Eschatos Ministries is dedicated to teaching biblical prophecy from a futurist, premillennial, prewrath perspective.
This week I signed The Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem. I signed the Statement because:
“The Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem is an organization dedicated to facilitating a better public understanding of the complexities of the Middle East including its roots in history and the Bible. The group, which is comprised of key faith leaders, scholars, authors and pastors, strives to educate Millennials and others about Israel’s role in the biblical narrative; past, present and future while also affirming God’s concern for Palestinians and all people’s of the Middle East.”
The Purpose of the Alliance is:
To unite Pro-Israel Evangelicals in concerted action to counterbalance the growing Supersessionist trends within the global Evangelical movement.
To promote a theology that gives Israel a proper place in the story of the Bible and that is relevant and sensitive to the theological and social issues of the Middle East conflict and engenders a greater degree of respect among the broader movement of Evangelicals.
To create a theological position that is positive towards Israel, demonstrates concern for the spiritual well being of Palestinians and all citizens of the Middle East that younger Evangelicals may more easily embrace.
To stimulate theological discussion, conferences, and the production of resources, books, websites, videos, podcasts, etc., at both an academic and popular level to impart this theological perspective within the “academy” and among pastors and Christian leaders.
To better define and respond to the theological and ethical issues of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict leading to authentic dialogue and more genuine reconciliation in the region.
To better define and respond to the theological and ethical issues of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict leading to authentic dialogue and more genuine reconciliation in the region.
Read the Statement, and if you agree sign it.
In The Messianic Hope, book six of the New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology series, Jewish Studies professor Michael Rydelnik puts forth a thesis that the Old Testament was intended by its authors to be read as a messianic primer. He explains at length how the text reveals significant direct messianic prophecy when read in its final form. Users will find this topical study an excellent extension of the long-respected New American Commentary series.
Michael Rydelnik is professor of Jewish Studies in the World Missions and Evangelism department at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He holds degrees from Moody (diploma), Azusa Pacific University (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (D.Miss.) and also contributed to The Apologetics Study Bible.
“I can’t think of a more able scholar to help us understand the controversial topic of Messianic prophesy than Michael Rydelnik. This book should be read to help all of us understand Messianic prophesy and also to give an answer to those who would deny that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies, or that these references should be interpreted non-literally. The book takes us on an interesting journey showing how all the Scriptures coalesce around this central theme. To read this book is to tackle the most important theme in all the Bible.”
—Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Moody Church, Chicago
“This is a terrific book, and I recommend it enthusiastically. I received my review copy as soon as it was published, and dug in immediately. I only wish it had come out a half-year ago, so that I could have highlighted it early enough to inform and buttress Christmas preaching.””I love the tone Rydelnik strikes, on many levels. He announces his serious intent to “disagree without being disagreeable” (xv), then succeeds throughout, forcefully rejecting a number of scholars’ positions while never impugning the scholars themselves. Rydelnik’s source-material ranges from academic journals and volumes to Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis (which he solidly refutes) to the anecdotal. He does not strive for the scholarly pretense of detachment which I’ve denounced once and again and again, but writes with keen awareness of the issues at stake.” —Dan Phillips, Pyromaniacs
Michael J. Vlach writes:
The purpose of this blog post is to examine Peter’s use of Psalm 132:11 in Acts 2:30 with a view toward grasping Peter’s understanding of the throne of David concept.
Acts 2 describes the baptizing and filling ministry of the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension. This is all related to Jesus, the resurrected Messiah, who currently is at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is the One who has poured forth the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33). The culmination of Peter’s argument in Acts 2 is found in his declaration that God has made the resurrected Jesus “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
Three quotations from the Psalms are found in Acts 2:29-36— Psalms 16, 132, and 110. The focus of this blog post, though, is on Peter’s use of Psalm 132:11 in Acts 2:30 and how this relates to the throne of David issue. Peter declared:
And so, because he [David] was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne (Acts 2:30).
Much debate exists on the implications of this verse, mostly concerning whether it implies that Jesus is currently sitting upon David’s throne today in heaven. Does Peter’s quotation of Psalm 132:11 indicate a change or advancement concerning the concept of David’s throne from a physical-earthly reality to a spiritual one. This topic involves both how Peter uses Psalm 132:11 and what this means for understanding the throne of David.
To understand Peter’s uses of Psalm 132:11 I will present both the context of the Old Testament passage and the New Testament situation in which Psalm 132:11 is quoted. I will argue that Peter quotes Psalm 132:11 contextually, and he is not transcending or changing the meaning of the throne of David from its normal meaning of an earthly throne. Thus, Acts 2:30 is an example of a New Testament person quoting an Old Testament prophetic text contextually with the expectation that this Old Testament text will be fulfilled literally in the future. READ MORE….
