Petrus Romanus – Historicism Back to the Future

By Cris D. Putnam
Historicism has its roots in the twelfth century when a Catholic mystic named Joachim of Fiore reasoned that because God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), then history itself is also a trinity of three ages. Later, Martin Luther first struggled with the book of Revelation writing in his first German Bible that “Christ is neither taught nor known in it.”[1] Only a few years later in 1530, Luther changed his mind and wrote of it as a map of history. This quickly became the dominant view. Since the reformation, there has been a large body of biblical scholarship which posits the events in the books of Revelation as milestones in Church history. Many think the shift away from this paradigm is a product of the Jesuit Counter Reformation. After all, the destiny of the Church as the bride of Christ is arguably God’s primary focus in the book. Even so, it is important to recognize that although it was written for us, it was not originally to us. It was first meant to encourage the first-century churches that were enduring persecution and discouragement. Now, two thousand years later, we still can be encouraged that Christ will return to make things right. Where the seals, trumpets, and vials have been progressing since the first century in historicism, the futurist approach places the majority of the book of Revelation’s judgments in the seven year Great Tribulation scenario. Traditionally, futurism and historicism are viewed as opposing camps but we think that is a drastic oversimplification. It seems that eschatology is best held with a loose grip.

With exception of the heterodox full preterist view, all interpretations are futurist to one degree or another. Even historicists are necessarily futurists in regard to Christ’s return and the battle of Armageddon. Also many (like Spurgeon) are premillennialists who allow for a future restoration of Israel. On the other side, even staunch dispensationalists like John Walvoord have historicist elements in their hermeneutic. Concerning the letters to the seven churches in chapters two and three of the book of Revelation, he writes:

Many expositors believe that in addition to the obvious implication of these messages the seven churches represent the chronological development of church history viewed spiritually. They note that Ephesus seems to be characteristic of the Apostolic Period in general and that the progression of evil climaxing in Laodicea seems to indicate the final state of apostasy of the church. This point of view is postulated upon a providential arrangement of these churches not only in a geographical order but by divine purpose, presenting also a progress of Christian experience corresponding to church history. As in all scriptural illustrations, however, it is obvious that every detail of the messages addressed to these particular churches is not necessarily fulfilled in succeeding periods of church history. What is claimed is that there does seem to be a remarkable progression in the messages. It would seem almost incredible that such a progression should be a pure accident, and the order of the messages to the churches seems to be divinely selected to give prophetically the main movement of church history.[2]

Whereas Walvoord places the events of the rest of the book into the seventieth week of Daniel (a future seven-year tribulation period), the historicist school sees the seals, trumpets, and bowls as the unraveling of history stretched out until Christ’s return.  As a classic representative example of the historicist approach to the book of Revelation, Irish Protestant preacher, astronomer and author, Henry Grattan Guinness, is good place to begin. He was a popular evangelist in the Evangelical awakening preaching to thousands during events like the Ulster Revival of 1859. He was responsible for training and sending hundreds of missionaries all over the world. He also wrote extensively on the historical interpretation of prophecy. He preferred to call it the presentist interpretation:

The second or PRESENTIST interpretation, is that historic Protestant view of these prophecies, which considers them to predict the great events to happen in the world and in the church, from St John’s time to the coming of the Lord; which sees in the Church of Rome, and in the Papacy, the fulfillment of the prophecies of Babylon and of the Beast, and which interprets the times of the Apocalypse on the year-day system. This view originated about the eleventh century, with those who even then began to protest, against the growing corruptions of the Church of Rome.[3]

So the issue is not really whether one is a futurist or historicist, it is where one draws the dividing line. Because it is not possible to know where this line is with certainty, we suggest there is plenty of room to allow for elements of both views. In the soon to be released book Petrus Romanus we suggest a hybrid approach which reconciles the most coherent elements of both views.

As an example of a modern historicist hybrid approach, I suggest John Piper’s sermon The Prayers of the Saints and the End of the World:

So Jesus begins to open the seals of the scroll of history. And with the opening of each seal, a vision is given to John not of the actual end of the world—that comes when the scroll itself is opened after all the seven seals are taken off its outer edge (the seven trumpets and seven bowls)—but what John sees is, I think, what Jesus called in Mark 13:8, “the beginning of the birth pangs”—the kinds of things in history that lead up to the end and mark this age with increasing intensity. Jesus said, “For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-prayers-of-the-saints-and-the-end-of-the-world

 

Next week we will examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of both schools in our quest for the most accurate interpretation.

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[1] Craig R. Koester, “The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History” The Great Courses, (Chantilly, Virginia: The Teaching Company 2011), 102.

[2] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 52.

[3] Henry Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End of the Age, 8th edition (London: Hodder and Stoughten, 1882), 94.

