Friday, October 11, 2019

The Vicar of Christ

The title "Vicar of Christ" as a title for the Bishop of Rome aka The Pope is a major factor in Papal Antichrist arguments, both among Historicists and Futurists who want to make a Papal Antichrist view work within Futurism.  The title in the various ways it's been translated implies being a mortal representative of Christ who has all of Christ's authority.

One Biblical pillar of the argument is viewing the Temple Paul refers to in II Thessalonians 2 as being The Church not a Temple Building, and thus the true "Abomination of Desolation" is a Mortal Human within the Church claiming the authority of Christ.  That is an issue I've discussed a lot in the past and may discus more in the future.

The other is interpreting the term "Antichrist" in John's Epistles as meaning "in place of Christ" rather then "opposed to Christ", thus suggesting "Vicar of Christ" can be viewed as a direct Latin translation of that term.  My looking in the Strongs Concordance at other Biblical Greek words with the anti- preffix shows that it seems to be used with both meanings.  But the context of what John was saying about "Antichrists" and the "spirit of Antichrist" supports the "opposed to Christ" meaning.  Everything John says to define what makes one "an Antichrist" is about what they say Jesus is not rather then what they say they are.

I'm a Futurist who has been trying to be very open minded to forms of Historicism, but all while trying to make it less dependent on specifically the Papal view of The Antichrist.  So what I want to explore here is how the Pope's claimed authority is not the only "Vicar of Christ" heresy within the Church.

The kernel of truth in the Vicar of Christ doctrine is that spiritually Jesus has given His Authority to All Believers.  What I consider inherently dangerously heretical (whether or not it's relevant to Bible Prophecy) are two sometimes overlapping extensions of that.  1.  Any individual or group or office within the Church claiming Christ like Authority even over other believers, that's the Doctrine of the Nicolatians.  2.  Using this Authority to justify setting up any kind of Christian Theocracy, Christians seeking to rule over non-believers when Christ's Earthly Kingdom has not yet been inaugurated.

To an extent the Vicar of Christ idea is what justifies all ecclesiastical hierarchy, even Independent Baptists talk about the local Pastor as being an "Under Shepherd".

However the "Divine Right of Kings" doctrine is also based on claiming Kings are Earthly Vicars of Christ.  But contrary to popular opinion forms of that idea didn't begin with the Protestant Reformation.  The Biblical basis for the Medieval "Royal Touch" idea was Mark 16, again claiming specifically for the King something every Believer is theoretically capable of.

It used to be for the Eastern Orthodox Church the Eastern Roman Emperor (Byzantine Emperor in many modern history books) was their Vicar of Christ, that's discussed right on the Wikipedia page.  This YouTube Video about Greek Orthodoxy reveals how even today they have the Emperor enthroned within their Churches.  This is really creepy when you remember that claiming Caesar as their King was what those who called for Christ's Crucifixion did.  In the sense that I view the Orthodox Church as Pergamon in Revelation 2-7, that Throne is Satan's Seat.

Even in the Old Testament human kings are viewed as mortals usurping authority that belongs to God, YHWH said through Samuel that Israel was rejecting Him as King when they asked for a Human King like the heathens had.  Some Biblical Kings wound up being decent leaders, but the overall meta-narrative is still Anti-Monarchy.  I personally believe that especially in The Torah "Moloch" should always be translated "King" and "Milcom" should read "Kings", the passages condemning their worship are actually condemning the worship of Human Kings.  This also comes up Ezekiel 28 and Acts 12, and I've argued elsewhere may be key to understanding what the Abomination of Desolation is.  There is also an anti Monarchy theme to the story of Gideon and his sons.

Some Preterists (and secular scholars) think the Temple Paul was talking about in II Thessalonians 2 was a Temple of the Imperial Cult that existed in the city.  Not every city had any particular Imperial Cult presence (in Asia the two Church with specific references to Martyrdom in Revelation 2-3 are the two cites with Imperial Cult presence), archaeologically we know Thessaloniki was an Imperial Cult center, so that could be relevant.  At first glance that theory would seem to conflict with a Christ usurper within the Church theory.  But in the future the Roman Emperors did transition from claiming to be Pagan gods to claiming to be the Vicar of the Christian God.

What's fascinatingly coincidental is how Thessalonica played an important role in that transition.  The Edict that made Christianity the state religion of the Empire is known as the Edict of Thessalonica because that's where it was made, in fact Theodosius I was also Baptized in Thessalonica by it's local Bishop.

Christian Emperors were having Messianic Mojo applied to them even before then however, just look at how Eusebius describes Constantine in his account of the Council of Nicaea.

