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Author Topic: Historicism Methods of Interpretation  (Read 7335 times)

Jeff

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Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« on: January 28, 2007, 11:22:36 AM »
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I doubt that very seriously. First, the false doctrine of Historicism is often more in line with 7th day adventists and Premillennialism than historic Amillennialism. Let no one mistake the different flavors of Historicism with Amillennialism. Or be put off by the disdainful label, futurist. Go to any historicist website and check these people out yourself. You will find their eschatological doctrine hardly biblical.

I brought Anne's post here because my question has nothing to do with Babylon per se, but with the method of interpretation of Historicists. And My question is serious and I don't want it getting lost in that thread. My question is in regards to h_sanford's charges that historicism is the historical church view. First, what do you think of this, and second is historicism a sound method of interpretation? Thanks for any serious feedback.

 PS, please, no off the cuff opinions, I'm only interested in serious replies with some information. Thanks in advance!

Tony Warren

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 01:31:34 PM »
>>>
I brought Anne's post here because my question has nothing to do with Babylon per se, but with the method of interpretation of Historicists. And My question is serious and I don't want it getting lost in that thread. My question is in regards to h_sanford's charges that historicism is the historical church view. First, what do you think of this, and second is historicism a sound method of interpretation? Thanks for any serious feedback.
<<<

I don't think much of the allegation that Historicism is the Historical Church view of eschatology. Unfortunately, some people mix this bad system of interpretation with Amillennialism. And no, Historicism is not the historical Christian Church's viewpoint. Very few Christians, whether in the past, or living today, would align themselves with what is portrayed today as the many flavors of Historicism. But first I think that we should define some terms. Differentiate "Historic Amillennialism" which we preach here, from "Historicism," because they are not one and the same. Though some Christians may try very hard to convince people that they are, it is really apples and oranges. Historic Amillennialism is what the Bible teaches and what the church generally believed throughout history about the millennial (thousand year) reign of Christ. i.e., A-millennial is uised to convey the idea of no literal or earthly millennial reign of Christ. In other words, Christ reigns in His kingdom now in the church age for what is spiritually a thousand years. That is Amillennialism. By contrast, Historicists are a self-labeled group of people who champion themselves as those who hold to the "only historical Protestant" method of interpretation. Which is nonsense, but which is also a totally different subject entirely!

So, rather than think of them as those holding the only true history of the church (which they want), think of them as a small group championing a particular method of interpretation. Nothing whatsoever to do with Amillennialism as these are two different terms. In fact, more Postmillennialists are Historicist. This method is really not novel, though it is fatally flawed. In fact, most Christians probably never heard of Historicism because this moniker is relatively new. Historicists tend to not only reinvent doctrines by giving them new labels, but "reinvent history" as well. One of their tactics (illustrated even in their name) is to attempt to paint themselves as the "Historical Interpretation," as if that means they hold to the correct interpretation of church history. Some sites actually claim that they are the "Only Protestant Interpretation." But if that were true, I certainly wouldn't be Protestant.

I used the word "tactics" because they often use buzz words and cleverly imply that all true church history is Historicism, and sometimes cleverly blurring the lines between Postmillennialism and Amillennialism (as if they are one and the same) when it suits their purpose. But make no mistake, history and the doctrine of historicism are not synonymous terms!

But let's get down to brass tacks concerning their methodology (which is at the heart of Historicism), because I've never been one to mince words. The fact is, the Historicist method of interpreting Biblical prophecy is the very same erroneous method that most of the congregation of Old Testament Israel practiced. And I mean that sincerely. And to some degree, a like "system" to what the Premillennialists today practice in that it also keys on earthly reigns, earthly kingdoms, political nations, etc. The very same methodology that Christ Himself condemned as missing the mark and the point. They are the people looking to observe prophesy in the nations of the world, and not in the spiritual nations where it truly lies:

Luke 17:20-21
  • "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
  • Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

