Eschatology

Jewish Roots Evidence for a Futurist Interpretation of the Book of Revelation

Introduction

I am a believer in the concept of biblical patterns and double or even multiple fulfillments of prophecy. The destruction of the Temple on the 9th of Av, 586 BC and again on the 9th of Av, AD 70 evidence the pattern-like nature of God’s dealings.

Still, prophecies usually have one “more literal” fulfillment (e.g., Isaiah 7:14). So it is possible to examine a verse, see how it was fulfilled somewhat near to the prophecy, but then see a fuller fulfillment in the future. Thus the Book of Revelation can have several fulfillments, one that is past, one that is ideological and not tied to particular dates, and one that is somewhat more literal, sequential, and tied to the End Times. Thus the “Futurist” approach to Revelation is not necessarily mutually exclusive, but is, I believe, primary.

Does Jewish literature leave us an example, a clue for interpreting Revelation 4-19 in particular? Although many of us tie this period to Daniel’s 70th seven (Daniel 9:25ff), others see it otherwise. So what evidence is there—outside of the Bible proper—that suggests understanding Revelation 4-19 as an expansion and detailed account of the coming seven-year world tribulation? Glad you asked.

5691 reads

The Rapture of the Church, Part 11

skyRead the series so far.

When will the rapture take place?

Our Lord assured us that it was impossible to date the rapture of the church. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36; cf. vss. 42, 44, 50; and Mark 13:32-37).

Amazing! Not even the Savior knew the date of His coming again. During the days of His non-glorified human existence—for a third of a century—our Lord set aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes of greatness (omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence), not His moral attributes (holiness, truth, love, etc.). That is the meaning of Phil. 2:7 and 8—He “made Himself of no reputation… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Over and over again, our LORD explained: “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28); and “the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak…Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12:49, 50; cf. 5:20, 7:16, 8:38, 8:40, 15:15, 17:8).

792 reads

Book Review - Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Seven Churches

Image of Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches
by James M. Hamilton Jr.
Crossway 2012
Hardcover 464

No book has been the subject of more fanciful interpretations than the book of Revelation. Various interpreters throughout the ages have wrestled with how to understand the many foreign and vivid images. It is no wonder then, that so few have gone on to explain to the average Christian what it might mean for their lives. As such, the discussion of the book of Revelation has been dominated by proper interpretive method at the expense of practical and contemporary significance. Revelation was after all written to seven churches and it is for the church today.

1171 reads

The Rapture of the Church, Part 9

Read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, 6, 7, and 8.

The glorified bodies of believers

Paul’s reply to the questions asked by the Corinthian church about the resurrection body is highly significant and enlightening. First, the substance of that body will be different: “And what you sow [in death, like a seed that is planted], you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain” (NKJV, 1 Cor. 15:37). It is amazing how different is the substance of a stalk of corn from the substance of the tiny kernel that is planted in the ground—from which it came!

On the other hand, the identity of the body that is raised or raptured is the same as the non-glorified body from which it came. “But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body” (1 Cor. 15:38). Perhaps we will even have the same fingerprints!

This principle of continued identity in the midst of changing substance can be illustrated quite easily. I have crossed the great Mississippi River many times. It is always the same river, but not one particle of water in that part of the river I crossed is the same—even an hour later. As for our human bodies, every molecule that was in me 10 years ago has been replaced by another. It has the same identity—but with a different substance.

542 reads

The Rapture of the Church, Part 8

Read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, 6 and 7.

The dead in Christ shall rise

Mere moments after all dead Christians have been gloriously resurrected, all living Christians will be transformed and will “be caught up together with them”—without ever experiencing physical death (NKJV, 1 Thess. 4:17). What a blessed hope!

But what kind of a body will we have when we are ushered into the presence of our Lord “in the clouds,” even being with Him “in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17)? This is a question that cannot be fully answered this side of heaven. But God has given us a few hints which He intends to be sufficient for now.

