Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Eschatology of the Early Church

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Eschatology of the Early Church

    Jude stated that it was the apostles job along with the church to hand down and “contend for the faith once and for all entrusted to the saints”. As it relates to the subject of eschatology, of the surviving writings that we have of the early church fathers for the first 200 years, the overwhelming majority believed that Christ coming would be PRE MILLENNIAL and POST TRIBULATIONAL.


    For those that are Amillennial or Pre tribulational, how do you reconcile your view as being the true apostolic message handed down from Christ when virtually none of the apostolic churches held those opinions from our historical records of the few hundred years?


    I realize that the writings of the EFC are not divinely inspired or infallible. However, we all are trying to interpret the scriptures based upon our views which are over 2000 years removed from the original NT writers. Do you believe that those who lived closest to the apostles, some of which were direct disciples of the Apostles carriers more weight concerning their consensus on certain major aspects of eschatology such as the TIMING of the Millennium or TIMING of His Coming? If not, why not?


    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

    Originally posted by The Beginner View Post
    For those that are Amillenniall, how do you reconcile your view as being the true apostolic message handed down from Christ when virtually none of the apostolic churches held those opinions from our historical records of the few hundred years?
    Not sure if your statement is accurate but there is NO 1000 year period. I can shoot it down with the following verses though you would still fight it.

    28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
    29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

    There is not a 1000 years separating resurrections of the godly and ungodly. They both happen on the last day.

    The 1000 years is but a metaphorical phrase as John was unable to define the length of time outside this realm.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

      Originally posted by The Beginner View Post
      Jude stated that it was the apostles job along with the church to hand down and “contend for the faith once and for all entrusted to the saints”. As it relates to the subject of eschatology, of the surviving writings that we have of the early church fathers for the first 200 years, the overwhelming majority believed that Christ coming would be PRE MILLENNIAL and POST TRIBULATIONAL.


      For those that are Amillennial or Pre tribulational, how do you reconcile your view as being the true apostolic message handed down from Christ when virtually none of the apostolic churches held those opinions from our historical records of the few hundred years?


      I realize that the writings of the EFC are not divinely inspired or infallible. However, we all are trying to interpret the scriptures based upon our views which are over 2000 years removed from the original NT writers. Do you believe that those who lived closest to the apostles, some of which were direct disciples of the Apostles carriers more weight concerning their consensus on certain major aspects of eschatology such as the TIMING of the Millennium or TIMING of His Coming? If not, why not?


      Thanks
      The historical depth of biblical interpretation, particularly in the 1st few centuries, is important for a couple of reasons. One, the closer to the Apostles, the closer to hearing the message clearly. And two, if the Holy Spirit failed to convey truth through historic interpretation then He failed to help the Church with the Scriptures!

      That being said, we *know* that there would be strong challenges in history to the truth. There would be false interpretations that acquire long-standing arguments against the truth. For example, there would be Gnosticism, Islam, and diluted Christian morality. We know that. Jesus said that False Prophets and False Apostles would rise immediately, apparently to water down the judgment that Jesus said was coming imminently against Jerusalem!

      So historical depth of doctrine is not alone sufficient to establish the truth of an interpretation. However, it *must* be part of the argument. Novel doctrines fail this test.

      The one except to the argument against "novelty" might be in the realm of prophecy, since God does initiate new truths in history progressively. God's focus seems to be on the contemporary generation, and focuses away from vain speculation about the future. I would use this argument to explain why Premil seemed to suffer a setback for many years. Future speculation about Israel was allowed to go on a "back burner" until current times, as Israel reconstituted as a nation. Today, Premil has regained its relevance to our own time.

      Postrib has always been the dominant interpretation in Bible Prophecy. The suffering of the saints has been an important current need in every phase of Christian history. Every generation has had to learn how to resist evil, and to suffer abuse.

      So I would have to define Pretrib as partly heretical, since it has no historical depth, and contradicts the book of Revelation, which plainly says we are not to tamper with the words of that book. That book is *all about* the courage of the saints, and the choice of Christians to reject the mark of the beast. They are not scolded for "missing the Rapture," but rather, *praised* for resisting the Beast!

      The only reason I say that Pretrib is not fully heretical is because Darby included, with his Pretrib, Dispensationalist belief about the restoration of national Israel. That also is an important part of Christian eschatology that is true, and has historical depth, as you indicate. So as much as I hate Pretrib I also respect and defend their belief in both Premil and Israel's literal salvation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

        Originally posted by ross3421 View Post
        Not sure if your statement is accurate but there is NO 1000 year period. I can shoot it down with the following verses though you would still fight it.

        28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
        29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

        There is not a 1000 years separating resurrections of the godly and ungodly. They both happen on the last day.

        The 1000 years is but a metaphorical phrase as John was unable to define the length of time outside this realm.
        Sorry, but this doesn't shoot anything down.
        Let's assume you are correct and that this resurrection happens on the SAME day, it still does NOT disprove a Millennium.
        Why not?

        The question is simply this - Is there ONLY one resurrection?
        If there is a resurrection when Jesus returns, for those who are found In Him, then is this the SAME resurrection as that you have quoted?
        The answer is no, for this resurrection above is for those who are to face judgement.
        However those who are In Him, will NOT be resurrected to a judgement for eternal life.

        However you also aren't actually responding to the question of this thread, which is NOT about proving or disproving Amil, but about how you view the ECFs and apostolic succession and the views they taught.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

          Originally posted by ross3421 View Post
          Not sure if your statement is accurate but there is NO 1000 year period. I can shoot it down with the following verses though you would still fight it.

          28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
          29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

          There is not a 1000 years separating resurrections of the godly and ungodly. They both happen on the last day.

          The 1000 years is but a metaphorical phrase as John was unable to define the length of time outside this realm.
          Well, you had a reasonably good argument until that last statement. To say that "John was unable" seems a little disingenuous. How could John, having seen great visions from God, fail to understand the concept of time and eternity? Why would he just insert a random number, symbolically, instead of just saying, "I don't know. Maybe a 1000 years is a good symbolic representation of something I don't know?"

          You have good points. But I wouldn't begin by saying, flatly, that there can be no literal 1000 year period. And the argument here is that the original view, coming from John's historic tradition, is that the 1000 years is a literal period. Even stronger is the argument I used to level at wpm, that the Jewish belief in the Age to Come is squarely based on a future literal restoration of Israel, in full mortal glory.

          This Age to Come, even though it is mortal, and described biblically as such, does not mean it is carnal or worldly. On the contrary, the Law of Moses had promised Israel worldly blessings for their obedience. Israel's final national salvation is something much promised in the Prophets and in the original promise to Abraham. Even today we are saved while in our mortal bodies. And nations in history have come to salvation, by adopting a Christian Constitution. Why shouldn't the Bible be true in saying that Israel will be saved in a mortal way?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

            Originally posted by ross3421 View Post
            Not sure if your statement is accurate but there is NO 1000 year period. I can shoot it down with the following verses though you would still fight it.

            28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
            29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

            There is not a 1000 years separating resurrections of the godly and ungodly. They both happen on the last day.

            The 1000 years is but a metaphorical phrase as John was unable to define the length of time outside this realm.

            This is absolutely wrong. The term “hour” is not being used the way you are interpreting it. You are demanding the word "hour" means a one-time event. Please consider the way Jesus used it later in the same book:

            John 16:2 They will put you (Apostles) out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

            Nearly all the disciples lost their lives for the sake of the gospel. But did they all lose their life in the same literal hour? Of course not, such “an hour” came for each one at SEPARATE TIMES.

            Likewise, John 5 means there will be an “hour” for the righteous to be raised and an hour for the unrighteous to be raised. Both are spoken of as separate resurrections.

            The definite article was added in our English translation and does not appear in the Greek; thus, each resurrection has its own hour.

            Regardless, your response does not address the OP whatsoever...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

              Originally posted by randyk View Post
              The historical depth of biblical interpretation, particularly in the 1st few centuries, is important for a couple of reasons. One, the closer to the Apostles, the closer to hearing the message clearly. And two, if the Holy Spirit failed to convey truth through historic interpretation then He failed to help the Church with the Scriptures!

              That being said, we *know* that there would be strong challenges in history to the truth. There would be false interpretations that acquire long-standing arguments against the truth. For example, there would be Gnosticism, Islam, and diluted Christian morality. We know that. Jesus said that False Prophets and False Apostles would rise immediately, apparently to water down the judgment that Jesus said was coming imminently against Jerusalem!

              So historical depth of doctrine is not alone sufficient to establish the truth of an interpretation. However, it *must* be part of the argument. Novel doctrines fail this test.

              The one except to the argument against "novelty" might be in the realm of prophecy, since God does initiate new truths in history progressively. God's focus seems to be on the contemporary generation, and focuses away from vain speculation about the future. I would use this argument to explain why Premil seemed to suffer a setback for many years. Future speculation about Israel was allowed to go on a "back burner" until current times, as Israel reconstituted as a nation. Today, Premil has regained its relevance to our own time.