 

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. john B says:

    Hi Cris; Good presentation again of the various theological threads about The Revelations…. As true as they are, the problem is that it is all contradicting one from another.. One thing is certain, The message was given to seven literal churches this is the beginning of the “things that soon must come to pass” the book ends with the words of Jesus “Behold I am coming Quickly and My Reward is with Me, to render to every man according to his deeds” Rev22:12.. Judgment Day is the emphasis here….
    So we understand that the “One like unto the Son of man” Rev1:13 the risen Christ, though veiled from the sight of men, is ever keeping a watchful eye upon His Churches throughout the Era of His bodily absence until such Time as He “comes Quickly” That to me is very indicative that the messages given to the original seven churches are valid for us presently..
    I do not see the churches as symbolical representations pertaining to the span of history.. for to be sure we presently see within the current denominational systems all the marks of error and sins.. that which the Lord called these churches to repent of… The Force of His closing words in the book Rev22:12 is indicative that at the end of the church Age there will take place Judgment Day.. The Day of the Lord.. the Day of His return.. “And He ordered Us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One (Jesus) who has been appointed by God as Judge of the Living and the dead” Acts10:42.
    Have this understanding of what it is Jesus is coming to do… removes a lot of the preconceived bonds of theology and opens ones eyes to see The real Apostates of the closing age..

    Here is an example of Error concerning the Birth pangs; Its culmination is not the beginning of the Tribulation as the futurist say!
    According to Apostle Paul the culmination of it is “the Day of the Lord which comes as a thief” (Unexpectedly)1Thes5:2,3 indeed Quickly Rev22:12

    Blessings John B

  2. Good Soldier says:

    Hi Cris,

    The problem with Futurism is not that it talks about future events that are prophesied in the Bible. But it’s connection to dispensational errors such as the Great Tribulation, the Pre-Trib Rapture and many other faulty interpretations of scripture. If John N. Darby was such a great scholar then why did he get so much wrong?

    It only took me one read of the New Testament when I got saved to realize that the Pre-Trip Rapture doctrine was a man made one. How is it that the early dispensational sales men of error were so fooled into this teaching and all the other countless errors that go with it. I have found from many heated discussions with my pastor that if you take away the rapture you take away his dispensationalism. He has even stated that if he has to go through the tribulation then he’s not saved.

    I have news for our dispensationalsit breather, we are in the Tribulation right now and have been for a very long time but the good new is that it’s nearly over.

    Lev 26:23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
    Lev 26:24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

    Dan_4:16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

    Seven Times is 2520 years now go do the maths on all the rest of the Prophesy’s in the book of Daniel and Revelation, you will find that everything centers around the year 688AD when the Dome of the Rock was begun on the Holy Mount. Seven Times is almost finish passing over the Jews as it did Nebuchadnezzar prophetically and this is the true length of time for The Time of Jacobs Trouble and not seven years.

    Start pulling harder at the rapture string and watch your dispensational views unravel.

    God Bless.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Actually there are a lot of dispensationalists that are not pre-tribulational on the rapture, the main distinction with dispensationalism is with Israel and the covenants not so much the rapture. I think the progressive dispensational view has a lot going for it but I am not really married to any one system – I try to keep my eye on elements of several schools of thought including your own. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_dispensationalism

  3. john B says:

    This is an appropriate Article I wrote some time back

    THE ERROR OF DISPENSATION THEOLOGY.

    The theology in question is a misrepresentation of the Apostolic doctrine about the promise given to Abraham.
    “The theology” – says Not what the Apostles say , it reverses the plain truth of scripture.

    The greater light (avenue of understanding Truth) belongs to the Apostolic writings of the N T, for they shed light upon the shadows of the OT .
    The prophets are given greater light by Christ and the Apostles.
    The old must be subjected to the new , this pattern is found throughout the N T . It would be error to subject Romans to Daniel or revelations, yet this is what the theology in question does, IT is constant in dispensation theology.. It seems that where the N T does not conform to the theological usage of OT passages, the N T scriptures are omitted or taken out of context in order to keep the theological theme going . It must be noted that the theology in question is “pro-Jewish” and favors the old testament Prophets , remembering that in rabbinical Jewish thinking they still await the messiah having rejected Jesus as Messiah. The religious Jew is still ( seeking for ) an earthly fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham..
    However; in the N T the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write concerning this promise , wherein he says [that which Israel is seeking for, ” the promise ” It has – not – obtained, but the election obtained it] Now; this Paul wrote after the nation’s rejection of Messiah and prior to their destruction in 70Ad , a time span of 40 years wherein a remnant of that nation in accord with God’s foreknowledge obtained the promise Rom11:1-10 .

    These inspired words of Paul express this truth ,declaring that “Israel The nation failed to obtain the promise , but another company , The election Had obtained the promise”.
    Therefore; it is clear that Paul is not referring to something which that generation of Israelites “had missed” and that God had temporarily withdrawn with the intention of bestowing it upon a ” future ” generation as suggested by the pro-Jewish theology NO! (The ELECTION obtained It)

    Paul is saying that the promise Had in fact passed into the possession of those for whom it had been intended , “the people of God which He foreknew” V2 . Furthermore , the fact that the Election has obtained it , bars Israel “as a nation in the flesh” any inheritance of the promise , “for there is nothing but Christ to seek for” because it is He who is the (only) true and legitimate “heir of the promise” , He ,Jesus the messiah rejected , is the Seed of the promise made to Abraham .
    It is further revealed that it is only those who are in Christ that be also heirs . Gal3:6-29 . All who are outside Christ are heirs to nothing and are cast out Gal 4:21-31.

    Apostle Paul asks this question, “Has God cast away His People”? IF the natural descendants of Abraham are His People the answer would be Yes but Paul’s answer is (God forbid)
    And he goes on to explain that the natural descendants were(Not His People)they were the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction V22 Romans .
    His People are those of the new covenant established forever in Christ . God’s promise to Abraham was much larger than He chose to reveal in OT times. The picture increases in size by the process of time unto the “fullness of time”, wherein the complete picture is seen .

