Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not Amill?

Just to clarify on the last post, I still do hold some kind of Amillenial position.
At the moment I'm calling it 'iterative amillenial'
I still think that the 'eschatological texts' of the New Testament (which, is kind of all of them, but you know what I mean) are incredibly relevant for us, setting out a pattern of how we are to live between Jesus' resurrection and his final return.
But I think they mean something for us now because they actually meant something for their original readers. And sometimes they aren't (simply) about Jesus final return.
And that's where I think idealist amillenialism breaks down. So I'm reading Greg Beale on 2 Thessalonians 2. He wants to argue that the temple that gets defiled here is the church. Which, is kind of persuading. But his presupposition is that the appearing of Jesus must be the 'final' appearance of Jesus. He works from this presupposition to say that the appearance of Jesus is the final appearance. Round and round we go.
What it leaves him with is actually a kind of futurist interpretation (both of Daniel and Thessalonians), one day there will be a massive apostasy within the church away from the true church and that is when Jesus will return. But it is kind of now, but not really, but it is, but not.

In a sense, I like Beales interpretation, but by cutting the chapter loose from history, the content of the apostasy can be filled with whatever sins are unfashionable in the evangelical world at the moment, and  then we can all start speculating about Jesus return.
While I agree that the emphasis in the New Testament is on the church as the 'temple of God', I wonder whether what we are dealing with in the New Testament is the seam in history where one Temple//cosmos is being dismantled and another replacing it.
Beales application is (kind of) where I want to get to, without sacrificing the flesh and blood, historical reality that Paul is talking about.

in other rambling thoughts on iterative vs idealist amillenialism, I reckon this changes quite drastically how we speak about politics.
If the world power is always evil (as in idealist amill), then all christians can say is, 'you are bad', no matter what the politicians are actually doing. If however, political power is being pilloried in the New testament because of it's claims to divinity, we can honestly say that world powers that dont do this are doing better. And if they started making such claims, well then we could yell at them again.
time for bed


Mike Bull said...

Awesome post.

Would this help?:



Mike Bull said...

And this: