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Thread: Why I am no longer a futurist

  1. #46
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    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.
    I'm not even sure what you mean. I'm not talking about any specific futurists, but the futurist system in general.

    It was plainly obvious that you were referencing that conversation / thread
    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.

    Sure. But you're making some presumptions regarding how I exegete that passage and where it challenges me.
    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.

    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 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 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?
    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.

    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?
    First, did all the ECF agree? Second, were they the original audience?

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

    - Hitman


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


  2. #47
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    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.
    I'm mostly speaking as the lead forum guy that's watched thousands of conversations in here. They tend to be more productive when individuals answer for themselves, versus answering for "all futurists". It's too broad a brush - I'm not sure you want to answer for "all preterists" or "all new perspective" guys. Your views are too nuanced - and that would be unfair. The points you were making were sound critiques that get a bit lost in unnecessary verbiage, IMO.

    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.
    Maybe. Not sure. Doesn't seem like it - but I can only go by what you write and present - and the way you present it.

    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.
    That's my nature. I'm reflexively pastoral.

    Um, that their hearts were hardened?
    Nope. The leaven was in their doctrine and the manner in which it produced a religious response rather than a devotional one. It's something that I've been pondering in terms of Jesus' warning to His disciples and our propensity to go that way as humans. I've been thinking about it in terms of these discussions because we've been on the subject of the grammatical / historical hermeneutic, the 1st century audience, etc. Your explanations elsewhere seem to render my musings moot, though.
    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".

  3. #48
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    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.
    This is helpful! Much appreciated!
    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".

  4. #49
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    I'm not even sure what you mean. I'm not talking about any specific futurists, but the futurist system in general.
    Is there a handbook somewhere that I'm missing?


    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.
    I start with your basic grammatical / historical exegesis and a stack of commentaries from many different "streams" of thought, from liberal to linguistic to cultural to conservative, etc. Word, Pulpit, NAC, NICOT, and so forth. Motyer where possible, he's one of my favorites. Birch, Cohen, Hayes, Hubbard - for the book of Revelation, I have 88 different commentaries that I'll refer to at different times for different purposes (not all of them, I obviously gravitate towards some more than others). Right now, as I'm tearing Amos 5-9 apart in a fresh way, I'm relying heavily on Motyer and the NAC while touching about four other commentaries. The two of them suffice, however, to get a solid feel for the immediate context, linguistic nuances, and cultural dynamics.

    I'll work through the passage pretty rigorously so that I understand it in it's immediate setting. From there, I work with a basic premise related to the prophetic, from the law itself, related to fulfillment. Like you, I assume that the straightforward presentation is what the people would have received and understood as that which was going to happen - because they were working with the same assumptions from the Mosaic Law regarding an O.T. prophet and accuracy. (They still are ) The passages that describe the first coming of Jesus were all fulfilled in the manner in which the prophets described; my experiences with "modern prophecy" (I'll use some dreams I've had as a non-controversial example) seem to work according to the same principle: God will declare three things, two come to pass as they were given, this gives me faith to believe for the third segment. Biblical prophecy seems to work according to this pattern: immediate predictions come to pass as they were spoken, Messianic prophecies later were fulfilled in the same manner, and so I have confidence that the third segment will do the same.

    That's kind of a general overview.

    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 totally agree.

    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.
    Totally agree again.

    First, did all the ECF agree? Second, were they the original audience?
    Pretty much, when it comes to the subject of the Antichrist. I'm being soft, since their unanimity on that point is something even Amillennialists don't question. And since Irenaeus, for example, was discipled by John the Apostle, that's pretty "original".
    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".

  5. #50
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    I don't see why both views couldn't be valid at the same time? Obviously some specific generation is going to witness the fulfillment of these things. But I wouldn't think that was meaning the generation that saw 70 AD. There's just way too many things in between the time Jesus said that, until 70 AD, that couldn't have possibly been fulfilled.
    I agree, attempts to make all those events fit the period 30AD to 70AD never appear realistic. Especially that part about it being the greatest tribulation period that will ever be.

    It would be a little difficult for both views to fit the text, because if its the "race" we are referring to then it becomes irrelevant if Jesus is referring to the "race" in front of him or the "race" of the future because both are in fact the same. This sorta makes my point redundant that Jesus is referring to a future generation instead of His listeners.

