Hello tom, based on your comment, I think perhaps you basically missed my whole point(s). At least that is how it appears from my perspective, but perhaps you will have opportunity to re-read and to consider the discussion afresh, if you so desire. I already spoke concerning my agreement in some things
, with all
of the eschatological camps among the orthodox, so you are welcome to make up a list of such names if you have the leisure and the interest. Then you could even provide quotes from any of those in your list who have written books, and you are welcome to ask me which parts I agree or disagree with if you like (I will try to answer if I am able).
If Pilgrim is allowed to differ with some of those being found even within a narrower Amillennial camp (which I have no problem with, perhaps he has well thought out reasons for his positions which he could convince me of), I think I also should be allowed some room for reason and for conscience amongst my even broader scope of agreement within the pale of eschatological orthodoxy. If I need to obtain a permit for this sort of thing, perhaps you could point me in the right direction so I can consult with those who issue such permits. But (speaking with all seriousness again) if I say anything which is clearly contrary to Scripture, you (or Pilgrim, or others) are welcome to help me see where I’ve gone wrong in any of the particulars. And in that regard, I would like to speak concerning something which you said:
“If we find ourselves with a novel understanding of a Scripture passage or doctrine that the Church never had before. We should suspect we have a wrong understanding of the issue; not them.”
I think this statement has just enough truth in it to make it sometimes rather dangerous (or at least potentially so). A whole multitude might unite to crucify Christ, or to excommunicate and anathematize Martin Luther (and the whole of the Reformation) upon this sort of supposition. And to this very day, the multitude of Judaism still yet claims
that the teachings of Christ were “novel,” and that of Rome still yet claims
the same concerning the teachings of the Reformation. But things being truly Scriptural are never actually novel -in one sense, although, in another sense they may be
“new” (I will try to explain what I mean by this later).
In the eyes of Rome, it seemed very obviously a demonstration of the height of pride
in Martin Luther, for him to “stand alone” (merely upon the testimony of Scripture) in his faithful testimony for Christ, and against the pope and his multitude. In God’s
eyes however, this “little horn with eyes” is actually himself the height of all human pride (it being the pope together with his spiritual generation -regardless of their church affiliation- like spiritual head and body; for in this way Antichrist counterfeits Christ and his mystical body). Such is the generation which sits in God’s temple making himself to be God
, exalting himself even to heaven by means of this mystery tower of Babel
, while he feasts himself upon the wrong tree
and thus finds his eyes “opened” to become like God in a “knowledge” of good and evil. This is that generation that would keep the saints under such a condition (whether of sleepiness, “morbid introspection,” or some other state of oblivion as concerning their situational surroundings) as would seem to serve best that they might not be apprehended and have their own evils testified against. But in getting back to my point about the testimony of Scripture as it relates to that of the Church, perhaps the following sentiments will prove helpful:
“The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined; and in whose sentence we are to rest; can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.” WCF 1:10
I am afraid perhaps there is much evidence in our day that the wounded head of the papacy has more than been healed, especially when the first resort even among Protestants would seem to have become a sense of security in the opinions of men, rather than God speaking in Scripture itself. I say this, not as one who is attempting to overthrow any of the foundational doctrines of Christianity (as so many are these days), nor as one attempting to nullify anything pertaining to Christian orthodoxy. And I think this was evident from my previous posts where I declared my own agreement with so many more among the orthodox than those being found merely within one eschatological camp.
And therefore, I do
in fact receive the witness of very many faithful men, but yet I would do so only in a way which is in full accord with this greater witness:
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater…” 1 Jn. 5:9
Is my position really “novel” then? …Insofar as it can actually be found in its various parts among the opinions and positions of the saints throughout history, it is certainly not new
. But as I already intimated in my earlier posts, Scripture actually requires
a seemingly “new” understanding which comes along with the unfolding and accomplishment of Scripture prophecy. And there is nothing new about this!