    The promise is that Abraham should be heir of the world through the righteousness of Faith Rom 4:13 , Something only pertaining to the dispensation of Grace .
    The theology in question reverses all of this , saying , the natural descendants are God’s people and yet to obtain in a future dispensation that which they have been seeking for…
    Because of this obsession within the minds of pro-Jewish theology , they cannot go past the prophets and enter into the fullness of scriptural revelation. The refusal of truth on their behalf links them to the rabbis of Jesus’ day whom He severely rebuked, after which they crucified him and persecuted his Apostles who exposed their rejection of the (only hope of Israel) to be by the blood of the New covenant to which the prophets testified……….

    Jer31:35-37 Does not refer to the natural nation , it has just been explained that they are not heir . If read in full context it is clear that the nation spoken of as being before God forever is the Israel of God according to “Grace & Not Race” , they are referred to by the prophet in the previous V33 as “my people of the new covenant” which God was to establish in a yet future time, which is our current dispensation wherein; Grace abides by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This also, Isaiah spoke of Ch27:9 and the greater revelation is given in Heb8:10-12 .

    Let us understand the words ‘and So’ Paul’s reference to the word SO in Rom11:26,27. does not imply (when) Israel as a nation will be saved and restored in the land, the reference implied is to (How) sin is removed and salvation is attained…The fullness of the Gentiles is the completion of God’s purpose in saving the “Israel of God” , His People of Grace represented by the Olive tree V24. Paul does not say as the pro-Jewish do (And then all Israel will be saved ),implying this salvation to be in the future No!, He says ( And – So – all Israel ) , figured by the “olive tree” completed with Gentiles And Jews, will be saved in the (present dispensation of Grace ) prior to the return of Christ in Judgement upon all who ‘repent not and continue in stubbornness of heart’. There is no “special Grace” as advocated by the theology, to be given to the Jewish nation when Christ returns, this is nowhere to be found in scripture.
    Paul stresses the urgency of salvation to be, Today! and not in some future time of special Grace. This gospel of another Grace promises stubborn Jews no biblical salvation, it prevents them from recognizing that their Messiah has already brought to them their deliverance from “Sin” in fulfilment of the promise made to their forefathers. Salvation was to be by Grace and not by race.

    I do not reject the possibility of God calling large numbers of Jewish people to Christ prior to the second coming, For God’s permissive will is that no man perish, but that they should believe on Jesus for Salvation. His calling of Jewish people is for the sake of the Fathers, Rom 11v28 , He does not do it because they are is people , He does it to make them His People in Christ. The scripture is clear, it is not for their sake , but for the sake of the Fathers of whom ‘Jesus’ was shown to be the Seed of the promise. Now; this can only happen in the same way that it has been happening since the Gospel was first preached to the Jews , they must look upon him whom they have pierced Zec12:10 about which Apostle John says in ch19:36,37. “And these things came to pass, that the scripture might be fulfilled “not a bone of him shall be broken”, and again another scripture says “they shall look upon Him whom they pierced” . The Apostle says that Zecharia’s prophesy is fulfilled and that it is a reference to the crucified Christ for the purpose of salvation. If today is the day of salvation , the Gospel’s dispensation of Grace ,Then why do the pro-Jewish make the prophesy yet unfulfilled contrary to the Apostle’s word… The Apostle is giving the full picture. Look at the whole picture from Abraham to Christ and see that the purpose of God by the process of time has reached fulfilment in these last days .”For when the fullness of time was come God sent forth his son” Gal4:4 “That in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in One all things in Christ , both which are in heaven and which are on Earth”Eph1:10.
    Question; what comes after the Fullness of time? Answer; nothing physical, only eternity… where does a restored nation of physical Israelites fit in? They don’t. The theme of scriptural revelation has always been that God moves forward.. Dispansation moves backwards into that which God has made obsolete, The OT. The Jews need to catch up if they want salvation as God’s clock is ready to strike judgment upon all flesh.

    john B

    • Cris Putnam says:

      John B, Zechariah 12 cannot be completely fulfilled by the first advent. I suggest you read the entire chapter again because what you are saying is obviously not possible. In that chapter it predicts: “On that day, I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zec 12:3) And it says Israel will be victorious through the angel of the Lord, “On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them.” (Zec 12:8) It is after these events that the ultimate fulfillment of “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”(Zec 12:10) Of course what John 19:37 refers to is that the crucifixion was necessary for this future prophecy to occur, obviously they could not look upon Him who they pierced had he not been pierced, so yes the piercing part was fulfilled but the context of Zechariah 12 is a battle when all nations gather against Jerusalem, which has still yet to happen. Christ will intervene to save Jerusalem and then they will recognize Jesus as Messiah. This is what the text of Zechariah 12 says and the dispensationalist view is correct on this point. You cannot simply dismiss the entire context of Zechariah 12-14 which seems to describe the battle of Armageddon centered on Jerusalem.

  4. Jonathan Sprague says:

    Preterists please prove to me without a shadow of doubt that John’s Revelation was written in AD66 instead of AD95. Everything rests on this one assumption.

