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by ccchhhrrriiisss..This topic has been debated since for more than a decade in these forums.
Hopefully we will get a verdict back soon, so the jury can go home. :-)
| 2016/9/3 10:46||Profile|
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Julius, Todd: That is where I have a difficulty accepting the preterist view. It seems that when we see a passage for which an historical event seems to coincide, we are great with calling it literal and when we see a passage that we cannot explain historically we call it hyperbole or apocalyptic language.
There are eschatological passages in scripture which are pictures and are not to be taken literally. For example, Jesus does not literally have eyes of fire, woolen white hair, and a sword sticking out of His mouth. We understand that John's vision of Jesus returning as the conquering King demonstrated in a picture the majesty, awesomeness, and absolute judgement of our Savior and King as He returns to judge the world. And there are passages which are to be taken literally. I believe there will come a time when what we think of as the heavens and the current world on which we live will be destroyed and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
But I think we must be careful in our interpretation that we don't pigeonhole Biblical events based on our own eschatological bias. Do we believe that the sun will not actually be darkened and that the moon will not actually appear to be red as blood because it causes us to question the timing of the great persecution that we desire to pin to 70AD, or do we believe it is apocalyptic language for another reason? Is it unreasonable to say that this is a literal event? If the heavens and the earth are to be destroyed and a new heaven and a new earth created, then why can this event not be literal?
If that is the case, if it is literal, then how does that effect the belief of a preterist?
These are questions that I ask myself. This is why I asked Savannah to explain what she thought. I am interested in how a preterist sees these other events that are given alongside the great persecution. Julius, I have heard many teach and explain these events as apocalyptic language. I just want to know why one would view these as apocalyptic and what would be the implications if they were not.
| 2016/9/3 13:14||Profile|
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In a sense I totally agree with you. I have an active, living, vibrant relationship with God through Christ. I am seeking His will and His way in my life. I desire to know Him more and more, and I only want to draw closer to Him. If there is a pre-trib rapture...Fantastic. I will take it, leave here, and be with Him. That is my ultimate desire anyhow. If there is not a pre-trib rapture, and if I go through a time of great persecution, fine! I serve a God that is able to keep me, strengthen me, and if necessary give me His grace in death. Then I will be with Him, which is my ultimate desire anyhow. In that sense, it really does not matter. This is why I say this is not an essential part of Bible doctrine.
Yet it is not at all unimportant. We are told to study the scriptures. Remember Daniel said he set his mind to understand and through His study of scripture and prayer the 70 weeks were understood by Daniel by revelation of God. What is about to happen is not something that we should simply ignore. We are to ponder, study, pray, and be ready.
I am really concerned when I see brothers and sisters who become so immersed in their particular view of eschatology that they are unwilling and unable to discuss the topic with a heart to learn and understand but rather argue with a heart to convince the other guy that he is wrong. None of us have the end of this thing all figured out. As events unfold, the vision will slowly be unsealed so to speak. But what is our motive and heart in the matter? That is much more important than the matter of pretrib, posttrib, midtrib, or pantrib (If I stick with God it will all pan out :-) ) in my mind.
| 2016/9/3 13:23||Profile|
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I could never get into pre-trib thinking it was far-fetched and not having a witness of it in the Bible. For a long time I was a pre-wrath (Marv Rosenthal) kind of guy. Because I could easily see that persecution was a part of the Christian life and did not see escapist theology in the Bible. Always thought it was ridiculous that the Holy Spirit would be taken out of the world, yet men could still get saved. I once asked a presenter at a conference how that would happen and he said that there are a lot of Bible book stores in the world, Bibles in hotels and there will be plenty of Bibles in people's houses after they are raptured, so people will have plenty of Bibles in which they can get saved. I then asked him in front of everyone, "then what is the purpose for having the Holy Spirit, now in the world and is He integral in a person coming to salvation?" The good ole Baptist did not have an answer for me.
Futurism also seems far-fetched and not consistent with the spiritual aspect of the Kingdom of God and our Lord.
When I read the following, it all seemed to click for me (make sense) and that is when I held to the "Triumphalist" view. I have not seen or read anything in years that has caused me to change my mind. It explained very well to me the reason for the apocalyptic language and how John was using it. And it explains the spiritual walk and battle very well, tying everything together seamlessly in the Bible for me. This study of Revelation (link at bottom) has helped me to understand the Scriptures in a new, exciting, living way. I refer to it often as a reference.