In other words, the kingdom is not one that can come and be observed by people, such as a earthly or physical worldly Kingdom. It's not coming as a physical nation/kingdom that you can physically observe. It's not a visual nation/kingdom in history, because God is prophesying of a spiritual kingdom where we worship Him in Spirit and truth. Likewise, our adversary Satan is a spirit being and his kingdom is decidedly spiritual as well. These two kingdoms do battle, but not with worldly weapons of war that can be observed, but with a spiritual sword, a helmet of salvation, and a shield of faith. That's the methodology of interpreting Scripture by Scripture. A methodology grounded in looking to secular tokens, nations, tools, history, swords, buildings, mountains, temples, armies, earthly kingdoms, or visions of physical world wide dominions is bad theology, not historic church teachings. As stated, it is the very same methodology that caused the people of Israel to reject their Spiritual homeland and their Messiah. Because they interpreted prophesy as speaking of an earthly nation Israel, and seek a political Savior who would sit as a physical king to deliver them from Roman rule rather than bondage to sin as the prophesy always intended. History shows they just wouldn't listen to Christ's reasoning that He is not interested in such a carnal, earthly, physical fulfillment of prophesies. That's man's idea and methodology, not His.

John 18:36
  • "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

The congregation of Israel didn't get it then, just as Historicists, Premillennialists and other groups who take that flawed methodology don't get it now. Just as I'm sure you know that many here are "preoccupied" with the history of the nation of Israel, the physical restoration of the Jews, the Arab nations and political and geographical turmoil. But Christ is not prophesying of earthly rules and powers and nations and Temples. His prophesies don't concern such things. He came to establish a foundation to build a spiritual nation and to be the Spiritual Temple. A foundation stone rejected, but ultimately the head of another building, another restoration, another deliverance from bondage. It is this Messiah who delivers Israel from her true enemies, which are spiritual. It is a deliverance not in the faulty method of interpretation of Historicism, of the Israelites before them or as the Premillennialists practice. God never has prophesied that way, "except" as History past for types looking forward to the true thing they represented. Let me give you a practical example:

Amos 9:11
  • "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
  • That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this."

Using a strict Historicist methodology, I would look to this prophesy as having an earthly historical reference, and thus surmise that the prophesy is of an earthly or physical city of Jerusalem where the tabernacle would very literally be built again, and that the people would then physically possess the nation of Edom. Using a Historicist methodology, rather than allowing scripture to interpret scripture,  I would come to these erroneous conclusions based upon their unsound hermeneutic. And I would be wrong. As again, God is not interested in these nations, physical buildings, nor historical hills of Israel, valleys or highways being built. He is merely using these terms throughout Scripture as "types" prefiguring some true spiritual reality. Even as the prophet Paul later revealed in Acts, where he speaks of this prophesy of Amos:

Acts 15:14-17
  • "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
  • And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
  • After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
  • That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all.."

Thus, by comparing scripture with scripture, we see that though the prophesy spoke of a tabernacle and the nation of Edom, it really had nothing to do with the literal or Physical nation Edom, or with a physical Tabernacle. This prophesy was actually speaking of the Gentiles coming into the New Testament church. It's all about having a sound system of interpretation  or Hermeneutic, without which we come to the same carnal and worldly conclusions as the Historicists routinely do. That's why many of them still (even after all this time), think Rome and the Pope is the Antichrist or antichrist system spoken of in prophesy, and that Revelation chapter 9 actually speaks of the Muslims, and so on and so forth. They can't seem to take their eyes off the world and world events and put them on Christ. And as a result they continue to look to the nations and history for interpretation.

So then, Historicism (I'm sorry to say), is at its core the very same methodology that the Priests and Pharisees and OT Jews used in looking for a Deliverer who would be interested in earthly/carnal nations, and in ruling earthly kingdoms, and freeing people from earthly captivity. Even as they were looking for Elijah to literally come back. Yet we see John the Baptist, coming as fulfillment of God's historical prophesy, and he didn't literally come as a construction worker making crooked roads straight. Yet he was Elijah in Spirit (not physically).

Luke 1:17
  • "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Nor was he taken from prison (though we all know He very well could have been) even though prophesies of the coming Messiah spoke of Him loosing the prisoners from the prisons. The Messiah released no one physically from prisons.