              Postrib has always been the dominant interpretation in Bible Prophecy. The suffering of the saints has been an important current need in every phase of Christian history. Every generation has had to learn how to resist evil, and to suffer abuse.

              So I would have to define Pretrib as partly heretical, since it has no historical depth, and contradicts the book of Revelation, which plainly says we are not to tamper with the words of that book. That book is *all about* the courage of the saints, and the choice of Christians to reject the mark of the beast. They are not scolded for "missing the Rapture," but rather, *praised* for resisting the Beast!

              The only reason I say that Pretrib is not fully heretical is because Darby included, with his Pretrib, Dispensationalist belief about the restoration of national Israel. That also is an important part of Christian eschatology that is true, and has historical depth, as you indicate. So as much as I hate Pretrib I also respect and defend their belief in both Premil and Israel's literal salvation.

              I totally agree with the historical arguments that you present. Thank you.
              For me, I generally stay away from using the term “heretical” unless I know that the party I’m communicating with has agreed on what that term means by definition. Many people use the term heretical to denote a person as a heretic, which generally denotes a belief that has negative implications concerning salvation. However, if we use that term solely to denote a biblical error, then I agree. I see it along the same lines as when Paul said “Let no one deceive you by any means...” (2 Thess 2) and then goes on to describe the deception of teaching that moves the TIMING of the RAPTURE to a time period BEFORE the revealing of the Son of Perdition.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                Hope this post comes close to touching on the subject of the OP.

                Sounds like rather early, this:

                "29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
                30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
                31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

                and this:

                "3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
                4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."


                If "grievous wolves" would enter in among you, and "ungodly men" crept in unawares, then wouldn't it also make sense that some, like when the disciples themselves misunderstood something Jesus had said after His resurrection (John 21) when "went this saying abroad that..." (a "saying" that wasn't what Jesus had actually meant), would also easily "misunderstand" something (like eschatology... even at root of their misunderstanding in this context had to do with "future things" involving the idea of "till I come").


                [I think Dan12:4b is especially pertinent ("knowledge shall be increased" which I believe refers to the Scriptures and the understanding of it), however in my view I believe this will become particularly applicable following the Rapture of "the Church which is His body" (then meaning, DURING the trib) and with the setting of Dan12 being the 2nd half of the trib, per vv6-7,1--the "wise" of that passage (vv3,10) referring to the wise of Israel of that future time period]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                  Originally posted by The Beginner View Post
                  I totally agree with the historical arguments that you present. Thank you.
                  For me, I generally stay away from using the term “heretical” unless I know that the party I’m communicating with has agreed on what that term means by definition. Many people use the term heretical to denote a person as a heretic, which generally denotes a belief that has negative implications concerning salvation. However, if we use that term solely to denote a biblical error, then I agree. I see it along the same lines as when Paul said “Let no one deceive you by any means...” (2 Thess 2) and then goes on to describe the deception of teaching that moves the TIMING of the RAPTURE to a time period BEFORE the revealing of the Son of Perdition.
                  Yes, I didn't mean to use the term "heresy" in the strongest sense, in the sense of a False Prophet or Deceiver, or as an opponent of the Christian Creeds. Thank you. I need to remind myself of how that comes across!!

                  Unfortunately I don't know a word that adequately expresses a doctrinally-orthodox person who expressed a heterodox position in an area of more peripheral, non-fundamental doctrine? I will be looking for one.

                  I don't like saying "heretic" either. In fact, what I meant to say is that Pretrib is, for me, *partly-heretical.* Perhaps that's too strong then? Probably. My apologies to the Pretribbers out there! (My church and my church denomination are all Pretrib!)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                    Originally posted by TheDivineWatermark View Post
                    Hope this post comes close to touching on the subject of the OP.

                    Sounds like rather early, this:

                    "29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
                    30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
                    31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

                    and this:

                    "3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
                    4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."


                    If "grievous wolves" would enter in among you, and "ungodly men" crept in unawares, then wouldn't it also make sense that some, like when the disciples themselves misunderstood something Jesus had said after His resurrection (John 21) when "went this saying abroad that..." (a "saying" that wasn't what Jesus had actually meant), would also easily "misunderstand" something (like eschatology).
                    Yes, that's true. We all misinterpret things. And we all are proud, and unable to change easily. However, what do you call it when a Christian holds to fundamental Christian doctrines, and yet sacrifices his integrity for pride, and refuses to consider evidence that he has been misled?