I made a post focused on the reign of Justinian arguing for the Eastern Roman Empire being The Little Horn of Daniel 7.

One thing kind of well known about the Roman Empire is that all through Antiquity it never officially admitted to NOT being a Republic anymore, they adamantly denied that the Emperors were Kings and never formally called them Rex in Latin or Basileus in Greek.  Now it's popular to rather dismissively mock that, but I want to say as an American that I feel it's hypocritical to say obviously the Caesars were Kings but United States Presidents are not.  There were limits on the Emperor's authority, they did often have to fight with the Senate.  Their near Monarchical power came from combining offices that were usually separate under the old Republic.  Princeps is literally the Latin word that President comes from.  Imperator basically means "Commander in Chief of the military", and the President's Veto power gives him the power of a Tribune of the plebs.  The only meaningful difference is the U.S. President doesn't serve for life, but he would have if Alexander Hamilton had his way.

What's not so well known is that at a certain point this denial of Kingship stopped.  Emperor Heraclius (who possibly descended from the Armenian Arascid Dynasty and thus the Seleucids) abandoned the title Imperator and took the title Basileus in September of 629 AD, he also took the Persian title "King of Kings".  So he can very literally be called the Eight King of Rome.

Leaving aside the political significance that had for Rome and looking at the above theological significance in light of what I've talked about in this post.  He was not the first Christian to formally hold a title of Kingship, but none before him ruled a Kingdom as large as his, and none before him ruled Jerusalem or the land of the Seven Churches that Revelation was written to, nor Thessalonica.

He also made a Covenant with the Jews that he broke.  And like Justinian he was working to try and reconcile the Miaphsyite schism.

When Constantinople fell in 1453 AD they had three claimed Emperors in Exile and then a number of states started claiming to be successor states to Constantinople.  The one that's relevant to this discussion of the Eastern Empire however is Russia's Claim, the theological position the Emperor had in the Eastern Orthodox Church wound up being inherited by the Tsars.  Meaning the Orthodox Church didn't cease to have an Emperor serving as their Vicar of Christ till the deaths of Tsar Nicolas II and his family in July of 1918.

I've said before I don't like the logic of the Day=Year theory.  But I shall briefly play Devil's Advocate for it's potential applicability here.  On the Biblical Hebrew Calander the year that Heraclius proclaimed himself Basileus started in March or April of 629.  If we viewed that as the first year of a calendar, that's 1290th year would have been Spring 1918- March 1919, the year that Tsar Nicolas II died.

The Wikipedia Page for 647 refers to certain events that happened to the Byzantine Empire as "fatally" wounding it.  The actions of Constans II in 658 to early 659 could be viewed as the healing of that "fatal" wound.  1260 years from then takes to the same time period just discussed, the end and aftermath of WWI.  Tsarist Russia wasn't the only Byzantine successor state to end then, that was also when the Ottoman Empire ceased.  It also ended two successors to the Western Empire in Austria and Germany.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Chilialsm vs Premillennialism.

I am definitely a Premillennialist but I'm not comfortable with being called a Chilialist.  That might confuse you since enemies of Premillennialism treat the two terms as utterly synonymous.

I'm Premillennial because I believe the visible Parusia of Jesus Christ (and Bodily Resurrection of Church Age Believers) precedes the start of the Millennium described in Revelation chapter 20, and thus since that Parusia obviously hasn't happened yet, the Millennium hasn't started yet.

However what Chiliasm seems to refers to, especially when spoken of negatively by some early Christians, qualifies as that but also seems tied to fundamental misunderstandings of what the Millennium is.  Though those misunderstandings are to varying degrees held by most of my fellow contemporary Premillennialists.

What I'm referring to is also distinct from the disagreements Dispensationalists and Supersecenists and Two House Theology have about what the Millennium is.

I've already discussed on this blog how The Millennium is not a Utopia or a Paradise, the paradise we await comes after that in Revelation 21-22.  The Millennium will probably be better then the world currently is, but it is still to a large extent an era in which the battle against Sin isn't over.  The main place I point to as being an allusion to the Millennium outside Revelation is 1 Corinthians 15:23-28, what Paul places between the Parusia and the General Resurrection.

I have already expressed on this blog annoyance at how many Christian prophecy teachers will refer to various Hebrew Bible Prophecies as being about the Millennium when they are clearly about the New Heaven and New Earth and New Jerusalem, and in fact they are the very Prophecies Revelation 21-22 is quoting, like Isaiah 65-66 and Ezekiel 40-48.

