Originally Posted by Email from Sandra
I very much appreciate your email, and in answer to your closing question, yes, it definitely one of the longest I have recently received. And I am very glad for that because it gives an excellent overview of the "Futurist" approach to eschatology, and as such, our dicussion of it should help a lot of people get a handle on the differences, weaknesses, and strengths of our two perspectives.
You began your post exactly where one should begin any attempt to interpret the Bible - with the Rules of Interpretation. But I believe you left out the most important rules, and I see some real difficulties with the rules that you stated.
I begin with the "Law" of "Plain Sense." Oh, how wish there there were such a law! But the reality is that one man's "plain sense" is another man's "nonsense." For example, the Futurist has to deny the plain sense of words like "soon" and "for the time is at hand" and "this generation" to make their eschatological system work. The "sense" they give to those words is anything but "plain" - it is strained beyond the breaking point in my estimation.
Thus, the "Law of Plain Sense" really says nothing at all, and serves only to reinforce the prejudicial view that my personal interpretation is the "plain sense" and that of any contrary interpretation is "nonsense."
Another problematic aspect of the "Law of Plain Sense" is that some folks take "plain sense" to me "literal" when God intended us to intepret the symbols in His Word as metaphors. In the obvious cases we all agree. For example, we know that Christ is not a literal "lamb" with fleece and four hooves. But this understanding is quickly forgotten even when God does everything necessary to make it as clear as possible. For example, we are told that believers will be made to be "pillars" in the "New Jerusalem" yet some folks insist that the New Jerusalem is a literal cube that will literally descend from the sky in the future! Such confusions are based on anything but the "plain sense."
Originally Posted by Email from Sandra
I agree that there are "double references" in God's Word, but I see no "law" as such being stated here. The problem is that you did not indicate how we are supposed to know when something is yet future. So people are free to just "make up" whatever interpretation they want. For example, you said that "Zech. 9:9 speaks of the First Coming of Christ, while verse 10 speaks of the Second Coming with no hint of a gap in time between the two." And why is there no "hint of a gap" - the answer is simple, because there really is no gap. There is nothing that indicates Zech 9:10 refers to the Second Coming. On the contrary, it clearly refers to the events of the first century, when God sent the Romans to destroy the apostate Temple, just as He sent the Babylonians some 600 years earlier. The context is definitive:
Zechariah 9:9-11 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
Those highlighted words were fulfilled by Christ in the first century! We have many witnesses that prove this beyond all doubt. The text says "and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles." Scripture declares this was fulfilled by Christ in the first century:
Ephesians 2:15-17 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Note that Ephesians specifically refers to those that were "nigh" (the Jews) and those that were "far off" (the Gentiles) just as the prohecy stated. Futhermore, Acts links the preaching of peace to the Gentiles with Christ's "dominion from sea to sea":
Acts 10:34-37 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
The statement tha "he is lord of all" confirms the fulfillment of Zech 9:10 which says that "his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth." And the first century fulfillment is aslo confirmed in Matthew:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.Thus we see the OBVIOUS fulfillment of "plain sense" of Zechariah 9:10 in the first century. And not only do we see its fulfillment, but we see its fulfillment in the Gospel which is the central message of the whole Bible. It has nothing to do with a yet future "Second Coming" and there is no gap in the text because there is no gap in the prophecy. Yet there is more - take a look at Zech 9:10-11
and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. The BLOOD OF THY COVENANT? Does that ring any "GOSPEL" bells? It should, because it was the Blood of Christ's covenant that set the captives free from the pit! This is the GOSPEL! Everything in Zech 9:9-11 is totally preacing the GOSPEL. It is Gospel, Gospel, Gospel. And that's what the Bible is really all about. Note also that this proves it is not about a future "Second Coming" because the Blood of the Covenant specifically refers to the Cross when Christ died in 30 AD. This is proved in Hebrews:
Hebrews 9:25-28 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.Note that the BIBLE declares that Christ died in the "end of the world (age)." This is the consistent teaching of the entire New Testament. The "end times" happened and were finished in the first century. This is the "plain sense" of what is written.
Well, that's enough for my first "installment" on our discussion. I hope to get to more later today, but now I need to get out under the blue sky and take a walk with my wonderful wife. I pray that God keeps you in His perfect peace my friend, my sister, as we dig deep into the proper interpretation of His most excellent Word.
God bless you Sandra!
PS: Thanks again for giving me the oportunity to discuss these things with you. It's very helpful to have it all laid out like you did it, and this discussion really means a lot to me.