Keith Hunt - What Does the Future Hold?   Restitution of All Things
  Home Previous Page   First Page

What Does the Future Hold?

The Literal Coming of Christ

                      
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD

by Marvin Pate

Hermeneutics, Prophecy, and Apocalypticism
Making Good Sense of the Millennium

Pate, like all Protestant fundamental prophets has some good and
correct points on prophecy, as well as mistakes. Here in
conclusion of his book, I bring you the good and correct
understanding he has, with some of the errors of
fundamental prophets - Keith Hunt.


In this last chapter we arrive at the heart of the issue of the
millennium and, indeed, the crux of the problem of end-time
prophecy: hermeneutics. Hermeneutics means interpretation. And
the study of hermeneutics and Scripture has a long and
distinguished history, beginning in the New Testament and
continuing until the present day. When it comes to end-time
prophecy and the millennium in particular, one has to engage in a
discussion of the biblical genres of prophecy and apocalyptic
literature. But before examining these two types of literature in
the Bible, as to how we are to interpret them, I begin this
chapter by offering my own interpretation of the millennium in
light of the previous chapters.

The End of the World as We Know It

My view of the millennium is an eclectic one. Thus, in my view,
the preterist interpretation, which recognizes the already aspect
of the kingdom of God/millennium has much to commend it. The fall
of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70 occupies an important place
in New Testament prophecy (at least in the first half of the
Olivet Discourse and as the backdrop for Revelation). Still,
however, as I argued earlier, it doesn't make sense to equate the
fall of Jerusalem with Jesus's parousia.

(The truth is the Olivet prophecy of Jesus has nothing to do with
70 AD. The first verses of Matthew 24 should make that very
clear. If as like myself as a child, you had never heard anything
about 70 AD and the fall of Jerusalem, the Olivet prophecy makes
complete sense as for the very end time and the coming of Christ
to establish the Kingdom of God on earth - Keith Hunt)

On the other hand, the futurist emphasis on the not-yet aspect of
the kingdom and the millennium offers a healthy corrective to the
preterist view. The kingdom of God come to earth is still future,
which will be established at the second coming of Christ. But in
my opinion and as I mentioned before, the futurist school of
interpretation does not recognize enough the presence of the
kingdom of God today in our world, thanks to the first coming of
Christ and the establishment of his church.

Thus we are left with the amillennial/idealist, already/not-yet
construct for interpreting the kingdom of God. The kingdom is
already here but not yet complete. I believe that there is much
truth in this position. Yet this venerable view allegorizes
unnecessarily Revelation 20 along the lines of Platonic dualism,
which I suspect was foreign to the New Testament authors, John
included. That is to say, the premillennial reading of Revelation
20 seems to make much more sense.

In light of all that I have tried to say thus far in this work, I
offer the following reading of end-time prophecy and the
millennium. First, I'll give my view in chart form, and then I'll
explain it in a little more detail.

Reading these Scriptures according to this chart, the already/
not-yet eschatological tension pertains more to the temporary
messianic kingdom (a phenomenon attested to in Jewish apocalyptic
writings contemporaneous with the New Testament) than it does to
the eternal kingdom of God. If we posit two aspects of the
temporary messianic kingdom-Christ's kingdom established at his
first coming, which is at war with Satan, and Christ's kingdom
that will prevail over Satan at the parousia - then we pretty
mucfh solve the major interpretive difficulties of Revelation 20
and, for that matter, biblical end-time prophecy as a whole.

An Eclectic View of End-Time Prophecy and the Millennium

The New Testament as a whole ... The temporary kingdom of Christ
dawned at the first coming of Christ.

Olivet Discourse and Revelation 19 ... The second coming of
Christ at the end of history.

Revelation 20:1-6 ... Establishment of physical, temporary (one-
thousand-year) kingdom of Christ on earth.

Revelation 20:7-15 ... Temporary rebellion against Christ by Gog-
Magog at the end of Christ's one-thousand-year reign.

