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Todd Dennis and Preteristic Idealism

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By Sam - Posted on 14 March 2007

by Samuel Frost
I consider Dennis to be a good friend of mine and have fellowshipped with him many times. Hopefully, after this article is read, that fellowship will remain intact. With that being said, I do want to critically evaluate his article Introduction to a Hybrid of Preterism and Idealism. I printed the article of twenty pages (numbered 1-20) and will use that for numbering my footnotes from this article.I consider Dennis to be a good friend of mine and have fellowshipped with him many times. Hopefully, after this article is read, that fellowship will remain intact. With that being said, I do want to critically evaluate his article Introduction to a Hybrid of Preterism and Idealism.

I printed the article of twenty pages (numbered 1-20) and will use that for numbering my footnotes from this article.

Click here to read the entire article

donaldjamesperry's picture

I have written a book about Redirectionalism Idealism in 2000 and have made a lot of updates. You can get it on LULU.com. You can see it if you do a search under Redirectionalism Idealism. If you want me to email you part of it let me know. My email address is directionalism at yahoo dot com.

I consider myself a futurist, when I read the Bible I read it like it was written to me. However, because of what has happened in the last 2000 years I need to take some things ideologically. I believe the Bible was written so we could read it and apply it to our lives. And much of what happened in the lives of the apostles is all that we need to be concerned with. We are the same as the seven churches in Revelation, we have the same problems today. But if we are substituting the things of this world for Christ, if we are going back to the lamb with the small "l" and trusting in other things other then Christ it can end up costing us.

I think much of what happened in AD 66 could be said to be a historical parable. When the Christians left Jerusalem and the unbelievers stayed behind this was a picture of the eternal state when God separates the sheep from the goats. But I think we can say Christ did return to the firstfruits in AD 66 and their candlestick remained. They reached a maturity to be the place that Jesus had prepared to be like Christ. I do not believe they were perfect, the perfect state belongs to those who have died.

The passages of 1 Thess. 4:14-18 and 1 Cor. 15:50-51 refer to the firstfruits coming to the gates of the eternal state, inheriting the promises given to the seven churches in Revelation and at the same time having their candlestick remain. This must be something that was understood spiritually. 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4 cannot be fulfilled on this earth because Paul said "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." You have to die like Jesus did to inherit incorruption, He is the perfect type. However I think these things were fulfilled in a sense ideologically for the church as a whole after they matured and that Paul is talking about a number of things at the same time.
Although I believe that Partial Preterists mean well, I do not think they have the right answer. They are playing with fire to assume that they are able to chop the Bible up and say that parts of Revelation and Matthew 24 are fulfilled while other parts are not. .
As for me personally, not all has been fulfilled, and I do not think it matters if any of it at AD 70 was fulfilled as far as I am personally concerned. The end and AD 70 is not in the Bible for a reason. However I think that in that it was fulfilled to that generation, as it must have been to those seven churches, we now know what is and what is not that coming of Christ that we are to be concerned with today. On the other hand Partial Preterists are not able to define the second coming, they cannot say for sure what it is about, they don't know, they will never know. So, they will invent a new definition for the second coming and hope that they are correct.
If none of those 7 churches [all of Christianity 33-66 AD is what the seven churches represent ideologically] survived the second coming it is doubtful that any of us would be here today. Christianity would have been proved to be incomplete in men and that old world would have taken its place. The gates of Hell would have prevailed.

Donald Perry

donaldjamesperry's picture

"They have hi-jacked the terms Idealist and Preterist. By definition they can not co-exist like that. That would be a contradiction in terms."

[From Don] It is a contradiction if you are a futurist and you are a preterist. What I am saying is that the firstfruits were futurists, the Bible only talks about futurists, and I am a futurist. What I cannot make futuristic directly I keep the idea and ignore the fact that it already happened. In this sense I am an idealist. It did not happen to me, I did not see Jesus come 1 Thess 4. I have not reached the end of some kind of planned maturity, nor am I dead and resurrected yet.

At the same time I think that first generation of Christians and anyone else now in heaven understands the Bible in a Preterist sense.

MichaelB's picture

What I think is funny is the claim that this view is old. On Pret Archive they try to say that St. Augustine is the "father" of it. The fact is that St. Augustine was a Futurist Idealist (That is the definition of Idealist). He did not believe that the resurrection / Great White Throne / Second Coming / was in the past ie on-going still. That is no differnt then if I tried to hijack a Partial Pret in history as evidence for the Full Pret view.

Pret Idealists still put the resurrection of the dead (Rev 20) in the past (the 2nd coming) in some respect. They know that that is why the "modern" label is put on Full Prets by guys like TD. (Of course they say that their site is "unbiased - LOL). It really should be called "Modern Pret Idealism" but it gets worse...

They have hi-jacked the terms Idealist and Preterist. By definition they can not co-exist like that. That would be a contradiction in terms.

According to Webster's Unabridged Universal Dictionary, a Preterist is "a theologian who believes that the prophecies of the Apocalypse have already been fulfilled"

According to Wikipedea, Idealism in Christian eschatology is an interpretation of the Book of Revelation that sees all of the imagery of the book as non-literal symbols which are perpetually and cyclically fulfilled in a spiritual sense during the conflict between the Kingdom of God and the forces of Satan throughout the time from the first advent to the Second Coming of Christ.

These two views are in total contradiction. Which apparently the "pret-idealist" doesn't mind, since he allows his view to contradict scripture time after time.

Here is just an example of Pret Idealist silliness...

The Millennium" - (full pret) External, Historical Epoch for All(AD30-70) vs. (pret idealist) Internal Era for Redeemed

Internal era for the redeemed?

Guess since the 1000 years goes on forever in the idealist view,the "rest of the dead" never get to come to life since the 1000 years is never completed?