  6. #51
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by DurbanDude View Post

    It would be a little difficult for both views to fit the text, because if its the "race" we are referring to then it becomes irrelevant if Jesus is referring to the "race" in front of him or the "race" of the future because both are in fact the same. This sorta makes my point redundant that Jesus is referring to a future generation instead of His listeners.

    But that's where everyone is misunderstanding me, or that I'm misunderstanding something myself.


    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;

    This renders it nation, which would mean race. But that's not the sense I get from it at all. I get the sense it means age, but not just a particular age like 40 years or something. But the age we live in, the age they lived in...it's a crooked and perverse age. And Jesus said this age, meaning the age we all live in, it will not pass until all things are fulfilled, which then makes sense, because with the passing of this age, comes the next age where righteousness will dwell. And that certainly didn't happen in 70 AD, where righteousness dwelled in the earth afterwards.

    But look at Philippians 2:15 again. Race doesn't fit that context. But age does. But not a generational age, such as 40 years, but the current age in contrast with the next age when Christ has returned.

  7. #52
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    But that's where everyone is misunderstanding me, or that I'm misunderstanding something myself.


    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;

    This renders it nation, which would mean race. But that's not the sense I get from it at all. I get the sense it means age, but not just a particular age like 40 years or something. But the age we live in, the age they lived in...it's a crooked and perverse age. And Jesus said this age, meaning the age we all live in, it will not pass until all things are fulfilled, which then makes sense, because with the passing of this age, comes the next age where righteousness will dwell. And that certainly didn't happen in 70 AD, where righteousness dwelled in the earth afterwards.

    But look at Philippians 2:15 again. Race doesn't fit that context. But age does. But not a generational age, such as 40 years, but the current age in contrast with the next age when Christ has returned.
    Ok I understand, sorta like saying this "during this stage of mankind", I checked the Greek as well and you are correct there too.

    But even so, you will no longer need my interpretation if in fact your interpretation is correct. And you could very well be correct, thanks for pointing this out.

  8. #53
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by DurbanDude View Post
    Ok I understand, sorta like saying this "during this stage of mankind", I checked the Greek as well and you are correct there too.

    But even so, you will no longer need my interpretation if in fact your interpretation is correct. And you could very well be correct, thanks for pointing this out.



    To add to the confusion..hey I admit, I oftentimes confuse even myself, but here's a possibilty. In Matt 23, 'this generation' could be meaning in the sense of those at the time, while in Matthew 24:34, it carries a broader sense. In Matt 23, it indeed seems like Jesus is specifically meaning those of that time. But if you will notice, He already said all these things will come upon them, even before He went into the discussion with His disciples about the end of the world in Matt 24 and the parallel accounts.

    Matthew 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.


    All of what things? The things in Matt 24? Or the things Jesus was referring to prior to Matthew 23:36? The former seems illogical, because they wouldn't even know about anything mentioned in ch 24 yet.

  9. #54
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    To add to the confusion..hey I admit, I oftentimes confuse even myself, but here's a possibilty. In Matt 23, 'this generation' could be meaning in the sense of those at the time, while in Matthew 24:34, it carries a broader sense. In Matt 23, it indeed seems like Jesus is specifically meaning those of that time. But if you will notice, He already said all these things will come upon them, even before He went into the discussion with His disciples about the end of the world in Matt 24 and the parallel accounts.

    Matthew 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.


    All of what things? The things in Matt 24? Or the things Jesus was referring to prior to Matthew 23:36? The former seems illogical, because they wouldn't even know about anything mentioned in ch 24 yet.
    Yes, I think its pretty obvious when we look at context, the events of chapter 23 happen to the group of people of the period applicable to chapter 23 (first century rejectors of christ), and the tribulations of chapter 24 occur to the very people applicable to chapter 24 (divaD: mankind of this age.......... Durbandude:end-times generation).

    They are two different sermons, and Jesus is speaking about two different groups of people.

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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    I'm mostly speaking as the lead forum guy that's watched thousands of conversations in here. They tend to be more productive when individuals answer for themselves, versus answering for "all futurists". It's too broad a brush - I'm not sure you want to answer for "all preterists" or "all new perspective" guys. Your views are too nuanced - and that would be unfair. The points you were making were sound critiques that get a bit lost in unnecessary verbiage, IMO.
    Labels like "futurist" and "preterist" are somewhat relative, of course, but I think there is at least a broad consensus on their meaning. To clarify, I do not use the term "futurist" as just another word for "premillennial". Premillennial, posmillennial, amillennial - those terms have to do with how one interprets Revelation 20, and there are many premillennialists (like Ladd, Beasley-Murray, or Obsborne) who I would not consider thoroughgoing futurists. I myself was premillennial for a period where I did not consider myself a futurist.

