Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Curing Confusion: Session #2

The next set of email questions I will answer come from a man named Marc.  For his full email, see this comment link. His 3 questions are as follows:

1) IS DANIEL 12 FULFILLED? - Shattering of the Holy People/Tribulation/Resurrection
2) IS MT 10:23 FULFILLED? - Disciples not completely evangelize Judea before Jesus comes
3) WILL THE WORLD EVER END? - Per Ephesians 3:21

First, Daniel is a perennial go-to book for prophecy buffs of all types because its imagery is just vague enough to be a fertile playground for either sincere speculation or intentional twisting. However, lets see what can be made of Dan 12.  As you can see from the very first few words in Dan 12, which are "At that time", this means chapter 11 contains important context. And Dan 11 starts with the word "Also" which requires us to look at Dan 10.  We need to know what "time" chapter 12 is talking about so we can put it into context.

As always, I urge Christians to not do private interpretations. Christ founded a collective called the Church. Had He wanted us to just go it alone, He'd never needed to hand-pick the apostles. So, weigh your interpretations against the bulk of Christian interpretation. Bear with me as we unpack chapters 10-11 first for context.

In Dan 10:7-9 we see a story very similar to the Apostle Paul's experience on the Road to Damascus (compare Acts 9:7-9).  The rest of the context of Dan 10 is about the "Prince of Persia", considered by the Geneva commentary to be the actual prince of Persia at the time; Cambyses.  However, John Gill's comments on this are:

"by 'the prince of the kingdom of Persia' is not to be understood the then reigning king of Persia, Cyrus, or his son Cambyses...but an evil angel, either Satan, the prince and god of this world, or one of his principal angels under him, employed by him to do what mischief he could in the court of Persia" [link]

Dan 10:14 says:

"Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come."

What "latter days"? since this phrase will bound the context of chapters 11-12.  Is this a prophecy about the "last days" or the "endtimes"?

While Gill ascribes Dan 10:14 to the 300 years after Daniel (not the "endtimes"), Gill also allows that this prophecy is a type of the future "endtimes".

"for yet the vision is for many days; before it will be accomplished; reaching not only to the times of Antiochus, three hundred years after this, but even to the times of antichrist, of whom he was a type; and to the resurrection of the dead, and the end of time, as the two next chapters show; see Habakkuk 2:3."  [link]
DAN 11:3
While most of Dan 11 pertains to the Persian rule and the conflict between Persia and the Greeks (and the Egyptians to some degree), Dan 11:3 per Geneva and Gill, is prophetic of Alexander the Great.
When we get to Dan 11:35 we see talk of the "time of the end" but this is not the "end of time" but rather and end of the account and players within the account. Until the Romans come on the scene.

Dan 11:36-39, Gill and the Geneva notes attribute this to the Romans.  Geneva notes say:

"Because the angels purpose is to show the whole course of the persecutions of the Jews until the coming of Christ, he now speaks of the monarchy of the Romans, which he notes by the name of a king, who were without religion and condemned the true God...The Romans will observe no certain form of religion as other nations, but will change their gods at their pleasures, indeed, they will condemn them and prefer themselves to their gods." [link]
So far, we see Dan 10-11 being a prophetic history lesson on how the Jews will be the football of the various warring nations up to the time the Romans rise, but Dan 11 foretells the eventual demise of the Roman as well.

DAN 12
With the context properly set, we now look at Dan 12.  Now, keep in mind what was going on during the opening chapters of the New Testament itself. We have the Jewish ruling class expectant of the Messiah's coming.  Why? Because they understood the prophecy of Dan 10-12. They understood the words of Dan 12:1

"At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered. Every one who is found written in the book." (Compare Mt 24:21)

This is the role of the Messiah; the Deliverer, the Savior of the people. But as we know, the Jews envisioned a more literal Messiah that would overthrow the Romans.  Jesus had other, bigger plans. Remember all the times the Jews questioned Jesus' Messiahship because He wasn't doing things how they thought the Messiah was going to behave. For example:

John 12:34
The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up [die]’? Who is this Son of Man?”

