History of an Error: Wrong dates can lead to Bad Theology

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    This post is helpful background to understanding a certain error that has crept into modern eschatology. A seemingly trivial point actually has profound Christological application. But before we get to the application, the error has to be corrected.

    History of an Error
    Wrong dates can lead to Bad Theology​


    They don't usually. But in the case of Archbishop William Ussher and his dates that did happen. Or at least, let us say, it needlessly obfuscated an already complicated problem. However, as we shall see, the original obfuscation started happening thousands of years before Ussher.

    But first the more recent boo-boo: In 1701, thanks to a well-meaning scholar, Church of England's Bishop William Lloyd, the English Bible began to be side-noted with dates. These dates were based on Ussher's chronology of a half-century earlier. Throughout the Bible Lloyd faithfully followed Ussher dates - - - except where he didn't. Case in point is the passage that describes, as I had earlier written, the permission that starts the 70 weeks of Daniel 9. This is Nehemiah 2. Ussher sets this permission that Artaxerxes grants to Nehemiah as 454BC. However Lloyd sets the date at 445BC.

    This error has both a fruit and a root.
    The fruit is that more recent Bible editions - most famously, that of C.I. Scofield - followed this innovation of Lloyd's. And many other reference Bibles and authors have since followed Scofield's lead. This date is now the most common one put forth for the permission in Nehemiah 2. The result is that, given the math ...

    490 - 445 - 1 = 44 AD,

    or, shaving off the last week,

    482 - 445 - 1 = 36 AD,

    the end point is clearly beyond the usually accepted time for Christ's earthly ministry.

    This needlessly causes scholars to look elsewhere for the starting point of the seventy weeks; usually either Ezra 7 (same king, earlier date) or Ezra 1 (earlier king, Cyrus, much earlier date).

    The ones who settle on Cyrus are then forced to part what God has joined together - the seventy weeks - contrary to any Scriptural example or precept. This is where the unscriptural gap is introduced, and stop-watch chronology. Sir Robert Anderson, knowing that the math did not add up, added an innovation of his own: a 360-day year! Though the Jews did use months of 30 days, never do we read of a whole year of 360 days, and especiallly not larger spans of time entirely made up of these artificial - and fictional - units of time. But Anderson needed to tweak the dates to finesse the endpoint to the time of Christ's earthly ministry.

    The Root came much earlier.
    I wrote "needlessly" above because that is exactly what all this is. This brings me back to the original, root mistake that happened well over two thousand years ago.

    Once again we have a very careful historian, like Ussher. And once again we have a later generation of less careful historians covering up the tracks of the first; to the point where the testimony of the first - Thucydides, a contemporary of the actual events he writes - is discounted, or even forgotten, in the shuffle of time.

    The importance of all this - and of the previous article - is that the Seventy Weeks prophecy has all been fulfilled in the time of Christ's earthly ministry. No further fulfillment is looked for.
     
  2. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    60
    What are the theological implications of this?

    and what errors does this result in?
     
  3. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,177
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    None. It is a rather pathetic attempt to link premillennialism to Usshers chronology failing to understand that premillennialism predates Ussher by about 1500 years.
     
  4. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not saying it's necessarily an error, but I can see part of where Brother Tom is coming from. I am by no means a full preterist. At best, I'm a partial preterist, mostly eclectic, amillennialist.

    From my experience (and please note, I'm speaking from experience, and not from any point of view as anything approaching a high level of knowledge about these ideals), the premil point of view admits a very literal interpretation of scripture that can be viewed as contradictory to certain scriptures.

    The notion that there will be a literal reign of Christ can be seen as a contradiction to the writings of Paul to the church at Thessalonica. Paul tells the Thessalonians the following:

    If the dead are raised and the living ascend after them, and we "meet the Lord in the air," and "so shall we ever be with the Lord," then how does Christ establish a kingdom on earth?

    In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul labels the believers as being those that are Christ's at his coming. Christ, being the firstfruits raised from the dead, then us, assuming we die prior to His return. Paul does not establish a gap in the timeline, as do most premils that I've met. Paul says Christ is the firstfruits, then we are raised at His return, and then Paul says (1 Cor 15:24) "Then cometh the end..." Paul has Christ delivering up the kingdom of God, the spiritual kingdom of God indwelling in the hearts of man (my interpretation of the scripture), all the enemies of God having been destroyed; death being the last enemy to fall. The church of Christ, raised immortal and incorruptible (Brother Tom and I disagree on this point, however) rises in triumph as Christ gains the victory and calls us home.

    The premil response I've often seen to Paul's sequence of events in 1 Cor. 15 is that there is an 'unidentified gap of time' between each event. That causes concern in me, as most premils I know stress the literal interpretation of scripture, yet they liberally apply 'unidentified gaps' to make scripture fit their interpretation.