I do think there are some Old Testament allusions to the Millennium, like Daniel 7:12.  My current view of Ezekiel 38-38 means we possibly see glimpses of the Millennium in those chapters, as well as possibly the chapters preceding those.  And Maybe also the end of Zechariah 14.

I've also noticed a tendency for Chilialsm to be linked to viewing the Millennium as the last era of the Physical Word, that Revelation 21-22 are just describing a purely spiritual existence in which anything that looks physical there is merely an allegory, that it's really just about our Spirits becoming one with The Force.  Of course Amillennial and Postmillennial views are often also guilty of that heresy in their own way.  Especially since any view that we're already in the Millenium is an obvious gateway drug to rejecting the Bodily Resurrection altogether.

In my view Revelation 21-22 is a physical carnal world, in fact it is our world perfected to it's Pre-Fall condition.  And any desire to reject or weaken that is Platonic, Neo-Plaotnic or Gnostic heresy.

Basically what most Chiliasts think the Millennium is like is how I view Revelation 21-22.

My last post already addressed the misconception that Premillenialists think the Kingdom has an end.

When I say there was no Amillennial or Postmillenial interpretation of Revelation 20 before Augustine and certainly not before Nicaea, I'm open to being proven wrong on that.  But you need more then just the existence of people not liking Chilialsm and it's implications.  You need to specifically prove that they interpreted the Thousand years of Revelation 20 as not a literal time period and/or having already began.

And again, many people who wanted to reject any notion of a Millennium simply rejected Revelation altogether, like Eusebius of Caesarea.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

His Kingdom Shall Have no End.

In Luke chapter 1 verse 33 the Angle Gabriel tells Mary about her Son.
"And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
This verse is the basis for one of the 381 additions to the Nicene Creed.
whose kingdom shall have no end.
I have recently learned that many Amillenial scholars want to use this line as evidence that the Second Ecumenical Council condemned Premillenialism.  This PDF I found refuted the notion that Premillenialism was the reason for adding that line.
http://francisgumerlock.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Millennialism%20and%20the%20Early%20Church%20Councils.%20Gumerlock.pdf

However more important then if that was the reason for the line being added, is the matter of if this line even is in conflict with Premillenialism, because in my view it's not.

Every Premillenial agrees that Christ's Kingdom is without end.  Some may start by saying this declaration is more about the Kingdom of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 then what Revelation 20 is about.

But I prefer to stress that in Revelation 20 the Kingdom doesn't end when the Thousand Years ends, the only thing that happens exactly when the Thousand years are over is Satan being let out of the Abyss.  He then deceives Gog and Magog and the nations in the four corners of the Earth to wage war on the Camp of the Saints, but the are defeated.  The whole point of the Millennial Narrative is that the Kingdom doesn't end.

I would argue it's interpretations of the book that make the Millennium and New Jerusalem basically the same thing that are more likely to be hindered by this deceleration.

As I've said before, no Amillennial or Post-Millennial interpretation of Revelation existed before Augustine, those who didn't like the Millennium as a doctrine instead rejected Revelation altogether.

The Origenist attitude condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council is ironically to me exactly the same attitude that leads to Amillenialism.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Did anyone actually think Hitler was The Antichrist?

Everytime I see someone ramble about how all kinds of famous people have been accused of being The Antichrist throughout history they always throw Hitler into the list.  But was he though???

I have an interest in studying past theories about Bible Prophecy that turned out to be wrong, knowing the history of how people have read Revelation and other Bible Prophecies is useful.  And frankly....

I've had trouble finding any evidence that people at the time thought Hitler was the Antichrist.  A google search on the subject brings up a lot of websites that have all the key words but aren't about that at all.  As well as the Nostradamus predicted Hitler stuff that misleadingly uses the word Antichrist.  And there is a site listing The 7 most popular contenders for the title 'Antichrist' that says on the Hitler entry "For obvious reasons" and nothing else, no elaboration or sources at all.

It wasn't difficult for me to find the documentation on Napoleon being believed to be The Antichrist at the time, even though that subject also has the Nostradamus distraction.  It is well documented that Tsar Alexander and many people in Britain thought he was, even though their reasons for why and what that meant reflected entirety different basic views of Eschatology.  In fact people thinking Napoleon was the Antichrist is actually a major plot point in the novel War and Peace but all the film adaptations have left that out.  And while I was looking into the original Napoleon by pure accident I stumbled upon a book written during the reign of Napoleon III arguing he was The Antichrist, which repackages a lot of the original Napoleon arguments.