Or how about the "kingdom" in comparison to how the Jews thought it would be and Jesus said it would be:

Luke 17:20-21
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

So, the prophecy in Dan 12:1 is indeed about the coming of the Messiah, but in the way Jesus came as the Messiah. He came to save the "sons of Abraham" who are not merely Jews, but sons by faith.

Dan 12:4 has the true meaning of the prophecy clouded until Jesus' coming the first time. This was the "mystery" that was being revealed; that it wasn't going to be merely an earthly Messiahship, and would not only include the Jews; but the Gentiles also and would be a kingdom more encompassing and enduring than all those kingdoms in Dan 10-11 and even more than the Romans.

DAN 12:7
We get to the heart of question #1. Is Dan 12:7 fulfilled in AD70 in the shattering of the power of the "holy people" -- the Jews?  First, a side note that the word here is closer and more often translated as "shatter" and not "scatter". See here This is only important because many prophecy buffs infer that the Jews were "scattered" in AD70 and then brought back together in 1947-1967 as the nation of Israel.  Also note, that it was their power that shattered/broken. This is certainly true of AD70.

Dan 12:7 concludes with the phrase, "all these things shall be finished/will be completed".  Certainly the kind of language a hyperpreterist might use to indicate complete fulfillment in AD70.  But what is the "all things"? Again, the Bible often uses hyperbole and exaggeration for effect.  All the things leading UP TO...this time.  Leading up to the culmination of the "type", the physical representation -- be it the physical "chosen people" or the physical Temple.  But now a time was coming, and was at hand (in AD33 during Jesus earthly ministry) and was ever coming when the sons of Abraham we not just people of Jewish genealogies. A time was coming when people would not worship God on mountains or in temples made with hands. (Mark 14:58, John 4:21, Acts 7:48) The context leads us to the New Testament and the kingdom Jesus was bringing.

The power of the holy people was shattered in AD70. The nation of Israel in 1947 is NOT the covenant/chosen people of God reconstituted. God never spoke of any such thing. The "chosen people", the true sons of Abraham from the time of Jesus earthly ministry on; were not merely Abraham's blood descendants; but any people that repents and believes in/on Christ. To institute a reconstituted Israel as if it is God's chosen people, flies in the face of Jesus' ministry. However, please do not think I am hostile toward the modern nation of Israel as many hyperpreterists are today.

First, historically within Christianity, most Christian scholars have understood Dan 12:1 and Mt 24:21 to be speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. It was not until the chiliasts, the millenarians, and especially the Dispensationalists that you have this idea of Dan 12:1 and Mt 24:21 being attributed to some future "tribulation".  However, even though the majority of Christianity has understood this as pertaining to AD70, you have not seen wholesale hyperpreterism come of it; because Christians keep context.

It is here where the hyperpreterist goes off the deep end because of their propensity to fall into the this=that error. They find a word or phrase and misapply it to everything. Let's look closer at what the Jews thought about the "coming resurrection" and what Jesus had to say about it. But before we do so, we note here the contention by the hyperpreterists; "If the shattering of the power of the holy people happened in AD70 and the great tribulation happened about that time as well, then the resurrection must had also happened" --right?

Perhaps the first thing to establish is what the Jews thought about the Resurrection.  We know that the sect called the Sadducees denied a life after death. These Sadducees tried to question the supposed outlandishness of the resurrection by asking Jesus, in the Resurrection whose wife a woman would be after multiple marriages on earth.  Note that Jesus doesn't correct their contention that the Resurrection is yet future and has some sort of physicality to it.  However, he does correct their notion that the Resurrection is completely physical, since Jesus says that in the Resurrection, people become like angels (see Luke 20:27-39).

