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Theonomy and the Dating of Revelation
The Master's seminary ^ | Fall 1994 | Robert L. Thomas

Posted on 01/21/2011 8:20:05 AM PST by dartuser

In 1989, a well-known spokesman for the theonomist camp, Kenneth L. Gentry, published a work devoted to proving that John the Apostle wrote Revelation during the sixties of the first century A.D. Basing his position heavily on Rev 17:9-11 and 11:1-13, he used internal evidence within the book as his principal argument for the early date. ...

Inconsistency marks Gentry's hermeneutical pattern. Predisposition keeps him from seeing the book's theme verse as a reference to Christ's second coming. His explanation of Rev 17:9-11 is fraught with weaknesses, as is his discussion of 11:1-2. Two major flaws mar Gentry's discussion of John's temporal expectation in writing the book. Besides these problems, five major questions regarding Gentry's position remain unanswered.

(Excerpt) Read more at tms.edu ...


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Theology
KEYWORDS: apocalypseofstjohn; covenanttheology; religion; revelation; sourcetitlenoturl; theonomy
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Gentry once remarked that if the book of Revelation can be shown to have been written after AD 70 (the vast majority of NT scholars date Revelation around AD 95) then preterism 'would go up in smoke.' Those who argue for an early date accuse traditionalists of using one citation from Irenaeus which they view as ambiguous; a claim that they defend without much exegetical ammunition.

Dr. Thomas has provided a scholarly work here to demonstrate the issues with Gentry's work. Many of the arguments that he makes have been developed by earlier authors; however, I personally have not seen some of these arguments presented before. While he interacts with the formidable Gentry in a straightforward manner, he also refutes the claims that traditionalists are clinging to a single citation as the totality of evidence for the AD 95 date. He provides a host of evidence from the NT and NT history that clearly combats the logic of an early date.

WARNING, this is not an easy read and it is quite long (16 pages).

1 posted on 01/21/2011 8:20:06 AM PST by dartuser
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To: dartuser

95 AD?
This is old news............


2 posted on 01/21/2011 8:30:20 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
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To: dartuser; topcat54
This is News, and not Religion?

Topcat54, do you want to get in on this action?

3 posted on 01/21/2011 8:35:04 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed, he's hated on seven continents")
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To: Alex Murphy

It is best to let FReeping blogs die...............


4 posted on 01/21/2011 8:41:15 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
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To: Alex Murphy; dartuser

Probably not. The two items in the subject are unrelated. Rest can’t be good.


5 posted on 01/21/2011 9:01:56 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: Alex Murphy; dartuser

Besides, I’ve already asked dart questions about futurism that have gone unanswered. I can see the pattern.


6 posted on 01/21/2011 9:05:05 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: Alex Murphy; dartuser

Gentry’s book Before Jerusalem Fell is available online to read for free. If dartuser is prepared to read it and discuss it, that would be more interesting. And it would demonstrate the potential for independent thinking.


7 posted on 01/21/2011 9:13:31 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: dartuser

Wow! Thomas does a thorough job of destroying the credibility of Gentry’s and the whole of Preterist hermeneutics as it relates to Revelation. He points out not only the inconsistency with which Gentry interprets but also shows the underlying rational to try to justify a predisposed position. He does an excellent job of showing the falsehoods of Preterism, theonomy, and Dominionism.


8 posted on 01/21/2011 10:05:04 AM PST by CynicalBear
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To: topcat54

I apologize for not answering your questions topcat, its not my intention to exit an interesting conversation (and we were having an interesting one) ... but I have been unusually busy at work, lots of technical reviews coming up along with a major flight test.

I will try to keep up with the rest of the class ... lol.

I posted this article because I did a google search the other day on “date of revelation” (or something like that, dont remember the exact words) and was shocked to see defense of an early date in 19 of the 20 first hits.

Each of them puts forth the same basic arguments that Gentry has outlined, contains (imho) lots of exceptionally weak arguments, and does little to advance the case for an early date.


9 posted on 01/21/2011 10:32:28 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: topcat54
And it would demonstrate the potential for independent thinking.

lol ... yeah, because that MA in Mathematics, that PhD in Electrical Engineering, and the years of seminary training hasn't adequately prepared me for an undergraduate discussion in theology up here on FR.

Keep it above the belt and I will be happy to have at it some more.

10 posted on 01/21/2011 10:37:32 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: dartuser; Alex Murphy
Each of them puts forth the same basic arguments that Gentry has outlined, contains (imho) lots of exceptionally weak arguments, and does little to advance the case for an early date.