 The point being, there was "really" never any such (historicist-type) prophesy, though it did seem so (by Historicist standards - Isaiah 6:1, Luke 4:18). He wasn't taken from prison because the prophesy of the deliverer setting free His people from prison had noting to do with historical prisons. In God's methodology, He was "using the physical historical as a pseudonym" which prefigures the spiritual. He came to deliver from spiritual prisons. i.e., the Prophesies were NEVER about earthly nations, literal mountains, literal valleys made low, kings or slaves freed or rulers. The Israelite system of interpreting scripture was fatally flawed! By their Historicist method of interpretation of prophesy, they "supposed" that the Messiah was to be a temporal prince over a temporal nation. They even gathered together to make him that King that "they" surmised prophesy said He would be.

John 6:14-15
  • "Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
  • When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a physical king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."

So while Israel (and Historicists) look for a earthly fulfillment of prophesy in nations, kingdoms, rulers, Jesus plainly declares their understanding of the scripture was in error by saying that His kingdom is not of this world as they surmised. Indeed by the witness of John here we see that it was their method of interpretation of prophesy that was wrong. It was this system that caused them to think He would rule this earthly nation as king. But the "true nature of the prophesy" was that His kingdom was not of the same nature as a earthly kingdom.  Thus showing that either their method of interpretation was wrong, or this was not the Christ the scriptures prophesied of. ..Selah!

That has always been the flaw of Historicists deal with scripture the exact same way that the Israelites did (something they would deny). By looking for prophesy to be fulfilled by the pope, a church denomination, earthly nations, earthly kings, Islamic religions, 7 hills in Rome, and all other false ideas that are proliferated in such methods of interpretation. Historicism is an unsound methodology, which has nothing to do with "Historic church teachings or Amillennialism." Thus it could never be the historical "true" church methodology. Sola Scriptura allowing scripture to interpret scripture, is the only sound methodology for faithful exegesis.

Ask yourself, did John the Baptist come to make straight highways in the desert for our God? The answer is yes. But not in the methodology of interpreting things from a Historicist viewpoint, but by the "BIBLICAL" methodology of interpreting God's prophesy in "light" of the actual word of God compared with itself.

 ...scripture interpreting scripture. Not someone guessing that this is Rome, or that is Muslims, or Israel must be restored. The Bible alone, wholly, is its own interpreter. Selah!

nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

Chris

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 02:59:44 PM »
So while Israel (and Historicists) look for earthly fulfillments of prophesy in nations, kingdoms, rulers, Jesus plainly declares their understanding of the scripture was in error by saying that his kingdom is not of this world as they surmised.

 ...scripture interpreting scripture. Not someone guessing that this is Rome or that is Muslims, etc. The Bible alone, wholly, is it's own interpreter. Selah!


Thanks Tony. Anyone know of a Historicist website? I'd like to look around.

Herman Stowe

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 03:07:25 PM »

 Anyone know of a Historicist website? I'd like to look around.



Here's one of the ones that call themselves historical historicists :)

 http://www.historicism.net/

 There are all different kinds.

Anne

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 04:58:20 PM »
So while Israel (and Historicists) look for earthly fulfillments of prophesy in nations, kingdoms, rulers, Jesus plainly declares their understanding of the scripture was in error by saying that his kingdom is not of this world as they surmised.

 ...scripture interpreting scripture. Not someone guessing that this is Rome or that is Muslims, etc. The Bible alone, wholly, is it's own interpreter. Selah!


Thanks Tony. Anyone know of a Historicist website? I'd like to look around.



Well, here is Historicism Org by the 7th Day Adventists.

 http://www.historicism.org/

 


Anne

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2007, 05:12:59 PM »
The answer is I don't think much of the allegation Historicism is the Historical Church view. Unfortunately, some people mix a bad system of interpretation with Amillennialism. And no, it is not the historical Christian Church's viewpoint. Very few Christians, whether in the past, or living today, would align themselves with what is portrayed today as the many flavors of Historicism.


Tony,
  As usual thanks for your reply to this. Why do Historicists believe that the physical promises to the nation of Israel became spiritual promises after the Jews rejected Christ?

Tony Warren

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 09:06:06 AM »
>>>

Tony,
  As usual thanks for your reply to this. Why do Historicists believe that the physical promises to the nation of Israel became spiritual promises after the Jews rejected Christ?