The first word in the Greek text of this book is the Greek word apokalupsis. Thus it is that the book is often referred to as the Apocalypse. It is often explained that this writing is an example of Jewish apocalyptic literature that was prevalent in the last couple of centuries before Christ and in the first century A.D. Many of the academic attempts to narrowly define apocalyptic literature as distinct from parables, prophecy and allegory are “forced” categorizations. It is better to recognize that it was typical Middle-eastern thinking to teach by “story-telling” in picture-language.
It might be argued that the Revelation is the big, multi-faceted, new covenant parable! A good prelude to studying Revelation would be to study the parables of Jesus, which are the previous picture-language story-telling of Jesus Christ utilizing images and symbols. A study of the parables in the gospels will reveal that Jesus used them as an exposé and critique of religion, in order to explain the difference in the new covenant reality of His life functioning in grace within the kingdom.1 Jesus uses picture-language in the Revelation in much the same way as He did in the parables.
Just as in the parables, we should not try to force a full-fledged allegorical understanding upon the images. We should not try to figure out the meaning of every detail. The “literalist” who demands a “direct face-value” for every detail in the book is approaching Revelation like a “mechanic” tightening every nut and bolt, rather than an “artist” who wants to “see” the Big Picture. We do not have to get every detail figured out, nailed down. That is the absolutism of understanding that “religion” tries to achieve. Jesus wanted us to think, to ponder, to be discerning; that is why He spoke in parables and picture-language! If Jesus had wanted theological precision or the precision of prophetic calculation, He would have used a different method of teaching, and a precise vocabulary. He would have used plain, straight-foward language!
John was apparently an individual with an artist-mentality. He was a picture-painter with words. He often conveys what he wants to say with images and analogies. In the gospel that he wrote he employs pictorial language: Jesus is the “light of the world” - in contrast to which religion is darkness and blindness I (8,12). Jesus is the “good shepherd” - in contrast to the hirelings of religion (15). In his epistles (I,II,III John) he continues to use images of “sons of light” and “sons of darkness;” sons of God and sons of the devil. He saw clearly the either/or antithesis of God and Satan, and pictured such in many ways. When he writes what he saw in the Revelation, it is predominantly picture-language.
John saw the Big Picture and painted it in word-pictures. It is like a cosmic canvas on which he paints. He paints from God’s perspective, and it is difficult for us to get far enough back to see the whole picture. We tend to analyze the strokes and the texture. When we come to the book of Revelation, it is so easy to miss the forest for the trees; to miss the message for the minutia of detail and the fanciful interpretation of those details. We do not have to figure out every detail. If any man could do that, he could stack all the factual data of interpretation and put it on the “knowledge” shelf. That is part of the “epistemological heresy” of religion, that reduces Christianity to a mere “belief-system.” The life of Jesus Christ cannot be formulized and “put in the box” of doctrinal or eschatological understanding. Who would want such “canned” Christianity? Who would want such a rigid rectification of Revelation?
Therefore, we should attempt to see the message of Revelation in broad sections, rather than analyzing every detail; a macro-vision, rather than micro-vision.
The structure of this recorded vision seems to be something like a “movie in the round.” Have you ever been to one of those movies where multiple camera angles recorded the action on every side, 360 degrees around you? When the action starts, you can hardly keep your equilibrium. We do not have eyes in the back of our head, so we cannot see everything at once. To see the whole movie, you would have to re-run it several times and see the different perspectives. The Revelation-vision seems to be like that. John “runs it by again” to view the new covenant reality of Jesus Christ from different perspectives. He turns the gem around to look at different facets of its brilliance. The Revelation is not so much a time and space, chronological sequence of either history or the future, but is an increasingly intensified recapitulation of the new covenant reality of Jesus Christ. In repetitive parallels John views Jesus from different perspectives, different angles, another picture, another view. It does not seem to be consecutive or contiguous, but rather concyclic or synchronous – the Big Picture in the round!
I will never forget the occasion when I was talking to a young man who was zealous to understand the Bible and spiritual things. He was not well-versed in theological vocabulary, but was trying to use some of the terminology. In referring to the book of Revelation, he meant to refer to it as “apocalyptic,” but inadvertently transferred the vowel sounds, and instead referred to it as “a-pickle-optic.” I could not help but chuckle to myself when he said it, and the more I thought about it the funnier it became, because I realized that “a-pickle-optic” could be used to describe “apocalyptic.” The pictorial imagery that John saw in the vision can indeed be “a pickle of an optic.” The interpretation of the symbols has proved to be a difficult “pickle” for Biblical commentators for almost two millennia.