Further, we read in John 11:23-27 an exchange between Jesus and Martha about the Resurrection. It is apparent that Martha has the typical Jewish understanding of the future, physical resurrection.  Note that Jesus doesn't correct that understanding but broadens it to include a life that is had NOW; at the very moment of belief in Christ.  Martha says she knows she'll see her dead brother again "in the the Resurrection" but Jesus says;

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

This is consistent with what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3 when Jesus tells him he must be born again -- ie resurrected. So, the problem with the hyperpreterists is that they think the Resurrection is only one thing (this=that) when in reality it is more than just what will happen in the future. It is what happens at the very moment of belief in Christ AND what will happen when Martha sees her dead brother again.  A further problem is that the first kind of resurrection (the born again kind), happened BEFORE AD70. This doesn't square well with the hyperpreterist theme that has the Resurrection happening at AD70.

So to conclude on question #1; yes Daniel 12 is fulfilled. However there remains a resurrection of the type Martha was looking for, even though she had eternal life at the moment of belief. You can believe this and NOT be any kind of "preterist" -- it is simply historically Christian.

This answer doesn't require as much context since hyperpreterists have easily mis-characterized Mt 10:23 to be something it is not.  Whether because of the hyperpreterists or influences by TV preachers always telling us verses that talk about Jesus "coming" are talking about Him coming BACK to earth -- we tend to misunderstand what is typically meant when Jesus said He was "about to/soon/at hand/shortly/within this generation" COME.

First, don't let hyperpreterists twist this. Compare Dan 7:13 to Mt 26:64 and you see Jesus/the Son of Man was "coming on/in/with the clouds".... not BACK to earth, but TO the Father/Ancient of Days.  Jesus was talking about His impending vindication and glorification. He was ABOUT TO be vindicated and glorified as the Messiah/God He claimed to be. It was SOON going to be so obvious that it could hardly be doubted. Jesus' power and kingdom was SHORTLY going to consume and even shatter the power of the "holy people" and per Dan 11:45 and Dan 2:35-45 even overtake the Romans.

So, since it was not about Jesus coming BACK to earth, it is no perplexing thing to say:

"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." -- Mt 10:23

Indeed Jesus DID "come" before the Father/Ancient of Days BEFORE His disciples had gone through the cities of Israel.

And just so you don't think this interpretation is my own, Gill says this of Mt 10:23:

"till the son of man be come; which is not to be understood of his second coming to judgment, but either of his resurrection from the dead, when he was declared to be the Son of God, and when his glorification began; or of the pouring forth of the Spirit at the day of Pentecost, when his kingdom began more visibly to take place, and he was made, or manifested to be the Lord and Christ; or of his coming to take vengeance on his enemies, that would not have him to rule over them, and the persecutors of his ministers, at the destruction of Jerusalem." [link]
John Calvin says of Mt 10:23:

"Christ promises that he will come before they have traveled through the whole of Judea: that is, [come] by the power of his Spirit, he will shed around his reign such luster, that the apostles will be enabled to discern that glory and majesty which they had hitherto been unable to discover." [link]

See how feeble the hyperpreterist reasoning is? They twist as Romans 16:17-18 says and try to trick people into thinking they are wise. They do not give the Christian interpretation but take it and twist is into something that ends up not being anything like Christian. It is like a person claiming to be an American but promoting communism. Even if that person has a birth certificate showing they were born in America, their ideas are not American. Thus, no matter how much a hyperpreterist claims to be espouse Christian doctrine, their views and interpretations are not Christian. [I am not speaking of their ultimate salvation -- that's between God and them alone]

Again, there is no reason to believe there is conflict between verses like 2 Pet 3:10-13 which speak of the destruction of the works of earth, and verses like Eph 3:21 which speaks of the "world without end"; or even more verses like Psalm 78:69, Psalm 104:5, Psalm 37:29, Ecclesiastes 1:4 which certainly seem to indicate a never ending planet earth. It is certainly possible for everything ON the earth to be destroyed and yet earth itself remain. This happened during the Flood.

