Historists view vs. Futurists view part 1
To Interpret or Not to Interpret That is the Question
It has recently come to my attention that 99.9% of all Christians that I have ever known are in a classification that is called Futurists. This means that approx. 100 % of the all of the people that I love are futurists, so I do not intentional want to offend anyone. I however do not belong to that classification. I agree with a good portion but not all of the Historicist philosophy.
There are four categories in all. These are, Preterits, Historicist, Futurists, and Symbolic I have just a little understanding of what the basic beliefs are of these four categories.
The Preterits believe that most all of prophesy has been fulfilled during the first century. The Historicist believe that the end time prophesy began being fulfilled, starting with the dispensation of the Hebrew Nation They believe that the fulfillment of the end time prophesy began in the mid-second century and that we are coming to the last days. The Futurist believe that almost none of end time prophesy has yet begun their fulfillment. And the symbolist believe that it all pertains to symbolic insignificance.
These differences have been debated for centuries, and there has never been a clear winner declared. I do not think that they will ever resolve this issue, unless we can find the source of the division. The Historicist will argue their point of view by quoting certain verses in scripture, and Futurists will argue their point by referring to these same verses. Each side has a different interpretation for the same verses. I want to attempt to discover where in scripture this all started. Is there a single answer? Can that single issue be addresses? If so, could a resolution be obtained? This issue will be found in the arena of interpretation. If we could find a single issue to debate, ...that hits the nail on the head, so to speak. I believe that if we can find such an issue, when found ,this will force us to reexamine our belief system and understand why we believe the way that we do. OK Us do it.
In the book of Daniel, there are many visions that were given to Daniel. Then Gabriel gives the interpretation. I believe that the ultimate question is,... Should we interpret Gabriel's interpretations? Was Gabriel eloquent enough with earth languages to have said what he intended to say? Is there a necessity for us to interpret Gabriel's interpretation? A Historicist or Prettiest. would argue, that second Peter 1:20, clearly answers these questions. Peter said... "No prophesy of scripture has any personal interpretation," I believe that to be a VERY true statement! I believe that these visions in the book of Daniel, describing his visions and the interpretation, need not be interpreted again. I believe that any verse in scripture that God, Jesus, or God's messenger angels are being quoted, should be understood exactly as written. If we do not understand it, read it again, and again ... until we do understand it, but do not change the meaning as to become more comfortable to live with.
When Gabriel said that these four beast, represent the first four kingdoms on the earth. They were the first four kingdoms! This is too simply spoken of a statement to need any further interpretation! This is the pivot point! Futurists must believe that this fourth beast is "Futuristic". This single issue, depending upon how you answer, will determine which of the four categories that you really belong to. Do you believe that Gabriel's interpretation of the four beasts, that Daniel saw rising up out of the sea, needs further interpretation? Then you are a futurist. It you believe that The Roman empire was the fourth kingdom with 14 horns (or kings? Then you are a historicist's. And if you think that all of that prophesy stuff in the bible is irrelevant and It isn't going to happen, then you are a symbolist. When Gabriel said that the fourth beast represented the fourth great kingdom upon the earth, did Gabriel know what he was talking about? Was he mistaken? Was the Roman Empire the fourth beast as seen in Daniel's vision? (chapter 7) Gabriel does not give the identity of the fourth beast, yet he does say that the third kingdom will break into four parts, and the Little Horn will rise up out of one of these four smaller kingdoms. The Roman Empire did in fact rise up out of one of these four smaller kingdoms. So it would be natural to assume that the Roman Empire was the fourth great kingdom upon the earth. When this fourth kingdom is interpreted to be anything else, the necessity to continue interpreting most every other prophesy, concerning the end times, is created. The identity if the fourth kingdom is of most importance. If The Roman Empire is the fourth beast, The "Little horn" is identified. If the Little horn is identified as being the fourteenth king, belonging to the Roman Empire, Then this little horn is not a Anti Christ that has been interpreted to be coming in the future. The fourth beast has ten horns (Kings or Emperors) and then another little horn rises up to power after the ten, replacing three kings. If the Little horn is the 14 emperor of Rome, his name was Hadrian. He died in 138 AD, three years after he began scattering that Hebrew Nation through out the rest of the Roman Empire. The Hebrew Nation ceased to exist before Hadrian came to his end. If this one fact can be accepted there will be no reason to interpret, interpretations of interpretations of prophesy. A person can then analytically examine prophesy and understand it, What a tangled web we weave when at first we were deceived, (or something like that). The most of us today have what ever belief system that we were taught.when young. We really do need to read the bible for ourselves. And then decide which category we want to be in. (Historicist or Futurists. How much of the bible do we believe any way. All of it when don't interpret scripture for the sake of interpreting something. By the way I am a Preterits-Historicist. I think Armageddon is coming soon. I agree with every Christian on that issue. I just think that too much interpretation on our part, convinces the non believer that scripture is only "symbolism", and Mythology. If we could only see our own uninterpreted truth.