It was Gary Demar who long ago delivered me from the oppressive system called Dispensationalism. Demar’s book entitled Last Days Madness was well researched and presented a strong exegetical case refuting modern eschatological hysteria. But recently even Catholics, Wesleyans, and others are coming to a realization that modern day TV prophets are not what they seem. The madness on any “christian” television station over the Middle East is remarkably pathetic. In one channel John Hagee is warning of an immediate attack of Northern armies into Israel, Russia’s involvement in the crisis, and the any-moment coming of Christ to rapture his church. This is the same John Hagee who said that those who held to Covenant Theoloy were condemned to hell. One wonders if he really believes 1850 years of Church History is in hell. But there is hope. In a recent article in the Toledoblade.com website there was mention of some scholars who actually disagree. You wouldn’t know there were alternate positions by listening to Jack Van Impe. Believe or not, not all Christain writers believe this rubbish. The article mentions the following:
Not all Bible scholars believe that the words of ancient prophets apply to today’s citizens.
The Rev. Kenneth Mormon, a Toledo Catholic priest teaching at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Cincinnati, said according to Catholic doctrine, the messages of Isaiah, Amos, and other prophets were intended for the people of their own time.
“Usually when we’re talking about Bible prophecy, we’re talking about apocalyptic works. But the messages are directed to their own contemporaries,” Father Mormon said.
“When God inspires an author to write for his people, he chooses a form — a letter, a parable, a drama, a short story, whatever it is. Apocalyptic writing is a kind of literature. If a prophet uses apocalyptic writing, he phrases the message in terms of a vision, a seer, with the symbolism explained to him by a heavenly messenger,” he said.
But although the message was intended for people living thousands of years ago, the Bible is always relevant and modern readers will still get something out of it, only in a different way than the prophet’s contemporaries, Father Mormon said.
Gary DeMar, an Atlanta-based author who has written several books on the End Times, also believes that many people are taking the prophets’ writings out of context.
“People who claim to interpret the Bible literally are very selective in terms of what they interpret,” Mr. DeMar said in an interview. “In Ezekiel 38 and 39, it obviously is about an ancient battle, the people are on horseback, they have shields, the loot they want is cattle, and this really has nothing to do with our time.”
Mr. DeMar, author of Last Days Madness, said it doesn’t make sense that prophecy watchers are always looking to verses in the Old Testament, while the New Testament is rarely cited.
“The New Testament is kind of an update of the Old Testament. It’s the new covenant. Yet they have to continue to go back to the Old Testament,” he said.
True exegesis concerns itself with time-texts, audience, language, genre, and so on. This is nowhere found in the Rapture craze so-called “preachers.” My opinion is that only Orthodox Preterism answers these questions. Preterism sees most prophecies in light of their audience expectations and not future illusions. This interpretative madness however will continue until the Middle East crisis is over and then they will find something else to consume their time. Trust me!