You're read Gentry then?

11 posted on 01/21/2011 12:14:47 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: dartuser; Alex Murphy

I said demonstrate.


12 posted on 01/21/2011 12:15:49 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: dartuser; Alex Murphy
I posted this article because I did a google search the other day on “date of revelation”

You've already gotten more responses than the last time you tried this.

13 posted on 01/21/2011 12:45:25 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: dartuser; Alex Murphy; CynicalBear
In 1989, a well-known spokesman for the theonomist camp,

When the author starts by “poisoning the well,” you can figure the rest won't be very good.

14 posted on 01/21/2011 1:22:26 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54; dartuser; Alex Murphy

Going after the speaker rather then the facts sounds familiar somehow.


15 posted on 01/21/2011 2:09:19 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: dartuser; All
The problem I see with people using John's personal life experiences to give a date to when this was written either didn't read, or understand, the first 3 verses.

Revelation 1:1-3 (New King James Version)

Revelation 1

Introduction and Benediction
 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

This is not 'The Revelation of or by John' as a lot characterize it. It is The Revelation given by God the Father to John and us to reveal future events concerning His Son, Jesus.

The only role John had in this is as a scribe or stenographer detailing what God the Father showed him with an Angel and/or the Spirit of God. This is God's prophecy, not John's.

What time in John's life it was written has no bearing as to what he wrote. It could have been written anytime before John died. BVB

16 posted on 01/21/2011 2:42:28 PM PST by Bobsvainbabblings
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To: dartuser; Alex Murphy; CynicalBear
WARNING, this is not an easy read and it is quite long (16 pages).

That's about the only truthful statement in these comments.

So I bothered to read a bit of this atrocious critique of Gentry, and I must say that I'm shocked by the writer's plain misreading of the book and its premise.

For example, under the section “Temporal Expectation of the Author,” the writer says,

The coming of Christ for the church, he says, is the Neronic persecution of A.D. 64-68, but John did not write the book until 65 or early 66. This "coming" was not imminent; it was already in progress.
Gentry does not refer to any of this activity as “the coming of Christ for the church,” which the writer no doubt thinks is the rapture. It's a misrepresentation of Gentry's views. But he also quibbles about the word “imminent” and where exactly within the timefame of the Neronic persecution these events represent.

Again, the writer in clearly confused about the events of AD70 and the Second Coming, the former being quite predictable while the later is not. Yet the writer tries to conflate the two claiming that Gentry somehow predicts the Second Coming, which is not the subject of Before Jerusalem Fell at all.

For Gentry, "soon" means already (i.e., Christ's coming for the church), in two years (i.e., Christ's coming for the Jews), and in four years (i.e., Christ's coming for the Roman Empire).
A careful examination of Gentry here will show that He never refers to the Neronic persecution as “Christ's coming for the church.”

This is how Gentry actually refers to the event:

A magnitude that is so covenantally and redemptively significant as to be, in an important and dramatic sense, a “coming” of Christ (Rev. 1:7; 2:5, 16, 25; 3:3, 11, 20; 16: 15; 22:7, 12, 20)?
Note, Gentry does not use the words that the writer suggests. He refers to the events of AD70 as “Coming of Christ upon 'those who pierced Him'” (p. 127), “coming of Christ and the close of the Old Dispensation” (quoting Farrar, p. 144), or similar language. Never does he use the rapturist language of dispensationalism.

How can this be considered a fair critique if the writer is essentially incapable of correctly conveying the views of Gentry? The word “straw man” comes to mind again and again. The only thing that can be said of this writer is that he has managed to prove that Gentry is not a dispensational futurist.

The rest of this critique is similarly flawed. The writer has read his biases into Gentry's work to the extent that he plainly misrepresents Gentry's basic thesis.

Anyone who thinks this is a thorough job of destroying the credibility of Gentry’s hermeneutics, is sadly mistaken and suggests they have neither read Gentry nor this writer, at least not fairly.

17 posted on 01/21/2011 4:31:11 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54; dartuser; Alex Murphy

>>Note, Gentry does not use the words that the writer suggests. He refers to the events of AD70 as “Coming of Christ upon ‘those who pierced Him’”<<

So you would say that Gentry is saying that in AD70 when Christ came upon “those that pierced Him” everyone in the world saw Him and all wailed because of Him? The Romans, even though they were the ones killing the Israelites were wailing? Seriously?