Doug Hamp gives a lucid biblical theology of the New Jerusalem: its nature, history, purpose, size, shape, location, and its timing of when it descends to earth, before or after the millennium. (Incidentally, toward the end of the video he puts a plug in for his book against Calvinism, which I would not agree with, since I believe that God in his unmerited love predestined, before time, a people for himself for his glory and praise, 2 Thess 2:13.) So Hamp gives an excellent outline of what you need to know about the New Jerusalem. Janet Willis fleshes this out in her instructive book What On Earth Is Heaven Like? A Look at God’s City: New Jerusalem.
Steve Hays writes:
A reader drew my attention to this post:
Several fallacies in his argument:
i) Metaphors originate in a particular concrete phenomena, but acquire an abstract, analogical significance. The significance of the metaphor is not identical to the natural or historical exemplar. It develops a significance that goes beyond the exemplar, even in contrast to the exemplar.
Take Edenic motifs or Mt. Zion. These take on symbolic connotations that are no longer conterminous with a specific address and/or the geography of that particular locale. Or, in modern usage, take metaphors like “salt mines” or “Siberian exile”. These originate at a particular time or place, but they develop an emblematic significance that’s independent of the historical exemplar.
ii) Although the original context has interpretive resonance, the normative context for NT occurrences is how that’s used in the NT. What the metaphor means at that stage of theological elaboration.
iii) Moreover, it’s not confined to the meaning of a particular word, but how that’s combined with larger descriptions.
iv) Furthermore, Scripture uses a variety of metaphors to depict eschatological judgment. The concept of damnation isn’t confined to the figurative range of one particular metaphor, but how that’s built up on the basis of many figurative as well as literal descriptions.
Billy Crone in the video below (starting at 8:00) commits this common logical and biblical error on this issue.
Here is the pretrib logic:
Pretribs reason that since the Seventy-Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9:24–27 was given to Israel, the Church cannot “exist” on earth during any of its fulfillment.
Here is why this common pretrib argument fails:
First, pretribs such as Crone would have to deny that the Church exists during the New Covenant fulfillment, since Jeremiah prophesied specifically to “the people of Israel and Judah.” (See Jeremiah 31:31–34). I am sure that Billy Crone would admit that he is a New Covenant believer.
Pretribs cannot have their cake and eat it too. This obvious logical inconsistency seems to escape their minds.
The New Covenant was not made with the Church, but the Church is governed under this covenant as the New Testament teaches that the New Covenant was extended to the Gentiles. We have to look to the New Testament for its progressive revelation to learn these matters.
Why can the New Covenant that was made to Israel be applied additionally to Gentiles, but the 70 weeks prophecy made to Israel cannot also include God working with the Church at the same time?
We are never told.
Billy Crone and other pretribs are myopic and do not allow the New Testament progressive revelation to give us more information about the particulars of the 70th week of Daniel.
Many more examples could be given from the Old Testament. Here is another one:
Peter in Acts 2:16-21 is citing from a prophecy from Joel that was given to Israel and applying it also to the new Church situation. You cannot have a more explicit OT prophecy made to Israel while also including an application of its fulfillment to the Church.
Second, pretrib logic on this issue simply does not follow. It makes a category error by confusing what with when.
They argue that since the Church did not exist during the first 69 sets of seven years (483 years), therefore the Church cannot be there for the last seven years. That is a non sequitur. It fails logically.
The fact that the Church did not exist at the time of the first part of this prophecy (69 sets of seven years, 483 years), who is to say that God is not going to work with both the Church and Israel during the last part of this prophecy? The Church does exist now. So logically it can be here for the last seven years.
When you allow for New Testament progressive revelation, you can learn more than what the Old Testament reveals. Imagine that!
And just to clarify these prophecies to Israel are not being replaced by the Church. The New Testament is simply telling us that God is expanding his redemptive program to the Gentiles, while he keeps his promises to Israel.
The Danielic passage is addressing Israel. Pretribs is trying to say more than it does by making it say that no other redemptive group can exist at that time.
Third, God has worked with both Israel and the Church at the same time in the past and he does in the present.
In the past:
Jesus made a prophecy to Israel about God’s judgment upon them (Matt 24:1–2; Luke 19:43–44).
When was this prophecy to Israel fulfilled? It happened in AD 70—during the Church age! Do you know where I am going with this?
Once again, why are we told that the prophecy to Israel about the 70 weeks excludes any fulfillment during the Church age, but a prophecy to Israel about its judgment is not?
When you have a theological system such as pretribulationism built on a web of assumptions, you will inevitably face internal inconsistencies.
In the present:
God also works with Israel and the Church at the same time, not just in the past, but the present:
“(19) But again I ask, didn’t Israel understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; with a senseless nation I will provoke you to anger.” (20) And Isaiah is even bold enough to say, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I became well known to those who did not ask for me.” (Rom 10:19–20)
“I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous.” (Rom 11:11)
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Rom 11:25)
These passages teach that God in this present Church age is working with Israel to make them “jealous.”
These reasons are sufficient to show that pretrib logic fails miserably when they claim that the Church “cannot be here” for the last part of Daniel’s prophecy.
