Monday, May 10, 2010

End Times - What Has Been the Standard View?

What am I saying about end-times? Nothing, it's the futurist, pre-tribulation, pre-millenial dispensationalists who are saying something - I only have questions about what they are so confidently saying!

Many think there's going to be a future 3½ Tribulation, yet concede the abomination of desolation may be past. But how can the 3½ years be in the future yet the abomination of desolation in the past seeing Daniel 12:11 seems to link the two themes together? Either they both must happen in the future, or they both already happened in the past.

If we take the view that they must both happen in the future, it presents a number of problems: the Temple doesn't exist anymore; the daily offerings already ceased nearly 2,000 years ago; and the city has already been desolated, just as Jesus prophesied.

Some people are confident both already happened in the past. The Jewish-Roman war lasted 3½ years; during that time Jewish leaders welcomed Roman idols to be set-up in the Temple area; and it ended with the Temple and city being made desolate.

If we accept that view, it also gives futurist pre-tribulationists a number of problems: it means they will have to find another basis for their belief in a future 3½ Tribulation! It would mean huge portions of Scripture which are popularly taken to be about a future Antichrist have actually already happened!

There are all kinds of excuses to get around this, one of which is the so-called "double-fulfillment" theory. It is claimed that the first fulfillment indeed was in AD67-70 and there will be a repeat fulfillment at the end of the age.

But I see a problem with the "double fulfillment" hermeneutic: it doesn't exist anywhere in the Bible.

Some people claim that Isaiah's prophecy about the sign of a virgin conceiving is one example: Isaiah's wife became pregnant soon after the prophecy and hundreds of years later Jesus was born of a virgin.

But how can that be a double fulfillment - Isaiah's wife wasn't a virgin! In all of history there has only ever been one virgin birth not two!

Some people claim that David's Psalm about " will not leave my soul in the grave, neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption..." is another example: they claim David was declaring his trust in God's protection of his own life and also prophesying about the future resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

But how can that be - Peter explained that David was not speaking about himself because David eventually died and his grave was still around in Peter's day. Rather, David, said Peter, being a prophet, had written exclusively about Jesus' resurrection. None of it was about David - all of it was about Jesus! It had only one fulfillment not two.

I can't find any example in the whole Bible where the apostles ever assigned more than one meaning to any prophecy. We may apply the lesson over and over again - but the actual historical fulfillment only happened once.

My feeling is that many believers today have just swallowed popular end-times ideas about these things - hook, line and sinker - without ever really examining what the Scriptures say.

Many believers also assume that the popular ideas about end-times today have always been the standard view - not realizing that the popular view is only a recent American invention and most men of God throughout church history had a very different understanding.


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