Filling in the gaps in prophecy

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Tim, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. Tim

    Tim
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    It seems to me that dispensationalists insert unwarranted gaps of thousands of years into prophetic phrases, sometimes in the middle of a sentence:
    Can I start with Isaiah 9:6,7?

    Summary: a child is born AND the gov't is given to Him AND He is called by glorious names AND His gov't will increase as He rules from the throne of David FROM HENCEFORTH on to forever.

    Where are we supposed to break this up grammatically? Yes, some time passes between His birth and His rule, but the normal usage of language would preclude a gigantic gap, rather we would expect Him to come to power as an adult, so this would all come to pass within a lifetime.

    Makes sense to me, but one little problem--dispensationalists insist He sit on an earthly throne(rather than ruling from God's right hand), so we must insert a gap of over two thousand years into this sentence.

    Any thoughts?

    In Christ,
    Tim
     
  2. swaimj

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    Tim, verse 7 says "and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end." If peace with no end is a literal promise, then I would think you have to have a gap, and you have to be presently in that gap because the world is not currently experiencing peace with no end.
     
  3. LadyEagle

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    Why is there a gap between Malachi & Matthew? [​IMG]
     
  4. Wisdom Seeker

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    For one thing, the Bible is not put together chronologically.

    That's a good question though. There is a...what is it? 300 year gap or something between the old and the new testiment?
     
  5. Tim

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    Is there no sense in which Christ brought peace with his first advent? (see Eph. 2 for one example)

    This 400 or so year gap between Malachi and Matthew has nothing to do with the question at hand--the books are not grammatically connected as one sentence as the prophecy of Isaiah 9 is.

    Here's another example. Let me play Dispensationalist's Advocate as I show how the gap is inserted:

    Zechariah 9:9,10
    Summary: The King makes his arrival humbly riding upon a donkey AND He will establish peace between God's chosen people and the heathen AND His dominion will extend over the whole earth.

    as DA: Now we know that the first part was fulfilled on Palm Sunday, but since the Jews then rejected Christ as their King within the week, His kingdom was delayed for ... at least two thousand years.

    No problem putting a massive gap in the middle of another sentence, right?

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Christ himself inserted a gap when he quoted Isa 61 in Luke 4. He stopped right in the middle of the passage because only a part of it applied to his first advent.
     
  7. John Wells

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    Tim,

    First the questions you've raised are strawmen. You have provided nothing to support "a different view," IF you have one. Second, a day is like a thousand years to God so gaps in sentences like you have presented pose absolutely no problem as far as I can see. Maybe you should take your turn at enlightening us with your alternative! ;)
     
  8. Tony Solomon

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    The question is more like, what peace is it referring to. It speaks to the work Christ performed for us, making peace for us. Of that peace there is no end, and that peace is now.
    The fact that the rebellious world is not at peace does not require a gap. Christ is on the throne, who can deny that. His government and peace are extending in the hearts of men and women, the gospel of peace. There will come a day when all his enemies will be put down. Does that require a gap though?
     
  9. Tony Solomon

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    With respect Larry, there is a difference between "deposit now, pay later", and the dispensationalist "Hold everything while I do this" Christ was beginning the work, the gospel precedes the wrath, because that is what the gospel is about: flee from the wrath to come. But Disp'ism has no warrant for inserting a gap into the Daniel prophecy, or else why not do it between the first two parts as well. Where is the hermeneutical justification for it? Where the NT warrant?
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    Dispensationalism agrees with this but denies your assertion. Gaps, the telescoping nature of prophecy is well known. In the OT, there is no apparent gap between teh first and second comings of Christ (which is indeed why the disciples wanted to know if Christ was setting up his kingdom then--Acts 1). Thus your poitn is disproved by the Scripture on something so basic as that.

