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Thread: Why I am no longer a futurist

  1. #31

    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    When I see the NT making use of OT texts for a future sense, there are generally three ways I see for us to approach it. (1) If the OT text is a statement in generalities, then the NT is free to use it as it sees fit. (2) If the OT text has a prophecy that does not seem to constrain itself to a specific time before the coming of Jesus, the NT is free to apply it to Jesus as it sees fits. (3) If the OT text has a prophecy that does constrain itself to a specific time before the coming of Jesus, then any NT uses of that are midrashic; the speaker/writer is not claiming that the original text, which up to that time was seen as already being fulfilled in the past, was actually about this new or future event. Instead, they are reapplying it because of typological comparisons. (And this isn't the same thing as 'dual fulfillment'.)

    When I find a prophecy that, within its natural context, constrains itself to a fulfillment before the time of Jesus or the Apostles, yet they seem to be saying it is in their future, most Christians (I'm speaking in generalities) don't even consider approach number 3, even though midrashic approach was a viable method of interpretation in the first century. Let's do a few examples, just so I know I'm being clear.

    Matthew uses Hosea 11.1b, 'God called his son out of Egypt'. Is it about Jesus (as Matthew says), or was it about the exodus (as Hosea's context requires). A midrashic approach allows both Hosea 11 to be read in its natural context (Hosea is looking at the past exodus event), and it allows Matthew to claim Jesus fulfilled that prophecy (based on a typological reapplication of the concept of the Son of God being called out of Egypt). Same thing goes for stuff like Isaiah 7.14, or Daniel's abominable desolation.

    The approach of midrash doesn't require ripping Hosea 11.1b, or Isaiah 7.14, or Daniel's abominable desolation out of their original contexts, it requires embracing those original contexts, all the while making typological reapplications out of them. A very, very clear example of this is in Paul's letter to the Galatians, when he uses Hagar and Sarah typologically. He's not simply reducing the story Hagar and Sarah into a non-historical allegory, he fully acknowledges the original context, but he's reapplying their story for a new thing.

  2. #32
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    When I see the NT making use of OT texts for a future sense, there are generally three ways I see for us to approach it. (1) If the OT text is a statement in generalities, then the NT is free to use it as it sees fit. (2) If the OT text has a prophecy that does not seem to constrain itself to a specific time before the coming of Jesus, the NT is free to apply it to Jesus as it sees fits. (3) If the OT text has a prophecy that does constrain itself to a specific time before the coming of Jesus, then any NT uses of that are midrashic
    I've got no problem with this logic, however sometimes preterists claim a historical fit when history is not clear. For example I have yet to see a convincing historical fit for the abomination of Daniel 12. Everything I've seen so far does not fit well, the period either not being 3.5 years if you look at actual history, or the events not fitting the text of Daniel 12.

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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    .... And that is why I am no longer a futurist.
    Yeah dude, prophecy is of things that are yet to come. The bible says that the things that happened as recorded in the OT are a "shadow of things to come" concerning future events. (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 8:5, etc.).

    Things are happening on a timeline according to the holy Word of God. If we want to just throw out that timeline, we're essentially rejecting what God is saying about things that are yet to come. That isn't a position I want to be in, so I try to understand this as God wants me to understand it as best my feeble mind can.

    So, the only explanation for events that have transpired in times past that seem to imitate the prophecy, is that it is a scheme of Satan to deceive you of the truth. The truth is, we're still here and evil is still among us - And that is NOT what God promised us would happen, according to his timeline. If we were in the millenia, or final period of time before Satan is losed from the bottomless pit and thrown into the lake of fire, this planet would be a paradise and there would be no war. Clearly, that is NOT the case!

    So, with that in mind, you can just about throw out any seemingly amazing match of historical events with prophecy, since Satan is an angel of light and knows how to read prophecy, too. If Satan was just fumbling around in the darkness out there, he wouldn't know what would be going on and would have no way of deceiving us!

