On Emergent Brian McLaren Attacking The Book of Revelation

Dominionism/Emerging church, Brian McLaren, and denying the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1) pt. 2

Here is found what may be the most heavily relied upon argument used by those who would deny a future fulfillment of the prophecies of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, as stated in this instance by recognized emerging church leader Brian McLaren:

McLaren says: "What a lot of well-meaning, committed evangelical Christians don't realize is that the view of the end-times that they believe is biblical and the historic Christian view is actually a newcomer and an anomaly in Christian history. That view of the end-times was never, ever thought of in Christian history until the 1830s. Now, that doesn't make it wrong. But it does make it suspect."

Is this true? Are these things so?

Well, Hanserd Knowles, Preacher of the Morning Lecture at Pinners-Hall, in 1688 wrote this:
(found in his complete exposition of the Revelation here: pbministries)

(excerpts from the preface:)
Saint Paul confessed, that he (and other able ministers of the New Testament, 2 Cor. 3:6) did know but in part (1 Cor. 13:9,10), though they were stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1). And Calvin, Beza, yea, Austin, and the ancient fathers did profess, that they understood not the Revelation of the Prophecies written by John in this Book: And although I have read this book of Holy Scripture of Truth many times over, I have also read the profitable labours of those learned men who have written thereon: Yet I do acknowledge the prophetical part of this Book is so mysterious that I know very little of the mystery of the prophecies thereof. Notwithstanding....

"The historical matter of this Book concerns the state of the church of God, from the days of the Apostle John in the Isle of Patmos (about the year 96) in the reign of Domitian the Emperor unto the end of this world. And therefore, I would advise the reader diligently to observe what is already past and fulfilled, what is now fulfilling in our days, and what is hereafter to be fulfilled.

That hereby, when you read the Book of the Revelation, you may understand the mysteries, the prophecies, and the visions therein contained, especially the vision of the seven seals, which contain the judgments of God, that he executed upon the heathen pagan idolaters (Rev. 6:4–17), and of the seven trumpets, which contain the woes God executed upon the Asian apostate persecutors (Rev. 8:7–13; 9:1–21), and of the seven vials of the last plagues of God Almighty, which he will cause his angels to pour out upon the Roman anti-Christian papal beast, whore, and false prophet, to their utter destruction (Rev. 16th Chapter and 18:8–10; 19–21; 19:19).

Lastly, Consider the glorious appearance of our blessed LORD Jesus Christ at his second coming (Rev. 20, 21, 22). Chapters of this prophecy of the Revelation, and the glorious state of the kingdoms of Christ, and of the church of God on Earth (Rev. 5:9,10; 21:1,2,3,4,5; 22:7–20)."

Not to debate any of this early interpretation but to merely show that the general thrust was clearly seen. The coming judgments, the end of the 'world' (so-to-speak), and the second advent of the Lord, etc. While these may have not been understood by Calvin and some others as he says, yet there were some that did and wrote of these "glorious" things, he being one, as evidenced above in the writings of Hanserd Knowles.

But wait! Here is an even more fascinating example, dating all the way back to approximately 260AD. The oldest known complete commentary on the book of Revelation; found here: bombaxo
*excerpted from translator's preface:
Saint Victorinus was bishop of the Pannonian city of Poetovio (or Pettavium; now the modern Ptui, Slovenia) in the second half of the third century. He is described by St Jerome as the first Latin exegete of the Bible. Of the many works which Victorinus produced, however, we have mere fragments of a very few, and only his Commentary on the Apocalypse (In Apocalypsin) is complete. This commentary on the Book of Revelation is also the earliest surviving complete one, which was written by Victorinus during the reign of the Emperor Gallienus (258-260). During the Great Persecution of Diocletan in 304, the Holy Martyr Victorinus joined the chorus of Saints.

Jerome is responsible for an extensive revision of Victorinus' commentary, dated to 398, which he particularly undertook at the request of a friend to adjust Victorinus' commentary in those verses and passages displaying interpretations which were taken to be chiliastic/millennialistic, a theological opinion which had since been rejected by the Church at large (notice the statement in the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381: "of Whose Kingdom there shall be no end"—a creedal rejection of chiliasm). Consequently, essentially two versions of Victorinus' commentary have come down to us: his original and the Hieronymian edition. I have undertaken to translate Victorinus' original and only Jerome's letter to Anatolius (which serves as a prologue to Jerome's version) and Jerome's ending of the work (which replaces Victorinus' commentary on chapters 20 and 21 of the Apocalypse). A relatively poor translation of Jerome's version is included in the Nicene-Post Nicene Fathers collection, as here.
*below quotes excerpted from Victorinus commentary, in which is shown a clear grasp of the severity of the "final battle", the promised judgments, the second coming, etc.:

(ch. 14) What he also says: Put out your sharpened pruning-hook, for the harvest of the grapes of the vine, speaks of the nations to perish at the coming of the Lord; and he also shows this in many ways, as in the dry harvest; but it will happen once at the coming of the Lord, the end of the kingdom of Antichrist, and the appearance of the kingdom of the saints.