    The hermeneutical justification is that the prophecy does not specify an immediate 70th week and the NT indeed refutes that theory. The plain sense is 70 sevens with specific events in them. There is no problem with a gap there. The 70th week of Daniel has clearly not yet happened. It must be still future. BTW, this approach was tried a couple of months ago by someone on here. It was unconvincing then too. :D
     
  11. swaimj

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    The peace referred to is not internal peace within the heart of an individual, it is speaking of political peace as a result of the Prince of Peace sitting upon the throne of David and ruling over the world. This requires either a gap in time (because the fulfillment of this promise has not yet occured) or it requires one to spiritualize the passage and change its meaing.
     
  12. John Wells

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    Tim, Tony,

    Regarding some of these instances, my pastor has used the analogy of gazing upon a range of mountains from a distance. They look like they are squeezed in real close together, when in reality, there may be great distances between the front ones and the ones that appear to be right behind them.
    If Jesus' government is on the earth today, then the Leader is in exile! Satan has been allowed to be the "prince of this world" until the end of the Tribulation. :eek: Jesus will establish His government in the Millennial kingdom. Regarding peace, yes Jesus said "peace I give you," but the real "peace" that is referenced is when there are "no more tears," "no more pain," "no more death." That will be in the new heaven and earth after the Millennial reign of Christ.
     
  13. Tim

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    I agree with Tony's comment about using Jesus' quote in Luke 4 (of Isa. 61) as a poor example. Jesus first presented the good news, the bad news was given later, but not thousands of years later, and the rejection of the gospel led to the judgment, so the two directly relate. There is no significant gap in Isa 61:1-3.

    The prophet seeing two mountaintops (two advents) close together from a distance was taught to me as a youngster. The problem with that analogy is that it makes the prophet a conveyor of misleading information. If he's giving a statement about events and he associates them together, when actually they are millenia apart, it's totally misleading.

    I plan to get to the unwarranted Daniel 9 gap eventually. The fact that dispensationalists quote it so much bears out the old saying, "weak point, so shout it!"

    But first, how about yet another prophecy that declares that Christ's reign will begin after His first advent rather than waiting for His second:

    Dan. 2:36-45

    Summary--Basically, Daniel states here that four world powers will arise before the ultimate eternal kingdom of Christ. He says that during the fourth kingdom, the heavenly kingdom will be established.

    In conjunction with this in the N.T., we see Christ's teaching focused upon the soon coming of the kingdom of heaven.

    Sounds easy enough. But let me play DA (dispensationalist's advocate)again:

    Christ's eternal kingdom must be in the future, so that means that the fourth kingdom must also be in the future. The fourth kingdom was Rome--so another Roman empire must be set up before the millenium. So we will insert a gap between the first Roman empire and the "restored Roman empire" of about two thousand years. Then we'll declare the European Union to be the new Roman Empire. Viola!

    --Pardon me, but this is an embarrassment to the Biblical text and to ancient and modern history!
    Why can't we read the text in the normal sense of the word, and accept Jesus teaching that he established His heavenly kingdom at His first advent?

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  14. The Harvest

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    man this is a good one!

    i'm with swaimj and john wells on this one.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Let me quote a portion of this:

    Isaiah 61:1-5 saiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; 2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. 4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. 5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.

    As you can see, it is not as simple as "good stuff/bad stuff." The only negative line in the passage is the one in the middle of verse 3, after Christ stops. The best part is actually after that. It talks of the restoration of the nation to the land. Passages like this are unequivocally premillennial when read for what they say apart from precommitments to certain positions. The fact is that Christ stopped before "The day of vengeance of our God" because that was the dividing line between his first and second advent. Reading this passage, you would think the "day of vengeance of our God" was immediate. Yet we know from the text and from history that that was not the case. This is a prime passage that disproves your contention when read in its normal state. These prophecies simply have not been fulfilled unless you radically change the meaning of the words and attach to them something the "normal sense" won't bear.

    Not at all. Again, the above passage, quoted by Christ, shows this a misplaced conception. I can't see how this stands up at all.

    This passage cannot be interpreted in isolation. When we say Christ's kingdom must be future, it is not because we desire it to be future. I am sure we all wish it was now. But there is the sticky matter of the text that we must deal with.

