Re: Why I am no longer a futurist
I'm not even sure what you mean. I'm not talking about any specific futurists, but the futurist system in general.
Originally Posted by the rookie
That was the springboard for what I wrote, yes. But, to be clear, I wasn't aiming any guns at you specifically. That thread, and your argument therein, formed the occasion for me to reflect and formulate my thoughts on the matter more precisely than I had previously.
It was plainly obvious that you were referencing that conversation / thread
Could you then explain how you exegete it? I was just working off of what you and others said, as well as what I previously thought when I was a futurist.
Sure. But you're making some presumptions regarding how I exegete that passage and where it challenges me.
I understand that for many futurists it's a distinction of understanding that the historical nation of Chaldea, and what they had done to Judea, formed the backdrop for Jeremiah's prophecy about a future Chaldea, so that in a sense he is speaking of that historical nation, but only as one who looks at the nearest mountain peak in the shadow of the farthest. Thus, he is actually referring to the future nation as if it were the present nation. But I think that, if anything, that analogy should be reversed. Jeremiah is actually referring to the present nation of Chaldea, prophesying a judgment of retribution on Nebuchadnezzar, saying that the violence and destruction which he dealt to Israel would come back upon his own head (cf. 50:17-18, 29; 51:34-35). That's the underlying logic of the whole prophecy. And if there is a farther mountain peak in view at all, it is only the backdrop on which Jeremiah paints his prophecy about the current nation of Chaldea and its king.
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'm not suggesting that the content or message of every prophecy has to be fully understood by it's original audience. That, indeed, would be far too great of a demand on the original audience. No, what I'm saying, once more, is that the language, the words and phrases, which the prophets used would have been open to the original audience, rooted in the meaning of their own time, and not filled with the meaning of another period. And I think that's as true for the NT, for Jesus and Paul, as I do for the OT. Of course the message which Jesus spoke was at times mysterious, so that not even his disciples understood it. But the words and phrases which he used were still the words and phrases of his own time, filled with the meaning of that time, except where he explicitly subverts that meaning and fills a word with a new meaning which he wants to give to it, as is the case with "the Christ" or "the kingdom". But that is all within the scope of historical-grammatical interpretation, understanding (a) what the public meaning of those words were, and (b) how the author is interacting with that public meaning, whether he is agreeing with it or contradicting it. If he is contradicting it, then that must be explicit. Public meaning and authorial intent: these are the two sides of the exegetical coin when dealing with any historical text.
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?
First, did all the ECF agree? Second, were they the original audience?
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?
That was admittedly a bit too strong on my part. I should have said "it seems to me" or "most likely". But the point still stands, regardless.
The problem with "undoubtably" is that it establishes an exegetical certainty that feels a bit dishonest, to be honest.
"Test all things; hold fast what is good." - Advice from the Apostle Paul