Revelation 20 and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

TheIdealNate's picture

Mike,
You know I put no stock in church historians, nor have I read any. I have not hyjacked anything, instead, I found more answers to inconsistencies that bothered me.

I have barely even read Todd's stuff. It was his hermenutical approach based on the idea that the "external is only an manifestation of eternal truths." And from there I reason on my own.

Unless now you are to claim you don't know me for that. So classifying me this way is absured, a distraction technique, and not genuine.

God Bless
Nate

In the Eternal Christ,
Nate

MichaelB's picture

Classifying you what way Nate? I said nothing about you in my above comment. My above reply lays down the facts and definitions. Notice too you avoided the 1000 years and the 1st resurrection and "rest of the dead" question

JL's picture

Townley gives us three choices

The impossible: a global Flood
The miserable: a local Flood
The idealist dismissal: no Flood

That's the whole story on Townley. Since Townley is lauded as the first pret-idealist, that implies that the historic pret-idealist position is denial of the Flood.

Those of you who are pret-idealists, if you disagree with Townley's position, could you please clarify your own?

Blessings
JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

Hmmm...what's so ridiculous about option 3?

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Ransom,

Todd has presented Townley's article on the flood as one example of "pret-idealism." In that article Townley denied that Genesis speaks of a historical flood in any sense. It is a all a "spiritual" picture (no natural waters, etc).

Here is my question: do you believe that the writer of Hebrews viewed the flood as a historical event and Noah as an historical person?

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." Hebrews 11:7 NIV

Doesn't the writer of Hebrews show that the flood was a historical event? Was he mistaken? Or how about Peter:

"...protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others." 2 Peter 2:5 NIV

Doesn't Peter show that the flood event (whatever it was) really happened in history? Was he mistaken?

Townley denies the flood was a historical event. Todd presented this as one example of Pret-idealism. He wore a shirt with Townley's picture on it claiming Townley as the first "pret-idealist."

I assume this is where Todd is going with pret-idealism; a complete devaluation of the historical.

Help me out here. Am I wrong? You have sympathized with pret-idealism in previous posts. Do you believe Genesis references historical events/people?

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

lsthomp's picture

Tim,
Have you not read anything that I have said. I never denied that historical account but have always said that history points to the greater things. You have seemed to disregaurd this fact and seem to be fixated on Townley and his views. Townley had reasons for his views and he could be right or wrong. It does not matter to me one way or the other. You are wanting it to matter to me which I think is tasteless and absurd as well.

I certainly don't need Josephus to prove the historical account is true. I certainly cannot prove things from a historical point of view and niether can you. I think you think you can prove this but that remains to be shown. You certainly are seeking to proove the spiritual truths to which they point towards which makes me think you have missed it all together.

By the way, who said Townley was the FIRST Pret-Idealist anyway. I believe Todd said he was the first known Full Pret. Why do you keep misrepresenting what I have said or others.

I think your hatred toward your own brothers is blinding your heart and destroying you from within. I really truly pray that you will not let this destroy your heart.

Starlight's picture

Todd may not ascribe to everything that Townley puts forth but it sure would have helped if he had paid more attention to what the guy wrote than carelessly thrown him out there with all his warts to shine forth. If Todd wants to back off of Townley then I’m sure he will do so when he recognizes the mess the guy’s article contributes to the discussion.

I’m sure Tim can defend himself but why all this animosity towards Tim’s refutation and attempt to balance what Todd has presented. You seem to want to intimidate those who may want to inquire about the credibility of this guy. Since Todd failed to clarify Townley’s role it left a vacuum that needed to be filled. Unless you haven’t noticed before that’s what we attempt to do here at PP. I in fact find it strange that there seems to be no rebuttals on Todd’s site under Townleys article. It looks like Todd is severely restricting comments at this time. It would be interesting to hear Todd’s reasoning for this limitation.

“Townley had reasons for his views and he could be right or wrong.”

So you want to leave Townley alone; I think not, the guy obviously doesn’t believe in the credibility of the OT scriptures. So I think that might be something we want to highlight in our discussions.

Blessings

Norm

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Why do you attack me? I just read Townley's post on the archive and noted how Todd Dennis claimed Townley's article was an example of "pret-idealism." There's no hate here. Just honest questions.

What was interesting is that yesterday I noticed this caveat suddenly appeared on Townley's article immediately after the topic came up here:

"Note: Townley's "allegorical" position represents only one form of the many preterist-idealist views. Townley was by no means the first preterist-idealist, just one of many // what makes Townley different is that he used pret-idealism as an answer for both full preterism and universalism"

http://preteristarchive.com/Books/1852_townley_deluge.html

Then I mentioned the picture of Todd wearing a t-shirt with Townley's picture and something on it claiming that Townley was the first "pret-idealist." Shortly after I posted that, the picture I mentioned disappeared from Kurt's website:

http://www.preteristcentral.com/pret-first_annual_carlsbad_eschatolog.htm

I found this all amazing coincidence. Are you Todd Dennis?

If so, you should come out and argue your views openly and deal with honest scrutiny. I've seen this approach before. Check out the comments on this article: http://planetpreterist.com/news-2105.html

Now we know that "Malachi" is Kurt Simmons. Poor Sam. He never knew he was interracting with Kurt himself!

Regardless of your answer to the above question, Todd Dennis claims that Townley's approach is an example of "pret-idealism." I take that to be the case. Am I mistaken?

Thanks for any substantive thoughts you might offer,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

lsthomp's picture

No my name is Scott Thompson and I personally took the picture of Todd wearing the shirt of Townley. And it did not say first Pret-Idealist. It did however say NOW Pret-Idealist.

I also attended the confrence in NM and witnessed the things that were said and done. I am a friend and brother to Todd Dennis. I think it is sad that this group is a wolf pack just waiting to devour those who don't agree with their personal views. Oh Well. Maybe this is what it has come to. Love is secondary to one's self seeking desire to be right.

