Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

dwilkins
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by dwilkins » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:45 am

TheEditor wrote:Hi Doug,

On the other thread I had asked that question and you had said you'd get back to it. My point was, if they lived when they are presumed to have lived, then one of them at least would have been alive when the big bus came that ya' all full preterists think it did. Why didn't they take it? Were they too young? Aren't children of Holy Ones called "holy" in Scripture? And as such, would they not have gone as well? Or at the very least, wouldn't they be well aware of the event and have recorded it? :?

Regards, Brenden.
Sorry I forgot to get back to that. There are a number of problems that I see with these characters. First, we have nothing really solid to say that what we know of them didn't come as hearsay through someone else. Second, nothing that they themselves wrote has survived as far as I know. Third, the opinion of Eusebius on Papias is interesting to me. It seems pretty negative and implies that Eusebius is not buying that Papias met the people he claimed to have met. In fact, a good number of the patristic writers buy into the 6,000 year eschatology which is unquestionably wrong. So, neither they nor the people they claim to have learned from (which might include the John of Ephesus, whoever he is) can be credible. Fourth, it's quite possible that the RCC has manipulated who we know about by controlling the dissemination of ancient writings, so it's very hard to know what was really going on in the era. Fifth, the timing of all of these writers is very sketchy, so tradition might say that they lived at a certain time but that doesn't necessarily make it so. Sixth, by "the event" I think you might be referring to a literal rapture. If there was one, I think you have an interesting point. But, if the rapture wasn't what we imagine as a literal rapture then maybe not. Of course, Ed would turn that around and say that it's actually less likely that people would write about it if there was a literal rapture because those who really knew what was going on would be gone. Finally, the fact that there is a 40 or so year gap between the destruction of Jerusalem and the first patristic writings makes it very difficult to know what the Apostles were teaching even if no one was raptured.

As far as Polycarp's personal experience with this stuff, why would you think that someone supposedly born in 69AD would be able to remember or meaningfully experience the 66-70AD war? Actually, your question refers to one of the things about the pretrib rapture that I always thought was odd, which is that all children under the age of accountability would also be raptured. This is a curious piece of theology, which at least says that those kids lose their salvation at some point in their childhood. On the other hand, Covenant Theology via Calvinism claims that baptized children in Christian households are automatically sorta-saved. I don't think this makes much sense either. I'd say that the passage you refer to might have to do with acting more morally while growing up, but to say that they were spiritually regenerated takes you down a weird theological road. I hope that answers at least part of your question to me.

Doug

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TheEditor
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by TheEditor » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:29 am

Hi Doug,

I don't mean to chop and dice your comments, but there was alot there and it's the only way my poor brain can grasp things these days. You wrote:

First, we have nothing really solid to say that what we know of them didn't come as hearsay through someone else.


Is this not infrequently a general issue with ancient history though?

Third, the opinion of Eusebius .... seems pretty negative


Eusibius seems to me to be a bit uneccesarily deprecatory in his comments. On what does he base his opinion?

So, neither they nor the people they claim to have learned from (which might include the John of Ephesus, whoever he is)


Are you tossing in the "John of Ephesus" becasue you think this is the one that penned Revelation, or just as an aside?

Fourth, it's quite possible that the RCC has manipulated who we know about by controlling the dissemination of ancient writings, so it's very hard to know what was really going on in the era.


This is a bit of a reach. We can't have our cake and eat it too. We can't use these fellows to bolster our own notions and then turn around and cut them off at the knees when the run afoul of our own.

Fifth, the timing of all of these writers is very sketchy, so tradition might say that they lived at a certain time but that doesn't necessarily make it so.


See previous comment.

Sixth, by "the event" I think you might be referring to a literal rapture. If there was one, I think you have an interesting point. But, if the rapture wasn't what we imagine as a literal rapture then maybe not.


Yes I was. What do you think?

Of course, Ed would turn that around and say that it's actually less likely that people would write about it if there was a literal rapture because those who really knew what was going on would be gone.


Who is Ed?

Finally, the fact that there is a 40 or so year gap between the destruction of Jerusalem and the first patristic writings makes it very difficult to know what the Apostles were teaching even if no one was raptured.


