Timeout: Revelation and the Crisis of Historicism

(Frankmer7) #127

This is exactly the problem I’ve been highlighting. 1:1 can be translated, " The revelation from Jesus Christ…" The immediate context favors this, "…which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place."

IOW, the contents of the book are primarily an unveiling/apocalypsis of what was to soon take place as it related to the recipients of the letter. This is done in the context of the wider, cosmic reality of the Lamb on the throne, the worship of heaven, and the coming judgements on idolatry, injustice, and unfaithfulness, and the powers behind such.

While the gospels can inform this, Revelation is not primarily an exposition of the Jesus of the gospels, or generically of his love, as is often said. That is not what the immediate context is saying. If one wants to bring that in after understanding the letter’s main objective and context, that is fine. But, it is not the first way to understand it. The immediate and internal context is.

Another issue is that Jesus says that Revelation is about what was soon to take place. That opens up another can of worms in which those who tout historicism use all kinds of gymnastics to explain away. What do we think soon meant to the original audience? How are we at liberty to change such meaning?


@ajshep @areis74

(Allen Shepherd) #128

Paul in 2 Thessalonians speaks of the man of lawlessness, the little horn power in Dan 7. He says he will be revealed after a “falling away” etc. So, he sees this power to come in the future. How future he does not say. The same power is mentioned in Revelation, the same vision in Daniel is noted with the 1260 days etc. So, this power was in the future.

i don’t have to do any gymnastics. it is plainly there. Now, the writers did think things would happen more quickly than they did. I won’t argue with that. The disciples thought Jesus was to be crowned king, but he was crucified instead.

But the works were intended for a larger audience than the first one. That is clear from Paul’s statements.

(Frankmer7) #129

Where do you get this from the immediate context of 2 Thess. that this is the little horn power of Daniel 7? Where does it say this? How does one read this in the text itself? Or, are you proof texting to make a pre determined connection?


@areis74 @Nymous

(Patrick Travis) #130

What seems to be oblivious to “historicist” is the possibility in prophecy of repetitive beastly attributes down through history and how they both have & will affect God’s people.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #131

A fundamental problem within Adventism, particularly post Glacier View is the dogmatic way the Administration has created it dogma on end times. The Good News of the Gospel is obscured with either fear or self righteousness. Soul winning is to the 28 Not Grace. Compliance is far different that accepting the gift of Grace. Adoption is a lost word in the tangled web of beasts and images wihich at best is fear producing rather than “Free at last, thank God All Might, Free At last”.

(Phillip Brantley) #132

Gadamer’s fusion of horizons is what happens, but it is not a methodology per se. In other words, we don’t try to fuse our horizon with the horizon of the ancients when we interpret the biblical text, but a fusion of horizons results despite all of our efforts to be objective. Accordingly, we need to recognize that our interpretations of the biblical text cannot ever be 100 percent accurate. We always read into the text our prejudice.

This fusion of horizons is not entirely bad. Because there are so many manifestations of distance that impede our understanding of the biblical text, we need a bridge between the horizon of the ancients and our horizon. What can help constitute that bridge is prejudice, which Gadamer views in a favorable way. The prejudice we share with the ancients helps us interpret their writings. Paradoxically, reading into the text our prejudice is a good thing if the ancients shared that prejudice. The reason that this sharing of prejudice with the ancients is possible is because the prejudice is part of our tradition. So we are not speaking about idiosyncratic prejudice but a broadly-felt prejudice of the interpretative community that has continued on for centuries.

Of course, the problem with the fusion of horizons is that we get an alloy of biblical truth rather than pure biblical truth. E.D. Hirsch proposes that we distinguish between meaning and application. Rather than regard meaning as a fusion of horizons, he insists that meaning is solely a matter of authorial intent and that our horizon only comes into play when we apply the meaning of the biblical text to present circumstances. This proposal is laudatory, but the line between meaning and application is too fine and probably indeterminate.

I should also point out that Gadamer’s objective is not determination of the meaning of an ancient text but truth. For him truth, not just meaning, arises from the fusion of horizons. This is somewhat problematic for Christians who embrace Sola Scriptura, which we should firmly adhere to.

I think your suggestion more or less is OK, but keep in mind that the biblical text needs to be relevant to us. A fusion of horizons needs to occur. Meaning needs to be applied. Otherwise, the many manifestations of distance that impede our interpretation of the biblical text will predominate. Stated another way, we know that there is a fusion of horizons because we experience some success in interpreting the biblical text.

I could say a lot more, but I hope this is responsive.

(Allen Shepherd) #133

Of course I am proof texting, that is all we Adventists do, you know.