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Scott,

Thanks for clarifying.

All I have done is ask questions about what pret-idealism means. I think this is what loving brothers should do when someone claims that Full-preterism is essentially equal to Universalism, and its source here in America.

Todd is the one who posted Townley's article "Modern Knowledge and Ancient Belief." Todd claimed Townley's article offers an example of "pret-idealism." I take that to be the case. How is that devouring anyone?

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

lsthomp's picture

In my mind, Pret-Idealism is a Spiritual approach that is neither Full Preterist or Futurism.

Townley is one of many examples of an Pret-Idealist approach. No one is claiming that he has all the answers. He may but we do not have enough of his writings to clarify. There is a lost work that we know about from 1852 that has not been found YET. This may shed some light on why he went from Full Pret to Pret Idealism.

No one has claimed that Full Preteirsm is essentially equal to Universalism. We have made it clear that there is a link in the past and today that is a revevant issue that needs to be addressed.

Starlight's picture

Scott,

I hope you don’t mean to really demean us in the manner you just have by generalizing that we all are a wolf pack smelling blood.

I do thank Todd for his work on the database and by bringing forth Townley to us I believe he has presented us with a perfect example of where inconsistent Preterism leads.
If you noticed Townley moved from position to position, starting out as a futurist, partial preterist, full preterist, universalist and finally Preterist Idealism. Where his journey failed him is he did not consistently apply the Preterist hermeneutic to the Old Testament. This is exactly what happens in the Preterist movement today. They get their NT down right but go brain dead when it comes to Genesis. That is exactly why Townley threw up his arms in despair with Genesis. He knew how to handle the language in Revelation but he forgot how to hit the curve ball in Genesis. Instead he threw the baby out with the bath water to allow him to develop a system that would work for him intellectually. He fell into the same old trap that most YEC do today in that he thought it had to be literal or nothing. He never considered it may be similar language that is found scattered throughout the scriptures called apocalyptic. That is the reason we need to pay more attention to Revelation as it clues us in by telling us again about the tree of life and removal of the curse. You see there is a better way than Townley’s it’s called consistent Preterism.

You seem to be distancing yourself from this statement you posted earlier to me; maybe you would like to clarify this statement

Scott said….The "Father of American Universalism" is also a "Father of Full Preterism" HOW MUCH CLOSER CAN YOU GET?

OVERBLOWN???????? Is he just making this all up for the heck of it?

. I had mentioned in my post to you that Townley was overblown. Looks like you now may agree.

Blessings

Norm

lsthomp's picture

I stand by that statement and was reacting to Norms comments saying that things were just being overblown. This shows that the link is very relavant and is not just being made up.

Starlight's picture

Scott,

And my point is that Townley is just simply who he was, just another preterist. He's not the father of anything except maybe the liberal rejection of the historical aspect of scripture. I hope Preterist Idealist will distance themselves from him in that regard.

Norm

lsthomp's picture

Who said anything about Townley being the first. Hosea Bollau is I believe who was being refered to. However he was not classified as a Full Preterist under the current definition.

I don't think we should distance anything from Townley. I personally like the guy and think he spoke of great things way before his time. I admire him for that. We need to give cridit where cridit is due, and he does deserve some credit even though we may disagree. He is a Pret-idealist again becuase he does not fall in any of the other classifications based on his 1853 work.

Starlight's picture

Scott,

Here is an excerpt and example of Townleys work. You are correct we shouldn’t throw out everything he says or does but he has this one glaring problem that I believe seriously needs to be distanced from. Because he reads only in the literal vein in the OT he thinks it is absurd and not historical. He’s right to a certain extent but it is as I stated earlier that he fails to consider the NT approach he used in becoming a Preterist. Surely he must have recognized that the language of Heavens and Earth being destroyed was not to be taken in the literal sense how else he could become a Preterist. He forgot his exegetical principals though when he turned to Genesis.

“Nature pronounces against the Scripture deluge as the literal history of physical phenomena. The granite book, whose inspiration none can doubt, directly contradicts the written book, WHOSE INSPIRATION IS IN QUESTION. The deluge, therefore, is a piece of fabulous history; or the narrative must have another meaning than that which appears from considering the plain, literal, import of the language.
In the first place, it is not necessary to make an appeal to geology, in order to overthrow the Bible narrative, considered as a literal history. The language employed in describing the deluge, SUFFICIENTLY PROVES ITS ABSURDITY AS A PHYSICA FACT.”

You see I do agree with him that nature does not verify a world wide flood but it doesn’t mean there was no flood period. Now you may disagree with him as well and say that the Grand Canyon verifies a world wide flood but that would only be if you are a YEC adherent. If you are a YEC then you may have even more problems with him than I do.

Norm

JL's picture

I haven't said it's ridiculous. Tim was accused of trying to pin Townley's view on you pret-idealists. If some of you are protesting Townley beliefs, then we need some clarification. What are the essential pret-idealist beliefs? Why is a belief that Townley makes so prominent in his article not an essential pret-idealist belief?

As recently as about a month ago, I thought I was somewhat of an idealist. Then I thought I had to reject it. Now I'm getting contradictory vibes but no actual definitions.

I'm a real concrete sort of guy. I'd like a definition and an example. What is idealism? How does idealism work in one particular example? The Genesis Flood is as good as any and I'm not seeing that in the discussion above.

Blessings
JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

Oh, I see. I understand your point.

JL's picture

Ransom,

Then are you agreeing with Townley? The Flood has no historical basis. It didn't happen.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

Oh, the story was most likely the result of a cultural remembrance of a real flood at some time, and it was doubtless local. I just doubt it happened much like the story we have in Genesis. I have a few very good reasons for believing this.