Revelation 21-22 ... Eternal state/new heaven and new earth.

..........

                    
Thus, on the one hand, we allow for the symbolic nature of
prophetic-apocalyptic writings, which allows for the kingdom to
be both present and yet at war with Satan in the tribulation
period now. And these two concurrent realities - kingdom and
tribulation - will intensify until the parousia. And yet on the
other hand, we can allow the literal reality behind the symbols
of Revelation 20 to stand, namely, a kingdom clearly to be
established on the earth in the future. And, as I noted in
chapter 2, the model I am proposing - present, temporary
messianic kingdom leading to the eternal kingdom of God - was
embraced in Jewish literature at the time of the New Testament.


Now I will summarize the interpretation of the genres of prophecy
and apocalypticism, two related but different biblical genres.

The Genre of Prophecy

As I noted in chapter 1, predictive prophecy in both the Old and
New Testaments can have near and far fulfillments. Often scholars
call this near-and-far-fulfillments dynamic "prophetic
telescoping," the phenomenon of prophecy leaping from one
prominent peak in predictive topography to another, without
notice of the valley of time coming between them. 

(This can be seen in Isaiah 61:1-2a and 2b to end of chapter -
the first coming of Christ 1-2a and the second coming - kingdom
coming of 2b to verse 11. But wisdom must be used with so reading
prophecy, for many Protestant fundamental prophets make the
mistake of using such "telescoping" in Daniel 9 putting the 70th
week way at the end of the age, and so coming up with a 7 year
last Great Tribulation period, which is a serious error as I have
expounded in depth to you in other studies on this website -
Keith Hunt)

Now I will offer a more general principle of interpretation to
account for this prophetic telescoping of near and far
fulfillments in the Old Testament. The near fulfillment of a
prophet's prediction happened during or not too long after his
day (usually with regard to judgment on Israel, though
occasionally it envisioned God's temporary deliverance of Israel;
for example, see Isaiah 7), but often the far fulfillment
pertained to the future restoration of Israel to her land after
the Babylonian captivity (587-539 BC). This principle of
interpretation is reasonable because the dominant subject matter
of the Old Testament prophets had to do with Israel - her
idolatry and God's subsequent judgment on her - but also with
Israel's repentance and future restoration after the Assyrian
(722 BC) and Babylonian invasions (605-587 BC). Thus, for
example, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Micah,
Habakkuk, and Zechariah all focus on two major predictive
prophecies: Israel's defeat at the hands of the Assyrians or
Babylonians, respectively (the near fulfillment) and Israel's
future restoration to her land after those divine judgments (the
far fulfillment). The point to be gleaned from this prophetic
telescoping model is that both near and far fulfillments were
expected to occur in history, not at its end! This is why Old
Testament prophecy is more hopeful than apocalyptic literature
about the future of the world.

(This is another way of saying that Bible prophecy has a DUAL
fulfillment. When we read the prophets of the Old Testament in
CONTEXT it is clear that there will yet be another end-time
destruction of Israel and Judah and a RESTORATION, but a much
greater destruction and restoration at the end of this age, than
was originally. Much of prophecy in the Old Testament has a DUAL
application, one in the past history, another in the future
history - Keith Hunt)

But something changed the face of Old Testament prophecy
dramatically and gave rise to apocalyptic literature; namely,
even though Israel returned to her land in 536 BC, subsequent
centuries demonstrated that Israel was still in exile. After Jews
returned to Israel after the Babylonian exile, nation after
nation continued to run roughshod over Palestine: Persia, Greece,
Egypt, Syria, and Rome. With each successive regime's takeover of
Palestine, the realization grew that the long-awaited promise of
the restoration of Israel in history had not happened.