  5. john B says:

    Again I can only say that the prophets saw in part and that the fullness came by Christ..
    Concerning Zec12 the entire context through to the end of Ch14 is in the context of the salvation of the Lord which has been fulfilled by Christ and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit , His rejection, the preliminary judgment Ad70 and finally His return in judgment… We still await the final stage His return in judgment..
    The prophets in general project spiritual truths by means of literal language this is the case here by Zechariah.. Nowhere is it taught by the Apostles that the house of David is to receive another salvation outside this present dispensation of Grace Zec13:1 as is also Zec12:10 is referring to that day of Grace, That Grace which is associated with saving Faith.. Christ has come, He has raised up the fallen Tabernacle of David Acts15:15-18 about which Apostle James spoke at the Jerusalem council acknowledging the fulfillment of the prophecy of Amos9:12..

    If we are to understand the OT prophets it is to be in the Light of The teachings of Jesus and His Apostles.. This is something which dispensationalism does not do.. They ally themselves with the Rabbinical teachings of a physical salvation and a restoration of Israel supremacy.. Jesus never taught that!
    God made a New covenant with Israel, Jesus opposed them who understood not the Prophets, for He was the fulfillment of them all.. Even Abraham by Faith looked for the city whose Architect is God..

    We need to acknowledge the ‘Apostolic teaching’ that Jesus is not returning to save any man but only to judge all man..because Today is the appointed time of salvation.. This is very clear and the simplicity of it a Child can understand.

    Judgment is to take place when Jesus is to appear in His kingdom 2Tim4:1 He is not coming to set up His kingdom as a supreme Jewish rule over the world with Temple worship and sacrifices as we are being told.. That is a Hellish Lie of Zionism that many Christians are buying into propagated by dispensationalism..

    Dispensationalists would do well to get an understanding of what the new covenant ramifies.. because the reality of it is, that by their teaching they side with those who opposed Christ whilst yet saying that he is Lord.. that to me raise alarm bells..

    john b

    • Cris Putnam says:

      John,
      It is only by grace that we are saved. None of us deserve God’s grace, so I see no theological problem with God’s purpose to instigate a widespread repentance in Israel when Christ returns. It is what the New Testament affirms in Romans 11:26-27. You will get no counter-argument from me in that we are to understand the prophets in light of Jesus and the apostles but it is quite clear from them that there will be time just prior the second coming when the nations will gather against Jerusalem and that Christ’s coming will then physically win that battle, resulting in a state of repentance as described in Zechariah.

      “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.(Zec 12:10–11)

      I believe that will happen literally and I see no justification to spiritualize it away. I also think Ezekiel 39 is the same event as I wrote about here. I agree that it will be bad news for unrepentant unbelievers but it seems “a spirit of Grace and pleas for mercy” poured out by God speaks to his long suffering unconditional election. It seems to me from the text that those that truly repent at the parousia are saved. Because none of us have earned our salvation by our own merits, this is entirely consistent as a work of God’s grace.

      I would be careful about labeling large groups of Christians, your own views are subject to ample criticism as well. I think there is some truth in most of the systems but not exclusively in any. I do not pretend to know exactly how it will play out. Dispensationalists have some pretty strong biblical arguments. As an example, I think Gary Yate’s argument is a good one:

      The ultimate issue in this discussion of the future of Israel is God’s faithfulness to his word and his covenant promises (cf. Exod 34:6-7; Num 23:19; Mal 3:7-10). It is significant that emphasis on God’s covenant faithfulness frames Paul’s discussion of the future of Israel in Romans 9-11. In chapter 9, Paul begins by providing the reminder that the covenants essential to the outworking of God’s plan of salvation history belong to Israel (9:4). After affirming that God will save “all Israel” in 11:26, Paul asserts in verse 29 that the “gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Paul’s confidence in Israel’s salvation is founded upon the “covenant” referred to in Isaiah 59:20-21, in which God promises to remove Israel’s sin and to make a “covenant” with his people. This covenant involves God permanently placing his Spirit and word within his people. God will ultimately act unilaterally to overcome Israel’s unbelief and disobedience. God’s dealings with Israel reflect his faithfulness to promises made long ago, his sovereign power to overcome human unbelief, and his infinite wisdom in using Israel to extend his salvation to the nations and then in turn using the salvation of the Gentiles to bring his people back to himself. As Paul exclaims, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways” (Rom 11:33).
      http://garyeyates.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-israel-means-israel-part-2.html

  6. Good Soldier says:

    Dear Cris,
    “Actually there are a lot of dispensationalists that are not pre-tribulational on the rapture, the main distinction with dispensationalism is with Israel and the covenants not so much the rapture.”

    Progressive dispensationalism is even more inconstant than Darbyism as it can’t see the blatant contradiction in it’s views. The pre-trib rapture is essential to dispensationalism because it separates the Church saved by grace from the Jews saved under the law in the Kingdom. If a dispensationalist has to go through the so called Great Tribulation then in his mind he has been appointed to the wrath of God and as such isn’t saved. Chris White’s presentation on the subject is interesting but hopelessly in error as he replaces the Darbyist view of the Holy Spirit being taken out of the way prior to the GT with Micheal being taken out of the way in Daniel 12 before the GT. Daniel 12:1 is talking about 66AD to 70AD in my view. Now I’m willing to listen but you will have to show me a passage that says Micheal will once again stand and protect the Jewish people after he has been taken out of the way for a while and then stand up again when the GT starts. This is why it is inconsistent to mix and match historicity with dispensationalism, the two views are diametrically opposed and only a mental gymnast can hold both views and think to himself that he is being logically and historically consistent. Historicity is both logically and historically consistent as is Dispensationalism tho it is not scripturaly consistent and this is why the progressives have emerged with even more confusion.