For example, the name "Noah" is Hebrew - old Hebrew, but Hebrew. Hebrew did not exist as such before the Semites were in Palestine. Yet Noah's flood, per the Bible's chronology, predates the advent of the ancestor of the Hebrews (Abraham) to Palestine. So taking the most conservative tack possible, the name "Noah" has been drastically updated, or possibly translated from some other language into an equivalent Hebrew name. This latter is less likely to be so, since Shem, Ham, and Japheth are said to be his direct sons, and all are Hebrew names and Shem, especially, is always treated as a quite Hebrew name rather than a calque.

Another problem with reading the flood account too literally is that the subsequent genealogy is flat-out, irredeemably wrong. The Canaanites and Amorites, supposedly the sons of Ham, spoke a Semitic language that had a common ancestor with Hebrew. More problematic, the Elamites, supposedly descendants of Shem, lived all the way in the east of the known world, and spoke an apparent linguistic isolate (not related to Hebrew or even Indo-European languages).

Which leads me to another problem with an historical local flood. The genealogy lists a progenitor for practically all people groups known at the time, and all are said to be descended from Noah. I guess that's probably one argument Hugh Ross uses for his theory, although I've not seen him use it.

This leads me to a question. So you think it was a local flood: at what locality do you think it occurred?

JL's picture

OK Ransom,

The earliest known writting comes from the town of Enoch/Uruk which Genesis says Cain founded. This writting was the early Akkadian/Sumerian pictograph. Pictograph has the advantage that it can be read in any language.

Akkadian is known to be the parent language of Hebrew.

Let's assume for a moment that Genesis 1-11 was written by eyewitnesses. Then it would have been written in this early Akkadian/Sumerian pictograph.

Around 3200 BC, the Flood occured. Noah was Akkadian, so his name is "old Hebrew."

Around 2700 BC, Elam conquered/united what is now Iran, and created the ancient country of Elam. Though Elam himself spoke Akkadian, the people he conquered did not. They all used pictograph. Over the next 500 years, the rulers forgot Akkadian and adopted the ancient language we now call ancient Elamitic.

Around 2200 BC, under Sargon the Akkad, the first semi-alphabetic script in the region was developed. Soon after Sumer and Elam developed a semi-alphabetic script. This is the first point in history that we can see different language pronunciation.

We can also see that at this time, Akkadian has divided into slightly differing dialects that eventually became Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and whatever other languages.

At the time of Abraham (around 1900 BC), the older Akkadian pictograph Genesis 1-11 was transliterated into newer the semialphabetic Akkadian/proto-Hebrew of Abraham. The text went through at least two more (probably four, something at the time of Joseph, Ugartic by Moses, proto-Hebrew/Aramaic in Babylon, Hebrew at the time of Macabees) of these transliteration processes before the time of Christ plus another at Jamnia (AD 70-135) and a final one by the Masorites.

This scenario accounts for all problems you've listed. Radday's statistical linguistics and Wiseman's textual studies both agree with this scenario.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

No, Akkadian is not the parent of Hebrew. Not even close. It's like saying English is the parent of German: they have a common ancestor, but Akkadian is East Semitic and Hebrew is West Semitic like Ugaritic. The parent of Hebrew and the other Canaanite languages were contemporaneous to late Akkadian and indigenous to Palestine long before Abraham would have gotten there.

How many times in history (outside the Bible) have you seen a conqueror name the subjugated country after himself? For that matter, what countries in existence are named after one man? Yet Genesis finds an eponymous ancestor for every nation in existence at the time. Besides, have you done any research on the name "Elam"? Hint: it's not Akkadian. Not even Semitic. Strange name for an "Akkadian" like Noah to use for his son.

And pardon me if I'm missing it, but this does not address how Noah could have been the father of all the known world (per the genealogy) unless the known world were limited to the region the flood wiped out. The Shuruppak incident was not that large.

This leads me to another observation. The Shuruppak flood was in Sumer, in a pre-Akkadian period. Your Noah would not even be Semitic, but Sumerian.

I must agree, however, that some Genesis material appears to have been translated from Akkadian. Some of the fantastic longevities in Genesis appear to have been (mis)translated from the sexigesimal system used in Mesopotamia. However, I'd be wary of using Radday, even if he backs up your theory. His methods also showed that sampled works of Goethe had only a 22% chance of having been his work alone, and a sample of Kant's works only had 9% likelihood to have had a single author. Hmmm...

Starlight's picture

Ransom,

I’m finding yours and JL’s discussion interesting I hope you don’t mind me inquiring with a couple of questions/observations. First off are we certain that when the Bible talks about the world that it is talking about the global world? And carrying it further doesn’t the usage of “world” in NT parlance suggest that “world” was utilized as indicative of Jewish Origins primarily. Since we have the seed line directly bearing from Seth’s lineage so therefore it appears the flood was a purification of that “seed” lineage. Then does not that present the possibility of a local flood dealing only with the “world” lineage of Seth and Noah and not the Gentile world. Would not this restrict the area and peoples that would have been affected by the Flood? I’ll list some verses here to show where I’m drawing from.

2 Pet 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the HEAVENS existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the WORLD of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the PRESENT HEAVENS AND EARTH are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

Heb 1:.."In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12You will roll them up like a robe; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL BE CHANGED. But you remain the same,

Heb 12: If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, CREATED THINGS—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Eph 2: 11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and FOREIGHNERS TO THE COVENANTS OF THE PROMISE, without hope and without God in the world.

Blessings

Norm

Ransom's picture

Hi Norm,

I am aware of these arguments. The flood account was indeed included in the Bible primarily for application to the covenant people of Israel. That this was interpreted very early as a local flood is without doubt in my mind. Yet was this the original understanding of the story? I doubt it. For instance, consider the following.