    But the text itself says that the kingdom of Christ "will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms." That is clearly not true. The post mills and amills believes the kingdom comes in over time, in fact, that we are working to bring in the kingdom. The premills say that the kingdom comes all at once. The text here agrees with the premills.

    Only from your {mis??)understanding. To me, the embarrassment to the text is when we take the clear words and say that they really mean something else. The embarrassment to history is when we say that the kingdom of Christ is currently here, in spite of the reality that we all live every day. What kind of kingdom is this? It sure doesn't sound like what the OT prophesies that the kingdom will be.

    Because the first will not allow the second. The normal sense of the words leads us to believe that Jesus will establish his kingdom in the future. Consider you question here in light of Acts 1:6 where the disciples ask "Is this the time you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

    Notice the implications:
    1. The kingdom was not yet there, i.e., his birth or death/resurrection did not bring it in.
    2. The disciples expected a literal earthly kingdom (cf. Acts 3:19-21), just as the premills do. And they expected it to be restored to the nation of Israel.
    3. Christ did absolutely nothing to dissuade them, to correct their misunderstanding, or to tell them that they were in the kingdom. Why?? It must because because they weren't. His answer shows that the kingdom was not yet there and he would not divulge to them when it would come because it was not for them to know. It sounds eerily like "No one knows the day or the hour except the Father." And in fact, were it not for precommitments to other positions, that would seem so obvious as to make one laugh.

    Again, the text mitigates against your position. It simply cannot stand the weight of solid exegesis.

    So when do you think the kingdom started??
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    To assume the "we're in the kingdom now" millennialism is imposing a mystical, spiritualized meaning on literal words and concepts.

    Afte the crucifixion and resurrection, the disciples were ready for a stand-up literal kingdom-with-a-king-and-a-throne. They were disappointed when Jesus said not now, and the angels said wait and you'll see him come literally, physically back.

    Still waiting, Lord. And more convinced than ever of a dispensational hermeneutic.
     
  17. John Wells

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    Do you think he'll change his mind? Nope, they never do! It's hard to reason with someone who's already made up their mind before they pick an argument! :(
     
  18. Tony Solomon

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    Despite the use of "loaded" language about "mystical" and "spiritual", the argument does not stand up, let alone walk. As an amillenialist I see the use of the term "millennium" for what it is: figurative, symbolic (and to deny figurative, symbolic, and yes, spiritual, language in the Bible is to limit it severely). If we want to discuss literalism, then lets break out the old chestnuts about hills skipping, mountains melting, and weird beasts rising up out of the sea while a red dragon attacks a pregnant woman. The language of Matt 24, for instance, is paralleled in passages of the OT and is clearly figurative, or justified hyperbole.

    Surely everybody knows that the use of the word basileia does not necessarily suggest a Kingdom as an extended place, like a nation-state, but the reign of God itself; and that reign begins in the heart: the failure of Israel is proof of that - they had all the privileges including the law written on stone, and fluffed it. So God says he will do a new thing, and write the law on the hearts of men. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." What is interesting is that Disp'ism takes over the Jewish Dreams of a millennial kingdom, and must find places to crow-bar it in to prove it, misusing the principle of "prophetic foreshortening" to do so.
    The "gap" in Luke 4 is justified by the nature of the gospel as previously mentioned. The "gap" in Dan 9 has no warrant, esp on a NT basis; and if it doesn't get through the NT lens, I ain't interested.