    The Jewish Talmudic Religion is an Antichrist religion and will be happy to receive him that comes in his own name “Apollyon”. They are preparing to receive there false messiah, the Muslims the 12th imam mahdi, the new agers the world teacher, ect.. and the dispensationalist and pre-millinarions will welcome him with open arms. The cup of trembling to all the nations will be the Born Again Christians Anointed with the Holy Spirit that preach the true gospel with out fear of being beheaded and then all those that believe will be saved before the Lord returns. But this might go on for a lot longer than seven years, all Israel will be saved means all those who God foreknew will believe the gospel in the last days that are of Jewish descent and buy that measure we are already seeing thousands of Jewish converts in Israel so we are already seeing all Israel in the process of being saved. The natural branches are being grafted back in at an ever increasing rate.

    The New One World Religion will not allow the preaching of the gospel and we are heading for a new dark age before the lord returns but it will be longer than seven years that is for sure.

    God Bless.

  7. john B says:

    Good soldier said; The cup of trembling to all the nations will be the Born Again Christians Anointed with the Holy Spirit that preach the true gospel with out fear of being beheaded and then all those that believe will be saved before the Lord returns. But this might go on for a lot longer than seven years, all Israel will be saved means all those who God foreknew will believe the gospel in the last days that are of Jewish descent and buy that measure we are already seeing thousands of Jewish converts in Israel so we are already seeing all Israel in the process of being saved. The natural branches are being grafted back in at an ever increasing rate.

    Romans 11:24 ‘For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree’.
    This portion of scripture is one which has been misrepresented within the majority of denominations. The reason for this is based on a most recent formulated pro-Jewish theology which asserts that the cultivated olive tree is the modern nation of Israel.
    Let us examine the tree beginning at the ‘roots’. The Apostle tells us that the root is Holy Vs16. There is in Isaiah 53:2 a prophetic word concerning Christ, ‘He (Jesus) grew up before Him (God the Father) like a tender shoot and like a Root out of parched ground’—– Jesus is the incarnate word of God, (the Holy one of Israel,) He is called the Holy one of God in Lk4:34. He is the root of Jesse Isa11:10. He grew up ‘out of parched ground’ ( a nation which had abandoned God and the authority of His word in favor of the traditions of men) Mk7:3-13.

    The olive tree is symbolic of all who are in Christ, redeemed by His shed Blood; the tree is the new covenant people of God made up of all who are in Christ (the Root of the tree), for there is ‘neither Greek or Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision’ Col3:11. There was prior to the work of reconciliation to God a distinction between Jew (natural branches) and Gentile (wild branches), but He (God) has broken down the middle wall of partition between the two Eph2:14. all are now grafted into One Olive tree.

    God’s calling is irrevocable Vs29. The calling, by the word of the Gospel message goes out to all men, because all men were committed to disobedience, it was the only way that God in His wisdom chose to reveal His mercy Vs32. when Paul says in Vs26 ‘and SO all Israel will be saved’, he is referring to all who are in Christ presently and to all who will be prior to the return of Christ, and not to the Jewish nation as such in a future time at the return of Christ. It is plain to see in the verses above, that there is no permanent distinction for all eternity between Jew and gentile; that is gone once and for ever. The Cross of Christ has made this a reality, be you a Jew or Gentile….

    (((both branches must be grafted into the Olive tree for they are both outside of the life of the Tree)))

    When Paul says in Vs26 ‘the deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob’ he is not speaking of a future event, He is quoting the prophet Isaiah Isa59:20,21 in showing that ((it is fulfilled already in Christ’s atonement for sin)). for in Vs27 He says “this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins”….. The new covenant is already in place….Everything that the Apostles said has to do with the salvation of sinners in this present dispensation of Grace. and not some national deliverance!

    Understanding the rhetoric of the Apostles words… ‘And SO…’ does not mean ‘And when’, it means ((how)), it means, ‘it is this way’ ( by the blood of Jesus), that salvation is made real to all Israel, “the Israel of God”, who are His new covenant people, which is figuratively this ‘one olive tree’ whose Holy root is Christ Jesus.

    The Apostle Peter addressing Jews of the dispersion says unto them ‘For you once were not a people, but “Now” you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but “Now” you have received mercy 1Pet2:10
    I emphasize the word (Now) twice said by the Apostle, if it is Now that mercy is revealed making ‘not a people’ to become ‘a people of God’, then I ask, where in that, is there a future promise given to the Jews. How many olive trees are there that be cultivated by the hand of God? The answer is one, there has always been only One olive Tree,
    Only One! in it are the prophets, the forefather’s, the bond-servants, the Saints including the Apostles, and it will be seen for its holiness at the revelation of Christ when he returns to give all who have believed on him for salvation the crown of life, be they Jew or Gentile.

    john B

  8. john B says:

    Cris said; And with the opening of each seal, a vision is given to John not of the actual end of the world—that comes when the scroll itself is opened after all the seven seals are taken off its outer edge (the seven trumpets and seven bowls)—but what John sees is, I think, what Jesus called in Mark 13:8, “the beginning of the birth pangs”—the kinds of things in history that lead up to the end and mark this age with increasing intensity. Jesus said, “For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

    it is upon opening the sixth seal that the “great and terrible Day” of the Lord arrives..