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Then you/he use Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

In that verse he was speaking to the church of Ephesus. By all accounts the church at Ephesus were Christians not Jews. Either way, how could you say that Christ coming upon “those who pierced Him” be applied to the Christians at Ephesus?

The same can be said for verse 16 where He is talking about those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which held that there is a hierarchy in the church. Surely not “those who pierced Him”.

In non of the references you use is He talking to the Jews in Jerusalem but to Christian churches.

Again I quote your post >>Note, Gentry does not use the words that the writer suggests. He refers to the events of AD70 as “Coming of Christ upon ‘those who pierced Him’” (p. 127),<<

Yet you use references in Revelation that are not talking about the Jews in Jerusalem at all.

Once again, the Preterist/Theonomy/Dominionist views can not be held as credible.


18 posted on 01/21/2011 5:12:36 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: Bobsvainbabblings

>>What time in John’s life it was written has no bearing as to what he wrote.<<

While I agree with that, it does make a difference when talking to Preterists who claim that most all of the prophecy of Revelation has happened prior to or in 70AD.


19 posted on 01/21/2011 5:16:29 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: dartuser; Alex Murphy; CynicalBear
Revelation 1:3 : How could events related to the collapse of the Roman Empire two or three hundred years in the future be considered “at hand,” as per Swete, Barnes, and others? Several generations of these Christians would have waxed and waned over such a period. Even more difficult to understand is how events two or three thousand years in the future could be considered “at hand,” as per Mounce, Walvoord, and others. How could such events so remotely stretched out into the future be “at hand”? But if the expected events were to occur within a period of from one to five years — as in the case with Revelation if the book were written prior to A.D. 70 – then all becomes clear. (Gentry, BJF, p. 141)

20 posted on 01/21/2011 5:46:37 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: CynicalBear; dartuser; Alex Murphy
So you would say that Gentry is saying that in AD70

Don't take my word. You can read Gentry for yourself here.

21 posted on 01/21/2011 5:49:51 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54

>> How could events related to the collapse of the Roman Empire two or three hundred years in the future be considered “at hand,”<<

It’s rather easy when you understand that with God there is no time. Jesus is telling John what will happen but time to Him is not bound by our minds.


22 posted on 01/21/2011 5:58:45 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: topcat54

>>Don’t take my word. You can read Gentry for yourself<<

You’re the one in here who is defending Gentry. It doesn’t matter who is saying it. If it’s in error it’s in error. Again, you are the one defending and agreeing with his view.


23 posted on 01/21/2011 6:00:55 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
It’s rather easy when you understand that with God there is no time. Jesus is telling John what will happen but time to Him is not bound by our minds.

So, IOW, it's God's version of a throw away line. It's meaningless to human. The God who condescended to become man to bring us our salvation and His Word at times speaks in riddles. Do you really believe this?

24 posted on 01/21/2011 6:03:32 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: CynicalBear
You’re the one in here who is defending Gentry.

In this case only as part of the process of pointing out the mistaken representations of the writer. If you want to get into Gentry, as opposed to this writer's imaginative views of Gentry, read the book and ask the questions.

25 posted on 01/21/2011 6:07:09 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: CynicalBear
If it’s in error it’s in error.

IOW, if it doesn't fit with the dispensational futurist view, then it's error. That's essentially the argument of this writer. At least y'all are consistent.

26 posted on 01/21/2011 6:11:51 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54

>>at times speaks in riddles. Do you really believe this?<<

Riddles? No where did I say it was a riddle. It’s not a riddle to understand that God sees time from a different perspective then we do. God isn’t restricted to our understanding of time. We, on the other hand, can understand that when God says that a day is like a thousand years to Him we can understand that when He says soon it could easily mean thousands of years.


27 posted on 01/21/2011 6:47:02 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: topcat54

>> IOW, if it doesn’t fit with the dispensational futurist view, then it’s error. That’s essentially the argument of this writer. At least y’all are consistent.<<

No, actually he gives Biblical reference as I did. Thomas points out the errors in Gentry’s interpretations and consistencies or lack thereof.


28 posted on 01/21/2011 7:01:22 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
Riddles? No where did I say it was a riddle. It’s not a riddle to understand that God sees time from a different perspective then we do. God isn’t restricted to our understanding of time. We, on the other hand, can understand that when God says that a day is like a thousand years to Him we can understand that when He says soon it could easily mean thousands of years.

But God is communicating information to His people. He is condescending to speak in our language. That is why He became a man.