14 What he also says: thrown into the winepress of the wrath of God and trampled outside the city, the trampling of the winepress is the reward of the sinner. And the blood went out up to the bridles of the horses: vengance will go out to the chiefs of the peoples, that is the leaders, either the devil or his angels. In the final battle, the vengance of the shedding of blood will go out, as it was predicted before: In blood have you sinned, and blood will follow you.a For one thousand six hundred stadia, that is, through all four parts of the world. For a foursome is quadrupled, as in the four faces of the fourformed (animals) and the wheels. For four four-hundreds are one thousand six hundred. a Ezk 35.6

15 The same Apocalypse repeats the persecution; it says: Seven angels having plagues, because with these the wrath of God is finished. For the wrath of God always struck a stubborn people with seven plagues, that is perfectly, as it says in Leviticus; (plagues) which will happen in the future, when the Church will have gone out from their midst.

[Chapters 16 through 18 are not covered by Victorinus.]

19 And a white horse, and one sitting upon him shows our Lord coming with the heavenly army to reign, at Whose coming all the nations will be gathered, and will fall by the sword. And others who were nobles will serve in the service of the saints; and of these (nobles) also he shows they will be killed in the end time, at the finish of the reign of the saints, before the judgment, after the release of the devil. On these all the prophets likewise agree.

20 And the scarlet devil is imprisoned and all his fugitive angels in the Tartarus of Gehenna at the coming of the Lord; no one is ignorant of this. And after the thousand years he is released, because of the nations which will have served Antichrist: so that they alone might perish, as they deserved. Then is the general judgment. Therefore he says: And they lived, he says, the dead who were written in the book of life, and they reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first resurrection: toward this one the second death has no power. Of this resurrection, he says: And I saw the Lamb standing, and with him 144 thousands, that is, standing with Christ, namely those of the Jews in the last time who become believers through the preaching of Elijah, those who, the Spirit bears witness, are virgins not only in body, but also in language. Therefore, as he reminds above, the 24 elder-aged said: Grace we bring to You, O Lord God who has reigned; and the nations are angry.
Again, not to debate any specifics of this 3rd century interpretation, which are remarkable just the same, but to show that these things were not only understood, but even then they were being challenged. As seen, the interpretation was not unknown at all, but was in fact rejected, apparently by the early "kingdom advocates"! (see 'preface-excerpts' above) Very interesting little early-church study on the Revelation. learn about the translator: here
So then, seeing these things, and then going back to re-read McLaren's statement.....it is clear that it is a false statement:

McLaren says: "What a lot of well-meaning, committed evangelical Christians don't realize is that the view of the end-times that they believe is biblical and the historic Christian view is actually a newcomer and an anomaly in Christian history. That view of the end-times was never, ever thought of in Christian history until the 1830s. Now, that doesn't make it wrong. But it does make it suspect."

....and that the only thing happening here is a calling into question of the "historic christian view", in an attempt to establish doubt, while at the same time laying the groundwork for an altogether 'new way to look at it', amounting to an almost wholesale denial, which is what McLaren does here in this his next statement, which followed the above quote:

"It turns out that Revelation is a classic example of a genre of literature that existed in the Jewish world from about 100 B.C. to about 200 A.D. Modern scholars call it Jewish Apocalyptic. It turns out that Jewish Apocalyptic is not trying to predict the end of the world. But it uses bizarre imagery -- often dreamlike imagery -- to describe contemporary politics and to give people encouragement to be faithful in the midst of oppressive political regimes."

...to which we would like to respond to by quoting a well known "scholar" of days past, Mr. Andrew Bonar, who addressed this subject of "metaphorical interpretation" :
"The rule laid down is that Scripture language is to be taken literally in every instance where the context does not, clearly and unmistakably, show it to be metaphorical. There surely is nothing unreasonable in such a position, and if there were, it is for those who dispute to prove it so and also to define, with equal distinctness, the principle on which they would proceed, showing, to begin with, why words occurring in one part of Scripture are to bear a different construction from what they do in another.

We have its own authority for saying that in it are things "hard to be understood," and a knowledge of this may well deter any from dogmatizing upon details; but can it be said that this is to interfere with the principle of a literal interpretation itself or the leading deductions which, if words have any meaning at all, follow inevitably from it? Can it really be deliberately believed that God’s Word is so darkly and unintelligibly expressed as to have left the prophetic portion of it an open field for every wild and unbridled speculator to enter upon, or that men may venture to assign to terms occurring there a meaning altogether different from what truth and soberness assign to them elsewhere?

If the great enemy of all truth can no longer bury prophetic truth, as till of late years he has pretty nearly succeeded in doing, it would seem as if his efforts were now directed to deluge the world with false suggestions, so as to bewilder and perplex men’s minds, and it would therefore be well for us to recall, in the deceivableness of our days, how our Lord Himself met the delusions in His. Was it not by a constant and consistent appeal to the inspired literality of Scripture? "It is written," was His answer, and it is to the same refuge His followers must betake themselves, if they would escape the increasing confusion in which the neglect of this great principle is involving prophetic as well as all other Scripture investigation." (Andrew Bonar 1852)
Christian, do not be deceived into believing that the things foretold in the book of Revelation have been fulfilled or are only metaphors, on the contrary, they may be on the very threshold, as the tremendous falling away (apostasy) of our day gives testimony. This dominionist/emerging movement is in fact only a part of a 'much bigger agenda' and is designed as a means to an end, that being to incorporate the world's religious institutions into the coming global system. This is exactly what the Book of Revelation foretells.

All will come to pass exactly as written.
It is also written...."come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Men are today hastening toward that final confrontation....
maranatha .

see also: pt. 1; William Dell; kingdom or apostasy
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Rev. 1:3

1 comment :

Theophilus said...

Of course the Preterists (Dominionists) would want to discount Revelations, else they would be forced to see that they are the Harlot that rides the Beast (Government/Military).