Genesis 9:12-16 "And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.'" (emphasis mine)

So let me get this straight: God changed the laws of physics to create a rainbow to remind the line of Seth and all the local animals that He would never destroy them all again with a flood? Notice, the covenant He declares is at first with God, Noah, and all creatures with him. Then we see that it's between God, Noah, and "all living creatures of every kind". The only way to reconcile this is to conclude that "every kind" was "with" Noah. The rainbow is stated to be God's promise that He will never again wipe out all life ("all flesh" in the KJV) with a flood. I also find it more literary device (and indication of etiology) than reality that God needed to remind Himself that He shouldn't flood them out every time He brought clouds over their skies.

Does this answer your question?

Stephen

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Stephen,

Calvin's commentaries on Genesis deals with your "problem" regarding the rainbow.

He showed that God always takes pre-existing things and makes them "signs" of the covenant. We see the same thing going on with sheep and passover. Water for baptism. Bread and wine for the Lord's table. The foreskin and circumcision.

These things all existed before they were selected to be "signs" of the covenant. They were new in a covenant sense, not in a biological/physical sense. God always takes pre-existing things and makes them signs.

The same is going on with the "bow" of God's judgment which is pictured in the rainbow. There's no need to read that text like a dispensational literalist.

Blessings,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving

Ransom's picture

I don't deny that God takes pre-existing things and makes them signs of covenant.

But what kind of a covenant was this one, Tim? A covenant not to destroy those involved in the covenant by water. Some covenant! He didn't say anything about not destroying them by fire or famine. The language is specifically tied to the rainbow, and it does violence to the text to say that this text was the Covenant. God's covenant based on Noah's faithfulness was a picture of the pledge God would make with mankind because of another Man's faithfulness.

Dispensationalism has nothing to do with my reading the text, as I hope you understand by now. This is no historical covenant that God came along later and replaced. It's not like I'm saying God all of a sudden changed his dealings with humanity by creating a rainbow - I'm saying that that's what the text, when considered how and when and by whom it was devised, is saying.

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Ransom,

I was not clear enough. My fault.

My comment about the dispensational literalism was not referring to "breaking history up" in any sense. My comment was directed to your interpretive conclusion when you said:

"Then we see that it's between God, Noah, and "all living creatures of every kind". The only way to reconcile this is to conclude that "every kind" was "with" Noah."

We see this same kind of universal language in Revelation where a third of the earth is burned up, a third of mankind killed, etc. I maintain that the same covenant context applies in both the flood account and in Revelation. So there is no reason to assume that passage in Genesis is speaking in absolute universal terms as if it references all animals on planet earth.

That is the interpretive mistake the YEC's make in their reading of the flood account, and it's also the interpretive mistake that Futurists make in reading Revelation; it's why they demand a global (and therefore future) reference to the physical events described in the book.

My only point is these are covenant stories that apply within covenant contexts. I just think we should apply the same principles to both events. After all the flood and fire are explicitly compared over and over in both the old and new Testaments.

Blessings,

Tim Martin
ww.truthinliving.org

Starlight's picture

Stephen,

Let me provide a quote from John H. Waltons commentary concerning “bow”
“An eleventh-centry Assyrian B.C. relief shows two hands reaching out of the clouds, one hand offering blessing, the other holding a bow. Since the word for rainbow is the same Hebrew word as that used for the bow weapon, this offers an interesting image. The bow was often in the armory of the divine warrior in the ancient Near East.”

I’ll follow up with a couple of pertinent scriptural references as well.

(Hab 3:8 NRSV) Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD? Or your anger against the rivers, or your rage against the sea, when you drove your horses, your chariots to victory?
9 YOU BRANDISHED YOUR NAKED BOW, sated were the arrows at your command. Selah You split the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw you, and writhed; a torrent of water swept by; the deep gave forth its voice. The sun raised high its hands; 11 the moon stood still in its exalted place, at the light of your arrows speeding by, at the gleam of your flashing spear. 12 In fury you trod the earth, in anger you trampled nations. 13 You came forth to save your people, to save your anointed. You crushed the head of the wicked house, laying it bare from foundation to roof. Selah

(Rev 6:2 NRSV) I looked, and there was a white horse! ITS RIDER HAD A BOW; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.

The imagery here in Genesis fits more in line with the themes that are consistently shown of God as utilizing his divine wrath and it is emblemized with the picture of a “bow” in this case being hung up and not to be used in the same manner again.

Here is an excerpt from Bruce K. Waltke’s “Genesis” commentary.
“The Hebrew reads simply “bow,” a battle weapon and a hunting instrument. In ancient Near Eastern mythologies, stars in the shape of a bow were associated with the hostility of the gods. Here the warrior’s bow is hung up, pointed away from the earth.”

I don’t think physics had anything to do with it. It appears that it simply is appropriated at this time for a covenantal imagery purpose indicative of the peace that the Holy Seed Line would expect from God in this particular manner of destruction.

As far as all living creatures are concerned Walton believes from the ancient language examination that it was specialized animals that were important as food sources and is not indicative of animals that were not important to these people.

Blessings

Norm

Ransom's picture

Ah! You cut me to the heart! How many times have I recommended John Walton's commentary on Genesis? :)

I was under the mistaken impression that the word was not "bow" in Hebrew - I suspected that it was a case of imputing an English meaning to the Hebrew word, especially since (coincidentally) the native Germanic word for rainbow means "bow" as well. Regardless, I remain entirely unconvinced that this is not claimed to be the first instance of a rainbow. This is the very sort of thing you expect to find in this sort of literature.

JL's picture

Stephen,

It doesn't say rainbow. It says bow. Several places in Scripture God took down his bow and made war. Several of those, God claimed he would destroy a people by flood. There is a consistent pattern of flood and fire in God's speaking of judgement.

Even baptism is a judgement by flood and by fire.

Where did God actually wipe out the covenant people with a literal flood? Only that once. All the rest of the floods were by literal fire.

There was no change in physics either.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

Ransom,

Your comments about the relationship between Akkadian and Hebrew do not negate my comments about pre-Akkadian ____, which I am calling pre-Akkadian Akkadian and you agree is the parent of both. Do you have a name for this pre-Akkadian ______ that I can use so as to reduce the confusion?