The fact is that if we cannot take the words of God at their face value in this matter (when compared to the rest of the Bible), then we cannot take them that way anywhere. If we can arbitrarily apply the vague “God time” of 2 Peter 3:8 in any situation, then we can make the Bible speak anything we wish, chronologically.

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ." (Matt. 4:17)

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand . Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)

Perhaps not really at hand. Could mean not for thousands of years. After all, we need to take into consideration God time.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand .
Maybe Paul was using God time and really planned to stay around for months or even years.
And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand . (Rev. 22:10)
Why not seal up the book if the events in God time are still thousand of years away? Surely the readers were familiar with the words of Daniel:
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." (Dan. 12:4)
Why would Daniel be told to seal a book about visions that were, in the main, a few centuries away, while John is told not to seal up visions that were thousands of years away? God must be a riddler.
The deducible internal sitz im Leben (“situation in life”) of the recipients of Revelation also demands the maintenance of the preponderate scholarly lexical and translational consensus. John writes to seven contemporary historical churches (Rev. 1:11 ) facing very real serious, repeated, and intensifying threats (Rev. 2-3). He speaks of his own present enduring of “the tribulation” with them (Rev. 1:9). He notes with concern the expectant cry from the altar: “How long, O Lord?” (Rev. 6:10). Walvoord’s view – that when Jesus eventually comes He will come with great rapidity — would have offered no consolation to these persecuted saints. To interpret this passage to mean that some two or three thousand years in the future Jesus will come with great rapidity would be a mockery of their historical circumstances. Surely “this [...] is the hinge and staple of the book. When the advent of Jesus is hailed as a relief it is no consolation to say that the relief will come suddenly; sudden or not, it must come soon (v. 7), if it is to be of any service.”’ (Gentry, p. 139)

29 posted on 01/21/2011 7:19:00 PM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54
There is also the temple that John was told to measure, by it's description we know it was the temple utterly destroyed in AD70, as Christ said it would be in Matthew 24, which means John's writing of Revelation was prior to AD70.

Thru the Historian Flavious Josephus' book War with the Jews we know it had to be prior to the siege of Jerusalem by Titus in AD66, a time when the apostle John was also imprisoned, in Rome.

30 posted on 01/21/2011 8:04:55 PM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber! (50 million and counting in Afghanistan and Iraq))
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To: topcat54

There you go again. Context is key. You’re still trying to put God in the time box from a human perspective. When Jesus said he kingdom of heaven was at hand in Matthew and Mark He was talking about His kingdom which at that point was not of this world yet but it was at hand in the spiritual sense. In Daniel it was to be sealed until “the time of the end” an expression that is used in other prophecies designating the end of this age and the time of Tribulation and the coming earthly reign of Jesus.


31 posted on 01/21/2011 8:05:18 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear; dartuser; Alex Murphy
There you go again. Context is key.

No argument there. And the principle usually works until you bring your preconceptions to the text first. This is the futurist approach to Revelation (and Matthew 24). The books starts off with a fairly clear statement as to the impending nature of the prophecies. But the modern futurist has already determined that Revelation is about events thousands of years in the future from the time the visions were originally seen by John. It's about future Israel as opposed to first century Israel. So they are forced to go back and insist that since the context is future (according to their theology) then the language of “at hand” or “shortly come to pass” must be spiritualized ala the futurist rubric derived from 2 Peter 3:8.

What odd here is that even the early church fathers claimed by the premils as one of their own never took this view of the “at hand”. They truly believed that Christ's return was imminent, “at hand,” not potentially thousands of years in the future. This is fundamentally different from modern futurists who are forced by circumstances to adopt a spiritualized reading of Rev. 1:3.

The use similar reasoning to ignore the plain sense meaning of “this generation” in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Everywhere in the gospels where the phrase is used it's plainly a reference to Jesus' contemporary generation of Jewish brethren.

But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. (Luke 17:25)
But strangely when futurists get to Matthew 24:34 they are forced by the convictions of their theology to deny the connection.

So, context is important. That's one thing that makes futurism so difficult to take seriously. It's virtually impossible to interpret the text of the Bible without first overlaying their theological dogmas.

32 posted on 01/22/2011 8:10:08 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: CynicalBear; dartuser; Alex Murphy
In Daniel it was to be sealed until “the time of the end” an expression that is used in other prophecies designating the end of this age and the time of Tribulation and the coming earthly reign of Jesus.