    Maybe I'm just biased in my amillennialism, but I don't see a gap in that to account for the sudden break premils see in Daniel's Seventy Weeks. By the 'break' logic, God could've left the Israelites in captivity in Babylon for hundreds of years, but could've told Israel only the first 65 years and the last 5 years counted toward the clock. The rest was just a gap necessary to fulfill prophecy.

    Just my two cents...
     
  5. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    Excellent! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  6. percho

    percho
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    37

    A. For since by man death, by man also the resurrection of the dead.
    B. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
    C. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
    D. Then the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
    E. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
    F.The last enemy, shall be destroyed, death.

    Then the end of what?

    Presently there has been one man, born of woman, who has been made alive from the death.

    Does Rev. 20:6 - 14 elaborate upon C - F above?

    At his coming C above, those who are Christ's, will be raised just as, to date the only man born of woman who has been raised to die no more Rom 6:9 no more to return to corruption Acts 13:34, he was, the first, and will rule with him a thousand years. The the end. Again I ask the end of what? Rev:V14, RomF. above.
     
  7. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    The biggest error that it leads to IMO is to cover up the fact that Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy panned out in a remarkably straigtforward way. The dates - once the correct beginning point is determined - lead very neatly to Christ's earthly ministry.

    The Jews of the first century understood this. This is why we had a larger influx of them in Jerusalem in the time of Christ's ministry. Read more on this in Pierce's editor comments in Ussher's Annals (I don't have my book at hand here in China). I think Josephus also mentioned this, but I could be mistaken.

    To get thse dates right leads to a proper understanding of the the full fulfillment of the 70 Weeks Prophecy in that first century.

    It also necessarily leads to a better understanding of this present kingdom we are in now.

    It also undermines much of today's (misnamed) eschatology, replacing it with, well, "Mere Christianity".
     
  8. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Your sentence - from what I can understand of it - shows you missed my point entirely.

    Seriously, use more punctuation. Your sentence can be understood in (at least) two different ways.
     
    #8 asterisktom, Sep 30, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2014
  9. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Thank you.

    BTW, this is not really about Preterism. I had come to the above conclusions when I was still Amill. (Although I was now faced with an inconsistency I didn't notice at first)

    And about the gap: We have been so conditioned to accept it that we no longer see how illogical it is. Your example is good. I also used to example that I had one time I would return from Kansas in two weeks. It would be an outright lie if I ruined that promise, rendered it meaningless, by inserting a gap of two more months.

    Why would God, in the middle of a much needed promise to His own people of that generation - insert a gap that would render all of what He just solemnly promised a lie?
     
  10. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Why don't you look at Paul's answer? It is in the same passage you quoted, 1st Corinthians 15. Notice also Paul's use of Isaiah. I had written all of this in my earlier thread and got no response to that point, so I am not really inclined to type it all out again.
     
  11. Jerome

    Jerome
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    5,623
    Likes Received:
    45
    Any idea why?
     
  12. RLBosley

    RLBosley
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am premill, though historic not dispy, and I agree 100% with the bolded. The gap theory completely renders the prophecy useless.

    I admit that 1 Cor 15 is a problem for premills. That and Peter's chronology in 2 Pet 3 give me the most trouble with a premill view.
     
  13. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    8,123
    Likes Received:
    1
    Didn't know there was a historic premill. Mind educating me ? I was dispy premill. Or I think so.
     
  14. RLBosley

    RLBosley
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sure. Historic Premill is, to really simplify, a post-trib premillennialism.

    However, unlike dispy's it sees the church as the fulfillment of Israel and in general is very similar to amillennialism. Usually (from my reading) historic premills don't believe in a 7 year tribulation, since we disagree with the dispy interpretation of Dan 9, though some believe in it such as George Ladd. There is one single coming of Christ, both to gather the elect and judge the world, at the end of the present age before the millennium begins.

    Historic premills usually interpret Revelation in a historicist/partial preterist fashion and therefore there is ALOT of debate on precisely what fulfilled/will fulfill each event.

    For additional reading:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_premillennialism
    http://www.fivesolas.com/esc_chrt.htm
     
    #14 RLBosley, Sep 30, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2014
  15. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,177
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    I am sorry you failed to understand a fairly simple declarative sentence. Let me know what part you didn't understand and I will explain it to you. :)
     
  16. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ever hear of dangling modifier? Your sentence has it. I have to run now. If you still don't see it I will come back and show you.
     
  17. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,177
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Well, we have discovered one more thing you don't know anything about.

    1. Biblical eschatology.
    2. English grammar.

    :)
     
  18. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I was just offering a description of my own points of view, and the preterism aspect does seem to have a bit of influence on this discussion, however tenuous.
     
  19. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a brief aside, concerning your statement here and your signature, I find myself in a bit of disagreement with your seminary president. There is nothing wrong with a semantics argument, as some people will intentionally twist words and use vague vocabulary to make a point, and then they'll go out of their way to stress to people not to argue the wording of the argument...even though the entire argument is based on their wording.
     
  20. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    This is true. Preterism, or the lack of it, is bound to affect a wide range of other isms.
     

Share This Page

Loading...