What's interesting is I found pretty quickly evidence of people in the 20s and 30s thinking Mussolini was the Antichrist.  Here is one book written back then.
https://www.amazon.com/Mussolini-Antichrist-Introductory-Chapters-Nebuchadnezzars/dp/B00088FFCM
And apparently some American missionaries met with Mussolini and told him in person about it.
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/evangelical-history/the-day-missionaries-met-with-mussolini-to-show-him-the-bible-predicted-him-as-the-antichrist/

Mussolini was literally trying to restore the Roman Empire, so he fits the Biblical scenario in a way that Hitler didn't (the revived Roman Empire view isn't purely a product of anti EU hysteria, it was part of the Napoleon argument as well since he was very much a new Caesar).  He offered to give Italian Jews a homeland in Ethiopia, which implies to me if he'd had control of the Holy Land he may have been willing to offer it to the Jews.  He wasn't as blatantly anti-Semitic as Hitler.

That's the thing, Hitler being blatantly Anti-Semitic from day one was a pretty big argument against it being him.  Almost all Futurist Premillenial Christians expect The Antichrist to at least start out as a friend of the Jews, Dispensationalists think he'll betray them eventually, but few expect him to be obviously their enemy from the beginning.

What's really disturbing is how popular it was to think FDR was the Antichrist.  American Fundamentalism was taking it's anti-Progressive form a lot earlier then people realize.

Maybe it was more of a thing within Germany, stuff not written in English.  Thing is most Continental European Protestants held a Historicist view of Bible Prophecy that insisted on the Antichrist being the Pope, and the Pope excommunicated the Nazis.  Maybe the Catholics of Germany and Austria considered it, but modern Catholics in general have been not as interested in End Times subjects.

I have seen writers decades later try to argue that the Antichrist will be Hitler somehow risen from the dead, the "Mortal wound was healed" because no Resurrection could shock the world more then that.  But that's just it, Hitler didn't get his current most obviously Evil person ever reputation over night, it really didn't fully happen till he had been dead for awhile already, when the full extremity of the Holocaust was shown to the world at the Nuremberg trails.  Before that he was just one of many historical tyrants who the allies didn't necessarily hate any more then they hated the Kaiser in WWI.

Maybe I'm wrong, I can't claim I've read every book or article or sermon on Bible Prophecy from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.  But I'd expect the traces of it to be easier to find online.  If anyone has any information I don't please let me know in the comments.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

What was Eden like?

Genesis 2:5 says "and there was no Adam to till the ground", which is the verse abused by certain people to refute Communist interpretations of Scripture, Man was always meant to work, it wasn't just punishment for the fall.

The problem is Genesis 2 and 3 was a narrative written for people much later, this line in that verse is just about saying the current conditions of the world wasn't the case yet.  That phraseology isn't repeated till after the Fall in Genesis 3:23, it's not till then Adam starts tilling the ground.

The Hebrew word translated "till" is used in a verse between those two in Genesis 2:15 where it is translated "dress" about Adam dressing and keeping the Garden.  But in this sense it's clearly not about Labor, this is also the same word used in Exodus 34:21 of the work you're not supposed to do on The Sabbath, which is often interpreted as referring to more then Labor for the purpose of producing Capital.

Labor man has to perform in order to survive is clearly a product of The Fall, and therefore is something that on this side of The Cross we should be working to undo.  There are no references to Labor in Revelation 21 or 22.

A common poetic interpretation of Eden in Genesis 2 and 3 is that it's the Innocence of Childhood, this has become common among my allies on teaching Universal Salvation like Peter Hiett.  I am uncomfortable with that view.

I don't oppose it because I'm a Six-Day Young Earth Creationist who believes these events literally happened, in my view literal historical views can be in addition to typological and allegorical interpretations.  Nor do I view it as inherently incompatible with the above Communist Utopia interpretation I just argued for, you can argue childhood was innocent because we weren't thrown into Capitalism yet if you wanted.   No I simply view it as wrong based on my understanding of the text.

First of all like many other wrong views on Genesis 2 and 3 including the Two-Seedline theory I've refuted elsewhere, it's based on pretending Adam and Eve didn't have sex till Genesis 3 or 4, but Genesis 2:24-25 is clearly describing them mating, and Genesis 1 is clear they were told to be fruitful and multiply from the start.

And yes even Ancient cultures generally felt you shouldn't have sex till you're no longer a child.  Their age of maturity may have often been lower then we'd consider appropriate, but the Torah has verses making clear you shouldn't lay with any girl who hasn't menstruated yet.  And even the Pederasty that some ancient Greeks engaged in was with boys who were at least adolescent.  So Genesis 2 having Adam and Eve have sex clearly contradicts it being a representation of childhood.