(Here the fundamental prophets make a serious mistake among truth
- that Israel is the Jews only - and nothing could be further
from the truth in that regard. The truth of Israel and Judah is
made clear to you on this website and on websites such as....
britam.org - Keith Hunt)

Consequently, the genre of prophecy gave way to the genre of
apocalypticism. And in that literature, the far fulfillment in
history of predictive prophecy was replaced with the expectation
of a final fulfillment at the end of history, at the end of the
world as the ancients knew it. And so it was that Jewish
apocalyptic writings emerged and flourished in very difficult
times for Jews, especially between 200 BC and AD 100. This period
overlapped with the New Testament, which contains its own
apocalyptic writings.

We turn now to the genre of apocalyptic literature.

The Genre of Apocalyptic Literature

Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature usually contains the
following items:

1. The work often focuses on a well-known and beloved Old
Testament person (like Enoch or Moses) and makes him the hero of
the book.
2. This hero often takes a journey, accompanied by a celestial
guide who shows him interesting sights and comments on them.
3. Information is often communicated through visions. 
4. The visions often make use of strange, even enigmatic,
symbolism.
5. The visions often are pessimistic with regard to the
possibility that human intervention will ameliorate the present
situation.
6. The visions usually end with God's bringing the present
situation to a cataclysmic end and establishing his kingdom.
7. The apocalyptic writer often uses a pseudonym, claiming to
write in the name of his chosen hero.
8. The writer often takes past history and rewrites it as if it
were prophecy.
9. The focus of apocalyptic literature is on comforting and
sustaining the righteous remnant.


Let us now see the logic behind the above components of
apocalyptic literature. 

First, the literature is pessimistic because the minority
righteous is being persecuted by the majority unrighteous
(numbers 5 and 9 above). Because of this, the righteous hold out
no hope for God's deliverance in history; rather, they believe
their vindication will come only at the end of history, when
humans are no longer in control. 

Second, apocalyptic literature is dualistic, dividing reality
into two stages or periods: this age (the kingdom of Satan) and
the age to come (the kingdom of God) (see number 6). 

Third, apocalyptic literature is futuristic - the kingdom of
God/age to come will arrive at the end of history when the
Messiah or God himself will show up to take visible charge of
things (implied in number 6). This is in keeping with the very
definition of apocalypse, which means to "unveil" the future.

Fourth, apocalyptic literature is symbolic (numbers 2, 3, and 4),
for how else could one interpret the end of the world other than
by using figurative, dramatic language? 

Fifth, apocalyptic literature claimed to be canonic; that is, it
should be considered divinely inspired like the rest of the Old
Testament. Thus the anonymous apocalyptic Jewish author wrote
under the guise of a recognized Old Testament author (numbers 1
and 7). Moreover, the apocalyptic author turned history into
prophecy to give the impression that he had predictive prowess
from God. And if he correctly predicted the past, then what he
forecast about the future would surely come to pass as well!

With the exceptions of numbers 7 and 8, conservative Christian
scholars feel comfortable with applying the preceding apocalyptic
features to the New Testament: the Olivet Discourse; 1
Thessalonians 4; 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Peter 3; and especially
Revelation.

See the following chart and comments that follow for a summary of
the distinction between prophecy and apocalyptic' literature.....
          
In the Old Testament, Isaiah illustrates prophecy at its finest.
Isaiah 1-39 predicts that God will soon judge Israel for her
idolatry and injustice by sending her away into Babylonian
captivity, which indeed happened in 587 BC. But Isaiah 40-66
envisions a future, glorious return of Israel to her land to
defeat the enemies of God, which was thought to happen in 536 BC.

(This Pate has as part truth, there was a past historical
captivity of both Israel and Judah, but there will be another
destruction of Israel and Judah at the end time, with the great
restoration at the coming of Christ. Greater in both ways than
was ever in the past - Keith Hunt)

In the intertestamental period, the time between the Old
Testament and the New Testament, Daniel represents classic
apocalyptic literature. Daniel 9:24-27 deals with the
reinterpretation of the prophecy of Jeremiah that the seventy
years of Babylonian exile will be over soon and Israel will be
able to return to her land. This is reinterpreted in the
prediction in Daniel 9:24-27, which lengthens the 70 years into
70 times 7 years, or 490 years. While the near fulfillment of the
490 years occurred in the Jewish revolt against Antiochus
Epiphanes, the cruel Syrian ruler who invaded Palestine in 171
BC, the far fulfillment is thought by many to await the rise of
the Antichrist at the end of history. So we might say that the
near fulfillment/the already of Daniel 9:24-27 in the Maccabean
period (167 BC) is biblical prophecy, while the far
fulfillment/the not yet at the end of history is apocalyptic in
orientation.