2 Thessalonians was written to some who thought the “day of the Lord” had already come, or was coming shortly. Some were even idle, waiting for Jesus to come (chapter 3).

But Paul warns them in 2 Thess. 2:2-4

"Don’t be unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report, or letter supposed to be from us saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion (KJV falling away) occurs and the man of sin is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Most commentators (not just Adventists) see this as a reference to Dan 7:25, the little horn power.

Note that Paul tells the believers (this is the first book written in the NT) to not think Jesus is coming soon, but that some things must happen first. (apparently warning against the Preterist position): A falling away, and a revelation of the man of lawlessness. Jesus cannot come until then.

Dan 7:25 is part of the 4 beasts prophecy. Paul sees the horn as future. So the Preterist reading (4th beast is Greece, little horn Antiochus) was not on his horizon.

That is what many commentators see here.

(André Reis) #134

Such hermeneutical leaps are jaw dropping.

As Josephus clearly lays out, first century Jews/Rabbis interpreted Antiochus IV as the fulfillment of the little horn. Paul is silent but most likely followed current Jewish interpretation. We get a glimpse of this in John 10 where Jesus and the disciples participate in the Feast of Lights which celebrated the overthrow of Antiochus and the purification of the sanctuary predicted in Dan 8:13–14.

Adventists are quick to appeal to Jesus’ cryptic mention of the “abomination of the desolation” in Matt 24 as pointing to a future fulfillment. But this should not be taken as a fulfillment but most likely typologically since the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple failed the requirements of Dan 8 because: (1) that temple was never restored: (2) the persecution was brought about by Jewish political rebellion against the Romans and; (3) lastly, neither Jerusalem nor the Temple any meaning in 70 AD, having rejected Jesus and been rejected by God in 33AD.

As such the Greek desecration of the sanctuary in the 2nd century BC as the primary fulfillment of Daniel 8 was applied typologically to the Roman invasion of Jerusalem because it shared many of the same features and served as a sign for faithful Jews/Christians to leave Judea.

(Patrick Travis) #135

All the “little horns” of ch.7 & 8 are described within and not the same.

(Allen Shepherd) #136

Apparently you are out of the loop on this. My NIV margin (and my RSV from 1952) list Dan 7:25 as a cross reference for 2 Thess 2:3 . I guess I am not the only one who made the connection.

Well, if you impose Preterism on the text, Paul is silent. You can make an assumption that he was, by ignoring this reference, but that just shows bias. And I am not the only one to make this jaw dropping association. But of course, Preterism might obscure some things.

I could ask several questions here, but if the horn of Dan 8 is Antiochus, how do you explain vs 8:12 …It prospered in everything it did…? (also vs 24: succeed in whatever he does) As I recall from history, Antiochus did not exactly succeed in whatever did, but failed pretty miserably in several things. And he did not destroy the holy people at all, but lost the war to them and had to withdraw (vs 24).

But the little horn of Dan 8 DOES nicely describe Roman power, both secular and religious, as Historicists assert.

So, jaw dropping is not indicated. Historicism is not new to you, nor the folk who translated the NIV and the RSV.

(André Reis) #137

I’m curious why the cross reference when there’s actually NO textual correspondence between the two passages (except for the word “kai” = and).

2 Thess 2:3 (NA 27)
Μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον. ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας

Dan 7:25 (LXX)
καὶ ῥήματα εἰς τὸν ὕψιστον λαλήσει καὶ τοὺς ἁγίους τοῦ ὑψίστου κατατρίψει καὶ προσδέξεται ἀλλοιῶσαι καιροὺς καὶ νόμον, καὶ παραδοθήσεται πάντα εἰς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ ἕως καιροῦ καὶ καιρῶν καὶ ἕως ἡμίσους καιροῦ

In order to establish that one author is citing another, the first requirement is that verbal parallels must be present. You have no meaningful parallel here.

(Allen Shepherd) #138

The problem with Preterism is not the assertion that we need to understand how the first hearers understood the words of the prophet, or the context of his message etc. it is good to search and know those things.

The real problem with Preterism is that it robs God of his glory.

God says,

Is 42:21-23 “‘Present your case.’ says the Lord. ‘Set forth your arguments.’ says Jacob’s King. ‘Bring in your idols to tell us what is gong to happen. Tell us what the former things were…tell us what the future holds…’”

Is 42:8,9 “‘I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being, I announce them to you.’”

But Preteriem says, “Sorry God, you did not tell the future, because the future cannot be foreknown. Your challenge to those idols, well, You might try something else. Who do you think you are, anyway?”

That is the problem with Preterism, its basic assumption robs God. Yes robs, worse than withholding tithe.