Though the book of Revelation can be “a-pickle-optic,” it was meant to be apocalyptic. As previously noted, the book is often identified as the Apocalypse, which is a transliteration of the first word in the Greek text of this book, apokalupsis. Apokalupsis is derived from two other Greek words, apo = from, and kalupto = to cover or hide. The Greek word apokalupsis meant to uncover, unveil, disclose or reveal. Thus it is that we usually refer to this book in English as the Revelation. The purpose of this book was not to provide a difficult puzzle of images for future expositors to sort out, “a-pickle-optic,” but rather to reveal, through the Middle Eastern method of storytelling, the triumph of Jesus Christ.
| 2016/9/3 13:38|
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Travis, what an awesome and logical response, that really blessed me.
| 2016/9/3 13:42||Profile|
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Hey Travis- I do appreciate your responses.
As far as the moon turning to blood etc, Josephus does report this phenomenon from all the smoke rising up from Jerusalem. So this was at least some degree of literal fulfillment.
| 2016/9/3 16:50||Profile|
This world is not my home anymore.
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I am really concerned when I see brothers and sisters who become so immersed in their particular view of eschatology that they are unwilling and unable to discuss the topic with a heart to learn and understand but rather argue with a heart to convince the other guy that he is wrong. None of us have the end of this thing all figured out.
Amen, brother. Thank you for your awesome response!
Side story to start: I used to smoke and after I quit I would bug my sister to quit (as only a little sister can!!), so she would say, “Reformed smokers are the worst.” LOL Ok, back to the topic at hand...
Years ago, I was becoming one of those people you described – “immersed in my particular view of eschatology.” I grew up being told pre-trib was the correct view and then I become post-trib (and reformed smoker mentality kicked in), so I would come out with guns blazing over topic of pre trib and its ramifications on the church world! The Lord allowed me to go so far and then (thank you Jesus), showed me that people have been arguing this topic since the printing press (or longer), losing friends and family and reputations.
He opened my eyes that reputations weren’t lost, friends weren’t lost, and families weren’t lost over their love for Jesus Christ, no... but because of their obsession with a mere topic, a paradigm, a belief system that SO FAR no one literally has lived to see come to pass.
The Holy Spirit didn't stop there but brought me down to where the rubber met the road and asked if that was what I wanted for my life because I was heading in that direction rather quickly. I had a decision to make that day and I chose Him, praise His holy name He gave me a chance.
None of us have the end of this thing all figured out. As events unfold, the vision will slowly be unsealed so to speak. But what is our motive and heart in the matter? That is much more important than the matter of pretrib, posttrib, midtrib, or pantrib (If I stick with God it will all pan out :-) ) in my mind.
Very well said brother!! I couldn't agree more.
edited for clarity sake... Greg PLEASE bring back the preview button (without all the bold and whistles)
| 2016/9/3 17:51||Profile|
| 2016/9/3 23:28||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
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Many of the Chinese house church brethren choose to not divide over this issue:
7. The Last Days
! We believe Christ will return, but no one except the Father knows the date of His return.1239 On the day when Christ returns, He will come in glory and power on the clouds with the angels.1240 On that day, the angels will blow the trumpet, and those who were dead in Christ will rise first. After that, all born again Christians who are still alive will also be transformed.1241 Their bodies will all be glorified, and they will all be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.1242
! The saints will then reign together with Christ for a thousand years,1243 during which Satan will be cast into the Abyss. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released temporarily and will go out to deceive the nations until he is finally thrown into the lake of burning sulfur.1244 After that, Christ will sit on the great white throne to judge men from each nation, tribe and people. Everyone will rise from the dead and be judged before the throne. If anyone’s name is not found written in the Book of life, he will
be thrown into the lake of fire. The former heaven
and earth will be consumed by fire. Death and Hades will also be thrown into the fire.1245
! Those whose names are found written in the Book of life will enter into the new heaven and the new earth, living there with God forever.1246 We believe that while waiting for the coming of the Lord, believers should serve the Lord with great diligence, preach the Word of life,1247 and bear abundant fruits in their words, actions, faith, love and holiness. We also believe that those who do this shall receive all kinds of rewards.1248
! As for whether the rapture happens before, during or after the great tribulation, we recognize that each denomination has its own conviction, and therefore there is no absolute conclusion in regard to this. The duty of each Christian is to be alert1249 and prepare himself for the coming of the Lord.1250
Could we not in the West adopt the same attitude and simplicity?
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2016/9/3 23:31||Profile|
This world is not my home anymore.
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Trying to figure out (praying) for a better way to say it.
| 2016/9/4 2:56||Profile|