(This last paragraph of Pate's I have included for the lesson of
the wrong fundamental folly of Protestant prophets, who so
interpret Daniel 9 and the 70 week prophecy, especially 9:24-27.
This prophecy has NOTHING to do with an end time antichrist and a
7 year tribulation period. If the Protestant fundamental prophets
would read their own famous fundamental teachers of a few
centuries ago like Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke, Matthew Henry,
they could understand Daniel 9 and the 70 week prophecy. But
modern [turn of the 20th century] guys came along and brought a
new twist to Daniel 9 with a "gap idea" that put the last week
way down as the last 7 years of this age, and then added the
anti-christ and "secret-rapture" ideas, and then a "new temple"
built by Jews in Jerusalem with animal sacrifices, a covenant
entered into by the Jews and the anti-christ, a breaking of the
covenant in the middle of the 7 years, great tribulation, a
secret rapture either at the beginning or middle of the 7 years,
and hence such a twisted and strange prophetic last 7 years of
this age, that would have made the Protestant teachers like
Clarke and Henry turn over in their grave as we say. All of this
odd prophetic teaching of modern Protestant prophets I have fully
dealt with and shown the folly of, in other detailed studies on
this website - Keith Hunt) 

The Olivet Discourse follows a similar patterm: the near
fulfillment/already prophecy in the first half of the discourse
refers to the fall of Jerusalem to Rome in AD 70; the far
fulfillment/not-yet apocalyptic section in the second half of the
discourse refers to the second coming of Christ at the end of
history.

(I have included this also from Pate, as a folly of Protestant
prophets. The Olivet prophecy has nothing to do with 70 AD. It
has all and everything to do with the coming of Christ as the
question asked of Him from His disciples was about His coming
again - Keith Hunt)

These comments about the genres of prophecy and apocalyptic
literature can be applied to my eclectic view of the millennium
in the following self-explanatory chart:

First Coming of Christ

Second Coming of Christ

Near fulfillment of temporary messianic kingdom on earth but at
war with Satan

Far fulfillment of temporary messianic kingdom/millennium -
triumph on earth over Satan ......


Conclusion

Having offered my own eclectic interpretation of the millennium
and end-time events and my perspective on how we might best
understand prophecy, apocalyptic literature, and the relationship
between them, I offer here a list of Jewish and Christian
apocalyptic literature with the dates of their writing (though
these dates are debated).

Daniel (550 BC) 
kiel 38-39 (550 BC) 
Zechariah 9-14 (500 BC) 
1 Enocb (150 BC) 
Jubilees (150 BC)
Psalms of Solomon (50 BC) 
Assumption of Moses (50 BC) 
2 Thessalonians 2 (AD 55)
Mark 13-Matthew 24; Luke 21 (AD 60-70) 
Apocalypse of Moses (AD 70)
Sibylline Oracles (AD 80) 
4 Ezra (AD 90)
2 Barucb (AD 90) 
Revelation (AD 95)

The list of biblical prophetic writings would include the other
Old Testament prophets not mentioned above as well as the New
Testament, minus the apocalyptic literature above.

Perhaps it is in the combination of prophecy and apocalyptic
literature that we find the right balance in handling "end-time"
events in the Bible. Thus prophecy reminds us that God is at work
establishing his kingdom in the world through his people in
history. But lest we labor under the false assumption humans can
bring on the kingdom of God and adopt the perspective of the
social gospel or the skeptics of the Gospels, the apocalyptic
mind-set in Scripture reminds us that such a kingdom ultimately
awaits the end of history when only Christ himself will make all
things right at his return.

