Wednesday, April 4, 2007

False prophesy

Ben Witherington nominates several things that he thinks should be given up for Lent [and for good], among which is the Left Behind series
We were told that the rapture is surely coming within the next 25-50 years. Of course we were told this by Scofield a hundred years ago, and Chafer 75 years ago , and Lindsey over 50 years ago, and they were all dead wrong. In fact, in all of church history whenever anyone has predicted the timing of the return of Christ they have all shared one thing in common - they've all been dead wrong! ....

When the expectation of the return of Christ, which is shared by all denominations, degenerates into prognostication and calculation, [despite Mk. 13.32 which tells us that the time and timing of this event is completely unknown, and was even unknown to Jesus himself whilst on earth (and no it does not mean "we can know the general year or decade, just not the day or hour")], then we have ceased to move on faith, and are engaging in human manipulation.

Why do I say this? For the very good reason that when you look at the definition of faith in Heb. 11.1 it says "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction about things not seen" (indeed not visible). But all these supposed signs that LaHaye and company think they can read are all too visible historical events. But there will be no such earthly signs before the return of Christ, only cosmic ones that accompany that return if you read Mk. 13 carefully. Those earthly signs in Mk. 13 preceded the fall of the Temple in A.D. 70. They won't be coming around again, in Mark's view.

So its time to leave behind the Left Behind false prophecy once and for all. Those folks don't even understand either the character or the significance of apocalyptic literature, nor how to interpret it (for more on this see my Jesus the Seer, or my Revelation commentary). [links added]
Source: Ben Witherington: Lenten Leavings - Things That Should Now Be Left Behind

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