The Conditional Nature of Prophecy


#1

There’s a good article by F Furman Kearley called “The Conditional Nature of Prophecy”. Google it and there will be a PDF link. In short, he argues that the rule is that prophecy is conditional, not the exception. The exception to the rule is when the Bible contains prophecies about God’s redemptive purpose. IMO this allows the Bible to speak of eternal punishment, and still allow for universal salvation.


#2

As far as I know, this has always been understood. Take for example, when God changed his mind regarding Nineveh. It was stated earlier in the Hebrew scriptures that if the people changed (repent) in response to a doom and gloom prophecy, He (God) would relent.

In fact, in a way, it is nonsensical (not saying you thought this) to think of any threat as set in stone. With my own children, that threat looms for them… “This is what will happen if you don’t clean your room”. Of course, when they ignore it and I warn them again of what is going to happen (excluding the exception with my warning) the exception still applies, it just isn’t stated again because it has been stepped up on the urgency scale. So if they rush up and clean their room, then my prophecy does not come to pass.

Since we are all children of God (in some form of another, supposing He exists and is our creator) then we can be sure he would deal with us on the same grounds.

I have no idea if you ever plan to marry or have children Qaz, but I honestly believe with all my heart, that most of your inner turmoil would, for the most part, vanish upon having children. The instinct of protection, love, care, etc… It all just clicks. Before I became a Father I was a religious zealot (not saying you are! Far from it, I was way more abrasive than you have ever been!). I was quite simply, obnoxious. I didn’t care who I offended and generally felt that all people who didn’t believe in God would get their “Just” reward. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I relished people burning (maybe some?) but that in my brainwashed upbringing, it just was obvious. I mean, of course that is just of God and I’ll make sure everyone knows it! :slight_smile:

That all vanished while my wife was pregnant with my first born. Of course, it wasn’t overnight, but over those next 6 months some real soul searching was done. I supposed I had spent even more time in the scriptures, often getting home from work and reading for 8 hours straight, both commentaries, opposing viewpoints. Even reading things that I thought were outright heresy. You are much further than I was back at that time, as you are willing to view all sides currently, so when you couple that with having a child, or rather, being a father, things will fall right into place, in my opinion.


#3

Some prophecies warn about attacks which will come unless there is repentance. For myself, I no longer believe that God sends violence or destruction against men. People’s sins open the door to Satanic attack; but God does not send Satanic attack, He only warns about it, and tries to provide the way of salvation from it. I would further argue that believers (including prophets) in Bible times, as today, sometimes confuse God with Satan. God is about abundant life; whereas Satan is about killing, stealing, and destroying (John 10:10). And it is the devil who has the power of death, not God (Hebrews 2:14). Death is God’s enemy (1 Cor. 15:26), not His tool.

Regarding divine warnings about attacks against Jerusalem, I recognize separate attacks which must be correctly distinguished: that of the Babylonians, that of the Romans, and that of the Antichrist.

So, as a futurist, I would disagree with the author of the article, F. Furman Kearley, Ph.D, when he concludes that,

Jesus also announced the revocation of the promises of a glorious, restored nation and of a powerful and prosperous Jerusalem when He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. Whereas Jeremiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, and others had prophesied the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Jesus, by His prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, naturally abrogated the former prophecies. His reason for annulling them was simply that the Jews had not met the conditions necessary to please God and to receive the blessings He intended to bestow upon them.

I would argue that there is a coming temple to be built in Jerusalem, which the Antichrist will later desecrate. And that God indeed has a glorious future for the Jews and for Jerusalem during the coming Millennial Age. Regarding Jerusalem and the temple, Professor Arthur E. Bloomfield wrote the following in Signs of His Coming: A Study of the Olivet Discourse:

The Destruction of the Temple

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matt. 24:1, 2.

…In the minds of the disciples such a disaster as the destruction of the temple could connect only with the last days; and so, a little later, as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, four of His disciples asked Him privately when theses things would be, and especially what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age. In reply, Jesus gave no further details concerning the destruction of Herod’s temple, but referred to a still future invasion (sometimes called the Battle of Armageddon).

The things that Jesus proceeded to tell about, in answer to the disciples’ questions, did not take place when Herod’s temple was destroyed. For instance, Matthew 24:21: “Then shall be a great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

In 70 A.D. no prophecy was fulfilled except the prediction that Jesus made about the complete destruction of Herod’s temple. To try to combine the two invasions only leads to confusion. To the disciples, the destruction of the temple meant the end of the age. This conception pointed their first question: What shall be the sign of thy coming? How could Christ come to His temple if there was no temple? Yet Malachi had said, “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple.… But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like the fullers’ soap.” Mal. 3:1, 2.

