to understand the real issues — I recommend this:


It’s quite different when a naturalistic scholar demands Daniel was written “after the fact” – because the book internally claims to be by one Daniel. If they are correct, it is a farce. If they are incorrect, may God convict them, Dr Bruce Waltke has tried.

I am a premillennial dispensationalist because I feel like its basic premise is the closest to God’s intent, but I’m not married to it, nor inclined toward rapture date setting theories and debates. If you’re correct, we’ll talk in the sky, OK? I learn from people with various ideas about eschatology, especially those I disagree with.

Don’t tell me you are SURE about the end times scenario. No one is but God. I write in a genre I call speculative eschatology. I am NOT a prophet.

I believe the meaning of scripture is determined by the intent of the original author, the one God inspired, to his original readers (i.e. what was Paul telling the Thessalonians, not me in the 20th century). That said, Paul’s intent for them certainly informs how I view current events.

Even so, God used that author’s context (in this case Paul), worldview, language, and even more importantly vocabulary.  If you do not understand his perspective —a supernatural worldview informed by a divine council Deuteronomy 32:8 worldview— you often miss the point. I mean entirely. Understanding the vocabulary, means the first century meaning, the one the inspired author had in mind, because the Holy Spirit inspired the author and his words. Usually, scribes add to the text to “help” readers over time.

That’s how textual critics find the apostle’s words, they shave it down by comparing ancient papyri and determining the most likely original wording. It is established by facts that scribes tend to add, attempting to clarify—asserting their own meaning—and, as a result, the manuscripts tend to get wordier over time. With the best of intentions, monks changed the Bible.  Then, after the reformation began, it became the KJV when a Catholic Scribe Erasmus created a Greek New testament based on a handful of Greek manuscripts from the 8-9th century of the Eastern Byzantine tradition. It became Texts Receipts after the 1611 KJV Anglicans used it as their primary text along with the Latin Vulgate and Tyndale Bibles. It was great fro its time but pre- archeology.

Since then we have found 20,000 or so Greek papyri centuries older…. Archeology is now a discipline with peer review.

It means modern Bibles are very accurate and we have a great deal of certainty about the Gospel and many essential doctrines. The evidence Jesus rose from the dead is now MORE compelling—and that lends credence to the rest of biblical theology-—we stand at the first time in history when the supernatural events of Revelation have a high probability of coming to pass, WHY?

The “Chardinian Noosphere” or “AI Singularity” is about to make it possible for one man to control all who may buy and sell, I mean everyone.. even in rural India or subsaharan Africa. How can I say that — get ready (link to company website):

 

ISIS Apocalypse Meets the Pope

Interestingly, the Brookings Institution lady doing the introduction was complaining about the parking situation due to the pope’s visit to Washington DC, apparently, as this was filmed.The two subjects (Pope, ISIS) have been on my mind alot lately and this is where it gets interesting. Tom Horn and I are currently writing a new book that connects the two: ISIS apocalypse and Pope Francis… eh?  Something about a final crusade?

McCants is a great source and scholar. I am finishing up his new book, and recommend it as well: The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State



I’ll be at Strategic Perspectives in about a week or so!

Why Preterism Seems Absurd

Preterism NotWhy Preterism Seems Absurd

10 Reasons Barack Obama is NOT the Antichrist

Chris White has done a masterful job here.

 

Dispensationalism: the Key to Bible Prophecy (part 1)

By Cris D. Putnam
DISPENSTION-History-chartArguably from the inception of the church (although lost under Romanism), dispensationalism has been and still is the key to biblical prophecy. Since its recovery in the nineteenth century there have been three major versions: classic (Darby, Larkin and Scofield), revised (Walvoord, Pentecost, Chafer, and Towns), and progressive (Bock, Blaising, Feinberg and Saucy) dispensationalism. All divide history based on God’s covenants as successive revelations in the progression of God’s redemptive program and sustain a premillennial futurist interpretation of prophecy. As a founding member of the revised school, Charles Ryrie emphasized three elements: 1) Distinction between church and Israel;[i] 2) Philosophy of History;[ii] 3) Literal interpretation of scripture.[iii] He offers strong and compelling arguments against covenant theology which is the system of theology that centers on two contrived covenants: the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.[iv] It typically dismisses God’s actual covenant promises to Israel and argues that most all of prophecy is fulfilled in Christ. While I’m largely in agreement with Ryrie that covenant theology is an artificial system lacking biblical support, I do think progressive dispensationalists make some good points.

Concerning point one, I strongly disagree with supercessionism (that the church has entirely superseded Israel or replacement theology). I believe God will fulfill His Old Testament promises as they were understood, not in the decontextualized manner applied to the Church found in Roman Catholicism and unfortunately most of evangelical covenant theology. In this sense, the reformers stopped short. God made specific promises to the descendants of Jacob and David concerning their ancestral line, the land and political sovereignty. Only the Mosaic covenant was conditional. The Abrahamic (Gen 12) and Davidic (2 Sam. 7) were unconditional and everlasting. The Davidic is often overlooked:

“And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’(2 Sa 7:10–17 cf. 1 Chron. 17)

Like the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant was irrevocable—“established forever” and despite innumerable acts of unfaithfulness on Israel’s part, God will be absolutely faithful. The Davidic covenant promises to Israel a political, religious, visible earthly kingdom, and God personally guaranteed that it would endure forever and that all nations would be blessed through it, based on His faithfulness.

“I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens. If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah( Ps 89:20–37)

God spoke through the original inspired author who certainly did not have an ethereal metaphorical Israel in mind when he composed those words. David understood the promises in a matter of fact manner. I have never read a supercessionist reply to these passages that did not cast God in the role of a prankster who deceived David.

Paul writes in Romans that Gentiles are grafted into Israel. This implies God’s chosen people includes the church as well as a remnant of ethnic Israel, now and especially at the Second Coming (Rom 11:26-27, Zec 12:10). While the distinction applies in this current dispensation due to Israel’s supernatural blinding (Rom 11:25; 2 Cor 3:14; Mat 23:39), I believe we merge into one people at Christ’s return. Thus, I commend the holistic view described by Bock and Blaising, “God will save humankind in its ethnic and national plurality. But, He will bless it with the same salvation given to all without distinction; the same, not only in justification and regeneration, but also in sanctification by the indwelling Holy Spirit.”[v] It seems unlikely that ethnicity will much matter upon Christ’s return to rule from Jerusalem.

 

Next week part two picks up with the dispensational philosophy of history.



[i] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995), 148.

[ii] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 20.

[iii] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 102.

[iv] Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 32.

[v] Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), 47.