    I only say this in love, that the body of Christ isn't divided. A house divided can not stand.
    Last edited by Ceegen; Apr 7th 2012 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Sentences needed to make more sense... lol.
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  4. #34
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    My big problem with the OP is the manner in which the "limiting principle" when interpreting prophetic scriptures (to steal a term from the world of current events) is the understanding of the audience receiving the word from the prophet. Of course, such an approach presumes much upon the Gentile scholars, historians, and exegetes as it relates to their ability to get into the mind of an 8th or 7th century Hebrew Prophet and their audience.
    I believe we have a substantial ability to acquire true historical knowledge, however partial and limited it may be. But the only alternative to understanding any text historically is superimposing our own preconceived meaning onto it. It's because I believe that human beings have the God-given ability to look outside of themselves, to identify and empathize with "the other", that I think we have the substantial capacity to understand texts according to their own historical environments. Such epistemological questions go well beyond history, though. Do we have the ability to step outside of our own private world of meaning at all, not only with historical texts, but with the people we live with and talk to every day? In other words, do we have the ability to love?

    In other words, how can one be authoritative and definitive on the "non-futurist" side of things as it relates to "what the prophets were really saying"? Would such an approach truly enable us to shed biases, pre-conceived notions, and the (as it relates to the OP) clumsily applied notion of "cognitive dissonance"? It seems as if the "besetting sin" of the OP is an absence of (as it relates to the OP, not the person posting) our need for the Holy Spirit, or a "spirit of revelation" as it relates to our great need for divine intervention in scriptural interpretation. Does prayer, fasting, and help from God play a role, or are modern Gentile scholars our best bet in discerning genre, cultural nuance, and the prophet's intent (and the audience's reception)?
    I always try to keep my heart and mind open to the Lord in prayer, both as I read through the Scriptures themselves and as I interact with other interpretations. This hasn't been a solitary exercise of the mind for me. But I don't see such a contradistinction (as you seem to) between listening to the Holy Spirit, on the one hand, and interacting with scholars, historians and exegetes, on the other. I believe that the broad range of teachings throughout the history of the church are a gift of the Holy Spirit to us here and now, so that we do not become isolated, complacent or proud in our contemporary ideas. Godly men and women throughout the history of the church have spent the better part of their lives delving deep into the Scriptures and writing volumes of books which have preserved their labor of love for the benefit of the whole church, and we have the great privilege of standing on their shoulders. Why would I not take advantage of that great privilege? I believe the Holy Spirit teaches us as much through each other, as a corporate body, as he does by individual mediation. Indeed, that's the whole point of God's giving us preachers and teachers in the first place: “equipping the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13).

    But I would also say that, if the Holy Spirit can speak through a donkey, king Saul, or Caiaphas, he can surely speak through the "wrong" scholars as well as the "right" ones. Thus we should never assume that this or that teacher's interpretations of Scripture must be wrong simply because he or she doesn't have a deep prayer life. And conversely, we should never assume that this or that teacher's interpretations must be right simply because he or she does have a deep prayer life. Look at the Catholic mystics: they prayed hours a day, every day, for their entire lives, and they had some of the most bizarre and unfounded interpretations you could imagine. I absolutely believe that the Lord speaks to us in prayer; I know he has spoken to me many, many times. But it's never a good thing when someone makes their own private experiences the standard for truth. What the Holy Spirit illuminates to me today about whatever passage I'm reading, if it is concerned with the actual interpretation of the passage in question, and not (as is more often the case) with how I should apply it in the present, then that illumination will invariably stand in continuity with the original, historical, Holy-Spirit-inspired intention of the author who wrote the passage in the first place. God didn't speak above the prophets, he spoke through the prophets.