But also from a Christian stand point is how Revelation 21 and 22 clearly depicts us as returning to Eden.  The message here is not meant to be about returning to childhood, it's clearly about restoring the world to what it was always meant to be.

For context here are some other posts I've made about Eden.

The Trees of The Garden of Eden.

Ye Hath God Said.  Which I also put on YouTube.

And additionally here is a post talking more about my understanding of the New Heaven and New Earth.  [Update 8/13/2019: I just added a section to that post arguing that "Pain" in Revelation 21:4 should perhaps be translated "Poverty".]

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement

I want to talk about a few things relevant to what is often considered the Holiest Day of the Year on the Hebrew Calendar, the Tenth Day of the Seventh Month, commonly called Tishri currently but Biblically was Ethanim.

I've touched on my objections to making it a Fast Day before.  But I've come to an even more vital realization.  It outright violates The Torah to Fast on Yom Kippur because Yom Kippur revolves around Sacrifices, the special Sin Offering of Leviticus 16 but also Numbers 29 requires a bunch of other normal Sacrifices.

For every Sacrifice but the Whole Burnt offering, especially the Sin Offerings, eating the meat of the sacrificed animal was part of the ritual, in fact in The Torah eating animals and sacrificing them were inseparable acts.  Part of the point of the Eucharist/Lord's Supper in Christianity is to make it so that the Sacrifice of Jesus is also one we are eating, whether you take the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant position on that sacrament is irrelevant.

So refusing to eat on Yom Kippur actually violates The Torah.

I've also talked about how Yom Kippur relates to the Jubilee in Leviticus 25 before, but I want to remind people as it could have thematic relevance to where I'll go after this.  The Jubilee Shofar is sounded on Yom Kippur.  But the Jubilee Year doesn't begin then as many wrongly assume, the Jubilee Trumpet is sounded during the 49th year as an announcement that the Jubilee is coming, the Jubilee Year still begins with Aviv and then lasts 12 months like any other.  It is called the Fiftieth Year but it's really the First year of the next Jubilee cycle.

I've spent most of the history of this Blog arguing against Jesus being born on a Fall Holy Day and for him being born around December 25th.  And I'm still leaning that way, but there is one argument for a Yom Kippur Nativity I have recently considered.

Attempts to determine when the course of Abijah served frequently turn to extra Biblical sources, both when arguing for a December Nativity or a Tishrei one.  But I've been considering abandoning all of those assumptions and just going off what we would conclude from 1st Chronicles 24.

First of all the idea that each course served twice a year also seems to be extra Biblical, there is no hint of that in 1st Chronicles 24.  It seems to me pretty logical to assume that 24 courses serving over a 12 month year would simply be two courses a month, 15 days each if we're going by 30 day months.

1st Chronicles 24 verse 10 days Abijah was the Eight course.  So if I ignored extra Biblical sources and when I might personally want to wind up placing the Nativity, this information would make me conclude the course of Abijah was the second half of the Fourth Month.

That would then place when he laid with Elizabeth to conceive John in the Fifth Month.  If the Fifth Month is the first month of Elizabeth's Pregnancy then her sixth month when the Annunciation happened according to Luke 1 would be the Tenth Month which tends to equate to late December and early January.  And if the Tenth Month is the first month of Mary's Pregnancy then her ninth month was the Sixth Month.  But remember the Pregnancy cycle is actually 280 days, or 9 months and 10 days on a 30 day month calendar.  So that makes the Nativity as Yom Kippur awfully attractive (and John's Birth on the 10th of Nisan).

Yom Kippur was not a pilgrimage feast so Joseph being in Bethlehem on that day as Luke 2 records isn't a problem, Bethlehem was close enough that 5 days was more then enough time for him to get to Jerusalem for Tabernacles.  This would place Jesus Circumcision during Tabernacles but Luke has no explicit reference to Joseph being there for that.

The Circumcision being on the 17th can be quite interesting.  Same day of the Month I place the Resurrection, The New Testament compares Baptism to both Circumcision and Resurrection.

However the evidence seems to show in Second Temple times each course was a week and so they didn't always consistently happen at the same time of year.  Proponents of every model have found a convincing way to make the timing for Abijah's course work for them.

September 24th 2019 Update:  However if the 24 Courses served twice a year then the latter part of the 2nd and 8th months would be Abijah's courses.  And if we interpret how to synchronize Elizabeth and Mary's pregnancies slight differently to make Elizabeth's 5th Month Mary's first, then Mary's first Month is the first month of the year if Elizabeth's first month was the 9th. In which case Jesus could have been on either Hanukkah or the Fast of the Tenth Month.