What should we expect then, when we are explicitly told
in Scripture that many things have been “sealed up” until the time of the end? A failure to recognize this characteristic of prophecy and it’s unfolding, was a major ingredient that led to the multitude’s rejection of, and their stumbling over Christ at his first coming, and it would appear that the professing “church” today is right back at square one in this regard, -ready to be taken in that “snare” which we are warned the dark day of the Lord would come as. So, in a conservative or properly limited and qualified sense, I have no problem acknowledging that there is
very likely, in part, something seemingly new in my own eschatological position, as there should be
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old
.” Mt. 13:49-52
Looking for an adequate description of the loosing of Satan as coming from those who lived before
the event is sort of like looking to those who have spent the entirety of their days within the state of Arkansas to find the best description of Japan. Looking to those living under
the loosing of Satan (especially
those within the “Church”) for its description, is a bit like looking to the romish priests and nuns to find out how the corpses of all of those babies ended up under their church floor. But the saints themselves can look to God and to his Word in the midst of such perils, and can rightly expect him to teach them what they should know when no others can or will explain it.
“And he causeth all
[not all absolutely
, but nevertheless, the vast majority
of men], both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Rev. 13:16-17
We should remember that there are only two witnesses
(a very small remnant
) left in the entirety of the “great city” once it has become fully ripe for destruction:
“And their dead bodies [speaking of the two witnesses] shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Rev. 11:8
Don’t expect a major widespread testimony to the truth, therefore, under such circumstances (especially when so many of the true saints are sound asleep). And where is this “city where our Lord was crucified” in these last days, if not simply a reference to the visible Church apostatized
, and as it has been given to the Gentiles that they might tread it underfoot! -Rev. 11:2
When I acknowledge whatever is “seemingly
new” about my position, I mean this according to what Isaiah tells us regarding such days as when Babylon would be ripe for destruction, and when the believing remnant is required to make their exodus. There is nothing “new” here in terms of Inspiration and Special Revelation, but rather a new understanding of various Scripture things which formerly had not been anticipated or well understood by the saints:
“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not
[i.e., a way being new to them
]; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them… Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’s servant?
Seeing many things, but thou observest not
[i.e., as seeing without visual
perception]… But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth
; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore
. Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?
” [i.e., for these last days
] Is. 42:16, 18-20, 22-23
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth [see Mt. 24:31]; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes
[concerning these “blind
having (non-seeing) eyes,” see Zech. 3 (esp. vs. 9) with Rev. 1:12-14 and 5:6], and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled [these gathered ones I take to be a reference to the spiritual armies of Gog and Magog coming against the saints]: who among them can declare this
, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth
. Ye are my witnesses [perhaps even a reference to the “two witnesses”], saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me… Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing
; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Is. 43:5-10, 18-19
“HEAR ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah
[a believing remnant coming out from that last remnant of the visible church, being now apostatized -even as the house of Judah was last in Israel’s apostasy. “Waters” would seem to have reference to the peoples (as in Rev. 17:1 & 15), so that it would appear that a solitary remnant is said here to come out from among the assemblies
of the people…], which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness
. For they call themselves of the holy city
, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is his name. I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee
: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning
; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them
. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not
; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction [so, to me, all of these things are painful
matters much more than they are fascinating musings]. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another…
All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things?
The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous… Go ye forth of Babylon
, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob. And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Is. 48:1-11, 14-15, 20-22 (see the rest of the broader context, which was not included here for brevity.)
Prophecies such as these, concerning the time of Babylon’s destruction, are applicable to inform concerning the end of latter-day “Babylon,” which was spoken of by John as well, in Revelation. According to the prophet Daniel (even though literal
Babylon was to be destroyed long ago), this pagan and Antichristian system is all essentially one and the same great city stretching from his own day until the time of its destruction in the end of these latter days. (See Dn. 2:31-45 as compared with Dn. 7, esp. vss. 9-14 and 19-27.)
My own opinion is that the question which I was asked (however salient a point might have been involved, or however good a question it might be whenever asked as with reference to many other things
) is altogether inadequate and is not properly answerable to the reality of all of these truths
which we have just now considered. However, this is not the same thing as to conclude that it was asked with a bad motive (which really is not mine to judge), even if it was perhaps not so much a question as it was intended to make a point.
I hope this further clarifies where I am coming from. Thank you for reading.