    I appreciate the reach for unbiased truth. I'm not sure why a post like this is even necessary, though - why the need to intellectually embarrass one group of members on this forum? Why the negative phrases attributed to one side ("cognitive dissonance", "besetting sin", "doubt masquerading as faith") - as if the other approach is the most pristine way forward? I'm wondering, Matt - your journey began with an honest desire to honor the perspective of others and bridge perceived gaps in communication; now you seem content to burn theological bridges and simply deconstruct your "opponents".
    Remember that I was once a futurist too. The OP is nothing if not a reflection on my own journey from futurism to a contemporary-historical approach, and thus I include myself with the “opponents” of the argument therein. If the content of that argument is sharp, it is because it so sharply confronted me as I tried to reconcile my futurism with a consistently historical-grammatical reading of Scripture. It was because I could not, on the last analysis, bring myself to change the meaning of Jeremiah’s “Chaldea”, Ezekiel’s “sin offerings”, or Jesus’ “generation” that I could no longer in good conscience remain a futurist. I am just as interested as ever in bridging perceived gaps in communication and honoring others, but I am also (and have always been) interested in discovering and accurately representing the truth.

    If the purpose of this thread is a mild rebuke of futurists, well, rebuke delivered. If the purpose was to plant your flag, well, flag planted. But I would counsel a more measured approach that presents your way forward as "the best of the bad options" as you perceive them, not "the superior option" in a perceived sea of inferior exegesis. What was the leaven of the Pharisees, and why did Jesus warn us, "Beware!" It's a danger that all who hold opinions on the word of God must consider, and I don't know if we even think about that warning when interacting in these kinds of forums.
    I appreciate that council. But at the same time, the nature of the OP’s thesis is what it is. As someone who used to be a futurist, I don’t believe futurism works from an appropriate exegetical method. It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong in that assessment – I posted it here because I want interaction, questioning, and challenging. But because of the nature of the OP’s content, I cannot help portraying futurism as an exegetically inferior option. That’s the whole point.
    Last edited by Matthehitmanhart; Apr 8th 2012 at 12:25 PM.

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  5. #35
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    So. Matthew 13 - Jesus seems to violate the principle of the OP in the manner in which he interpretes Isaiah 6?
    Do you think that, just because Jesus quotes Isaiah 6 and says it is "fulfilled" in the blind hearts of his audience, Isaiah 6 must invariably be a prophecy about his audience? Jesus is applying Isaiah 6 to his audience, not interpreting Isaiah 6, as if it was actually about his audience.

    The other time that Jesus does this, of course, is the "abomination of desolation" and His interpretation of it in Matthew 24.
    Just like Matthew 13's use of Isaiah 6, or Matthew 1's use of Isaiah 7, or Matthew 2's use of Hosea 11, there's no reason to assume that in Matthew 24 Jesus intends anything by his allusion to Daniel other than a typological association between the time which Daniel spoke of and the time which he is speaking of. In referencing Daniel 11, Jesus wasn't saying "this is that!" in the sense of a one-to-one realization of a past prediction. Daniel 11 isn't about Rome or Titus, it's about Antiochus Epiphanes, and Jesus knew that. But that's exactly why he referenced it, because he saw a thematic similarity between what happened to Israel under Antiochus Epiphanes and what will happen again under Rome: a time of great trouble. The theme is the same, but the characters are different.

    The question is related to the "limiting hermeneutical principle" - are we making an exception for Jesus or is there a place for futurism in the manner in which we read prophecy?
    There is absolutely a place for the future in the way I read biblical prophecy. That's why I qualified in the OP that an appropriate historical approach does [edit: not] mean that all biblical prophecy must of necessity refer to past events, but only that the language of all biblical prophecy must have been readily understandable to the people of its own time. There are many passages which I recognize as being concerned with the ultimate eschatological future, such as 1 Thessalonians 4, Romans 8, and 1 Corinthians 15. My argument does not preclude the possibility of any futurist interpretations, just the underlying logic of the futurist system.

    Secondly, what do we do with first coming and second coming passages that are contained within one prophecy? Isaiah 9 and 61 would be great examples to examine; Zechariah 12-14 would be another.
    I'm sure I don't read those passages the same as you do. I wouldn't even say that they are about the "first coming" or the "second coming" in their original contexts.