<<<

I would think that the answer would be obvious. Since they (like some we have here) eschew spiritual interpretation, and the promises quite obviously were fulfilled spiritually. What else were they to do? Do you think that they would then simply admit that their system of interpreting was wrong in that case? No, they couldn't do that. Instead, they jump through hoops, doing all sorts of exegetical and hermeneutical gymnastics in order to get around this obvious contradiction to their "system of interpretation." They make the ridiculous claim that the physical promises to the nation of Israel became spiritual promises after the Jews rejected Christ.

We who practice the Biblical hermeneutic of comparing scripture with scripture, know the truth. And more importantly, we know error. They didn't "become" spiritual promises after Israel's rejection, they were always spiritual prophesies/promises. I'm surprised you picked up on that, because the error of Historicism is rarely discussed in today's Christian academic circles. Heaven forbid any faithful Christians should actually "SAY" someone's doctrine was wrong. ...Gasp!!!!

That would be mean!  :o

Especially if they have the title "Reformed" attached to them.

1st John 4:1
  • "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

We try (test) or prove the spirits by judging what they say against what is written in God's word. Not comparing it with history books or the social study of nations and rulers. When we "rightfully divide" the word of truth, we see that their system is oscillatory. In other words, since their system proposes that a natural (i.e., Earthly/Physical/Literal) reading of the biblical text is best, when scripture very obviously shows that system invalid, they must then arbitrarily decide that a change has been made in this historical. And that is why they propose that it was physical/literal originally, and it was only given to the Church as spiritual after Israel's rejection. ...which is absurd! It was spiritual for Israel as well. But they rejected the Spiritual. Of course, they will defend their reasoning and deny that it's arbitrary, but what else would you call it? Except a bad system.

nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

Joanne

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2007, 10:44:25 AM »
I would think that the answer would be obvious. Since they (like some we have here) eschew spiritual interpretation, and the promises quite obviously were fulfilled spiritually. What else were they to do? Do you think that they would then simply admit that their system of interpreting was wrong in that case? No, they couldn't do that. Instead, they jump through hoops, doing all sorts of exegetical and hermeneutical gymnastics in order to get around this obvious contradiction to their "system of interpretation." They make the ridiculous claim that the physical promises to the nation of Israel became spiritual promises after the Jews rejected Christ.

Good point. But I have heard even you say that the bible is a history book. Why can't we read prophecy as a history book? Why can't we see the history of nations opposing Israel in prophecy? And thanks Tony for being here and patiently answering all our questions.

Tony Warren

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 08:59:50 AM »
>>>
Good point. But I have heard even you say that the bible is a history book. Why can't we read prophecy as a history book?
<<<

Yes. Actually, the Bible is the "only" true history book. The only history book where we can be absolutely sure that all events recorded occurred exactly as God's inerrant word says they did. There is no other that can make such a claim. And that is the point. We don't have to read a book and speculate whether Columbus "really" was the first to find America, or whether Josephus really was unbiased in his alleged historical observations, or whether hundreds really saw a miracle at Fatima, we have the only book in the history of mankind that we can trust 100 percent as accurate. So yes, the Bible is a history book as well as a spiritual book.

But no, that doesn't mean that we can read prophesy as a "literal" recording of future history. That would be an illogical leap. The Bible has seldom used that form of interpretation, despite what many would tell you. Again, this is how the Israelites or Hebrews (and many in our day) erred in reading the prophets declarations as a book of future history and not as a spiritual book "using history" to declare spiritual truths. The problem is that Historicists are so engaged in teaching that the Bible is mostly a certain foretelling of history, they completely miss the obvious. That is, that it is and has always been, a recording of the history of God's people, as an example, as types and cryptic imagery "for" God's people. You don't hear God prophesying about the goings on in the nations of the world "unless" it is to use them as representatives for those coming against the children of God. God's book is concerned with the spiritual well being of God's people. With these flawed systems such as Historicism, they are concerned with everything except spirituality. Global finances, world politics, the nation of Israel, the pope, world wars, international plagues or famines. It's all a smokescreen by the great deceiver to divert attention from the true Israel, plagues, famines and wars. The Kind that Historicism has no system to identify.

Revelation 18:4
  • "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."