This article was intended to show the illogical nature of this pretrib claim. The positive evidence of the Bible that shows the Church will enter into the seven-year period is overwhelming as the voluminous articles on this blog and the podcast have shown, not to mention my book Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord.
“The LORD has made a promise to Israel. He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. He promises it as the one who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll. He promises it as the one who is known as the LORD who rules over all. The LORD affirms, “The descendants of Israel will not cease forever to be a nation in my sight. That could only happen if the fixed ordering of the heavenly lights were to cease to operate before me.” The LORD says, “I will not reject all the descendants of Israel because of all that they have done. That could only happen if the heavens above could be measured or the foundations of the earth below could all be explored,” says the LORD. “Indeed a time is coming,” says the LORD, “when the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my special city. It will be built from the Tower of Hananel westward to the Corner Gate. The boundary line will extend beyond that, straight west from there to the Hill of Gareb and then turn southward to Goah. The whole valley where dead bodies and sacrificial ashes are thrown and all the terraced fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far north as the Horse Gate will be included within this city that is sacred to the LORD. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.” (Jerermiah 31:35–40)
1. Contemporary Jewish literature during Paul’s time viewed the characteristics of Michael having eschatological pre-eminence as the chief opponent of Satan and Restrainer of God’s people.
2. Michael is viewed as a celestial restrainer of God’s people in Daniel 10–12, the passage serving as the source for Paul’s exposition in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–8.
3. Daniel’s use of the Hebrew term ʿmd comports with the ceasing activity of the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7.
4. The Greek term parerchomai in Daniel 12:1 of the Septuagint (LXX) means, “to pass by,” which corresponds with the ceasing of restraint in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7.
5. Early Rabbinic interpretation of Daniel 12:1 perceived Michael as “passing aside” or “withdrawing” just after Antichrist’s establishment near or at the temple mount (Dan 11:45), and just before the eschatological unequaled tribulation against God’s people (Dan 12:1).
6. Revelation 12:7–17 supports viewing Michael as the Restrainer because it links the cessation of Michael’s war against the dragon with the unprecedented persecution of God’s people, which is consistent with 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7 and Daniel 11:45–12:1.
Given these reasons the only candidate which can explain the Restrainer being removed is Michael. Other proposals for the Restrainer are hard-pressed to comport with those roles. Thus, the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7 is very likely referring to Michael the archangel as the Restrainer, whose ministry ceases and causes the eschatological temple to be desolated by Antichrist, ensued by his great tribulation against God’s people
I also discussed these reasons in my book Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Return of Christ.
Michael Vlach has written an excellent outline of the continuity of the Old Testament in the New Testament within Dispensational theology. It is worth the read.
There is nothing here that I would disagree with him on in this particular article. I would add, however, that Vlach comes from a modified classical view of dispensationalism, presumably the same position of John MacArthur. This means that he does not believe that during the Church age God works with Israel and the Church at the same time. This is a major presupposition that influences his pretribulationism—and most other pretribulationists, requiring them to place the rapture before the seven-year period.
As mostly a progressive dispensationalist, I would disagree with this classical dispensational notion that God does not work with Israel and the Church at the same time during the Church age. I believe that the Scriptures teach that God has worked with both Israel and the Church at the same time during the Church age in the past (e.g. God judged Israel in AD 70 which was during the Church age), at the present (Paul says that he is making Israel jealous by saving Gentiles), and will continue to work with both groups right up to the return of Jesus during Daniel’s 70th week (Revelation 7 is a beautiful picture of this portraying both groups being delivered just before the day of the Lord’s wrath).
So this latter point is a blind spot for classical dispensationalism reaching back to Darby’s writings. Nevertheless, Vlach’s article sums up great points that I agree with concerning continuity of Dispensational theology, points that are typically ignored or undervalued by critics of Dispensationalism.
Vlach concludes his article with saying:
These are just some areas of continuity. Contrary to what some critics claim, Dispensationalism does not start with the concept of “discontinuity” and impose it on the Bible to find what it wants to find.
Because I see much continuity in Dispensationalism I would not identify this system as solely a discontinuity system. I would say Dispensationalism is a healthy and biblical balance of both continuity and discontinuity. I will comment more on the discontinuity elements in a future blog entry.
I replied to Andy Woods who thinks the prewrath position contradicts itself. He thinks prewrath believes the great tribulation will be the worse time ever for the world. And yet the Day of the Lord’s wrath with its trumpet and bowl judgments should be worse. He cited an article by George W. Zeller to make his argument.
The problem is that he is confusing categories and ignoring context. Further, prewrath does not believe the great tribulation will be the worse time for the world. We believe it will be the worse time for the church and Israel.
I talked about Matthew 24:21, Daniel 12:1, and Jeremiah 30:7 which all speak of an unprecedented period time. I examined their respective contexts, whether they apply to the church or Israel. Pretribs fail to take progressive revelation into account. They also are mistaken to think that God does not work with Israel and the church at the same time.
In short, I answered this pretrib objection to prewrath with Scripture. There is no contradiction when context is properly handled and flawed presuppositions are exposed.
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