    Not to say that Revelation 20 isn't a key passage to the futurist system, but only that it is one passage within a larger network of interpretation. In other words, just because someone understands this or that passage to be about the future, that does not automatically make them a futurist. The term suggests a hermeneutical tendency, and a systematic priority, to the final period of history which characterizes the way someone approaches biblical prophecy in general, or at least predominately. It is that particular systematic priority, and the logic which regularly undergirds it, which is the object of my criticism in the OP. It is that faulty tendency which I referred to metaphorically as the "besetting sin" of futurist interpreters.

    But in the same token, "preterist" tends to suggest an opposite systematic priority to AD70. Is everyone a preterist who thinks that Jesus prophesied concerning AD70? Obviously not, or else most everyone I know would be a preterist on the basis of Luke 19:43-44 alone. The Olivet Discourse is a cornerstone, yes, but someone who takes the title "preterist" as a self-designation generally carries the same reading beyond Mark 13 and its parallels to Revelation, Daniel, etc, give or take. Personally, while I do think that's what the Olivet Discourse is about, I don't try to fit all other prophecy into that - I don't think it's a primary emphasis in Revelation, and I don't think it's in view at all in Daniel - and for this reason, I don't use the term "preterist" as a self-designation.

    That's my nature. I'm reflexively pastoral.
    Interesting definition of "pastoral".

    Nope. The leaven was in their doctrine and the manner in which it produced a religious response rather than a devotional one. It's something that I've been pondering in terms of Jesus' warning to His disciples and our propensity to go that way as humans. I've been thinking about it in terms of these discussions because we've been on the subject of the grammatical / historical hermeneutic, the 1st century audience, etc. Your explanations elsewhere seem to render my musings moot, though.
    Oh, okay.

    Is there a handbook somewhere that I'm missing?
    Not that I'm aware of. But if I can rephrase your question (omitting the sarcasm) to say something like, "Is there a general definition of 'futurism' to which the criticism of the OP applies?" - in that case I would say yes, I do believe there is: the definition which I explained above.

    I start with your basic grammatical / historical exegesis and a stack of commentaries from many different "streams" of thought, from liberal to linguistic to cultural to conservative, etc. Word, Pulpit, NAC, NICOT, and so forth. Motyer where possible, he's one of my favorites. Birch, Cohen, Hayes, Hubbard - for the book of Revelation, I have 88 different commentaries [you counted?] that I'll refer to at different times for different purposes (not all of them, I obviously gravitate towards some more than others). Right now, as I'm tearing Amos 5-9 apart in a fresh way, I'm relying heavily on Motyer and the NAC while touching about four other commentaries. The two of them suffice, however, to get a solid feel for the immediate context, linguistic nuances, and cultural dynamics.
    Very impressive, but I'm not sure why you felt the need to say all of this. I didn't ask you how many commentaries you own, I asked you how you exegete Jeremiah 50-51.

    I'll work through the passage pretty rigorously so that I understand it in it's immediate setting. From there, I work with a basic premise related to the prophetic, from the law itself, related to fulfillment. Like you, I assume that the straightforward presentation is what the people would have received and understood as that which was going to happen - because they were working with the same assumptions from the Mosaic Law regarding an O.T. prophet and accuracy. (They still are ) The passages that describe the first coming of Jesus were all fulfilled in the manner in which the prophets described;
    What passages? Isaiah 7:14? Hosea 11:1? Daniel 7:14? Isaiah 53? Zechariah 13:7? How are any of these passages, in their original contexts, describing the first coming of Jesus? Isaiah 7:14 is intended as sign to king Ahaz, and is fulfilled in Isaiah's own child in the very next chapter. Hosea 11:1 is looking back to the exodus, to Israel's adolescence as a nation, not forward to Jesus' flight from Egypt. Daniel 7:14 is about the saints of the most high, the nation of Israel, being vindicated over their oppressors and receiving the kingdom. Isaiah 53 is concerned with the vocation of Israel, God's servant to the nations. And it seems to me that Zechariah 13:7 should be read in context to the "false prophets" of the preceding verses, and in that context is referencing the "worthless shepherd" of 11:16-17. In other words, it's not describing an ideal, messianic figure at all, much less the first coming of Jesus.