The context shows that Malachi’s reference is to the time of the second coming of Christ, so in the disciples’ minds, Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of the temple, instead of being a sign of His coming, would actually prevent the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy. So they asked, “If the temple is destroyed, what will be the sign of they coming?” This is a good question and the thought behind it is still unanswered.

My particular concern is with Kearley flatly stating that, “Jesus also announced the revocation of the promises of a glorious, restored nation and of a powerful and prosperous Jerusalem,” because that kind of thinking supports “Replacement theology” (also known as supersessionism) which, according to GotQuestions.com, “essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel.”

As Wikipedia significantly points out in its own entry on Replacement theology, “Subsequent to and because of the Holocaust, some mainstream Christian theologians and denominations have rejected supersessionism.” I would argue that, at its heart, Replacement theology is anti-Semitic.

As to the importance of Jerusalem and the temple in certain as-yet-unfulfilled prophecies, Bloomfield goes on to say,

Zechariah also prophesied an invasion of Jerusalem yet to come at the return of Christ: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” Zech. 14.2.

…Before the coming of Christ again, there must be a new temple in Jerusalem, for there is no temple there now. This has forced commentators to apply all the predictions of this discourse to the destruction of Herod’s temple in 70 A.D. However, toward the end of the age, when the new temple has been built, these predictions of Jesus will be easier to understand, for then the application will be to the proper place and time.

A great deal of prophecy is in this category; its fulfillment seems impossible to us because the factors no longer exist or never existed. Suddenly these prophecies will be made clear by the unexpected coming into existence of things the prophets saw. Future events cannot be judged by present circumstances.


#4

The view I hold to now is that the lake of fire is eternal torment but all those that experience it are already there. Judgment day is over. The old order of things has passed away and death has been destroyed. All those that die since the time of the 70 A.D. judgment go immediately to be with Christ.


#5

Am I understanding you correctly? You think only a certain set of people are there and that there is no way to get there anymore, because the eligibility of going there is done now (being a past event)? I mean, how lucky for us to have been born after, right? I must be understanding you wrong, because it seems nonsensical!


#6

No, every one goes there except those who experienced the judgment in A.D. 70. That is eternal torment for them. Judgment day is over. It happened in 70 A.D.


#7

That’s politically correct nonsense. I believe in replacement theology and I’m not an anti-Semite. I look at Jews the same I look at gentiles.


#8

I find it interesting how some people see Jews as the master race, or something like that and if you don’t revere them as such, you are an anti-Semite. My own father is infatuated with Israel, who they associate with the chosen people. I like Jewish people, but like Qaz, I see them as no different than anyone else.

I wonder if Hitler wasn’t motivated in part his dislike for Zionism? Hey, I know this is a touchy subject, and I mean no disrespect to anyone… I am trying to tread lightly… But, is it possible Hitler’s hate (aside from being insane) was a reaction born out of Zionism?


#9

This is the perennial blind spot for fundamentalist evangelicalism.


#10

Qaz, I am not talking here about people painting swastikas on synagogues, per se, but about Christians speaking and teaching against the Jews receiving God’s special promises to them, as a people.

Paul repudiates Replacement theology; for example, in Romans 11.

Regarding this passage in Romans, I found this interesting discussion in Replacement Theology; Its Origins, Teachings and Errors, By Dr. Gary Hedrick:

Exegetical Problems with Supersessionism

Did the sins of the Jewish nation result in her rejection? Paul’s answer is found in Romans 11: I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away his people whom He foreknew (vv. 1-2, NKJV). I say then, have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! (vv. 11-12, NKJV). For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (v. 15, NKJV).

If the Jewish nation has no future in God’s plan, as the supersessionists claim, then what is the future “fullness” of Israel that Paul mentions in verse 12? And when, exactly, will the nation be resurrected (“life from the dead”) and “accepted” by God (verse 15)? Paul can’t be talking about the Church in this passage because the Church has never died – and never will (John 11:26). The only reasonable answer is that Paul is referring to a yet-future resurrection and restoration of Am Israel (the “people of Israel,” a collective term for the nation), as prophesied in passages like Ezekiel 37:1-14. It doesn’t mean they will automatically be saved simply because they are Jewish; rather, it means that the majority of Jewish people who are living at that time will recognize Yeshua of Nazareth as their Messiah and receive Him as Savior (Zechariah 12:10, Romans 11:26).