Even is that were true, it does not help with explaining why John was told NOT to seal the book, for the time is at hand. It fact it undermines your theory. The difference in years between Daniel and John is relatively minor compared to Bible times vs. today (or even possibly thousands more years in the future). So if Daniel and John were speaking of the same events (your future “great tribulation”) thousands of years in the future from both perspectives, why is one told to seal and the other not to seal. It makes no sense … unless the events in view are not the end of time absolutely, but the end of the age, that is, the end of the old covenant age.

This makes considerably more sense and one is not forced to distort the time text to fit with preconceived theological dogma.

We have already been told that Jesus appeared at the end of the aeon (Heb. 9:26). The Jews of that day understood the meaning of the phrase. That seems to be lost on modern futurists who can only think in terms of the second coming/end of the world (2 Peter 3:10), and place little if any theological significance on the destruction of the temple, end of the Levitical priesthood, and the passing of the old covenant age.

33 posted on 01/22/2011 8:40:48 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54
>>Everywhere in the gospels where the phrase is used it's plainly a reference to Jesus' contemporary generation of Jewish brethren.<<

Ok, lets look at Matthew 24. The disciples ask the question in verse 3, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

He then describes what will be happening just before and at the end of the world. Clearly He was talking about the “generation” that would be alive when those things begin to happen. Surely you would agree that the end of the world didn’t happen during the lifetime of the apostles.

Now please don’t change your “plainly reference” mantra and begin to tell me that “the end of the world” means something different here. Surely you would maintain your hermeneutics and not divert to the “spiritualized reading” that you accuse us of.

34 posted on 01/22/2011 9:20:15 AM PST by CynicalBear
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To: dartuser
The other day I was fellowshipping with some friends of mine near the ESV display at the Shepherd’s Conference. Scott Hill was seated next to me reading my copy of Kenneth Gentry’s third edition of “Before Jerusalem Fell.” I highly recommend this book even if you already own a previous copy, because the preface of the third edition has Dr. Gentry’s rebuttals to the many critiques of his book including the one’s made by TMS’ own Dr. Robert Thomas. So, we were seated together and guess who happen to walk by our table? Dr. Thomas!

As we laughed about the whole thing, a conversation sparked about interpretive principles. We asked Dr. Thomas about his issue with the New Testament’s nonliteral interpretations of key Old Testament passages, as he puts it.[1] Dr. Thomas said, “Because Israel rejected the Messiah, the apostles had to reinterpret the Old Testament to open the door for salvation to a new church that included Gentiles.” I could not believe that he said that so I asked him to repeat it… and he did.[2]

Dr. Thomas believes that because the Jews rejected the Messiah the Apostles had to go back into the Old Testament and discover, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, meanings that were not originally understood either by the one who originally wrote it or by the audience who originally read or heard it.

Dr. Thomas believes, “NT writers applied OT texts to situations entirely different from what the corresponding OT contexts entailed. The NT writers disregarded the main thrust of grammatical-historical meaning of the OT passages and applied those passages in different ways to suit different points they wanted to make. They may have maintained some connecting link in thought with the OT passages, but the literal OT meanings are absent from the citations. …We may call this nonliteral use an “inspired sensus plenior application” of the OT passage to a new situation. Such a usage is “inspired” because the NT writing in which it appears is inspired by God. It is “sensus plenior” in that it gives an additional or fuller sense than the passage had in its OT setting. It is an application because it does not eradicate the literal meaning of the OT passage, but simply applies the OT wording to a new setting.”

Now the gist of what Dr. Thomas is saying is that the OT prophets did not foresee the sufferings of the Messiah or the New Covenant church. In dispensationalism the Church is deemed a new and unprophesied aside to God’s major plan for the Jews. John Walvoord writes of the Church: “There is good evidence that the [Church] age itself is a parenthesis in the divine program of God as it was revealed in the Old Testament. . . . [T]he present age [is] an unexpected and unpredicted parenthesis as far as Old Testament prophecy is concerned.”‘ Dr. Walvoord clearly asserts that, in his theological opinion, God had a special, Jewish only program in operation in the Old Testament and the present Church age is but an interruption of that program.

Furthermore, Dr. Thomas contends that the OT was written with the intention of having only one “meaning” and that “meaning”, as far as OT prophecies are concerned, being in its grammatical-historical sense is Premillennial. Now something about all of this just doesn’t add up in my mind. Dr. Thomas implies that the New Covenant church is “entirely different” from what the Old Testament was anticipating, that all the OT prophets were Premillennial, that the promises of God were for national Israel. And it is hard for me to believe that Jesus and the Apostles “re-interpreted” the Old Testament after prophecies didn’t work out just right.