    But did the NT writers really intend for us to read these passages simply as proof-texts about the first coming of Jesus? When Jesus walked through the whole OT with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, did he just cherry-pick a few verses here and there, or was he explaining the whole narrative of Scripture, the whole history of God's people, and how that story was always moving in this direction - redemption through suffering, through darkness, through the raging waters of chaos, where Gods people are narrowed down to a point, a remnant, one like the son of man, the servant, and the covenant is finally renewed paradoxically through the forces of darkness doing their absolute worst and God doing them one better? I would say that the whole story, and not just a few verses, points in the way of the cross, in the way of God himself coming down and working salvation by his own arm, empathizing with us and doing for us what we could not do for ourselves, making an end of sin and leading us into the promised land by his own presence.

    my experiences with "modern prophecy" (I'll use some dreams I've had as a non-controversial example) seem to work according to the same principle: God will declare three things, two come to pass as they were given, this gives me faith to believe for the third segment. Biblical prophecy seems to work according to this pattern: immediate predictions come to pass as they were spoken, Messianic prophecies later were fulfilled in the same manner, and so I have confidence that the third segment will do the same.
    I don't think biblical prophecy is intended to be taken in such an abstract, "checklist" manner, as if the prophets were just relaying God's 3,000-year to-do list.

    I totally agree.
    I doubt it. According to my view, in many cases where there is a "farther mountain" peak in view, it is only as the "vehicle" (i.e. the imagery) through which the prophet describes the "tenor" (i.e. the referent) of his prophecy about the near future. In other words, the prophets sometimes used eschatological language consciously as a metaphorical lens when referring to something else - the common usage of the "day of the Lord" throughout the OT the best example of this phenomenon. We can tell from the first occurrence of the phrase, in Amos 5:18-20, that it had already carried a popular meaning within Israel, since the prophet uses it polemically. Amos' contemporaries longed for the day of the Lord as the climactic moment in Israel's history, the time when YHWH would act on their behalf and bring victory over their enemies. But because of their unfaithfulness, Amos turns that expectation around and speaks of the "day of the Lord" as a time of judgment for Israel and not victory. In other words, he holds up Israel's eschatological expectation of judgment against their enemies as a lens for them to understand God's present judgment against them. An yet, because Amos does not see God's judgment against Israel as the final word, but still affirms a redemptive hope beyond that judgment, we know that he did not truly think of that judgment as the day of the Lord in the ultimate and established sense of the phrase. Hence, he uses it as an eschatological metaphor.

    I think similar language is used throughout the prophets when referring to immediate socio-political events. I wouldn't suggest this as a holistic hypothesis for all prophetic language, but rather as an explanation for some instances of prophetic language on a strictly case-by-case basis. If I could put my view in a series of propositions, it would look something like this:

    1. The biblical writers believed that human history was moving towards a goal, a time when all things would be made right, a time when sin would be dealt with, when evil would be judged, and when God's people would be redeemed and vindicated.

    2. The biblical writers often used end-of-the-world language to refer to this climactic expectation, but they did not believe in a literal end of the material universe. Rather, in contrast with later Greek thought, their hope was very concrete and this-worldly. At the very least, then, such language is hyperbolic.

    3. Some biblical writers also used this type of language metaphorically to refer to that which they knew well was not the final or climatic goal of history, because they perceived typological associations between the present referent and the final goal and thereby invested the former with the meaning of the latter.

    4. It is appropriate then to speak in these instances of prophetic language carrying an eschatological excess beyond its primary referent, as the imagery itself evokes the final goal which is embedded in the Judeo-Christian expectation.

    I think this account answers for a regular phenomenon in biblical prophecy that is often explained on a popular level through the literalist category of "dual fulfillment" - but I think it has the advantage of being much more sensitive to the way biblical language and imagery actually works.

    Pretty much, when it comes to the subject of the Antichrist. I'm being soft, since their unanimity on that point is something even Amillennialists don't question.
    I also believe in a future antichrist of sorts, but I don't derive that as much from the "beast" of Revelation 13 and 17 as from the scene of Revelation 20:7-10.