    The day of the lord is the Return of Jesus with His mighty angels in flaming fire.2Thes2:7 before which the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give its light and the stars falling Mat24:29… It is also during the Tribulation period that the corpses and vultures will gather Vs28. this is indicative by the words of Jesus “But immediately after the Tribulation of those days The sun will be darkened”….
    Isiah, Joel, Zeph spoke of it as occurring before that great and terrible Day and not (prior to the Tribulation) as is commonly taught…
    That which the OT prophets referred as the moon not giving it Light is what the NT says is the blood red Moon. compare Joel2:10 with Acts2:20.

    see; Rev6:12-17 The breaking of the sixth seal.. Vs 12 the sun became as sackcloth, the moon became as blood, and the stars fell….
    Vs14 The sky was split apart, mountains and islands are moved…
    Vs15,16 men hide themselves from Him who sits upon the Throne and the wrath of the lamb… (judgment day)
    Vs 17 referrers to it as The great day of their Wrath… it is also worth noting that upon the seventh trump.. Time came for the dead to br judged and of the rewarding of the bond-servants, prophets and the saints…… Rev11:18

    During the Tribulation the Gospel will be preached right up to the Judgment Rev14:6;7..
    Vs 10 implies that there will be those who will not take the mark of the Beast… followed many dying in the Lord Vs13 (Martyrs)
    All of this transpires before The Day of the Lord preceded by the signs in the sun, moon and stars…

    Blessings
    john B

  9. Good Soldier says:

    Hi John B,
    I agree with everything you have posted above in response to my comment. I would like you to explain your understanding of Revelation 13:3&4. I am off the view that it refers to those that are Gentiles that are In Christ and those that are of Jewish decent that are In Christ and that they both wittiness for the whole time of the rule of Antichrist which is prophetically 1260 years and not 7, the wild branches and the natural branches both grafted into the Olive Tree which is Jesus Christ my Lord.

    What is your take on it?

    God Bless.

  10. john b says:

    Hi Good Soldier: I am still studying this matter of the Beast with seven heads and Ten horns..
    I am of the view and that is not concrete! that the seven heads represent the totality of gentile world-rule who had contact with The people of God (His true Israel) through history beginning with 1. Egypt.. 2.Assyria.. 3.Babylon.. 4.Persia.. 5.Greece.. and 6.Rome.. about which which John said “one is” at the time of His vision.. is this the head that had received the mortal wound as John saw it and was that wound inflicted by the Cross of Christ? the crushing of the serpent’s head Gen3:15. These are Questions That I am still pondering about!

    I view the beast as having existence apart from its heads.. I come to this conclusion by the fact that this beast is also Apollyon the same that rose out of the bottomless Pit Rev9:11 which also slains the Two witnesses. Rev11:7.. He is also the Dragon..whose image is represented in beast worship. Rev13;15

    The beast itself is obviously of the seven.. for it has been at one time identified with each of the heads; and it is also an eighth in that it shares the fate of the seventh.. in that “it goes into perdition” Is this eigth head the AC ruling the seventh (New world order)?… I also believe that Zionism is a major player within the seventh head (The illuminati masonic element)

    Blessings John B

  11. Good Soldier says:

    Hi John B,
    The Zionist connection begins with Oliver Cromwell allowing his Jewish revolutionary financiers re-entrance into England when he took power. ? If you follow the history of monetary power and manipulation you will find that the Rothschild are the bankers for the Vatican and British Empire. It is my opinion that they are planing to stage a literal 7 year GT and then the Millennium and this will be the great falling away when the Church believe that Christ has returned and is now ruling in mount Zion.

  12. john B says:

    Good Soldier; any thing is possible as we are living in what I believe to be the release of satan for a short time Rev20;3 with all power of deception upon all nations which are in the four corners of the earth Rev20:8. I really believe that the dramatic rise in wickedness is very evident for all who have the eyes to see.. he is mounting his final attack on the saints Rev20:9.. this is taking place in every sphere of society.. seriously!

    The GT come millennium doctrine as far as I am concerned is not Apostolic in foundation and the enemy can very well use it to his advantage.. Did not know the Rothchilds were the bankers for vatican! I’ll look it up..
    I recently had a christian tell me that he was a pre-mil Zionist christian So; there are definite ties there that have been forged in the mind of many christians.. I was also told by other christians that I should drop my ancient dogmas and get in touch with real prophecy.. of course that is messianic dispensationalism and their restoration theory… yes; there are many winds of doctrines blowing over the churches.. let us be on Guard!
    Blessings john B

  13. 1 Thessalonians 5 )
    12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

    16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    Very Relevant knowledge for the Spiritual Beings. Best Regard, Ramon

    19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

    23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it

  14. Wally says:

    Chris, I was reading you wrote the two witnesses were killed in Jerusalem,please revisit that great city in Revelation its not Jerusalem (the city of the Great King), also Jerusalem are never referred to as spiritually or literally Sodom or Egypt anywhere in the bible, further to that Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem.
    A closer look at that great city in Rev 17 :18, 16:19,18:10, 18:16, 18:18, 18:19, 18:21 clearly indicates it’s not the holy
    city of Jerusalem.
    What you think?