[Read more at Does the Bible Mean What It Says .]


[1] Dr. Thomas commonly now refers to such interpretations as “inspired sensus pleanor” or “charismatic exegesis.” Also see his use of this phrase in this article.

[2] “Fourthly, someone might ask, “Why did the NT writers attach these sensus plenior meanings to OT passages?” In most instances, if not every instance, the new meaning given to an OT passage relates to Israel’s rejection of her Messiah at His first advent and the consequent opening of the door of salvation to a new people, the church (see Romans 9-11). The new people consist of both Jews and Gentiles as fellow members of the body of Christ, a mystery not revealed in the pages of the OT (cf. Eph 3:1-7). New meanings through special divine revelation were necessary to relate this new program to what God had been doing throughout the OT period.” Robert Thomas, New Evangelical Hermeneutics and Eschatology, 2003 Pre-Trib Study Group.


35 posted on 01/22/2011 9:33:02 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: CynicalBear
Ok, lets look at Matthew 24.

Will you first admit that everywhere else in the NT the phrase “this generation” refers to Jesus' first century contemporaries?

36 posted on 01/22/2011 9:35:37 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54
You're read Gentry then?

I have prioritized my time (I am currently in the middle of 3 other books and one formidable commentary) by looking at the section dealing with the Iraneaus quote (in my mind this is where the most fruit will be found, in the external evidence). I find the way he builds his case to be very contradictory and confusing, and thus unconvincing.

He spends alot of time developing the "could haves." He quotes lots of work to support the notion that the Latin and Greek translations could be wrong, the Latin translator was probably a moron, and that the Greek text is second hand. Further, and where I believe he makes an error, he goes on to try to convince the reader that Iraneaus is very confusing in many points in his expression and in his historical facts; but then he goes on to synthesize a "Sitz im Leben" and expects us to accept the results as a another point of a solid argument.

If Irenaeus’s famous statement is not to be re-interpreted along the lines of the argument as outlined above (although the present writer believes it should), it may still be removed as a hindrance to early date advocacy on the following grounds. These grounds may not be so substantial when considered individually, but when their combined weight is added to the above translational problem, they tend to render Irenaeus’s statement of questionable significance.

His approach and his conclusions, leave much to be desired and they often read with an aire of desperation (as it should be).

His bibliography is quite scholarly and provides lots of background work for those who wish to investigate further; for this we are all indebted to him.

PS: I am currently in the middle of

1. Biblical Eldership by Strauch (Sunday night mens Bible study)
2. The Exemplary Husband by Scott (Sat morning mens study)
3. George Muller, Man of Faith and Miracles by Miller
4. The Epistle to the Romans by Moo (he's also a post-trib), this work is massive.

What are you currently reading? If I can finish 2 of the first 3 I plan on putting Kik in the hopper. I have been doing a little part time background on his theology (I was actually saved in a Presbyterian church and discipled by the assistant pastor), it looks more interesting than most of that persuasion.

37 posted on 01/22/2011 9:39:59 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: CynicalBear
Ok, lets look at Matthew 24. The disciples ask the question in verse 3, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

That is an incorrect translation. The correct one is “end of the age.” The Greek word used here is aeon, not kosmos.

Now, you were saying …

38 posted on 01/22/2011 9:50:36 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54

>>So if Daniel and John were speaking of the same events (your future “great tribulation”) thousands of years in the future from both perspectives, why is one told to seal and the other not to seal.<<

Again, it’s rather simple. When Daniel was written there were many years before the time of Christ and the death of all the apostles. Revelation was the last book written by those that were direct students of Christ. Daniels prophecy was sealed because God did not want the people prior to Jesus to understand but those of us after Revelation should know because it was us who it was written for.

>>We have already been told that Jesus appeared at the end of the aeon (Heb. 9:26).<<

You’re right, He did appear at the end of that age. That would reinforce what I said above. Revelation was written at the end of that age when no more apostolic writing would be available.

>>That seems to be lost on modern futurists who can only think in terms of the second coming/end of the world (2 Peter 3:10)<<

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

This verse is talking about the end of the millennium not the “coming in the clouds”. At the battle of Armegedon there will be no doubt about who is coming and what is happening.


39 posted on 01/22/2011 9:55:21 AM PST by CynicalBear
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To: dartuser
I have prioritized my time (I am currently in the middle of 3 other books and one formidable commentary) by looking at the section dealing with the Iraneaus quote (in my mind this is where the most fruit will be found, in the external evidence). I find the way he builds his case to be very contradictory and confusing, and thus unconvincing.