CONCLUSION ....


Discernment

In awaiting the return of Christ, the early church was not
deceived by false teachers. This discerning attitude was also
informed by the already/not-yet tension. On the one hand, the
early church recognized that the spirit of the Antichrist had
already dawned, especially in those who denied Jesus Christ (see
1 John 2:18-23; cf. John 13:27; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-14; 2
Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 4-16; Revelation 6-19). On the
other hand, Jesus had earlier warned his disciples not to be
tricked by such people into thinking that history was necessarily
about to culminate (Matt.24:5-8). Luke 21:8-9 is interesting in
this regard, for it makes the point that the spirit of the
Antichrist (which basically amounted to people falsely claiming
to be the Messiah) [and more so coming in the name of Christ,
saying Christ is the Christ, but teaching false ideas and customs
under the name of "Christianity" - Keith Hunt] was only the
beginning of the appearance of the signs of the times, not the
end. Apparently we are to learn from this statement the fact that
there were false teachers in the New Testament era claiming that
the end of the world was near. Such people, say the Gospels, are
to be avoided.

The church of the twenty-first century can profit from Jesus's
warning not to assume that the presence of false teachers (the
spirit of the Antichrist) inevitably signals the immediate
revelation of the Antichrist. Unfortunately, Christians have a
long track record of identifying prominent individuals as the
Antichrist: several popes, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, John
F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Juan Carlos,
for example. The same can be said of the enigmatic number 666,
which has been equated with everything from credit cards to
computers to the hand stamp at Disney World. The modern church
needs to do away with such inappropriate speculation, which is
informed by an anachronistic reading of current events back into
the Bible. When God permits the real Antichrist to be revealed,
no one will need to guess his identity, according to 2
Thessalonians 2:1-12. In the meantime, the believer is to be wary
of, but not unduly alarmed by, false teachers in regard to the
return of Christ.

(For sure we still have many who set dates for the great
tribulation to come and even the year of Christ's return. The
Internet is full of nutty prophets, throwing out their fruit-nut
cakes and still snaring many into false prophetic ideas that
millions literally buy [books and cds etc.] just as they have
since the 1980s when Protestant prophets were proclaiming Jesus
would return before 1990 ... there is truly nothing new under the
sun as Solomon said - Keith Hunt)


Continued Submission to the Lordship of Christ

In hoping for the parousia, the early church was encouraged in
its struggle against Satan. At the cross and resurrection of
Christ, the defeat of Satan and his demonic host was secured. At
the second coming of Christ, their defeat will be sealed. A
number of New Testament passages deal with this tension,
including Colossians 2:15. This verse, along with 2:8 and 20, is
the classic Pauline text on the defeat of the anti-God spiritual
rulers and authorities. Together they illustrate that the cross
and resurrection of Christ are bringing about the demise of the
evil powers, though their ultimate destruction is yet future.
Thus verse 15 portrays the already side of the victory over the
principalities, while verses 8 and 20 (the elements of the world,
as some interpretations call them) present the not-yet aspect
(the demonic figures are still forces to be reckoned with). In
verse 15 Christ is said to have triumphed over these angelic
powers. The latter description is especially engaging because it
calls to mind the ancient Roman triumphal procession, in which
the victorious general marched proudly through the streets of
Rome to celebrate his military accomplishments over his enemies.
Paul applies this imagery to the Christian's spiritual victory
over Satan.

But that these spiritual powers have not yet been annihilated, or
even domesticated, however, is clear from verses 8 and 20, for
there Paul challenges the Colossian Christians not to permit
themselves to be enslaved to "the principles of this world,"
which undoubtedly involve hostile angelic beings. Rather, they
need to reaffirm the defeat of the supernatural powers by
continually submitting themselves to the lordship of Christ. Such
an admonition assumes the not-yet aspect of Paul's perspective on
the Christian life.