Can you suggest a good reference on ancient middle-eastern linguistics that doesn't require being able to read the languages?

Wooley placed Summer in the south (where the Flood was) and pre-Akkadian Akkad in the north. Other's since have placed Summer in the north and pre-Akkadian Akkad in the south. Do you have anything definitive on this issue?

Gilgamesh was Sumerian and his Noah was not. Therefore, it seems reasonable to me to assume Noah was pre-Akkadian Akkadian. This implies that pre-Akkadian Akkad was in the south.

I understand Radday's statistics. I'm inclined to think you have misinterpreted his results. Radday certainly doesn't help with his poor explanation and the interpretation of complicated statistics is difficult.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

I have never seen it seriously entertained that Akkad was in the south of the Fertile Crescent. All indications is that it was to the west of the Euphrates, near Babylon, Sippar, and by most accounts situated near or beneath present-day Baghdad. I recommend Amelie Kuhrt's Ancient Near East volume of the Routledge History of the Ancient World for an excellent current overview of Mesopotamian history and geography.

The archaeological record makes it impossible to believe that one Semitic man and three sons repopulated a region that was for half a millennium before and after populated and controlled by non-Semitic Sumerians; Semitic peoples did not make big marks in Sumer until after the mid-point of the third millennium. Proto-Semitic would be the name of the language before East and West Semitic had split up. It was being spoken at the onset of the Bronze Age (4th millennium BC). I know of no single study of the various languages of the ANE, but the Routledge Semitic Languages is a good place to start for the Semitic interrelationships.

I am intrigued by your confident assertion that Ziusudra was not Sumerian, given that his name is Sumerian and his name is listed among the Sumerian king lists. Now, of course, Utnapishtim/Atrahasis were Akkadian names, but that's natural when you consider that they appear in the Akkadian version of the Gilgamesh epic.

I'd be interested in seeing if you considered that post-2900 BC is too late by far to have produced all the peoples the Table of Nations list. This list includes Mizraim/Egypt, which had been unified by Narmer 200 years before. It also lists some Indo-European peoples whose proto language was being spoken approximately the same time Proto-Semitic was, a full millennium before the Shuruppak flood by conservative estimates, and in the seventh millennium BC according to glottochronological studies (linguistic statistical analysis, which is also tenous).

One of Radday's team was responsible for discovering and reporting the (silly) conclusions that Goethe and Kant were not most likely the sole authors of the works using the same set-up that Radday used on Genesis. We both know that numbers can be crunched to say about anything. Regardless, what you're apparently relying on the most is the dating used by statistical analysis. Could you give me a summary of how this is any more credible than his evidence that Genesis had a single author?

JL's picture

Ransom,

Thank-you for the references, I'll look for the Routledges.

I have seen dates from 4200 BC to 2800 BC for the Shurruppak Flood. Other events can be dated relative to that. Given that spread, all other dates are suspect unless they specifically state their relation to Shurruppak's date. So take my dates in that light.

I have a book that claims to be a translation of the Sumerian Gilgamesh. It names the Noah as Utnapishtim and Atrahasis, not Ziusudra. So whats's an amateur like me to do when the experts can't agree? (Or if they agree, they are still selling old uncorrected stuff from a time when they didn't.)

Radday tested for single author (Moses) versus Documentary Hypothesis. His results are not consistent with either hypothesis. They are more consistent with one or more authors for Genesis 1-11. One or two main authors for Genesis 12-36, plus possible minor authors. One author for 37 on. Because Radday divided things up on the basis of the Documentary Hypothesis, his resolution isn't any finer than that for straight text.

Whatever his statistics mean, when Radday says 18%, it almost certainly means one author. It does not mean one author 18 out of every 100 times as Radday's words seem to say. If I gave you two sets of words, to score 18%, they would require the same author, writing on a similar subject. You would conclude that there was an 18% chance, from the statistics of the words only, that they came from the same document.

For your Goethe example, no respectable statistician would reject the null hypothesis at the 9% level. So Goethe wrote it all.

Radday's test showed multiple narrators, one God person all the way through, one Abraham person, and one Joseph person. This is not consistent with Mosaic authorship. This is even less consistent with the Documentary Hypothesis. To get God's, Abraham's, and Joseph's words right (that is consistent with a single person), the various narrators had to be eyewitnesses to the events or heard God, Abraham, or Joseph, respectively retell the events.

Nowhere does Scripture say Noah's descendants repopulated the area. (Noah appears to have had at most about 100 descendants at the tower of Babel.) According to Scripture, they were rulers.

It is very difficult to get history from that era right, and it is very difficult Scripture from that era right.

Will you be coming to TruthVoice?

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

I think there's a pretty good consensus about the date being just after the turn of the 3rd millennium. Regardless, even a 4400 BC flood is problematic for Indo-European (since the last time before the Hittite divergence was earlier than that).

As for Ziusudra, he is the name in the earliest form of the Mesopotamian flood myth, sometimes called the Epic of Ziusudra. The Epic of Gilgamesh comes along later as an Akkadian synthesis of Sumerian and Akkadian materials. The flood narrative in Gilgamesh somewhat slavishly followed the Akkadian Epic of Atrahasis, which contains much material common to the earlier Ziusudra story. It's can be confusing, I know. :)

The fact remains that all indications are of a non-Semitic Noah, and even conceding a Semitic Noah insists that any flood associated with him need be much older than the commonly-accepted date for the Shuruppak flood. This is because they have evidence of a Semitic culture in Palestine from the Chalcolithic period clear through the Bronze Age.

"It is very difficult to get history from that era right, and it is very difficult Scripture from that era right."

You can say that again!

Yes, I'll be TruthVoice. Looking forward to meeting you.

