Posts Tagged ‘Preterism’

Is Sandy Prophecy?

November 1, 2012

When a natural disaster strikes, how are we to understand the situation? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Let me say at the start that this post is not meant to give any consolation to people who are suffering from Hurricane Sandy. Prayers are with you. If you are hurt by this now, this is not the post for you to read at the time. This is providing a rational answer to a question that is risen and is not meant to deal with current emotional suffering. That is the area of a good counselor instead.

A friend of Deeper Waters told me yesterday that her brother is someone who is highly into prophecy and thinks that Hurricane Sandy is a fulfillment of prophecy. Now I have in the past stated that my view on prophecy is that of orthodox Preterism. For all who don’t understand that view, my position is that Jesus Christ is going to physically return some day and that there will be a future resurrection of all the dead. I will put a link at the end of this post to the web site of DeeDee Warren, the best I know of to explain Preterism.

Also, with regards to what I was told yesterday, I have indicated numerous times that I am politically a conservative and that I do vote conservative. It is not essential to this post that you agree with either of the viewpoints that I present. I can easily picture a liberal who is a futurist agreeing with what I have to say.

To begin with, I’m not sure what prophecy Sandy is said to fulfill as none was given, but I do know the habit of going to the Bible, finding one verse that agrees with you, and then wresting it from its historical context and plopping it right down in modern times and saying that it is a fulfillment of prophecy, because we all know that in ancient Israel 2,500 years or so ago, God was warning them about a hurricane that would happen in a totally separate country today.

This does not mean the prophecies are irrelevant to us if they have already been fulfilled. We can still see a precedent on the kind of behavior God universally opposes, particularly when He speaks about behavior outside of Israel. Why? Because that nation is not one that is under the law of Israel that is civic and ceremonial, although to be fair, most of the criticisms of Israel were the failure of the moral law.

The problem is that when we have these disasters, there is always someone claiming it was a fulfillment of prophecy. It doesn’t matter that this “prophecy” has been fulfilled several times before. This time, this is it. This is our generation! We are the one! It’s irrelevant that every other generation has had someone who has thought that before. We are obviously the exception this time.

Of course, this could be the generation that the kingdom comes into full realization. We should always be open to that. We dare not proclaim it without clear revelation from God however. We play a dangerous game when we do that. There were numerous books that were written that showed Saddam Hussein was the antichrist. Some were saying Bin Laden was the antichrist. What are those books doing now? They’re gathering dust on bookshelves somewhere. They have embarrassed the Christian faith and the authors are going to go out and try it again. To use an extreme example, what do you think someone like Harold Camping does to the Christian faith?

Still, I would not be surprised if someone like Pat Robertson will go out or has already gone out and said that the east coast is being judged and Hurricane Sandy is the proof. This lady I was talking to about her brother said that we are being judged with this election. Look at the states that are hit the most. Those states are New York and New Jersey. These states are blue on the map and so they are being judged for supporting Obama.

Now I find this just odd. To begin with, you’d think if this was the kind of thing being done, we’d see the disaster on the West Coast which is even more liberal. We don’t. Instead, we see the hurricane come and people say “Obviously God is directing this hurricane. This hurricane has to be judgment. Why could these states be being judged? Look! They’re both blue states! That has to be it!”

I was also told that hurricanes aren’t common at this time of year. Common? Perhaps not. Unheard of? No. Hurricanes have happened. Back in 1993 here in Tennessee, in March, we had a blizzard come. Blizzards don’t normally come at that time of year and I as a young boy thought I would never see it again. The reality is, I did. I saw it in APRIL of 1996. Should I have concluded both were a divine act of God for some reason? To say something is unusual and uncommon does not mean that it is a judgment of God.

Of course, this does not mean that God cannot use a hurricane to judge, but I need a clear reason to think that it is. What message we can get out of such things is to realize the fragility of life and we dare not grow complacent where we are. We can look at Luke 13 where tragedies happen and the reply of Jesus is “You repent just in case!” (And from my viewpoint of course, they had a really big disaster come 40 years later and unfortunately, they did not repent.)

When we have situations like this happen, it leads to further embarrassment of the Christian faith and more attention paid to non-essentials. As I told my friend yesterday, it is a tragedy that Christians today tend to spend more time seeking to understand who the antichrist is rather than spend that time seeking to understand who Christ is.