    You are mistaken here, because you see amill (I do not speak for post millers) in the light of your own millennial doctrine. There is no kingdom of Jewish dreams being built. This is the time of the Gospel, before the end of the age, and Christ's kingdom is established in perpetuity, without opposition. And he clearly said, my kingdom is not of this world.
    No he is not; his Head is in heaven, and his body is on earth, and the Holy Spirit indwells the Church!!
    Very unsporting of you John; if you had started a thread on disp'ism doctrine, and I posted that, you would be understandably offended. One finger forward, three back. I take then that you have not made up your mind; but if so, why do you argue only one side?

    regards
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    Since when does "millennium" mean that?? You have made it mean that because of your position, not becuase of what the text teaches. We do not deny the use of figurative, symbolic, and spiritual language. To say that we do is a gross misunderstanding. What we do believe is the normal use of language. You have taken passages and dissected them. Consider Isa 61. You like the first part of that as literal; but then with not textual warrant whatsoever you jump into a spiritual/figurative mode. That is unjustified and it is wrong.

    You say there is no kingdom of Jewish dreams being built ... but you did not get that out of Scripture. The OT clearly prophesies a coming kingdom when Israel as a nation is restored to the land in peace and prosperity. His kingdom is not of this world; it is of the next one, after his return when he sets it up just as he said it was. Again, your biggest problem to overcome is the text of Scripture.

    But at the risk of emphasizing the text again, it is Father's throne that he is on, not his own (Rev 3:21). It can't get much more clear than that. One day he will come to take his throne.


    Why didn't Christ correct them?? Why did he allow them to go on believing it and even preaching it as they did in Acts 3?? This is very unconvincing response to a thinking person.

    How do you know he wasn't a dispensationalist?? Did he tell you that?? You certainly didn't get that out of his words. But what's more important is that you did not even attempt to answer why Christ would allow his disciples, who would have great authority in the church, to continue to believe something that wasn't even true. Why not correct them?? Why not tell them they misunderstood?? Why not tell them the kingdom was really different than they all expected??

     
  20. Tim

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    Tony,

    Thanks for doing the heavy lifting already, but I would like to add my two cents. Incidently, I see you're from the UK--what is it like living in the restored Roman Empire?

    The arguments to the amil position always revolve around dispensationalists crying "foul" because we won't go by their rules, and because we won't go by their rules of interpretation, we're wrong. So goes the circular argument.

    Dispensationalists tend to read the O.T. prophets through Jewish eyes, i.e. it must be literal (or tangible), anything figurative or spiritual is deemed as meaningless. But the New Testament is our only inspired commentary upon the O.T. (and I'm not including Scofield's notes). It often interprets the O.T. in a spiritual way.

    Jesus promised that a kingdom OF HEAVEN was coming soon, but since no tangible kingdom was seen ON EARTH, the Jewish conclusion was that is was not a kingdom and they despised the King.

    They wanted it to come suddenly, visibly-- Jesus said it would not (Luke 17:20-21), but rather that it had already begun in their midst.

    The spiritual kingdom grew within the Old physical kingdom (Israel) until that Old kingdom was destroyed, and the spiritual kingdom left standing (Heb. 12:18-29, esp. v. 27,28).

    Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father--this is the position of power (as Joseph had in Egypt). He will not exalt Himself above the Father. He rules at His right hand to the glory of the Father.

    Now, I know you dispensationalists think that a spiritual reign is meaningless, mystical, etc. But what are the practical, tangible results of Christ's session in heaven?

    Consider the vast difference between the world before Christ and since: BC there was only one nation that held to the truths of God, and that nation was mostly full of unbelievers and idolators. Yes that nation reformed, and put away its idolatry. It came under the leadership of the Pharisees (enough said). The rest of the world was is complete spiritual darkness.

    Since Christ's rule began the gospel has spread throughout the world. There are believers in nearly every nation around the globe. The spiritual kingdom is immense (compared to the Old kingdom) and it never goes out of power.
    Of course Christ rules this kingdom in the midst of His enemies, but they cannot prevail. Many nations have worked to stamp out the spiritual kingdom in their midst, and ultimately God destroys them (remember the Soviet Union?) He will continue to do so. This does not mean we'll "bring in the kingdom". The spiritual kingdom is already here to stay, and God will continue to fight for us.

    In Christ,

    Tim

    Shall we proceed to the unwarranted gaps in Dan. 9?
     

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