Shall we judge these plagues by Webster's dictionary, Historicist methodology, the MDA? No, we interpret scripture by scripture. Some people think of Historicism as an eschatology, when it is really a system of interpretation, not an eschatology. Historicism is predicated on (ergo, entirely dependent upon) it's proponents following this system, rather than meticulously following where the word of God leads. A belief in man's system of interpretation, rather than a belief in God's system of interpreting His Own word! They would deny this I'm sure, but what they do in practice is unmistakable. It's a matter of a lack of sound Hermeneutics that is the reason for almost all errors and erroneous understanding of prophesy by Christians.

http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/yabbse/index.php?topic=1098.0

Like in the prophesy of Edom I previously spoke about. It was "always" to be fulfilled Spiritually. Fulfilled in the exact same way that most of scripture is fulfilled. i.e., loosing prisoners as defined by God, making crooked roads straight as defined by God, the people Israel being redeemed as defined by God, the Edom remnant delivered as defined by God, the holy city Jerusalem having peace as defined by God. Not Josephus, but God. By Historicists attending to the literal structure traits of these previous prophesies, and ignoring (or worse denying) the true "original" spiritual nature of those prophesies, they (Like Israel before them) are doomed to miss the true point of each of the prophesies. ...and indeed, as Israel, they continue to miss it! Truth inspires change! Error is the obstacle to growth.


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Why can't we see the history of nations opposing Israel in prophecy?
<<<

Because God's word is not a "mere" history book, it is extensively more. And that is what most "professing" Christians do not really understand. That it is a Spiritual book, with spiritual truths gleaned from it as gold gleaned from a rock mine. We can't look at raw ore and arbitrarily decide that this is all God wants us to come out of the mine with. No, God wants us to be workmen.

2nd Timothy 2:15
  • "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Workmen [ergates]. A man who works or toils long and hard in study of the word of God! Not like the professed Christians of our day who leave interpretations up to Authors, Historians, Preachers and Priests.

For one thing, the nations today opposing Israel are NOT nations opposing the Lord's army, the holy land, or the children of God. I know this is what Premillennialists (and many in this forum) falsely believe and teach, but it is most assuredly not true. And the history of nations opposing Israel (at a time when she did represent God's people) was only for our example of unsaved people opposing God's congregation. Israel is not now God's people or congregation. Again, despite what some might have us believe. These historical applications were for our "Spiritual" learning.

1st Corinthians 10:5-6
  • "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
  • Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted."

i.e., the historical writings were for a Spiritual application, a warning to the Church that they should not follow after Israel's example.

1st Corinthians 10:11
  • "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

When Israel would sin, and God would bring judgments upon them, these historical events were not designed to be examples of how to interpret nations or Israel, rather they are to be held up as an example, a "spiritual" warning or admonition to the Church today that we do not sin in the same way that nation did. For as God judged His old testament congregation in the wilderness, so He will judge His New Testament congregation that is in the spiritual wilderness of the world today. Truly, the use of such Old Testament historical stories by Historicists as evidence that it shows how New Testament prophesy will be understood by history, misinterprets the obvious purposes of those lessons and prophesies in the first place. We can't say just because a prophesy is about a nation, that means the greater weight is that it's going to be interpreted as a physical nation. That is an obvious bad methodology.

Isaiah 29:8
  • "It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion."

One reading this in the "Historicist/Judaic" methodology would conclude that it prophesies of nations that would come up to fight against Israel. After all, nations have come up to fight against Israel throughout Biblical history, and indeed that is what this text actually says. Nevertheless, they would be wrong! By using the system of "allowing" the scriptures to interpret the scriptures, we would read the entire context, in the "light" of the whole bible, comparing the spiritual with the spiritual (1st Corinthians 2:13) and we would see conclusively that God was not talking about historical nations at all. We would see that Christ Himself explained this chapter as Spiritual. We would see that this prophesy was "NEVER" about literal nations in battle and not to be taken as a literal account of kings or rulers coming against Israel. You see, that is the correct system of interpretation versus the Historicist methods.

Indeed, the fulfillments of such Old Testament historical prophesies "Spiritually" are examples that clearly demonstrate just what the Prophesy-Maker (God) wished to accomplish in using the historical references (i.e., Zion and the Nations as an example, of the spiritual). So in examining the method they interpret, we see why Historicism misreads the true historical meaning of prophesies.