Stephen

JL's picture

I'll do better. I think it was the Shurruppak Flood.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ransom's picture

We're in agreement there.

Sam's picture

If one's experience was to concentrate on AD 70 and miss the application of Scripture today, that's not the problem of Full Preterism. That's the problem of the individual. As for the one comment that I am going after Todd, again, false. Todd and I are good friends and continue to remain good friends. He was most appreciative of my article and we look forward to further dialogue. Someone, then, missed the point of the article.

As for my not explaining my view, that was not the point of my paper. My point was to show that Todd contradicts himself in major ways, to which, it appears, he admits in a post on his site following this article there.

And, yes, Todd and I agree on a great deal of things, which is why I see a major problem with insisting that I need satan around in order to walk closely with the Lord. No one has addressed these points, yet.

As far as Universalism goes, a very few historical preterists have been universalists. No big discovery there. But, if one were to argue that FP leads to universalism, that would be a logical fallacy. Why not, on those grounds, argue that Christianity leads to universalism? After, all these universalists are Christians! Obviously, both arguments are inductive, therefore, unprovable. Universalists become universalists because of several, several factors, not just a single monolithic FP. It is a very poor argument.

Todd's basic argument, so it appears to me, is that since we have the destruction of "the Death" in A.D. 70, then how can any man be outside the kingdom? But, as I stated, and no one has dealt with this, either, every eschatology has the destruction of the Death at some point in time, be it 70 A.D. or 3023 A.D. What then? Does that mean that every man will be saved at that point since the Death is destroyed? Hardly. The elimination of the Death (the First Death, which, go to Romans 5 to find out that is), does not mean the elimination of outside/inside in the kingdom. No one has shown how it does. If that were the case, then the post A.D. 70 vision of Revelation 21,22 makes no sense, since the nations come "inside" from the "outside." Why wouldn't John picture them all as "now inside"? Universalism fails on many, many accounts, but the attempt by Todd to paint biblical FP as "leading" to universalism is, in my opinion, misleading and a bit underhanded.

Samuel Frost

TheIdealNate's picture

Sam,
This proves Todd's point. If the first death (as you seem to think) is the death that came to all men....and that death is the death that was thrown into the lake of fire and destroyed in AD 70, just like the devil was, then the death produced by original sin passed on in the seed of Adam IS GONE. I.E. Universalism.

You try to make the lake of fire the second death. Yet those thrown into the lake of fire were thrown there because they were under the penalty of sin which was the cause of the first death! The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. The first death cannot be removed without first removing sin and the law!

So in full preterist CONSISTANT hermenutics, the first death (seed of Adam separation from God), SIN, and the law are all destroyed.

So then YOU must explain, now that we are post AD 70, how are men judged guilty of anything and then worthy of the lake of fire?

Idealism is not a response to hyper-preterism, it is a response to preterism and its only logical conclusions that those of us former full-prets now see are the only consistant conclusions.

Idealism addresses the idea that Revelations 20 is showing the eternal and continual DEFEAT (not destruction) of death by being IN Christ! Revelation 20 is hyperbole, yet constantly and incosistantly taken by the full preterist as the one sole literal chapter in that book. Amazing. Rather than seeing the eternal defeat of the devil, death, and the wicked, by King Jesus, full preterism seeks to literalize a real devil thrown into real torment. Real death (a spiritual state of being and not a substance) into a real torment, and real eternal souls into a real torment.

Idealism sees that "death where is your victory, death where is your sting" is an ongoing fulfillment of prophecy as each new believer is resurrected from the old covenant and into the new.

How then do I, Nate, proclaim an old covenant still in existence apart from the temple? Simple. Hebrews says the old covenant was a system of types and shadows that represented the the real spiritual realities. Paul and others taught the temple and the judaistic system was in the way. The temple and its systems were nothing more than a REVELATION of something eternal. They emphasised law, and showed manking what sin and death really were. The temple and laws did not create sin, they did not create death, and their destruction would not remove either.

So what is the TRUE ESSENSE of the old covenant and what it emphasised? Gods holiness and mans inability to attain it. So did removing that system all of the sudden allow men to attain it? Or did removing that system by CHRIST only REVEAL that IN CHRIST is the only way to attain it?

The physical things are not the fulfillment, only the revelation of the fulfillment which does not extend past the internal change of covenants one experiences when he leaves the old man and his laws of sin and the power that death holds over him, and enters the new life given only IN CHRIST.

And this is not an instantaneous entrance, but a transition we all go through. 40 years I think it takes...:o)

God Bless
Nate

In the Eternal Christ,
Nate

TheIdealNate's picture

WARNING
THIS WILL BE A PREEMPTIVE RESPONSE FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ATTACK ME FOR MISSTATING MY PHRASE ABOUT THE SECOND DEATH.

YES...I know the lake of fire IS the second death. Read the rest of the post before calling me out on a slip. I meant that they try to make the lake of fire a literal place of eternal destruction, rather than symbolizing the utter defeat of whatever it is that was thrown into it. Rev 20 is taken very literal in preterism, yet what is thrown into it are not (beast, dragon, etc.)

THIS CONCLUDES MY PREEMPTIVE RESPONSE TO A MISTYPED PHRASE I MADE!

In the Eternal Christ,
Nate

Ed's picture

Nate,
I would disagree with your conclusion here. I am one that is accused of being one of those ridiculous "universalists." However, I do not, nor do any other Pantelists I know, believe that the Lake of Fire is "literal" fire. We believe that it is a metaphor of the destroying Roman Armies, as is found in other scriptures that speak of the destruction of the enemies of the Lord. Fire is a consistent metaphor for God's judgment.

So it is with the Beast and False Prophet. These are metaphors for the Old Covenant System, the Old World, the Old Age, the Old Order/Kosmos. Religion and Politics existed in Old Covenant Israel in a perverted way. The True King and the True High Priest/Prophet were and are King Jesus, the Christ.