    And since Irenaeus, for example, was discipled by John the Apostle, that's pretty "original".
    Coincidentally, I would say there's good evidence to suggest that Irenaeus was amillennial earlier in his life. But that's a topic for another day.

    - Hitman


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


  11. #56
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthehitmanhart View Post
    Interesting definition of "pastoral".
    How so?

    Not that I'm aware of. But if I can rephrase your question (omitting the sarcasm) to say something like, "Is there a general definition of 'futurism' to which the criticism of the OP applies?" - in that case I would say yes, I do believe there is: the definition which I explained above.
    I wasn't trying to be sarcastic, I was trying as a real question in a funny way. I wasn't mocking you, nor was I contemptuous of your point, which is the essence of sarcasm.

    Very impressive, but I'm not sure why you felt the need to say all of this. I didn't ask you how many commentaries you own, I asked you how you exegete Jeremiah 50-51.
    I wasn't trying to impress you. You made some assumptions about me in the Jer. 50-51 thread, and led with those assumptions in that dialog. So I figured, since you asked, I thought, "Hey, I'll just bring him into my process a little to give a feel for how I actually stare at passages of scripture," etc., etc. I was trying to answer honestly and helpfully related to what you've (seemingly) assumed to be true.

    What passages? Isaiah 7:14? Hosea 11:1? Daniel 7:14? Isaiah 53? Zechariah 13:7? How are any of these passages, in their original contexts, describing the first coming of Jesus?
    They're not. I'm talking about passages that Jews considered (and consider) messianic in nature, in terms of prophecy.

    But did the NT writers really intend for us to read these passages simply as proof-texts about the first coming of Jesus? When Jesus walked through the whole OT with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, did he just cherry-pick a few verses here and there, or was he explaining the whole narrative of Scripture, the whole history of God's people, and how that story was always moving in this direction - redemption through suffering, through darkness, through the raging waters of chaos, where Gods people are narrowed down to a point, a remnant, one like the son of man, the servant, and the covenant is finally renewed paradoxically through the forces of darkness doing their absolute worst and God doing them one better? I would say that the whole story, and not just a few verses, points in the way of the cross, in the way of God himself coming down and working salvation by his own arm, empathizing with us and doing for us what we could not do for ourselves, making an end of sin and leading us into the promised land by his own presence.
    So would I. What's with the edge?

    I don't think biblical prophecy is intended to be taken in such an abstract, "checklist" manner, as if the prophets were just relaying God's 3,000-year to-do list.
    Um, okay.

    I doubt it.
    Yikes.

    According to my view, in many cases where there is a "farther mountain" peak in view, it is only as the "vehicle" (i.e. the imagery) through which the prophet describes the "tenor" (i.e. the referent) of his prophecy about the near future. In other words, the prophets sometimes used eschatological language consciously as a metaphorical lens when referring to something else - the common usage of the "day of the Lord" throughout the OT the best example of this phenomenon. We can tell from the first occurrence of the phrase, in Amos 5:18-20, that it had already carried a popular meaning within Israel, since the prophet uses it polemically. Amos' contemporaries longed for the day of the Lord as the climactic moment in Israel's history, the time when YHWH would act on their behalf and bring victory over their enemies. But because of their unfaithfulness, Amos turns that expectation around and speaks of the "day of the Lord" as a time of judgment for Israel and not victory. In other words, he holds up Israel's eschatological expectation of judgment against their enemies as a lens for them to understand God's present judgment against them. An yet, because Amos does not see God's judgment against Israel as the final word, but still affirms a redemptive hope beyond that judgment, we know that he did not truly think of that judgment as the day of the Lord in the ultimate and established sense of the phrase. Hence, he uses it as an eschatological metaphor.

    I think similar language is used throughout the prophets when referring to immediate socio-political events. I wouldn't suggest this as a holistic hypothesis for all prophetic language, but rather as an explanation for some instances of prophetic language on a strictly case-by-case basis. If I could put my view in a series of propositions, it would look something like this:

    1. The biblical writers believed that human history was moving towards a goal, a time when all things would be made right, a time when sin would be dealt with, when evil would be judged, and when God's people would be redeemed and vindicated.

    2. The biblical writers often used end-of-the-world language to refer to this climactic expectation, but they did not believe in a literal end of the material universe. Rather, in contrast with later Greek thought, their hope was very concrete and this-worldly. At the very least, then, such language is hyperbolic.