They will be saved in the same way believers from all ages and generations have been saved; that is, they will be saved by grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8-10). The problem with saying that God rejected His people Israel is that the term “rejection” implies permanence and finality. Paul’s forceful statements in Romans 11 probably indicate that people were claiming, even in his day, that God had “cast away” His people Israel (v. 1). They were saying that Israel had “stumbled’ and “fallen” from her former position (vv. 11-12). Paul rejected any such notion (“Certainly not!” in verses 1 and 11). Then he goes on to say that even if we insist on saying that they were rejected, then we are forced to the conclusion that the rejection is only temporary. Even if we insist on saying that they did stumble and fall, then it must also be said that their fall brought salvation to the rest of the world (Gentiles) – and Israel’s fall, too, is only temporary because they are destined to be restored one day to a position of “fullness” (v. 12).

The “fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25) refers to the time when the full number of non-Jewish believers has been added to the ranks of the Church and the last person has been saved. Likewise, the “fullness” of the Jewish people (v. 12) refers to the time when “all Israel shall be saved” (v. 26). As we saw earlier, that means the Jewish people en masse will recognize and receive their Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth. There may be some dissenters – and their probably will be – but the Holy Spirit of God will do a powerful work among the Jewish people, and multitudes of them – the vast majority of them – will come to faith in the Messiah of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth.

The truth is that God is no more finished with Israel than He is finished with the Gentiles. Neither one has been replaced by the other; and God’s plan for both remains intact, in spite of their failures. This is really the crux of the issue. Replacement Theology says that Israel was rejected by God and that the rejection was permanent and irrevocable; however, we say that God’s calling on Israel was permanent and irrevocable, in spite of her many sins and shortcomings (Romans 11:29)

…Why Is This Error Dangerous?

Is Replacement Theology really worth arguing about? Or is this discussion much ado about nothing? One reason it’s important to call attention to questionable theology, no matter how deeply entrenched it may be in traditional Christianity is that sooner or later, bad theology always leads to bad practice – and in this case, it already has! Replacement Theology has provided the basis for all sorts of mischief, persecution, and atrocities against the Jewish people throughout Christian history.

For example, Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, was a supersessionist. Near the end of his life, he said that synagogues and Jewish schools should be burned to the ground, Jewish people run out of their homes, their prayer books and Talmudic writings burned, and the rabbis forbidden to preach or teach on penalty of death (“On the Jews and Their Lies,” Trans. Martin H. Bertram, in Luther’s Works [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971], pp. 268-271). Luther also declared that Jewish people in Germany should be confined to their own homes and neighborhoods – a plan the Nazis implemented literally when they quarantined Jewish families in ghettos in Poland and other places before shipping them to the death camps for extermination. One historian writes: It is difficult to understand the behavior of most German Protestants in the first Nazi years unless one is aware of two things: their history and the influence of Martin Luther. The great founder of Protestantism was both a passionate anti-Semite and a ferocious believer in absolute obedience to political authority. He wanted Germany rid of the Jews. Luther’s advice was literally followed four centuries later by Hitler, Goering, and Himmler (William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich [New York: Simon & Shuster, 1960], p. 236).

No one is suggesting that anyone who believes in Replacement Theology is an anti-Semite or would agree with Luther’s statements. That would be an unfair characterization – and it certainly is not the case. It is important, nevertheless, to examine the implications and ramifications of any position, including Replacement Theology: and it is an incontestable fact that ideas similar to those of Replacement Theology have inspired some horrible atrocities against the Jewish people.

In his essay, Anti-Semitism: Its Roots and Perseverance, Dr. David R. Reagan includes a historical overview “of the sad and sordid history of Christian anti-Semitism that is rooted in Replacement Theology.” He traces it from the Early Church, through The Middle Ages, The Reformation, the twentieth century, and the twenty-first century. As he points out,

“At the Nuremberg trials after World War II, the Nazi leader, Julius Streicher, defended himself by saying, “I have never said anything that Martin Luther did not say.”


#11

No one is denying that the Jews received special promises. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman, salvation is of the Jews. What we are denying is that there’s a difference between Jews and gentiles under the new covenant. AFAIC there is neither Jew nor gentile in Christ Jesus. DNA counts for nothing. What matters is circumcision of the heart. It’s those whose hearts are circumcised that are sons of Abraham.


#12

Your logical fallacy is anecdotal; you are using your personal experience instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence. I have referenced the Bible (Romans 11 and discussion) to dispute Replacement theology. I have referenced historical evidence clearly linking Replacement theology and anti-Semitism.

I know of no opponent to Replacement theology who believes otherwise.

As I stated earlier,

In their arguments against Replacement theology, no one is suggesting God loves Jews more than gentiles. But Jesus never denied that the physical kingdom would be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6-7).