As I say, the original generative purpose in the prophesy is on the surface, historical. But in the heart of it, God reveals to us that the story is merely as a figure or type, with its emphases on the spiritual, not the political/social/historical/geographical. To me, "Historicism" is merely a new pseudonym or fictitious name of origin for the old erroneous system of interpretation that Israel practiced.

To conclude, the short answer is that the scripture is not history in so simple a sense as is assumed by a narrowly historical reading of the text, but is Biblical history, that God uses to foretell of Spiritual truths. And He used "earthly" language to illustrate hidden spiritual truths. ..like "Hidden Manna" (secret bread) or the fountain of Jacob (Spiritual waters). And they are both for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

The scriptures do not give us any evidence of historical events (such as Adam and Eve, The 12 sons of Israel, Israel's fall, Sodom and Gomorra, etc.) as molds, but as enduring spiritual truths, which are a very different kind of history. Biblical history interpreted by He who wrote it, in Spiritual realities. Not by the flawed system of Historicism!


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And thanks Tony for being here and patiently answering all our questions.
<<<

Amazing how different people see things so differently.  I just read an email where someone says I am avoiding their questions, and haven't answered a single one. I guess it all depends upon if you like the answer or not  ;)


nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

h sanford

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2007, 05:31:59 PM »
I am not a believer in the doctrine called Historicism, but I disagree with the comment
Quote
To me, "Historicism" is merely a new pseudonym or fictitious name of origin for the old erroneous system of interpretation that Israel practiced
  I would agree if you said this about Dispensationalism, but not Historicisim.  As I understand Historicism believes there is a spiritual and literal understanding of scripture.  All that I have read would not lead me to think this doctrine teaches there is anything left for the physical nation of Israel at all although Dispensationalism is a full advocate of the physical nation of Israel and the prophecies of Revelvation in the future (Most of them financially support the Nation today and the push for Jews to "return to their homeland").  The difference I see between them and futurism is that Historicism teaches spiritual meanings to the book of Revelation that have been fulfilled literally (not necessarily physically) during three time periods: 1. the life/death/resurrection of Jesus and 1st church, 2. then some from that period through Reformation, 3. then from Reformation until 2nd Coming, which is unknown.  Whereas Futurism sees the whole book as having only spiritual meaning from around ch. 3 - ch. 22, and that these chapters will only be fulfilled with the 2nd Coming of Christ.  (By the way, most Furutists  (past or present) believe that these prophecies will be fulfilled in their lifetime.) 

Tony Warren

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2007, 08:49:49 PM »
>>>
 I would agree if you said this about Dispensationalism, but not Historicisim.  As I understand Historicism believes there is a spiritual and literal understanding of scripture.
<<<

In "theory" that is true that this is what they claim. However in practice, they generally put all the weight on the Literal/Physical/Historical and interpret by looking at physical nations, popes, rulers, wars, etc. It's just like everyone says that they interpret scripture by scripture, but that doesn't mean that they do. Everyone says they believe the Bible, but in practice, they show that they have no trust in it whatsoever because they won't receive it's teachings. have you ever met a professed Christian who said he wasn't a Christian? That's the point. Saying is not being or doing.


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All that I have read would not lead me to think this doctrine teaches there is anything left for the physical nation of Israel at all.
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I don't think I said that they believe that there is left something for Israel, but that they "Interpret" the prophesies in the same way (method) as Israel did. vis-ŕ-vis, the same way that Premillennialists do, looking to the literal as they define it. Looking at the imagery of scripture as symbolizing literal Battles, History, Nations, Destructions, Rulers, etc. This is an improper hermeneutic. My point is, Historicism has nothing whatsoever to do with Amillennialism (as your first post suggested), they are two separate and distinct things entirely.

The fact is, if you go to almost any Historicist site, they "themselves" will champion their methodology in interpretation. A couple of links have already been posted. Which is really what separates them from other groups. Not their eschatology (which is varied), but their methodology.


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The difference I see between them and futurism is that Historicism teaches spiritual meanings to the book of Revelation that have been fulfilled literally (not necessarily physically) during three time periods:
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Spiritual meanings being fulfilled symbolically literally (whatever that means)? You mean like their doctrines about Revelation prophesying of Muslims, the Pope, Rome and the Reformation?  You know, I managed to miss that entirely, though I have studied Revelation extensively! Historicists generally believe Revelation is a general overview of church history, and it is to be interpreted symbolically, literally, regardless of the context, and more importantly, "THE REAST OF THE BIBLE. It's not a sound methodology.
      