    3. Some biblical writers also used this type of language metaphorically to refer to that which they knew well was not the final or climatic goal of history, because they perceived typological associations between the present referent and the final goal and thereby invested the former with the meaning of the latter.

    4. It is appropriate then to speak in these instances of prophetic language carrying an eschatological excess beyond its primary referent, as the imagery itself evokes the final goal which is embedded in the Judeo-Christian expectation.

    I think this account answers for a regular phenomenon in biblical prophecy that is often explained on a popular level through the literalist category of "dual fulfillment" - but I think it has the advantage of being much more sensitive to the way biblical language and imagery actually works.
    This is great stuff!

    I also believe in a future antichrist of sorts, but I don't derive that as much from the "beast" of Revelation 13 and 17 as from the scene of Revelation 20:7-10.
    Great!

    Coincidentally, I would say there's good evidence to suggest that Irenaeus was amillennial earlier in his life. But that's a topic for another day.
    I've read his stuff, and heard all of those arguments (I've read them fairly extensively) - because everybody has a dog in the hunt when it comes to the ECF's

    Either way, it seems like none of them interpreted Revelation in light of (to them) present-day Rome, Nero, or Domitian.
    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".

  12. #57
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by the rookie View Post
    How so?
    Well, I commented that you would probably have more success and find more openness on my end if you actually dealt with what I'm saying, instead of trying to get behind it to whatever you (wrongly, it seems) suspect lies underneath, holding my motivations and character on trial. You responded that you couldn't help it, because you're reflexively pastoral. But I can't help thinking that such a strong reliance upon your own intuition of other people's hearts, neglecting to interact with the points they raise, and instead defaulting to deconstructing them personally, is a very strange thing to label "pastoral" - to say nothing again of its effectiveness.

    [Edit: I know in my own experience that I have sometimes perceived offense in someone else, and so I have led the conversation trying to get to the bottom of that offense, but the problem is that this approach actually has the tendency to produce the negative reaction which I have then interpreted as a confirmation of my original perception. Point being, that's a very unhelpful way to lead a discussion, it only leads to a cycle of offense, and trying to legitimize it as "pastoral" just compounds the problem.]

    I wasn't trying to impress you. You made some assumptions about me in the Jer. 50-51 thread, and led with those assumptions in that dialog. So I figured, since you asked, I thought, "Hey, I'll just bring him into my process a little to give a feel for how I actually stare at passages of scripture," etc., etc. I was trying to answer honestly and helpfully related to what you've (seemingly) assumed to be true.
    Okay. You still haven't answered my question, though - the main question I've been asking you since your thread on Jeremiah 50-51. You've insisted several times now that I don't really understand the way you read the passage or where it challenges you. But you've also declined to set the record straight and demonstrate exactly how you exegete Jeremiah's oracle, on grammatical-historical grounds, and yet still come out with the view which you expressed in the OP of that thread, that the passage "seems to be set entirely in the future - not Jeremiah's future as it relates to the overthrow of Babylon and the return of the captives...but our future," that it "is an oracle about a future Babylon (the one revealed to John in Rev. 17-18) not 'past Babylon', which invaded Israel and ultimately destroyed Jerusalem from 605 BC - 586 BC."

    Again, the only explicit reason which you gave in that thread was that the apparent non-fulfillment of the prophecy necessitates that it be placed in our future. As you said, "The oracle refers, in much detail, to an end that 'past Babylon' did not meet - the complete and utter destruction of Babylon at the hands of 'the people of the north' in a manner that would be destructive, bloody, violent, and total." And once more, "there are details that seem to demand that it be placed in the future - during a time in which the kings and the merchants unify with her against the believers of the earth." But as I pointed out, this has nothing to do with what the text would have meant at the time it was written.

    So I ask once more: Do you have any reason, from the text itself, for seeing Jeremiah 50-51 as a prophecy about "our future" and a "future Babylon", and not the historical nation which invaded Israel and ultimately destroyed Jerusalem from 605 BC - 586 BC? And do you have an answer for the point which I and others have raised from the text, that the whole point of the passage, resting on the law of retribution, is that the violence and destruction which Nebuchadnezzar dealt to Israel would come back upon his own head (cf. 50:17-18, 29; 51:34-35)?

