Context

One of the hardest points to get a dispensationalist to understand, is that they must give up their fantasy that they interpret the Bible “literally”. FEW DISPENSATIONALISTS WOULD CLAIM THAT THE REVELATION PASSAGE ABOUT THE WITNESSES ARE ACTUAL TREES AND LAMPSTANDS, yet they insist that they are interpreting literally.

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth. Rev. 11:4   

See Also: The Two Witnesses

olive_treesThe sense that language is always literal is impossible. Language, in its various uses, is the same everywhere in the world. It is full of metaphors, hyperboles, and euphemisms, to list a few.

If we hear that something is “hotter than a little red wagon”, no English speaker will think that the subject is a mode of transportation that is red in color or of a particularly high temperature. The Bible is full of such phrases.

Another point that readers of scripture, or for that matter any literature, needs to determine, is what kind of literature are we looking at? It is a made up story i.e. parable, historical narrative, poetry, etc.? All too often the reader of Scripture uses the wrong kind of hermeneutics on the wrong passage. The rules are different for historical narrative than for prophetic narrative, and that is slightly different from prophetic poetry.

FYI: The first thing is, who wrote the passage and to whom was it written?

 

Prophecies are rarely as literal as the dispensationalist would have us believe.

Bruised Heel

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Gen 3:15

No one teaches that a literal snake and a man will have a brawl; nor that a woman has “seed”.

 

Joseph’s dreams

thumbnail-4-aspx5   Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they only hated him the more.  6 He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed:  7 behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and behold, your sheaves gathered round it, and bowed down to my sheaf.”  8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him yet more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Then he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”  10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”  11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. Gen. 37:5-11

No literal sheaves bowed, nor did the literal sun, moon or stars move in anyway.

 

Wounded for our Transgressions

4   Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. Is. 53:4-5

This bears little resemblance to a crucifixion. It appears to be closer to a bad whipping than a death.

 

As the Days of Jonah

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matt. 12:40 

In reading the book of Jonah, would anyone ever see this as a prophecy of Messiah in the grave? Even hearing it explained, the followers of Jesus were at a loss as to what he meant.

 

See Also: Known to be Fulfilled

The Blood Moons Hoax

I am Coming Soon

One of the greatest harms that Dispensationalists commit is an insistence on interpreting the Bible literally. They are actually ignoring the plain reading of a text, forcing symbolism, metaphors and similes to read as truth. If they were indeed interpreting the Bible literally, they would all be missing an eye or a hand thereby staying out of hell.

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.  30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matt 5:29-30

According to these modern commentators, nothing or very little of the book of The Revelation has been fulfilled. They claim the prophecy was intended for our time, 2000 years after it was written (between 96-98 A.D.).

Soon

However, the testimony of the book itself is completely contrary to a distant fulfillment.

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, Rev. 1:1

Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near. Rev. 1:3

And behold, I am coming soon.”  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Rev. 22:7

And he said to me,  “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Rev. 22:10 

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. Rev. 22:12  

He who testifies to these things says,  “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 22:20 

It said these are the things “soon” to take place.  How can “soon” be interpreted as  “literally” later?  What crazy hermeneutic could allow such repudiation of the plain reading of the text?  Any young child could tell you what these verses should mean.

The Greek word tachei means soon, quick, or quickly. [Luke 14:21; Luke 16:6; John 11:31; John 13:27; John 20:4; Acts 17:15;  1 Cor 4:19; Gal 1:6; Phili 2:19; Phili 2:24; 2 Thess 2:2; Heb 13:19;  Heb 13:23] It is never used to mean two thousand years later. The Dispensationalists suggest that it means that the events will happen quickly once they start, however it is never used in this way any where in else in Scripture. There is no use that even suggest a two thousand years gap. It must mean that what the text is talking about, at the very least, begins quickly.

The word or phrase that we would expect to see describe something occurring centuries in the future is: After many days,  in the latter days. [1Kings 18:1; Is. 24:22; Jer. 13:6; Acts 18:18]

 

Coming

The problem is the word “coming”. The casual reader may think “coming” means the “Second Coming”. This is the effect of lazy preaching and not doing your own homework. We were told to wait for the Lord’s “Return” not His “coming”.

In Matthew 24 the disciples asked, when are you coming? They cannot be asking about what we call the second coming or return. They had no expectation that He was going to leave. So, clearly our understanding of the word “coming” and the disciples first century use of the phrase, or just the word “come,” does not mean “return,”  “coming again” nor “second coming” of the Lord.

They had to be asking “when are you coming to judge Jerusalem”?  How do we arrive at this conclusion?  Because, whenever God had informed someone He was “coming” it meant He was coming to judge.

  • When God came to look at the Tower of Babel it meant that they were about to be judged. [Gen 11:5-8]
  • When God came to look at Sodom and Gomorrah it meant that God was about to judge the two cities [Gen 18:21]
  • Other examples where the expression is used:  [Ex 3:8; Ps 50:3; Isa 64:1-3; Isa 66:15; Mic 1:3-4]

All those “soons” in The Revelation are about the “coming” judgments that each  particular passage is about.  They are clearly not “the Return of the Lord”.

See Also: Clouds

The Day of Our Lord

The Lord of Hosts

Musings on H. Grattan Guinness’ Round Chart called “The Year of Messianic Cycles.”

hgguinness4Nearly everyone in the Historicist world is familiar with this Round Chart. If you have not seen the chart, we have provided it and the chapter it came from, Here.

Initially this chart made little since to me it was just a bunch of boxes in a circle. However several years ago I began to play with this chart and started to see things that I am not sure Mr. Guinness understood.

One of the problems I had with the chart is that I just don’t identify the Hebrew months by their numbers. As a Messianic I am used to using their names, Nissan, Iyar, Sivan , etc. So I made a photo copy I could write on and wrote the names of the months in. Then I saw the first WOW. The crucifixion was early in Av on this scale. If you are not Jewish or Messianic /Hebrew Roots you probably have never heard of Av, or the Ninth of Av.

Tisha B’Av i.e. the ninth of Av (July or August on the Gregorian calendar). Is one of the most solemn days on the calendar. It is a fast. According to the Mishnah [Taanit 4:6] there are five great calamities have all fallen on this day.

1. The return of the 12 spies, [Num 13–14]

2. The destruction of Solomon’s Temple, [2 Kings 25:8 -12]

3. The destruction of Herod’s temple, in 69 A.D. [Matt 24]

4. The razing of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D.

5. The failure of The Second Jewish revolt, or The Bar Kochba Rebellion.

So on the scale of this round chart Messiah went to the cross around Tisha B’Av. The same day that both Nebuchadnezzar and Titus destroyed the temple.

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19

Dates

The first thing everybody notices is that Mr. Guinness thought was that the Return of the Lord would be in 1920, where Rosh Hashana i.e. Feast of Trumpets appears on the chart. We now know the event that happened was the Allied forces under British general Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks in Dec 9, 1919. (Three weeks early is not a real problem on a chart of this length.)

This naturally made me look at the other holy days and special days of the Hebrew calendar on this scale.

Passover would have been about the time of Noah.

Pentecost/Shavuot would have been about the time of Abraham.

We already mentioned Tisha B’Av.

So the next Holy Day is Yom Kippur and that should be the year 2256.

Tabernacle/Sukkot in 2391

Simchat Torah in 2655

Do I have a point? No, not really, I just thought that it was interesting that all the past holy days can be placed on the chart, at significant points. So the ones that are still future probably have an event as well.

See Also: The Cycle of Levitical Feasts

Hebrew Calendar