                    When I am presented with clear and convincing evidence, I, as a Christian, should be willing to listen and to consider the merits of an argument. To sacrifice my integrity is to partly sacrifice my standing with God. I, at least in part, backslide. Poor Christians are not to be considered non-Christians. But they are to be isolated and avoided. They are to be deliberately shamed by all good and faithful Christians. This is to coerce them into repentance, for their own sake.

                    Poor Christians are all over the place today. Sometimes they are into immorality. Sometimes they have sacrificed their business integrity. On a smaller scale, and yet still important, is the area I'm talking about, when a person is shown evidence of his doctrinal error, and refuses to look at it. Even more, he loses his spirituality and good fruit, and decides to attack those who try to correct him. This is a genuine case of backsliding, which Christians are encouraged to avoid. A little leaven leaves everything. Stay away from that.

                    As long as we can agree on interpretations with a good spirit, I think we're fine. We are all going to mess up doctrinally somewhere. We will undoubtedly hurt others by this. But we can only do the best we can. And we should be gracious about it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                      Originally posted by randyk View Post
                      Yes, that's true. We all misinterpret things.
                      I hate it when you grab my post before I'm done editing [I'm slow]

                      I had added:

                      "that some, like when the disciples themselves misunderstood something Jesus had said after His resurrection (John 21) when "went this saying abroad that..." (a "saying" that wasn't what Jesus had actually meant), would also easily "misunderstand" something (like eschatology... even at root of their misunderstanding in this context had to do with "future things" involving the idea of "till I come")."

                      ____________
                      In Acts 1, Jesus said it was not for them to know (certain things involving the TIMING, which was THEIR QUESTION), but I believe He meant THEM (those standing before Him)... for He would LATER disclose FURTHER INFORMATION on THAT subject, in The Revelation (following the pattern He'd spelled out, in Matt22:7-8... "burned up their city [70ad]. THEN SAITH HE to His servants..." [i.e. Rev1:1 in 95ad "TO SHEW UNTO His servants..." ("servants of our God" Rev7:3 [the 144,000 who are yet future], etc)... etc])

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                        Originally posted by The Beginner View Post
                        John 5 means there will be an “hour” for the righteous to be raised and an hour for the unrighteous to be raised. Both are spoken of as separate resurrections.
                        Both the godly and ungodly are raised on the last day..........are we to think the last day is a 1000 years?

                        John 6
                        54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

                        John 12
                        8 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

                        Regardless, your response does not address the OP whatsoever...
                        Proves what the early church leaders got wrong still is going strong today.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                          Originally posted by ross3421 View Post
                          Both the godly and ungodly are raised on the last day..........are we to think the last day is a 1000 years?

                          John 6
                          54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

                          John 12
                          8 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
                          The one being judged here (v.8) is "judged" in the sense that he is not permitted to be resurrected (to "LIFE") FOR the MK (and yes I myself believe that "the last Day" is the 7th Millennium [the "sabbatismos"], lasting a long time (those being judged in v.8, are not permitted to enjoy it, but will be resurrected instead at the GWTj (after the 1000 yrs) along with the rest of "the dead" ["the [unsaved] dead" of all times])

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                            Originally posted by randyk View Post
                            To say that "John was unable" seems a little disingenuous. How could John, having seen great visions from God, fail to understand the concept of time and eternity?
                            No discredit to John but John understanding of time is related to the sun moon and stars in this current realm. It is just that measured time is only known to only "father time" outside this realm. This is also why in another text John states time was "about" a half hour.

                            Why would he just insert a random number, symbolically, instead of just saying, "I don't know. Maybe a 1000 years is a good symbolic representation of something I don't know?"
                            it is not really a random number as it was used when describing a day is like a "thousand" years.......thus John used the same metaphor.

                            Ask then why was this number used in that verse as well?

                            You have good points. But I wouldn't begin by saying, flatly, that there can be no literal 1000 year period.
                            There either is or is not a 1000 year period.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The Eschatology of the Early Church

                              Originally posted by TheDivineWatermark View Post
                              The one being judged here (v.8) is "judged" in the sense that he is not permitted to be resurrected (to "LIFE") FOR the MK (and yes I myself believe that "the last Day" is the 7th Millennium [the "sabbatismos"], lasting a long time (those being judged in v.8, are not permitted to enjoy it, but will be resurrected instead at the GWTj (after the 1000 yrs) along with the rest of "the dead" ["the [unsaved] dead" of all times])
                              Dan 12
                              12 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
                              2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life,

                              INSERT 1000 YEARS...????

                              and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X