The Last Enemy that was NULLIFIED was DEATH. This occurs at Christ's Parousia according to scripture. If DEATH is not nullified, the Christ has not come.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

TheIdealNate's picture

Ed,
Thanks for the response. I agree with what you are saying that fire is judgment, etc. However you put a nullification as a finality done in time (temporally). I would put the defeat of death as one that was eternal (in Christ eternal death never held the power over a believer). It did not hold power over Moses or Abraham or anyone of faith.

However that eternal truth was made manifest in time by a series of events in history (that we call the old testament history and new testament history) to REVEAL it to us!

When you hold the nulification as something accomplished in time, by historical events, you then place it as final, and not ongoing. Which is how you come to your "Comprehensive" ideas.
It is the finality that results in consistant full preterism that we are trying to point out. There can be nothing final about a truth that is eternal. Christ was eternal, he was always divine, therefore He always had death under Him, that just was not made MANIFEST in history until AD 70, and is still being made manifest today in the lives of those who are saved continually forever.

God Bless
Nate

In the Eternal Christ,
Nate

davo's picture

TheIdealNate: When you hold the nulification as something accomplished in time, by historical events, you then place it as final, and not ongoing. Which is how you come to your "Comprehensive" ideas.

G'day Nate :).

I think you might assume a little beyond the reasonable, i.e., that to acknowledge historical fulfillment equates to "nullification" as you would have it – I must disagree with this. Fulfillment does not nullify it ratifies – what the Cross-Parousia event completed, i.e., the reconciliation of man to God through Christ, as a one time "historical event", has ONGOING APPLICATION – it IS fulfilled BUT the EFFECT is perpetual. Your lack of seeing this in regards to pantelism IMO causes you to misjudge our "comprehensiveness" as nulifying – that is a wrong call.

davo

Barry's picture

Hi Nate,
long time bro. :)
Then how do you deviate from postmortem-futurism?

You only really are saved when you die as a believer.
You are only truly condemned when you die as an unbeliever.

Does the law passed away in AD 70 or when we die?

Did some of apostate Israel who live through the destruction then transform before dieing and then are saved from the second death which they had died while still alive, having "come to nothing"?

???

If you do not have an historical end then how do you have a last Adam in history?
When it says, "hold fast firm until the end" what end is that and for whom?
I'm completely lost here bro.

BTW, thanks bro for pointing out the obvious historical implications of full preterism. And I am not being sarcastic.
Thank God someone is!!!

Blessings to you my brother.
Barry

we are all in this together

TheIdealNate's picture

Excellent questions!

And hey to you Barry. Good to see you too!

I was battling universalism, battling Ed Stevens etc. When I came up with much the same conclusions as Sam to try to explain the "what now." This led me down the road of looking into "what applies and doesn't apply from scripture. Like the Holy Spirit's ministry today, gospel preaching, etc. Todd saw these things and smiled. Then one day he shared some biblical rules. Like the external is only a show of the internal truth, and thereefore cannot be the essence themselves (using Hebrews, etc.) He had a few of these. I took mental note.

I then looked into these basic principles of the natural vs. spiritual, and looked into how that makes the Bible applicable and LIVING for all generations. I wasn't trying to make all of it applicable, I was doing the opposite. I needed "beyond the bible" answers. Somehow the Spirit moved me to abandon those thoughts and turn back to see how ALL of scripture DOES still apply.
I became and Idealist.

Salvation is not a one time thing, it was a process for the church. Salvation is something that was true before they realized it because their security was eternal. (Abraham and Moses were always saved in the eternal). They only SAW the manifestation of what was always ASSURED when they saw AD 70 take place. AD 70 didn't "save" them, it manifested the absolute truth of their salvation. Leading to a stronger faith and rested conscience.

The law passes away when comes OUT of the old covenant (spiritually speaking) and enters the new through faith in Christ. Shedding the GUILT that law has tainted us with is a process of a lifetime for some. As the transitional period Christians were encouraged to leave behind those aspects of the law their consciences were allowing them too. So must we. It is an individual process and requires Christ cleansing the conscience by what HE has written on each heart.

God Bless
Nate

In the Eternal Christ,
Nate

MichaelB's picture

Nate writes:
Salvation is not a one time thing, it was a process for the church. Salvation is something that was true before they realized it because their security was eternal. (Abraham and Moses were always saved in the eternal). They only SAW the manifestation of what was always ASSURED when they saw AD 70 take place. AD 70 didn't "save" them, it manifested the absolute truth of their salvation. Leading to a stronger faith and rested conscience.

Hebrews 9
8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.

Now before you try to say manifest (disclosed) means they had it, but just didn't know it. Please let me point out the verse in Revelation that is speaking of the same event.

Revelation 15
5After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened. 6Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. 7Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. 8And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

If the plagues aren't finished then no one is in yet.

TheIdealNate's picture

Mike,
I agree that they had to happen. They were promised and so they must come to completion. For God to prove that His salvation was true, for mankind to be assured of this salvation, those events had to take place to "reveal" it to them. It is all over Romans 8, Hebrews 9-12, etc.

What you are missing is the parallel between Hebrews and 2 Cor 3-5. The temple was the physical manifestation of the veil of Moses that was blinding many of them. But not all. The veil was being removed from the hearts even in Pauls time. That is the REAL essence. The thing that was keeping them out of the holiest was the veil of Moses on the heart. Some people already had that veil removed. The temple was the physical manifestation of this.

The veil in 2 Cor 3-5 was not removed because the temple was torn down. Mankind does not experience the removal of the veil BECAUSE of AD 70. AD 70 just showed us, in a physical manifestation, the veil being removed IN CHRIST.

The external is not the essesnce, and a look at the Hebrews 9-12 /2 Cor 3-5 parallels of this shows that.

God Bless
Nate

In the Eternal Christ,
Nate

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