    The final book that messes with the OP is the book of Revelation itself - the manner in which John "wrenches" passages from their immediate historical context and places them in the "future" (even in that future is Roman, not eschatological in the futurist sense), wouldn't John be guilty of the same kind of approach the OP is rebuking?
    Not at all. Let's take John's use of Ezekiel 40-48 in Revelation 21-22 as an example. As I said earlier in this thread, I think John's vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 is explicitly intended to communicate an expanded fulfillment of Ezekiel 40-48. By his repeated allusions to the passage, John seems to be saying simultaneously that this is the future which Ezekiel saw, but it is also so much greater than anything Ezekiel could have imagined. Recognizing that the passage is fulfilled in a manner which neither Ezekiel nor his original audience could have imagined does not give us the license to change the original referent of the passage, however. It's one thing to admit that history did not play out exactly as the passage envisioned and then to seek a systematic answer to that problem, an answer which does not conflict with what the passage means on its own terms; but it's an entirely thing to conclude that the passage must not mean what a strictly exegetical method demands it to mean.

    In my view, we must conclude that there is a fundamental discontinuity between what Ezekiel saw and what will now come to pass under the New Covenant, in light of the greater salvation which Israel’s god has brought about by the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah. Under the Old Covenant Ezekiel saw a 10-mile-wide city with God’s presence inhabiting a beautifully rebuilt temple where sacrifices for sin take place continually, but under the New Covenant John saw a 1,500-mile-wide city where God’s presence is everywhere, there is no need for a temple because God in Christ is the Temple, and as the “Lamb” Christ died for sin once and for all. John’s vision is self-consciously dependent upon Ezekiel’s vision, but at the same time it completely transcends it. John understands, in other words, that the promise of Ezekiel 40-48 has been expanded by the grace of God revealed in Christ.
    Last edited by Matthehitmanhart; Apr 8th 2012 at 12:24 PM.

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


  6. #36

    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    That's why I qualified in the OP that an appropriate historical approach does not mean that all biblical prophecy must of necessity refer to past events, but only that the language of all biblical prophecy must have been readily understandable to the people of its own time.
    Did you forget this word?

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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Did you forget this word?
    Yep. Thanks for understanding what I meant anyway!

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    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    IMO there is yet another angle to consider. I myself would think it could be understood in the same sense as the following passage. The following then, crossed my mind some time back when I was reading this passage.

    Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

    'Nation' is the same Greek word 'genea'. No one then should conclude a crooked and perverse nation/generation only applies to one period of time, such as 40 years. Of course the KJV renders it nation and not generation, but even so, no one would conclude it's only meaning in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation in a certain period of time only. Philippians 2:15 applied to those 2000 years ago. It still applies to us today. So when Jesus said this generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled, He's meaning in the same sense as this crooked and perverse nation. So IOW, when all things are fulfilled, so then will this generation be history as well since righteousness will now dwell because of the new heavens and a new earth.
    Based on the way Matthew uses γενεά throughout his gospel (and he uses it quite a few times: 1:17; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36), I seriously doubt that he intends for it to mean "race" instead of "generation" in 24:34. The whole context of the Olivet Discourse concerns the judgment which would befall that perverse generation for not accepting Jesus' offer of peace. Matthew sets the scene for Jesus' prediction of the nation's fall and the Temple's destruction by placing it together with his lengthy rebuke of the nations hypocritical leadership in ch. 23, and that whole passage concludes with his pronouncement that recompense for the blood of all the martyrs from Abel to Zechariah would "come upon this generation".

    But look into the context tho.

    Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

    Why just those specific ones at the time? Notice this part as well...whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Surely these Jesus were talking to weren't there at the time. So why just these of that generation at the time in particular?
    He's saying that the cumulative obstinacy and violence of Israel's history is coming back upon their own heads in a great climactic judgment, and that it would come upon that generation.

    Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
    26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
    27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
    28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

    As an example, would you then conclude that after 70 AD, no one longer fits these descriptions? But if these descriptions are still valid of some today, then it's illogical to conclude Jesus only meant these at the time. The fact that there is still a resurrection to damnation, that could be when they pay for their deeds.
    Saying that people can still fit those descriptions, or that they are still valid for application, is very different from saying Jesus was directly speaking to all the people of every generation who fit those descriptions.

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


  9. #39
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    But because of the nature of the OP’s content, I cannot help portraying futurism as an exegetically inferior option. That’s the whole point.
    You seem to be presenting a caricature of futurism as an exegetically inferior option, which is my point - as if the hermeneutical approach is limited to your examples from Jeremiah 50-51 and Ezekiel 40-48. Individuals may be guilty of poor exegesis or simplistic hermeneutical approaches, but on the whole your argument seems either limited to your own journey as a futurist or your limited interactions with individuals within the futurist camp. Perhaps you researched your post better than the way you presented it - perhaps your sweeping generalizations about futurists were well-earned observations from someone who has been around the block.

    My point was to simply say that calling individuals within this forum to a more refined and careful exegetical approach is well within your sphere and even humble. You have the data and the life experience here, with the individuals in question, to be able to do so with authority. To imagine the ability to dismiss the whole of futurist interpretation of scripture seems like a mountain too big for any of us to climb. In fact, before doing so authoritatively, I'd challenge you to turn your deconstructionist cannon on the scholars you've seemed to gravitate towards and identify some of the holes and flaws in their logic. It's healthy to look at your own viewpoint and place it under the unyielding lens of truth. But to adopt yet another lens in the process, without questioning its weaknesses at all (while boldly decrying the weaknesses of the camp you just left) is to either (1) find yourself in the very same place a decade from now (postmodernism) or (2) find yourself intractably entrenched into a belief set (fundamentalism).

    You never actually answered my key question, though: what was the leaven of the Pharisees?
    The Rookie

    Twelve is the number of government. Thus, it is quite apropos that I am on my way towards wielding the power of twelve bars - each bar like, say, a tribe.....or a star.....or, maybe an apostle. A blue apostle. Like apostle smurfs. Does anyone remember smurfs? And all the controversy about them being from the devil? It's probably bad that I juxtaposed "apostle" and "smurf" in the same sentence. But then, I probably lost you at "blue apostle". Yes, my friends, this is what "rare jewel of a person" is actually implying. "Rare Jewel of a Person" really means, "Potentially Insane".

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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    ...an appropriate historical approach does not mean that all biblical prophecy must of necessity refer to past events, but only that the language of all biblical prophecy must have been readily understandable to the people of its own time.
    Before I answer this point, I'd love for you to clarify it (or we'll just go 'round in circles).
    The Rookie

    Twelve is the number of government. Thus, it is quite apropos that I am on my way towards wielding the power of twelve bars - each bar like, say, a tribe.....or a star.....or, maybe an apostle. A blue apostle. Like apostle smurfs. Does anyone remember smurfs? And all the controversy about them being from the devil? It's probably bad that I juxtaposed "apostle" and "smurf" in the same sentence. But then, I probably lost you at "blue apostle". Yes, my friends, this is what "rare jewel of a person" is actually implying. "Rare Jewel of a Person" really means, "Potentially Insane".