So, here we are again with the hyperpreterist error of this=that. They are claiming that God will not do what it appears He will do in 2 Pet 3:10-13 because of verses where it appears the world remains forever. From this, hyperpreterist also conclude that sin will not ultimately be eradicated; nor do they think it is God's intent to eradicate sin from the earth. The hyperpreterist error begets more error.

I personally have no stake in trying to defend if the planet earth will or will not one day explode, especially since there is no text that is saying that. I simply know that God intends to eradicate sin.  How that happens is yet to be known exactly.

The hyperpreterist red herring fails to lift off once again. They strike out on trying to portray historical Christianity as clueless; as if Christianity has not understood the first-century fulfillment. Hyperpreterists strike out on trying to force this-to-equal-that when it comes to the Resurrection. Hyperpreterists bat a losing game in trying to have every mention of "coming" mean "coming back". And finally, hyperpreterists are forced to leave the field when they try to tell Christians that God will not ultimately deal with sin.  Just watch the lives of most hyperpreterists and you will see the virus-like destruction their "private interpretations" do to their lives.

If you want to be a Christian; understand that Jesus came to found a collective; a group, a community, a Body called the Church. Hyperpreterists are arrogant loners that seek to destroy the Christianity that Jesus and His hand-picked apostles founded and replace it with their own version. Hyperpreterists are like those "Americans" that are preaching communism but still want you to believe it is American. Don't be fooled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a clear and scholarly answer that are both referenced from authoritative sources and quoted from the Blue letter bible for proper Greek and Hebrew context of the word/verse.

Thanks Roderick for answering my questions, All I can say is that my confusion is now cured, I think I was led by the Lord to your site when I was desperately seeking for answers several months ago. And after reading Almost all of the past Blogs here, Everything started to became clear, That is why I said before that this site is such a refreshing rest. Although I'm still struggling for some answers then, but it is now properly addressed through your answers.

I just would like to add concerning my no#3 question that the earth will indeed end based on the verse I read in Psalm 102:25-26 and Hebrews 1:10-11 that the earth and its works will perish. God will certainly dispose the Old order of things PHYSICALLY and Ideologically.

I'm also unconvinced in the Premillenial Dispensational view but trying Hyper Preterism as an alternative is probably much more confusing and dangerous, not to mention depressing coz it always say everything that Christianity is doing is in fact already "done away" in 70AD according to them. No more evangelizing: great commission fulfilled, All of Revelation fulfilled, no more prophecy left to fulfill: Satan is already bound?, We are in the new heavens and the new earth?. etc just to name some of the most outrageous claims by the Hyper preterist.

As a way of ending the Hyperpreterist journey, as my public testimony and warning to others who are considering in threading the same path and troublesome journey i did, Please be wary of this view. For me this is the website that started it all. It even have some "hard" challenge questions for their detractors.

Their "doctrine" and "private interpretation" has a very hypnotic and brainwashing element to it that once you read it, there will be a struggle inside but in the end you will find your self thinking "I've read it in the Bible, What they are saying seems to be right but I KNOW there's something wrong."....(They say Audience Relevance, Time Indicators and Historical background is necessary, words like, This, All, We, soon, quickly is mentioned it means it's not for you, its immediate therefore its ALL done???....WRONG!!!) I have to endure that doubt and confusion until I did a thorough investigation and research that gives Light or contradict the hyper preterist view read hundred of websites that explain why HP is such a Heretical unChristian "private interpretation" but this blogsite is the best in explaining it. Not only in exposing the doctrinal issues but the personalities behind it.

I can now bury this heretical belief and promise never to return to this view again no matter what.

RIP: HyperPreterism 2008-2013

Offcourse, this is the death that I can guarantee that no resurrection would occur. Atleast for me ( Pun intended :)

And finally I have to give praise to God and also commend Roderick for those encompassing answers that he provided, I'm very well convinced most specially it's coming from a former 15 years Hyper Preterist like him. I hope it will also benefit others who are being led astray by this heretical eschatology.

Thank You so much and GOD bless! -Marc:)