Having said that, I do want to make it clear that I have no problem seeing my futurist friends as Christians. I would rather you be right on the Jesus question and wrong on the eschatology question, than be right on the eschatology question and be wrong on the Jesus question. This is an in-house debate. I have no problem with futurists. I’m married to one after all. I do have a problem with dogmatism either way. I have a problem with preterists seeing futurists as second-class Christians and I have a problem with futurists who like to accuse me of just wanting to “Allegorize” or “spiritualize” the Word of God.

Let’s be careful with how we are presenting ourselves to the world and handling our interpretation of Scripture. We must always try to first find out what it meant to the people then before finding the application for our own day and age. If we are reckless with how we interpret it, we will pay the price. Let’s also remember that there are people who are hurting from Sandy and the last thing we need to tell them is that God is judging them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The preterist site can be found here.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Doomsday

September 5, 2012

How does a dialogue go with JWs on this topic? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

As I was sitting in our living room recliner doing some work on the laptop, my wife said she heard someone outside. I look and notice a car has pulled up and coming out are two nicely dressed women carrying books and bags.

“Honey. I think we have Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

So I watch and when they get to the door open it and say that my wife thought she heard someone. When they identify themselves, I ask them if they’d like to come in. They tell me they can only stay for a minute and then hand me a copy of their “Awake” magazine talking about Doomsday. Let me warn you at the start that in my recount of the exchange, that you will see my Preterist understanding of Scripture.

So their first passage they go to is Psalm 37:29 which reads as follows (All verses are being read from their own New World Translation, NWT):

“The righteous themselves will possess the earth,
And they will reside forever upon it.”

I told them I agree with that. I do think God has a plan for the Earth and that we are meant to inhabit it into all eternity. This was a surprise to them so they asked me what I thought it would take for that to be brought about. I answered that I think the gospel has to be preached everywhere and believed majority worldwide. They said they disagreed with that and first indicated where they thought I was correct in Matthew 24 which they said they think talks about the end and how in verse 14 it says:

“And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”

But in Matthew 7 we read:

“13Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it;14whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”

I replied by turning to Matthew 13 and showing them this first in verse 33:

Another illustration he spoke to them: “The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three large measures of flour, until the whole mass was fermented.”

And then before that in 31-32.

31Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard grain, which a man took and planted in his field;32which is, in fact, the tiniest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the largest of the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and find lodging among its branches.”

I pointed out to them that in each of these cases, something starts off small and goes through the whole of what it starts to penetrate. With the mustard seed, we can remember that in Daniel 4 there was a prophecy about a tree filling the whole Earth. I finally took them to Matthew 16. Verse 18 reads:

“Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock‐mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha′des will not overpower it.”

Gates are defensive. The kingdom of God is on the move and it will never be the minority. They were stumped at this point to which I said “Let’s go back to Matthew 24. You say you think it says the end is coming. The end of what?”

“Oh. The end of the Jewish system which happened in 70 A.D. (I was surprised that they had that right) and the end of this system of things since it says that this is the great tribulation and that no time has come like it or ever will come again.

I asked them in response if they thought Jesus was the wisest king who ever lived. They told me He wasn’t a king on Earth. When I told them He is one now, they agreed He is the wisest. With that, I turned to 1 Kings 3. In verse 12 we read the following promise to Solomon from God.

“look! I shall certainly do according to your words. Look! I shall certainly give you a wise and understanding heart, so that one like you there has not happened to be before you, and after you there will not rise up one like you.”

So I told them that if they take that text literally, then Solomon is wiser than Jesus which is a problem. It is better to read it as hyperbole and how instead, what is being said in Matthew 24 is that this is an example of the worst possible thing.

At this, they asked me if I believe anything big is coming. I said I certainly do and it’s the event that’s not talked about in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, which leads me to think that that passage is not about this event. That is the bodily return of Christ and the mass resurrection from the dead.

At this point, they told me that Jesus laid down His body. Why would He take it up again? I responded that I saw no reason to think that He did not rise bodily. I pointed out that we are told that our bodies will be like His body and if we rise bodily, then it is because He did. They agreed that we do rise and live in perfect bodies on Earth, but flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. (I do realize they have a different idea about who goes to Heaven based on the 144,000)

I pointed out that that is a euphemism and gave the example in Genesis. When Noah’s nakedness is seen by his son, it doesn’t mean his son just inadvertently walked in and saw his dad naked. That might be awkward, but no great sin. It means that his son did something to him that should not have been done while his Dad was naked and in a drunken stupor. It was a euphemism. The same is the case with flesh and blood which just means sinful human nature.

At this point they did have to go as they had indicated earlier. Let’s pray they return and are open to having their views examined and following the evidence where it leads.

In Christ,
Nick Peters