Conclusion

... I wish to conclude my comments on the subject with Paul's
word in 1 Thessalonians 4:18. After describing the return of the
Lord, the apostle writes: "Therefore encourage each other with
these words."

We have seen that biblical prophecy can be misused in a number of
ways. Some treat it like a game, playing with prophetic symbols
and numbers. Others use prophecy as if it were a weapon, fighting
anyone who does not see future things quite the way they do.
According to Paul, however, the purpose of biblical prophecy is
to comfort and encourage believers. We are confident that Christ
will come again to right all the injustices we see in the world
and to take us home to be with him forever. We cannot know the
exact time of Christ's return, but we must live as if it could
happen at any moment. It is this message that empowers Christians
to live in the light of the second coming every day of their
lives. And it is this message that makes sense of the end of the
world as we know it.
..........

MANY CHRISTIANS, NAY MORE THAN MANY, MILLIONS, BECAUSE OF THE
SECRET RAPTURE TEACHING, BELIEVE CHRIST CAN COME ANY SECOND. NO,
SUCH IS NOT THE CASE AT ALL. JESUS CANNOT COME UNTIL ALL PROPHECY
COMES TO PASS. THE REASON FOR PROPHECY IS TO GIVE THE ONE, TWO,
THREE, ETC. STEPS LEADING UP TO THE COMING OF CHRIST IN GLORY
AND POWER. JESUS' TRUE SERVANTS (THOSE GIVEN THE GIFT OF
PROPHECY, WHICH TODAY WOULD BE THE GIFT OF CORRECTLY
UNDERSTANDING BIBLE PROPHECY) WILL BE PROCLAIMING THE TRUE AND
CORRECT PROPHETIC TIME TABLE OF GOD.

YET IN A TRUTH THE COMING OF CHRIST FOR THE INDIVIDUAL IS AS
CLOSE AS THE INDIVIDUAL'S DEATH!! FOR THE NEXT SECOND OF
AWAKENING JESUS WILL BE COMING, AND THEY WILL BE BROUGHT FROM THE
GRAVE TO MEET CHRIST IN THE AIR, IN THE CLOUDS, AT THAT LAST
TRUMP, AND TO CONTINUE WITH JESUS AND THE ANGELS IN THAT DAY TO
THE MOUNT OF OLIVES AT JERUSALEM, AND TO ESTABLISH THE LITERAL
KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH FOR THE FIRST 1,000 YEARS, AND THEN TO
RULE THE UNIVERSE WITH THE FATHER AS HE COMES FROM HEAVEN TO
DWELL WITH HIS CHILDREN IN THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH
(REV.20,21,22).

WHAT A PLAN OF GOD! WHAT MAJESTY AND POWER AND GLORY! THIS MIND-
BENDING UNIVERSE THAT MODERN SCIENCE ADMITS DID BEGIN AT SOME
POINT IN THE PAST, WHICH THEY SAY WAS ABOUT 14 BILLION YEARS AGO.
A UNIVERSE THAT IS EXPANDING AT AN EVER INCREASING RATE AS THE
GALAXIES MOVE AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. THE MAJESTY OF THE UNIVERSE
IS FOR ALL THE CHILDREN OF GOD TO INHERIT, TO ENJOY, TO RULE. BUT
EVEN MORE THAN THAT PHYSICAL INHERITANCE IS THE GLORY TO INHERIT
THE LIKENESS OF CHRIST (1 JOHN 3:1-3). TO BE IN THE VERY FAMILY
OF GOD IS THE GREATEST GLORY THAT COULD EVER BE.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON BIBLE PROPHECY. ALL THINGS ARE COMING TO PASS
AS THE PROPHETS HAVE WRITTEN. YOU CAN SEE IT ALL TAKING SHAPE
RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES. AND WHAT IS YET TO COME TO PASS I HAVE
EXPOUNDED FOR YOU ON THIS WEBSITE.

Keith Hunt


  Home Previous Page First Page Top of Page


Other Articles of Interest:
  ... ... ...

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help