  15. john B says:

    .

    THE TWO WITNESSES please consider!…..

    Are the Two witnesses represented in Rev Ch11, two literal persons or are they symbolical figures revealing something contrary to the widely held belief of modern dispensation Theology? let us look at the scripture.

    The two witnesses appear in context with the Temple of God and of those who Worship in It Vs2,3.
    The Greek word here for Temple Is NAOS =”Sanctuary within”. The Word Does not referrer to a literal Temple But a Spiritual one as also shown in Rev 3:12 and 2Thes2:4.

    The Greek word for A literal Temple As was Herod’s is HIERON Mk11:11. Mat24, Lk21.

    It is The saints, Those having received adoption By the Spirit of God who worship in Spirit And in Truth within the true sanctuary. They are “Gods Household, the Royal priesthood, His holy Nation and chosen Race” 1Pet2:5-9
    Outside are the nations Trampling the Outer court Rev11:2.
    The witnessing ministry is within that context. [power received from the presence of God in the sanctuary for Witness to those Outside of it]

    The Witnesses prophesy in “Sackcloth” by divine Power Gotten from The Sanctuary. For they are also the Two Olive trees & the Two Lamp stands before the Lord of the Earth. Vs4.
    This is in contrast to Religious Authority or power dressed in clerical Regalia. These witnesses are without rank & Title Among Men. They are divinely Ordained for ministry by God and not by Man.

    Their Testimony will not be of progress and world betterment, not of Peace & safety, not of Social justice and Equal rights as is The current trend in Christendom [the social Gospel]
    These witnesses must testify Of death & judgment, of the day of Wrath & perdition of the Ungodly, of the coming of the rejected Lord coming in Flaming Fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God, and who Obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ 2Thess1:7-9.

    We are not to look for Two Divinely endowed persons, as Moses and Elijah to appear on the end-Time Scene as is presently taught within many denominational networks.

    The number “2” like other numbers in this book, has a symbolical meaning.
    Two is the number of divine sufficiency in Testimony. Deut17:6, Mat18:16. The Lord always sent forth his disciples by Two together; and in earlier times there were Moses & Aaron, Joshua & Caleb, Zerubbabel & Joshua, Haggai & Zechariah.

    The Two witnesses have the “characteristics of Moses & Elijah” For according to Vs6 They have like the latter the power “to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy”, and power, like the Former, “over waters to turn them to Blood and smite with plagues”. Likewise we are not to consider Literal Fire proceeding out of their mouths to devour vs5.

    Vs7 states that the Beast from out of the Abyss [Apollyon] makes War with Them, This also Reveals that the witnesses are not two literal persons (One Does not Make war Upon Two individuals, rather War is made upon A company of People.
    This is a suppression Of the Testimony and Witness of Jesus Christ By the beastly governments of the World under the leadership of Antichrist. There is a great rejoicing by the populous of world at their Death [Martyrdom is implied] Vs9,10

    The rejoicing of the Enemies of the Truth was very brief. For a mighty outpouring of the Spirit is indicated by the words of Vs11, bringing a “revival to the testimony”, in a final Harvest or a “gathering in” before “The Rapture of the saints & judgment of the Wicked”.

    Vs12 A voice from Heaven saying To Them “Come Up Here”, and they “went up into heaven” in a cloud, beheld by their Enemies.
    [see 1Thess 4:16-18]
    Vs13 and in that Hour judgment begins. This takes place immediately before the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet announcing the coming Wrath.Vs18

    Vs8 The City of their slaying is “mystically” called Sodom & Egypt where Our Lord was Crucified. The words “Where our lord Was crucified” signify that The Guilt of His Crucifixion is to Be Laid upon all those in the Whole world who have rejected the Mercy that flows from The Cross.

    In concluding: I hold The view that the Two witnesses is symbolical of the “Testimony of Jesus” upon the Earth by the Mouth of His Saints of all Generations, with The Emphasis of an end-Time suppression of the Gospel [as is presently happening] and the calling of a godly Remnant to be gathered in unity of Spirit during The Great Apostasy prophesied By Apostle Paul In 2Thess.

    johnB

    • Cris Putnam says:

      johnB,

      I am open to apocalyptic symbolism but it doesn’t seem to work with the rest of text, how does your view explain the fact that the two witnesses are killed and then their bodies lie in the street 3 days(Rev 11:8)? If that is an allegory for suppression of the Gospel then we cannot be anywhere near that as there are currently phenomenal conversion rates in China and Africa up to 10,000 conversions per day . See http://thinklings.org/?post_id=4042

      In my opinion, the Gospel cannot be killed.

      How do you gaze at the bodies? “For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,”(Re 11:9) I don’t see how the allegory makes any sense of this passage.

  16. Goos Soldier says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks for that, what you say makes so much more sense than the literal view that our brother Cris likes to defend without fully believing. To answer you Cris from a historicity view point is very easy. The 1260 days of Revelation 11:3 are the same as the three days and an half that the witnesses lie dead. The passage is talking about martyrdom throughout the whole Church age.