  11. #41
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    You seem to be presenting a caricature of futurism as an exegetically inferior option, which is my point - as if the hermeneutical approach is limited to your examples from Jeremiah 50-51 and Ezekiel 40-48. Individuals may be guilty of poor exegesis or simplistic hermeneutical approaches, but on the whole your argument seems either limited to your own journey as a futurist or your limited interactions with individuals within the futurist camp. Perhaps you researched your post better than the way you presented it - perhaps your sweeping generalizations about futurists were well-earned observations from someone who has been around the block.
    Just to clarify, my argument does not preclude the possibility of any futurist interpretations, just the underlying logic of the futurist system, which in many cases has no other reason for saying that a passage is concerned with our future except that the past event which it seemed to be looking forward to did not play out exactly like the passage said it would. My point was not to accuse, but to distinguish between alternative methods. One method approaches the text and seeks to understand it historically, according to how it would have been heard in it's original setting. That's the grammatical-historical method, plain and simple. The other method approaches the text and seeks to understand it systematically, according to a prior governing commitment that demands every detail of the passage to have come true, and if it didn't then the only solution is to tweak its meaning and project it into the future. The way futurists generally approach the four examples that I gave (Jer 50-51, Ezek 40-48, Mark 13, Rev 17-19) are simply representative of this hermeneutical priority - they are not exhaustive.

    But if you would like more evidence that this is really what's involved in the futurist system, I can provide it. This was the premise of the OP in this thread of yours, in which you argued that in Jeremiah 50-51 the prophet is talking about a judgment upon some "future Babylon", not the Babylon of his own time that had just taken Judah captive. But the only explicit reasons you gave which you said "demand that [Jeremiah 50-51] be placed in the future" are all reasons which have nothing to do with a historical-grammatical reading of the passage itself. As you summarized at the end of the OP, "there are details that seem to demand that [Jeremiah's oracle] be placed in the future - during a time in which the kings and the merchants unify with her against the believers of the earth." And as The Beginner summarized in one of his posts, "my reasoning [is] that Jer 50-51 judgment on the 'king of Babylon' was not on Nebuchadnezzar because the details of Babylon's destruction did not happen under his rule."

    Both of these quotes display the logic I spoke of: the futurist method approaches the text and seeks to understand it systematically, according to a prior governing commitment that "demands" every detail of the passage to have come true, and if it didn't then the only solution is to tweak its meaning and project it into the future.

    But perhaps an example outside of these forums would help. In his commentary on Revelation 17:18, Robert Thomas says the following with regard to the angel's explanation that the harlot "is the great city which has a kingdom over the kings of the earth":

    "Some take this statement as the crowning evidence that John thinks the woman is Rome (e.g., Swete, Moffatt). Another opinion is that John thought this, but was wrong in his application of the prophecy to his own generation (Beasley-Murray). Neither of these is correct, however. John nowhere indicates a direct association of the harlot with Rome, not even in the widely cited v. 9 of this chapter. Besides this, the historical dissolution of the Roman Empire does not match the description of the city's destruction just given in vv. 16-17." (Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary, p. 306).

    Notice especially the part in bold, which is the only actual reason which Thomas gives for not taking the text at face value here. It should be pointed out, first, that Thomas hasn't actually addressed the view of Beasley-Murray, which thinks that John himself identified the harlot as Rome but was simply wrong in that identification. Because of his view of Scripture, Thomas cannot accept such a conclusion, and is therefore left with only one solution, which he explains in the following paragraph: "When the angel uses the present tense (estin, "is") it is not from the perspective of John's own time, but of the time when the false Christ will have attained his ascendancy (Lee)." In other words, the city which "reigns" over the kings of the earth must mean the city which will reign over the kings of the earth. But what is Thomas' reason for taking the phrase in such a proleptic fashion? The answer is that, despite the claim to be an "exegetical commentary," Thomas has no other reason except that the phrase as it appears in the text, as John and his first-century audience would have undoubtedly understood it, does not fit with his preconceived system, and therefore it must be modified to fit that system.

    My point was to simply say that calling individuals within this forum to a more refined and careful exegetical approach is well within your sphere and even humble. You have the data and the life experience here, with the individuals in question, to be able to do so with authority. To imagine the ability to dismiss the whole of futurist interpretation of scripture seems like a mountain too big for any of us to climb. In fact, before doing so authoritatively, I'd challenge you to turn your deconstructionist cannon on the scholars you've seemed to gravitate towards and identify some of the holes and flaws in their logic. It's healthy to look at your own viewpoint and place it under the unyielding lens of truth. But to adopt yet another lens in the process, without questioning its weaknesses at all (while boldly decrying the weaknesses of the camp you just left) is to either (1) find yourself in the very same place a decade from now (postmodernism) or (2) find yourself intractably entrenched into a belief set (fundamentalism).

