By Jay Rogers
Published April 27, 2008
A great difficulty with hermeneutical approaches persists to our day. Is the correct approach to Daniel and Revelation preterist, historicist, futurist or idealist? While most prophecy is forth-telling rather than foretelling, both the Prophets and John’s Revelation speak of things “yet to be.”
What was “yet to be” often had a temporal immediacy. King Nebuchadnezzar saw his Chaldean Empire conquered by the Medio-Persian Empire just as Daniel had prophesied. But other prophecies were fulfilled centuries later. And some biblical prophecies — such as the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and a new heavens and a new earth — have yet to be fulfilled.
The problem with prophecies is that they can sometimes seem to have several fulfillments. Certainly, some references to Antiochus Epiphanes can be found in Daniel’s prophecy. However, the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 9) referred to by Jesus in the Mount Olivet Discourse, cannot refer to Antiochus, even though when Daniel is read in isolation from Matthew 24, he fits the description.
These difficulties are only surface problems. Predictive prophecies refer to the blessings, curses and judgments of God. There is a direct cause-effect between God’s promised judgment and the outcome of a prophecy. When Daniel saw the successive overthrow of four kingdoms, this was the direct effect of the persecution of God’s people. The Babylonians, Medio-Persians, Greeks and Romans came under judgment because they usurped the rule of God’s chosen people over the promised land.
When John saw the destruction of the beast, the false prophet and the whore of Babylon, this was the direct result of their persecution of the church. This came to pass when Jerusalem was destroyed and when the Roman Empire came under progressive judgment by God through internal strife in the first century.
We may rightly assume that the Roman Catholic Church was judged for its persecution of dissenters who held to a more correct orthodoxy. We may also assume that the Soviet Union was judged because of its persecution of believers of all stripes. There are historical applications we can make, such as the invasion of Rome by barbarian hordes later on, and futuristic applications, such as the judgment of Gog and Magog at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20).
However, the immediate application of most of the book of Revelation was that the judgment was to happen “soon.” To say that the papacy or the Roman Catholic Church is going to be judged for its persecutions of Christians in the first centuries is anachronistic. It ignores the repeated temporal urgency as well as the historical and literary context of the book of Revelation.
For instance, John was writing when the Temple at Jerusalem was still standing and sacrifices were still being made — according to numerous references in Revelation. If John saw events in a vision that have an immediate first century application, then how can the papacy be interpreted as the Beast or the Whore?
While I agree that God has judged those who persecuted believers throughout history, I do not see a cause-effect relationship between the persecutions of first century Roman Emperors and the Protestant Reformation (at least not in this prophecy).
Since the papacy did not exist in the first century, then how can the Roman Church of the Middle Ages be held responsible for persecutions of Christians in the first century? A futurist or historicist hermeneutic is anachronistic because these events did not coincide in history.
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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
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Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
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All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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