    A thousand two hundred and threescore days, time times and half a time or three days and an half, take your pick they all mean the same thing. But possibly three and a half days means 3500 years, only God know for sure. 2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    Rev_11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
    Rev_11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
    Rev_11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

    Peace be unto you both.
    In Christ.

  17. john B says:

    Cris; i looks at the book in the historical sense which one must as it was written to seven literally historical churches..I also see in the book that there are many visions of repetitive manner which express the same truth Ex the 7 scrolls, the 7 trumps, the 7 bowls all reveal the same truth.. it is like Mat24, Mk13, and Lk21 to place them side by side as I have literally done, gives one the whole picture of the words of Jesus beginning with the destruction of the Temple through to the final judgment of all men..

    I think that the error of interpretation by the dispensationalist is that they do not recognize the grouping of various visions which supplement each other… it must be seen that every successive vision is giving some other aspect of the future but which are still complete in them selves each proceeding from a beginning to an end in expression of the same truth.. compare Rev6:12-17, Rev11:15-18, Rev19:11-21.. These are not separate events but are all one and the same given in grouping of visions and a lot of it is imagery, symbols and figures..
    That is why it is very important to be thoroughly grounded in the teaching of Jesus and that of His Apostles and place the imagery of the book (that which is beyond the veil) in conformity with the words of Christ and His Apostles…
    It seems that the futurists reverse this process and omit portions of the Gospels and Epistles in order to suit their literal seven year end-time theology … To all futurists I ask this Question ‘Where do you place Jn5:24-29 (Jesus words about the Last Day) within the book of Revelations… to be sure there is only one place in its correct context and that is Rev20:11 onwards.. This I also understand; that Jesus is coming to save no man but to judge all men.. And rightly so the book of Revelations has it terminal point in these very words of Jesus. See Rev22:12-15.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      John B, what you are talking about sounds like the recapitulation view that most amillennial scholars take with the text. I have studied GK Beale’s Revelation commentary (its a huge book with lots of good info you might like it) and he makes some of those same points about the 7’s being different takes on the same events. So you are in good company there, as many good scholars share that view.

      My difficulty with it is the trumpets are said to come out of the 7th seal and the bowls are said to come from the 7th trumpet. That seems to imply a causal relationship and a sequence. I do not see 7 years in Revelation either rather only half that = 3.5 years, most people are pulling the 7 from the 70 weeks in Dan 9. I am sympathetic to that view because I do think the final part of the 70 weeks is still future (but I am open to the possibility that the first half of it 3.5 years was Jesus ministry). The reason I think the final part of the 70th week is future is that the text says it is at the end “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”(Da 9:27) I don’t see how that could be fulfilled in the past, as the end has not yet been poured out.

      I think Jn 5:24 has been happening for the last 2000 years every time someone accepts the Gospel they move from death to life.

  18. john B says:

    Cris; my concern is not so much theological threads but truth in it’s entirety… There is one Faith in agreement given once and for all Jude3… ‘Time is the devils watch wherein the cogs of theology grind within the imagination of men’ Truth is eternal as is the source of it.. To come out of Babylon and be separate is sanctification of all false dogmas.. This is imperative in these last days of the many who come in His Name.. where would such many be found but in the realm of Christendom as is Antichrist’s departure who “went out from us” (the Apostolic body of truth) 1Jn2:19

    I stand against the Babylonian ecumenical spirit which mare’s the Apostolic truth by an array of theological confusion craftily ( the spirit of sorcery) dumped upon the churches… Mystery Babylon (the whorish spirit of satan) is the producer of all false doctrine working by the bind of devilish affection, seductively ensnaring the many by compromise of truth..

    The line of demarcation is set ‘the Apostolic truth is the foundation’ Christ our Lord the cornerstone.. Light and darkness are incompatible…

    blessings

    john B

    • Cris Putnam says:

      johnB —

      It’s not likely that any of has all the truth in its entirety, I’m sure even the best theological thinker still errs somewhere. I think that one faith spoken of by Jude is where we should major and that is always the Gospel. Remember at one time we were all lost and apart from God. It was only by God’s grace that any of us are saved. Always keep the Gospel central to your theology and remember eschatology is much more speculative.

      And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.(Eph 2:1-10)

      The Gospel should be the hill we fight and die on.

  19. john B says:

    Cris said; ‘It’s not likely that any of has all the truth in its entirety’ that is very true Cris!
    I do believe that God’s Spirit in us promote the desire for truth as it does for Love…I suppose i am one who was not satisfied by the many theological camps.. it is a fact that most are satisfied with what pastor or priest declares as truth… We are also told that those who teach will be held accountable! 2Pet2:1-3 1Tim4:1,2
    This tells me that the possibility of error by those who profess Christ is very real indeed.
    Apostle also said that the Gospel can be distorted Gal1:7 and by it present a false Christ.. is not that ultimately what the great Apostasy is to bring forth in the person of Antichrist! 2Thes2:3,4..
    I would say that there are many already deceived concerning this about which the Apostle said “Let no one in any way deceive you” Vs3..

    I judge no man, only what they teach and that is based only on what little I have received..’The treasury of God’s Temple is for His saints only’ Let us ask! this is the duty of us all that we may be not lead astray..

    blessings
    john b

  20. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same topics? Many thanks!

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