I appreciate time constraints. But let me respectfully suggest that if you want to pick on Gentry, albeit by proxy via Dr. Thomas, then you at least have the courtesy to read the book to get the impact of the entire argument. Perhaps you can do a better job of understanding things than Dr. Thomas apparently did.

40 posted on 01/22/2011 9:56:27 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54
It's virtually impossible to interpret the text of the Bible without first overlaying their theological dogmas.

To a much larger degree, the same can be said of your position.

Which is why theological method is the point of divergence between covenantalism and dispensationalism.

As I have said in the past, the covenant theologian begins in the NT, rendering the background of the OT almost irrelevant, especially the prophetic portions. The dispensationalist begins in the OT, and brings the entire context of the OT into the NT. Can the NT expound upon the OT? Yeah ... Can it clarify? Yeah ... Can it replace? No, not if we are going to claim that Gods word is trustworthy and that His promises are to be believed.

41 posted on 01/22/2011 10:01:16 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: topcat54

I look forward to seeing Gentry’s rebuttle. Not sure what Thomas is talking about wrt the NT use of the OT. Sounds like he is espousing a fifth view. Not sure that is needed.


42 posted on 01/22/2011 10:10:13 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: CynicalBear
Again, it’s rather simple. When Daniel was written there were many years before the time of Christ and the death of all the apostles. Revelation was the last book written by those that were direct students of Christ. Daniels prophecy was sealed because God did not want the people prior to Jesus to understand but those of us after Revelation should know because it was us who it was written for.

It may be simple, but not for the reasons you give.

The phrase “end of the age” refer to the coming of Messiah and the end of the old covenant age of types and representations of Messiah's work. That means the end of the temple, sacrifices, Levitical system. Everything that marks Judaism out as distinct from the religions of the world. There is no more need for these things since the one to whom they pointed, the Messiah of Israel, had appeared in Jesus Christ.

the people prior to Jesus

But you've already told us that Daniel was supposed to be sealed until the tribulation period and earthly reign of Christ. That is what it says, no? Are you changing your tune?

Revelation was written at the end of that age when no more apostolic writing would be available.

It cannot be referring to the end of the apostolic age since that is never spoken of in this way in Scripture.

This verse is talking about the end of the millennium not the “coming in the clouds”. At the battle of Armegedon there will be no doubt about who is coming and what is happening.

There is no “day of the Lord” or “thief in the night” coming at the end of the futurist millennium. I realize your theology forces you to that conclusion, but where is your connection from Scripture?

1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night . 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thess. 5)

The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord . (Acts 2:20)

29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matt. 24)

Are these passages speaking of time after the futurist millennium? 2 Peter 3:10 fits in precisely with all that language.

We can see that by your theological presuppositions you are forced to not see the connection between 2 Peter 3:10 and the rest of these passages which all are referring to the Second Coming by the common futurist scheme.

43 posted on 01/22/2011 10:26:43 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54

>> Will you first admit that everywhere else in the NT the phrase “this generation” refers to Jesus’ first century contemporaries?<<

NO. There is a good discussion of the definition of generation here.

http://godskingdomfirst.org/thisgeneration.htm


44 posted on 01/22/2011 10:54:30 AM PST by CynicalBear
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To: topcat54
Like I said, the external evidence is the pillar that stands in opposition to his entire view. If he can't make his case there, its a hopeless endevour.

I was looking for information on the date of Revelation to make notes for an up-n-coming church study and noticed plenty of pages that support your view. It has been almost 15 years since I have been in a church that has studied Daniel/Revelation and we are starting that study in March.

Most of the people who have online pages assume, quite ignorantly, that the Iraneaus quote is the sole support for the late date. Some of the musings are:

All belief in the late date rests upon one cryptic statment of Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons (130-200AD) who wrote his "Against Heresies" around AD 174.

The late dating (AD 95) of the book of Revelation has its roots hanging on a very slender and precarious thread. This dating is determined from a single source statement by the Bishop of Lyons by the name of Irenaeus (AD 120–202).

Some tradition has up until recent times regarded the date Revelation’s authorship to be around 95AD. This has been based almost entirely on one vague statement by the second century Church Father, Irenaeus.

Thomas and others have documented, in critiquing the early view, a larger body of evidence that is mostly ignored ... perhaps Gentry will reverse that trend in the rebuttal that you mentioned is forthcoming.