    You never actually answered my key question, though: what was the leaven of the Pharisees?
    I'll have to respond to this later, as I have to go to work.

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    Based on the way Matthew uses γενεά throughout his gospel (and he uses it quite a few times: 1:17; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36), I seriously doubt that he intends for it to mean "race" instead of "generation" in 24:34. The whole context of the Olivet Discourse concerns the judgment which would befall that perverse generation for not accepting Jesus' offer of peace. Matthew sets the scene for Jesus' prediction of the nation's fall and the Temple's destruction by placing it together with his lengthy rebuke of the nations hypocritical leadership in ch. 23, and that whole passage concludes with his pronouncement that recompense for the blood of all the martyrs from Abel to Zechariah would "come upon this generation".



    From my perspective, even if I'm wrong about the sense in which 'this generation' is to be understood, your perspective causes even more problems. Such as how all the things mentioned in the 3 parallels accounts, how all of that can get fulfilled from the time Jesus spoke those words, until the time of 70 AD. Plus some of it doesn't even remotely fit with that time period. Such as.

    Mark 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
    35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
    36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
    37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

    This is pointing back to this.

    Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
    33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.


    Which then is pointing back to this.

    Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
    30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
    31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.


    None of that fits with what occured in 70 AD. If so, perhaps you can show how?

  13. #43
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    Just to clarify, my argument does not preclude the possibility of any futurist interpretations, just the underlying logic of the futurist system, which in many cases has no other reason for saying that a passage is concerned with our future except that the past event which it seemed to be looking forward to did not play out exactly like the passage said it would.
    I understand your argument, I promise

    My point was not to accuse, but to distinguish between alternative methods. One method approaches the text and seeks to understand it historically, according to how it would have been heard in it's original setting. That's the grammatical-historical method, plain and simple. The other method approaches the text and seeks to understand it systematically, according to a prior governing commitment that demands every detail of the passage to have come true, and if it didn't then the only solution is to tweak its meaning and project it into the future. The way futurists generally approach the four examples that I gave (Jer 50-51, Ezek 40-48, Mark 13, Rev 17-19) are simply representative of this hermeneutical priority - they are not exhaustive.
    My point was that you should differentiate between "all futurists" and the "futurists you are actually talking about". That would lead some really productive conversation, since we can get the guts and roots of the matter, rather than hovering in the false safety of overgeneralization.

    But if you would like more evidence that this is really what's involved in the futurist system, I can provide it. This was the premise of in the OP this thread of yours, in which you argued that in Jeremiah 50-51 the prophet is talking about a judgment upon some "future Babylon", not the Babylon of his own time that had just taken Judah captive. But the only explicit reasons you gave which you said "demand that [Jeremiah 50-51] be placed in the future" are all reasons which have nothing to do with a historical-grammatical reading of the passage itself. As you summarized at the end of the OP, "there are details that seem to demand that [Jeremiah's oracle] be placed in the future - during a time in which the kings and the merchants unify with her against the believers of the earth." And as The Beginner summarized in one of his posts, "my reasoning [is] that Jer 50-51 judgment on the 'king of Babylon' was not on Nebuchadnezzar because the details of Babylon's destruction did not happen under his rule."
    It was plainly obvious that you were referencing that conversation / thread

    Both of these quotes display the logic I spoke of: the futurist method approaches the text and seeks to understand it systematically, according to a prior governing commitment that "demands" every detail of the passage to have come true, and if it didn't then the only solution is to tweak its meaning and project it into the future.
    Sure. But you're making some presumptions regarding how I exegete that passage and where it challenges me.