#13

MY logical fallacy? YOU’RE the one who needs to learn logic. You said replacement theology is antisemitic. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews. I subscribe to replacement theory and do not hate Jews. Therefore replacement theory is not anti-Semitic.

Just because proponents of one idea have historically been linked to another idea doesn’t mean the second idea is part of the belief system of the first idea. Historically capitalist societies have been linked with colonialism. That doesn’t mean colonialism is capitalistic.

You want to talk about logical fallacies? There’s actually a technical term for the one you’re committing. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy


#14

Two things here Hermano… you’re actually confident that GotQuestions has that accurately nailed? And NOWHERE on that link you provide does GotQuestions actually associate so-called “Replacement theology” with “anti-Semitism” — it’s not there at all on that page.

Further… is it legitimate to associate “Replacement theology” with “anti-Semitism” any more than determining someone MUST BE a Catholic because they believe in the virgin birth, which just happens to be a key plank in Catholicism. You draw a very looong bow with such a dot-to-dot rationale.

Just a thought


#15

Gal 3:7
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham

Rom 2:28-29
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.


#16

Anecdotal Fallacy: This logical fallacy is committed when someone rejects or discounts extensive evidence in favor of an isolated or personal experience.”

Please check out the rest of the earlier discussion. For example,

Note: a boolean search on Google using (”replacement theology" AND "anti-semitism”) gives 26,400 results, whereas using (supersessionism AND "anti-semitism”) produces 41,200 results. Of course, those numbers provide only prima facie evidence. If you are genuinely interested, you could start with my suggested link, Anti-Semitism: Its Roots and Perseverance, and then consider other discussions, if necessary. (I wonder how many of those Google results, if any, would argue that Replacement theology neither causes, nor is the product of, anti-Semitism?)


#17

Supposed ‘guilt by association’ carries little credence with me… especially from a dispensational ministry; just like GotQuestiona — I don’t think so, nada!


#18

Just a footnote here. If I Google replacement theology, I find the synonym Supersessionism. Which brings me to Wiki - Supersessionism

Even though Got Questions claims to be “non-denominational” (I take them at their word), they still might have some bias. So. I would check what they say, against the WIki source. Now:

  • The weakness of Wiki is that anyone can contribute to - and edit the entries.

  • The strength of Wiki is that anyone can contribute to - and edit the entries.

In case of Wiki, I ONLY pay proper attention - to any footnoted academic source. If a statement has a good, referenced footnote…then most likely, it is accurate.

“Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.”-- Deborah Day


#19

I don’t accuse anyone here of not loving the Jews. But I argue that Replacement theology (supersessionism) is inextricably linked to anti-Semitism. I think Anti-Semitism: Its Roots and Perseverance is a good strarting point concerning the history behind this.

As to anti-Semitism, there are different brands,

Christian religious antisemitism is often expressed as anti-Judaism, i.e., it is argued that the antipathy is to the practices of Judaism. (Wikipedia)

As to linking Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler in this discussion of Replacement theology,

Punitive supersessionism is represented by such Christian thinkers as Hippolytus, Origen, and Luther. It is the view that Jews who reject Jesus as the Jewish Messiah are consequently condemned by God, forfeiting the promises otherwise due to them under the covenants. (Wikipedia)

And,

The prevailing view[32] among historians is that Luther’s anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany,[33] and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an ideal foundation for the Nazi Party’s attacks on Jews.[34] (Wikipedia)

And in Martin Luther and Supersessionism by Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D., we read,

In addition to his anti-Semitic rhetoric, Luther also made statements consistent with a punitive replacement view toward Israel. He viewed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70 as evidence of God’s permanent rejection of the Jews: “‘Listen, Jew, are you aware that Jerusalem and your sovereignty, together with your temple and priesthood, have been destroyed for over 1,460 years?’. . . This work of wrath is proof that the Jews, surely rejected by God, are no longer his people, and neither is he any longer their God.” In reference to the promise of Abraham’s descendants being a ‘great nation’ Luther said, “Therefore the Jews have lost this promise, no matter how much they boast of their father Abraham. . . . They are no longer the people of God.”

Finally, with the eclectic spirituality of Holy-Fool-P-Zombie in mind, here is an essay with an intriguing title:

What Do Hitler, Alice Bailey, and Replacement Theology Adherents Have in Common?


#20

Hermano, there is no extensive evidence. Your entire case rests on the association fallacy. Christianity has historically been linked with violence. Look up the Crusades, Inquisition, and witch hunts. By your logic Christianity must be violent. If you think the Mosaic covenant is still valid, that’s fine, go ahead and argue for it. But I suggest you do so without resorting to politically correct nonsense.