Please see my comments on the other thread regarding the rise of Ecclesiasticalism

As far as Polycarp's personal experience with this stuff, why would you think that someone supposedly born in 69AD would be able to remember or meaningfully experience the 66-70AD war?


I don't think he would. However, though I was born 2 years after JFK's assasination, I learned of it wihtout watching the news, due to it's impact on America. How much more so when word of mouth was the way events were related at that time?

I'd say that the passage you refer to might have to do with acting more morally while growing up, but to say that they were spiritually regenerated takes you down a weird theological road. I hope that answers at least part of your question to me.


If you have the time or inclination, I'd suggest considering some of the various comments that have been written on this passage by some classic commentators.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

dwilkins
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by dwilkins » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:24 pm

First, as far as what I think the rapture is, I think it's possible (but I'm not convinced) that the rapture is what the traditional approach would describe. In preterist land Ed Stevens is the leading proponent of this approach. However, if you look at how Paul defines resurrection in 1st Cor. 15 you find that he is absolutely clear that in order for someone to be resurrected he has to die. So, I also think it's possible that the rapture is simply the resurrection, and that it happened to all of the dead people who'd died at the time that it happened. As people died from that point on it happened to them as well. Both of these are plausible, but I don't have strong feelings about either approach.

I think projecting what we experience as news back on them is a major error. If it weren't for a handful of authors it's doubtful that we'd know much of anything about the sacking of Jerusalem (a major historic event with more than a million direct witnesses). If you had a population of Christians who'd undergone significant attrition, and who were on the run from their enemies, I think it's quite possible that no one would have thought it odd that they disappeared one night. I think it's even less odd that we wouldn't have a record of it because we don't have a record of anything that happened in the next 40 years of the church.

As odd as what I'm saying is probably sounding to you I'd argue that at least it's more plausible than the dispensationalist Left Behind approach. Their system has been nothing but disapppointment after disappointment, but it's proponents have made themselves rich on the fear that they create. When scripture says that money is the root of all kinds of evil it is referring specifically to so called Christian ministers who teach things in order make a profit. If this doesn't fit those guys I don't know what does.

Doug

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robbyyoung
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by robbyyoung » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:59 pm

You know, I've been sitting back and listening to the arguments going back and forth and realized "a reasonable argument" has been lost. Here's whats reasonable:

1. Every letter and testimony in the New Testament was "Firsthand" directed to it's audience.
2. That audience was promised exclusive privileges for remaining faithful until the end.
3. The time text unequivocally places this in the 1st Century.
4. Their isn't even the slightest hint of another people, place, and time within the context of any New Testament Writer's ministry concerning last days events.
5. Placing yourself in the 1st Century, as a believer, YOU would conclude by reading the letters, or hearing the teachings straight from The Apostles and Yeshua mouth that the resurrection, judgement, salvation, and age to come was promised to take place in your generation.

Reasonable. Yet, Preterist's must defend the obvious context while unreasonable arguments takes center stage? Wow, left behind is a appropriate analogy :)

How about this, prove the context speaks of another time, people, and place. The burden IS NOT on The Preterist because the context is crystal clear. Where in the context does it elude to another people, place and time?

Good luck and God Bless!

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steve
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by steve » Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:15 pm

Paul, probably writing around AD 67, considered that his teachings were to be applicable to generations of Christians to come:

"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
(2 Tim.2:2)

The church today is not an entity distinct from the church in the first century. The Church is God's one eternal purpose forever (Eph.3:11). There has never been a time when all the church of one generation disappeared at once, and a new generation of Christians emerged from nowhere. Like a body that constantly has old cells dying and new ones generating, the body of Christ has always had a flux of incoming converts and outgoing deceased. However, it continues to be one body and one family, including those in heaven and those on earth at any given time (Eph.3:15).

If the whole church disappeared in the first century and restarted with a group of converts disconnected from the apostolic church, then we must assume that the church since then is not built on the apostles and prophets, having Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone (Eph.2:19-22), since that was a building begun in AD 30 and ended in AD 70. The new building begun after AD 70 must have a different foundation, since the old building, built upon the apostolic foundation, magically was swept away in an instant.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, for example, is a promise to the whole church—all the dead and living saints. I can see no reason why promises made to the whole church before AD 70 would be considered irrelevant to the whole church of any age, since it is the same church. Unless it can be documented by historical testimony of early church fathers—or other contemporary historians—that the whole church vanished and restarted from scratch at some point, there is no reason anyone should be expected to accept such a claim.

dwilkins
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by dwilkins » Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:09 pm

I understand the basic ecclesiological concern. However, it's part of all premillennial theology that there are such people as millennial saints. These people are believers that exist after the resurrection of believers at the time of the Second Coming, and after the class of church age Christians were removed from the earth. How would we define the status of these people?