    They're not. I'm talking about passages that Jews considered (and consider) messianic in nature, in terms of prophecy.
    You specifically mentioned OT prophecies about Jesus' first coming, saying that the passages "that describe the first coming of Jesus were all fulfilled in the manner in which the prophets described". Earlier you mentioned Zechariah 12-14 as an example of "first coming and second coming passages that are contained within one prophecy". But now you agree with me that Zechariah 13:7 is not an example of such a first coming passage? Is there another text within Zechariah 12-14 that you had in mind, or are you pulling a Mitt Romney? What am I missing?

    So would I. What's with the edge?
    There was no edge. But again, you say you agree with me, but that seems to conflict with the point you were previously making, that "first coming" passages were all fulfilled straightforwardly in the manner in which the prophets described, giving you confidence that passages which seem to be still unfulfilled will come to pass in the same manner. The point of my response was to question this opinion about such "first coming" passages.

    Again, what passages do you have in mind that you think were straightforwardly predicting Jesus' first coming? For my part, I do not think the NT writers viewed the OT as a repository of timeless truths in which to simply index "Prophecies About The First Coming" and "Prophecies About The Second Coming" as much as a story in search of an ending, and thus they all present Jesus' story as the appropriate climax to that larger unfinished story. Specifically, reading all of Matthew's OT quotations and statements about fulfillment in this way makes much more sense, in my opinion.

    This is great stuff!
    Awesome! But if you agree with it, how do still come out thinking that prophecies like Jeremiah 50-51, or Isaiah 13, or Mark 13, are straightforwardly "about" our future? As I explained, in such cases where there is "eschatological excess" beyond the initial referent, it is because the language, which is being used metaphorically, is in some way eschatological. And thus, if there is a picture of the ultimate end which we can draw from such passages, it is more impressionistic, based on the themes of tribulation and judgement and redemption etc, and less photo-realistic - because such passages are not, strictly speaking, "about" the ultimate end.
    Last edited by Matthehitmanhart; Apr 12th 2012 at 11:39 PM. Reason: Add thought

    - Hitman


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


  13. #58
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by DurbanDude View Post
    I agree, attempts to make all those events fit the period 30AD to 70AD never appear realistic. Especially that part about it being the greatest tribulation period that will ever be.

    It would be a little difficult for both views to fit the text, because if its the "race" we are referring to then it becomes irrelevant if Jesus is referring to the "race" in front of him or the "race" of the future because both are in fact the same. This sorta makes my point redundant that Jesus is referring to a future generation instead of His listeners.
    Good comment. This is where the Full-Preterism interpretation of the Olivet Discourse falls apart; and where the Dispensational interpretation of the Olivet Discourse similarly false apart equally as well. They both attempt to interpret the entire Matt 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 17, 21 either all pushed into the 70AD past or all into the 2012+ future; with no middle ground. Neither of them recognize or accept that the Olivet has two questions being asked and answered, one related to near-time events, and one related to future endtime events; and that Jesus went back and fourth between the two questions, supplying the answers.

  14. #59
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    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Quote Originally Posted by David Taylor View Post
    Good comment. This is where the Full-Preterism interpretation of the Olivet Discourse falls apart; and where the Dispensational interpretation of the Olivet Discourse similarly false apart equally as well. They both attempt to interpret the entire Matt 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 17, 21 either all pushed into the 70AD past or all into the 2012+ future; with no middle ground. Neither of them recognize or accept that the Olivet has two questions being asked and answered, one related to near-time events, and one related to future endtime events; and that Jesus went back and fourth between the two questions, supplying the answers.
    Actually many labeled dispensationalist do recognize Jesus as answering two issues, or questions....just an FYI, no argument intended.




  15. #60

    Re: Why I am no longer a futurist

    Not to mention that...

    ...just because full preterists interpret all of Matthew 24 as being fulfilled by 70 AD does not mean that all people who interpret Matthew 24 as being fulfilled by 70 AD are full preterists. Calling that the 'full preterist' interpretation is a fallacy of guilt-by-association (i.e. 'full preterists interpret it that way, and they're wrong, so your interpretation must be wrong').

    ...just because dispensationalists interpret all of Matthew 24 as being fulfilled entirely in our future does not mean that all people who interpret Matthew 24 as being fulfilled entirely in our future are dispensationalists. Calling that the 'dispensationalist' interpretation is a fallacy of guilt-by-association (i.e. 'dispensationalists interpret it that way, and they're wrong, so your interpretation must be wrong').

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