    I think that you're also making presumptions on what Jeremiah's original audience (and Jeremiah himself) understood and what the grammar demands as it relates to interpretation. I also find it interesting that you demand that I honor the original audience's understanding - until that understanding is set into a first century context, where we must introduce a dramatic "surprise" that radically changes the terms of what they understood. In other words, your presentation demands that the Pharisaic understanding of O.T. prophetic scripture carry weight in terms of how we understand those passages...until their understanding is brought into an N.T. context, and suddenly their interpretation is rendered meaningless. Which is it?

    ...as John and his first-century audience would have undoubtedly understood it,
    According to whom? Modern exegetes and commentators, or second and third century ECF's who were looking for a future antichrist, not back to Nero or Domitian?

    The problem with "undoubtably" is that it establishes an exegetical certainty that feels a bit dishonest, to be honest.
    The Rookie

    Twelve is the number of government. Thus, it is quite apropos that I am on my way towards wielding the power of twelve bars - each bar like, say, a tribe.....or a star.....or, maybe an apostle. A blue apostle. Like apostle smurfs. Does anyone remember smurfs? And all the controversy about them being from the devil? It's probably bad that I juxtaposed "apostle" and "smurf" in the same sentence. But then, I probably lost you at "blue apostle". Yes, my friends, this is what "rare jewel of a person" is actually implying. "Rare Jewel of a Person" really means, "Potentially Insane".

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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    My point was to simply say that calling individuals within this forum to a more refined and careful exegetical approach is well within your sphere and even humble. You have the data and the life experience here, with the individuals in question, to be able to do so with authority. To imagine the ability to dismiss the whole of futurist interpretation of scripture seems like a mountain too big for any of us to climb.
    I'm not exactly sure how to respond to this, as you don't give me anything to work with save your own recommendation. Perhaps a better way for you to show me that my critique of futurism is indeed "a mountain too big for any of us to climb" would be to actually respond to the points I made and demonstrate how they are unfounded or misguided. Just saying so doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion.

    In fact, before doing so authoritatively, I'd challenge you to turn your deconstructionist cannon on the scholars you've seemed to gravitate towards and identify some of the holes and flaws in their logic. It's healthy to look at your own viewpoint and place it under the unyielding lens of truth. But to adopt yet another lens in the process, without questioning its weaknesses at all (while boldly decrying the weaknesses of the camp you just left) is to either (1) find yourself in the very same place a decade from now (postmodernism) or (2) find yourself intractably entrenched into a belief set (fundamentalism).
    Do you really think I haven't thought critically about all of this, or that I haven't applied the same kind of attention to the arguments of my own current persuasion? Obviously, I haven't always held the view I do now. The reason I do is because I find it has the best arguments in its favor. If I find in the future that the evidence actually leads elsewhere, I have no problem going wherever the evidence leads.

    In many of your responses lately you seem to want to deconstruct me personally, to get behind whatever argument it is that I'm making to the "real root of the issue", but you don't seem nearly as interested in actually engaging with any of the points that I actually make. I think you would have more success, however, and find more openness on my end, if my motives and character weren't constantly on trial.

    You never actually answered my key question, though: what was the leaven of the Pharisees?
    Um, that their hearts were hardened?

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    Before I answer this point, I'd love for you to clarify it (or we'll just go 'round in circles).
    I was qualifying that "interpreting the text with reference to its own time" does not mean that all prophecy must necessarily refer to the events of its own time, as many preterists mistakenly conclude, but only that the language (i.e. the words and phrases used by the prophets) would have been readily accessible to the comprehension of the original audience, not esoteric code-talk. In other words, when Jeremiah speaks of "Chaldea" in Jer. 50-51, we should understand that to be referring to the historical nation of Chaldea that had just taken Judah captive, as the original audience would have. And when Ezekiel speaks of "sin offerings" in Ezek. 40-48, we should understand that to be referring to the animal sacrifices which were offered to atone for the sin of the people, as the original audience would have.

    - Hitman


    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul


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