Doug

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TheEditor
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by TheEditor » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:54 pm

Hi Doug,

For starters, I think you are proposing an "either/or" choice here. Either preterism is the correct view, or Kirk Cameron Left Behind hysteria is. This kid ain't bitin'. ;)

As for Paul and the rapture and 1 Cor.; I don;t have a problem with the "having to die" idea you propose. The length of death could be thousands of years, or a split second--a "twinkling of an eye", to use a familiar phrase. I don't know that this has too much bearing on the subject.

Well, Ceasar crossed the Rubicon. I simply assume that the fact we (Christians) are here, is some evidence that we were handed a baton as it were. Were the baton twirlers to have all disappeared, this creates too many issues to my mind.

I understand the basic ecclesiological concern. However, it's part of all premillennial theology that there are such people as millennial saints. These people are believers that exist after the resurrection of believers at the time of the Second Coming, and after the class of church age Christians were removed from the earth. How would we define the status of these people?


Was this question for me? Wasn't sure.

Regards, Brenden.
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steve
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by steve » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:19 pm

I think the question was for me. However, the name I would give such saints is "imaginary." I think premillennialism is demonstrably wrong, exegetically.

There is no reason to suggest that no Christian since AD 70 is not part of the church, because the church left in the first century. What purpose could God have in accepting Stephen as a martyr of the church, and placing Polycarp in some other category? What in the world or in eternity is gained by limiting the church to the first two and a half generations of Christians, and placing every later Christian, though exactly like them, in a different category?

TheEditor mentioned the difficulty of believing the baton was passed to us without baton-passers. The full preterist who argues that the resurrection and rapture occurred in AD 70 does so without biblical necessity, and must believe the incredible theory that every Christian disappeared from the earth, but a new batch of Christians sprang up from nowhere, and none of the second century Christians even knew that the church a generation earlier had vanished from the earth.

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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by Paidion » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:43 pm

Doug wrote:As far as Polycarp's personal experience with this stuff, why would you think that someone supposedly born in 69AD would be able to remember or meaningfully experience the 66-70AD war?
How about Clement of Rome, who was born about 30 A.D. and died about 100 A.D.? In his letter to the Corinthian church, he mentions nothing about people disappearing, or even about the destruction of Jerusalem. It is clear from the letter itself, that it was composed after some great persecution. Many argue that the persecution was that of Domitian. If so, that would indicate that it was written somewhere around 90 A.D.
Paidion

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dwilkins
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Re: Point of view on Left Behind, anyone?

Post by dwilkins » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:59 am

Paidion wrote:
Doug wrote:As far as Polycarp's personal experience with this stuff, why would you think that someone supposedly born in 69AD would be able to remember or meaningfully experience the 66-70AD war?
How about Clement of Rome, who was born about 30 A.D. and died about 100 A.D.? In his letter to the Corinthian church, he mentions nothing about people disappearing, or even about the destruction of Jerusalem. It is clear from the letter itself, that it was composed after some great persecution. Many argue that the persecution was that of Domitian. If so, that would indicate that it was written somewhere around 90 A.D.
If he mentioned nothing about the destruction of Jerusalem, what are the odds that the dating of the letter is wrong and he hadn't lived through the destruction of Jerusalem? On the other hand, if what he wrote was credible, what are the odds that he wouldn't ever mentioning Jerusalem's destruction?

Just to be clear, I think that Premillennialism is correct because I think that the Second Coming had to happen before the implementation of the Messianic kingdom per Daniel 7 and Revelation 20. But, I think that Amillennialism is basically correct that the current period is that kingdom. That's the theme of my book. But, if Premillennialism is correct then that would mean that whatever we think that millennial saints would be would apply to Christians in this age. I was just curious about how Premillennialists would define those saints. In other words, if you're a Premillennialists I wonder how you'd define the saints that live in that age?

Doug

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