(Allen Shepherd) #139

Why did the two Bible’s, and they are not the only ones, noted the correlation. Perhaps there is something else then a so called “textual correspondence” that is necessary.

You are not just arguing with me, a lowly pastor here. A whole slew of folk saw it.

And I didn’t hear an answer to the Antiochus issue…

(André Reis) #140

Well, that’s a shocker.

Does robbing the Bible of its original, primary significance bring God glory?

That’s just silly.

Doesn’t predicting the future in great detail rob people of their free will? How does turning people into mere puppets of predictive prophecy bring God glory?

Do you know the work of Richard Rice on God and free will? Seems like you have quite a bit of homework to do…

(André Reis) #141

Can’t “everything he did” apply to what he did during 2,300 evenings-mornings against the Jews?

He lost the war to them because his desecration wasn’t going to last forever as predicted in Dan 8:14. That temple was restored.

Now, how did the Romans fulfill this any better? They certainly didn’t suceed in everything they did and that temple destroyed in 70 AD was never restored.

Did the Papacy destroy the holy people?

(Allen Shepherd) #142

Interesting answer.

I am aware of Rice’s assertions but have not studied his works in depth.

But if God challenges the idols, and you say any ability to see the future would limit our freedom, you are saying he has made a false assertion, something he cannot do.

Note though, that what I said about Preterism is true, it does rob God of a characteristic he says he has. I did not make the assertion, he did.

I have thought about that issue. Here is my take:


Is 45:21 …Who foretold this long ago? Who declared it from distant past? Was it not I the Lord? And there is no god apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior, there is none but me."

How can anyone who is actually able to see the future be trusted?
One with such power would certainly manipulate it. And would it not be to their advantage to do so? Who or what could stop them if they so wished? With such power in their hands, could anyone else be truly free? Are we all just puppets being played by the Master Puppeteer?
And how could we know that was not the case when there was excellent evidence that such a One could indeed see the future. (Daniel 2,7 and 9)?
Such questions show the dilemma God faced with Satan’s rebellion. God could be accused of manipulation and how would we, the angels or any created beings be able to know if in fact God could do with the future as he saw fit? Satan could say, “You are the One in charge. I am just doing what you are making me do. All this evil is Your fault!”
But God had anticipated such difficulties and had a way to show he was not the Grand Manipulator. As is the case in all God’s dealings with questions of his character, the answer was Jesus and the cross.
Jesus laid aside all power, lived as a creature rather than God and most importantly was crucify on a cross, not an experience anyone who controlled the future for his own benefit would not have allowed. Then and there it was Satan who was clearly in control. God thus showed that he did not manipulate the future, but lived freely in it a you and I do, and could be trusted with it.
We can rest in this knowledge. The future is open and free: the One who died on the tree has it in his hands. Hallelujah!

People are not made puppets but are free. Milton addresses this issue in Paradise Lost, btw.

(Allen Shepherd) #143

Really in a according to Preterism a 3 year period? Is that doing justice to the text?

Well, pretty much so when compared to Antiochus, and they did put their thumb on him in Egypt, you know, so that were definitely more powerful then he was.

And they id destroy the holy people like no one else.

And the papacy destroyed God’s holy people as well.

i understand the Preterist interpretation. It does not fit very well. you have “twist the text” a bit. the Historical interpretation is less twisty. At least I think so,

And it avoids robbing God…

(André Reis) #144

I don’t see a difference between the persecutions (Greek, Roman, Papacy) to the extent that neither decimated completely or “destroy” the holy people.

There’s a lot of twisting the text to negate that the Greeks did fulfill these predicitions quite precisely (considering variations based on free will). The text of Dan 8 certainly limits this to the Greeks as Rome is nowhere to be found.

(Allen Shepherd) #145

Antiochus invades Judea, desecrates the temple for a short time, is defeated and has to go home with his tail between his legs. The Hasmonean kingdom comes into being.

The Romans take Judea in 67 BC, but set up a client king. As time goes on the Romans take more and more power to themselves.

The Jews rebel and the Romans then take Jerusalem in AD 70 and destroy the temple. Titus even erects an arch in Rome showing this trophies, we can see it today.

They put down another revolt in AD 132 and ban all Jews from Jerusalem, a ban that stays in effect for several 100 years.

The Papacy runs persecutions for several hundred years…

And you don’t see the difference? Most everyone sees the AD 70 destruction as fulfilling the prophecy, at least the non-preterist folk do.

(André Reis) #146

The difference I don’t see has to do with the fact that they didn’t utterly wipe out God’s people.

There’s a MAJOR difference in fact: Antiochus’s persecution is the only one after which the temple was purified and restored as required by Dan 8.