In the end, I have to agree with one poster out there ...

Preterists attempt to get around this interpretation by asserting that it was John, not John's vision, that was seen towards the end of Domitian's reign. In doing so they allow for a more confusing grammatical structure of this passage in which "that" refers not to the immediately preceding noun "vision," (which would be the most natural reading of the text), but instead they insist "that" refers to the next closest preceding noun, "John."

This is a solid example of circular reasoning. One wonders how Preterists would read this statement if the phrase Domition's reign were replaced with Nero's reign. The point of this exercise is to demonstrate a very simple truth. One wonders what it is that the Preterists find so compelling to cause them to disagree with scholars traditional dating?

On this point we cannot ignore the fact that the entire Preterist doctrine hangs in the balance on this one simple question. With that in mind, there is little doubt that what Preterists find so compelling to cause them to disagree with the traditional date is the fact that their theory cannot survive so long as the traditional date stands."

45 posted on 01/22/2011 10:58:10 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: dartuser
To a much larger degree, the same can be said of your position.

Actually, not at all. Generally speaking, the non-dispensational view is to see Scripture as a basic unity. Aso when we want to understand one part of the Bible we read all we can from the rest of the Bible to help us get to the meaning of the individual texts.

The dispensational view is radically different. It is based on a fundamental disunity of Scripture. The Bible must be read dispensationally in order to be properly understood.

For example, the non-dispensatonalist might use Isaiah 13:10 and the idea of temporal judgment to help understand Jesus' use of similar language in Matthew 24. The dispensationalist doesn't do this because they already know that Matthew 24 is about far future “great tribulation.”

46 posted on 01/22/2011 11:03:18 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54
To a much larger degree, the same can be said of your position.

Actually, not at all.

Somehow ... I knew were going to come back with that.

47 posted on 01/22/2011 11:09:51 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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To: dartuser
Somehow ... I knew were going to come back with that.

Yes, but at least I gave valid reasons for my position, as opposed to this nonsense.

As I have said in the past, the covenant theologian begins in the NT,

Name a CT theologian who “begins in the NT.” I'm not even sure what that means. Do you mean starts with Jesus Christ, as opposed to ancient Israel? Perhaps that is true. The Bible is Christocentric.

Why would you say it is a bad thing to start with Christ in order to properly interpret the Bible?

Where does the Bible teach that it must be read “dispensationally” in order to be properly understood?

48 posted on 01/22/2011 11:24:17 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: dartuser
Like I said, the external evidence is the pillar that stands in opposition to his entire view.

Who decided human tradition is a pillar in this matter? The futurists?

As Gentry makes clear, one can paint their biases back into tradition just as they do with the Bible. Of course a confirmed futurist will read their views into the ECF.

Thomas and others have documented, in critiquing the early view, a larger body of evidence that is mostly ignored ... perhaps Gentry will reverse that trend in the rebuttal that you mentioned is forthcoming.
Documentation is not proof. It can only go so far. It is subject to scrutiny like other historical records. And the interpretation is also subject to scrutiny.

Of course Gentry spends some almost 30 pages looking at “other external evidences” besides Iranaeus and Clement of Alexandria. I'm sure you've reviewed that as well.

49 posted on 01/22/2011 11:39:31 AM PST by topcat54 ("Dispensationalism -- an error of Biblical proportions.")
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To: topcat54
For example, the non-dispensatonalist might use Isaiah 13:10 and the idea of temporal judgment to help understand Jesus' use of similar language in Matthew 24. The dispensationalist doesn't do this ...

You are correct in one respect. A dispensationalist doesnt use a single verse as background into Matt 24. We use the entire OT as background.

The disciples questions in Matt 24 come directly out of Zech 12-14. In their mind the nations coming to destroy Jerusalem, the coming of the Messiah, and the Messianic kingdom with all its Jewish and universal blessings are all related events.

After His resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days teaching the apostles about the kingdom. Even after that, the apostles were still expected Him to set up kingdom that they perceived had not arrived as of yet. The non-dispensationalist argues the apostles didnt understand the nature of the coming kingdom, the dispensationalists argues the apostles knew exactly what the nature of the coming kingdom was.

And again, whether you realize it or not, we are quibbling over theological method now ... which is where the foundational differences lie ... and where there is unlikely to ever be a "bridge of understanding."

Wow, I sound like Nancy Pelosi in that last phrase lol.

My weekend chores await ...

50 posted on 01/22/2011 11:42:04 AM PST by dartuser ("The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has limits.")
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