First, the absolute certainty of bodily resurrection is a basic teaching of the Bible. From the book of Job more than 4,000 years ago (cf. Job 19:25-27) to the book of Daniel more than 2,500 years ago (cf. Dan. 12:2), the people of God were instructed in this doctrine. (See also Ps. 16:9, 10 and Isa. 26:19).

Tragically, some Jews denied this truth. They were the Sadducees, a small but powerful group of leaders in Israel who dominated the high priesthood and were subservient to the Roman emperor. One day they confronted the Savior and ridiculed the concept of resurrection (Matt. 22:23-33).

657 reads

Interview with C. Marvin Pate, Author of "Reading Revelation"

Image of Reading Revelation: A Comparison of Four Interpretive Translations of the Apocalypse
by C. Marvin Pate
Kregel Academic & Professional 2009
Paperback 208

Last week I posted my review of Reading Revelation: A Comparison of Four Interpretive Translations of the Apocalypse, by C. Marvin Pate. This week Dr. Pate has agreed to answer some questions about his new book.

Dr. Pate teaches at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas where he is the Department Chair for Christian Theology and the Elma Cobb Professor of Christian Theology. Previous to teaching, Dr. Pate was a pastor at which time he earned his MA from Wheaton and his PhD from Marquette University.

Dr. Pate has spent a lifetime of writing books on eschatology some of which include: The End of the Age has Come: The Theology of Paul; Four Views on the Book of Revelation (contributor); Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy; End Times (contributor); and Doomsday Delusions: What’s Wrong with Predictions About the End of the World.

Share with us what started your interest in eschatology.

Two events drew me to eschatology, both of which occurred when I was 14 years old. First, on a hot July Monday evening in Hampton, Virginia (where I was raised) two U.S. fighter jets collided over the Atlantic Ocean in a practice maneuver and one crashed into the ocean but the other crashed one block from where I lived, in a crowded neighborhood. When it happened, the sky became red, the ground shook, and the noise was deafening. Not knowing what had happened, I thought Jesus was returning! That night made an indelible impression on me about the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. Second, I preached my first sermon at the age of 14, the same summer the jet crashed and my topic was—you guessed it—the second coming of Christ, based on Matthew 24. And so my interest began that summer and intensified in the years to come. I attended Moody Bible Institute as a student and embraced there dispensational pre-millennialism. But later at Wheaton Graduate School I embraced historical pre-millennialism and have pretty much held that position ever since; though technically I call my approach now “eclectic”.

1897 reads

Supersessionism Rising: Dispensationalism...? Part 2

Republished, with permission, from Voice magazine, Sept./Oct 2011.

Part 1 concluded with the observation that many young evangelicals in colleges and universities have decided eschatology is not very important and that many lay people share that opinion.

Scholarly embarrassment?

Furthermore, and perhaps this is in part the cause of the point just made, it is my impression that Christian scholars, even the biblical scholars and evangelical theologians, are not all that interested in pursuing issues related to eschatology or even in advocating a particular position on eschatology. This is becoming more pervasive among premillennial dispensationalists. This may be (and I think it is) caused by the embarrassment that many of them feel when rubbing elbows with the wider scholarly evangelical community. It is something of a long-standing fact of scholarly life (nearly a “tradition”) that when one enters the “serious academy,” matters of eschatology are relegated to relative insignificance.1

One could recount dozens of testimonies of scholars who grew up in or were saved in churches that regarded the New Scofield Reference Bible with the highest esteem, churches that held Prophecy Conferences regularly if not annually, churches whose libraries were well stocked with the books of Chafer, Walvoord, Ryrie, Pentecost, McClain, Feinberg and the other luminaries of classic dispensationalism. But when those young scholars went off to graduate school or seminary (even evangelical seminaries) they were disabused of those resources and enlightened to the profundities of Ladd, Dodd, Bruce, Barr, and Barth (!)…and these days James Dunn and N. T. Wright among others.

12382 reads

Pages