And literally not physically is splitting hairs. My view is that all prophesy is fulfilled literally. Not literally as Historicists and Premillennialists define literal. But as it was literally supposed to symbolize. For example, when John the Baptist went forth preparing the way of the Lord, it was "LITERALLY" the fulfillment of the prophesy of Elijah that was to come before the Lord. Not as Historicists and others define literally, but as God defines it! That's the difference, and that is why I reject the methodology of Historicism, Literalism, Premillennialism, Dispensationalism, and every other ism that doesn't "really" understand that God is the interpreter of His own word. His interpretation is not governed by their strict rules, but by His! And that literal doesn't mean a nation in prophesy will be a historical nation in Revelation, or that the antichrist nation is Rome, or that the Muslims’ are what chapters of Revelation symbolize literally. That may be Historicism, but it most certainly is not the true methodology of interpretation of scripture. Your protests not withstanding.


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 during three time periods: 1. the life/death/resurrection of Jesus and 1st church, 2. then some from that period through Reformation, 3. then from Reformation until 2nd Coming, which is unknown. 
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Where does scripture say that? Comparing scripture with scripture, I don't read that anywhere. Where does scripture break history into these three parts? Does prophesy even speak of a reformation? Where is that located in God's book? What you are talking about is Historicist speculation based upon an Historicist approach using an improper methodology! ...which is what I have been warning against. Methodology! Hermeneutics if you will!


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Whereas Futurism sees the whole book as having only spiritual meaning from around ch. 3 - ch. 22, and that these chapters will only be fulfilled with the 2nd Coming of Christ.
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Futurists? Well who in the world are they? They sound dastardly, horrible and awful! I don't know them, but I will keep a look out.

All I know is that it would take a blind man (or a Premillennialist/Historicist/Dispensationalist) to attempt to make an obviously enigmatic book like Revelation filled with "God Inspired" cryptic imagery and parabolic pictures, as something proposed be taken in a literal fashion. The whole idea is (I'm sorry to say) laughable! Attempting to take Revelation literally (as defined by these) is like attempting to fly a plane by turning the propeller manually. i.e., you're not going to get anywhere!

nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

Peng Bao

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2007, 10:07:00 PM »
Some familiar faces and some new ones. You guys still at it?

Some Definitions for us not-so-knowledgeable Christians.

Historicism: A theory that stresses the significant influence of history as a criterion of value and that events are determined or influenced by conditions and inherent processes beyond the control of humans. 2. Historicism is a school of interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation and other passages are seen as finding literal earthly fulfillment through the history of the church age, and especially in relation to the Protestant- Catholic conflicts of the Reformation. A distinct feature of Historicism, which makes it very controversial, is the identification of the Antichrist (1 and 2 John), the Beast (Revelation 13), the Man of sin or Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2) and the Whore of Babylon (Revelation chapter 17) with the Roman Catholic Church, the Papal system and each successive Pope himself (a common position held by protestants in the reformation, which is not prevalent today).

Futurism: A belief that the meaning of life and one's personal fulfillment lie in the future and not in the present or past. 2. An interpretation of the Bible placing the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel generally in the future as literal, physical, apocalyptic and global. Other views place the fulfillment of such prophecies in the past as literal, physical and local (Preterism; Historicism), or in the present as non-literal and spiritual (Idealism).

Boy, No one is just a Christian anymore. :)

 Personally, I don't fit into either of those views.

h sanford

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2007, 10:37:47 PM »
Thank you Peng Bao for the definitions.  I stand corrected in asking if this site would believe the views of "Idealism", not "Futurism"?  ;)

Idealism (also called the 'Spiritual view') 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

Tony, I believe you misunderstood me and missed the very first line of my last post when you said:
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Where does scripture say that? Comparing scripture with scripture, I don't read that anywhere. Where does scripture break history into these three parts? Does prophesy even speak of a reformation? Where is that located in God's book? What you are talking about is Historicist speculation based upon an Historicist approach using an improper methodology! ...which is what I have been warning against. Methodology! Hermeneutics if you will!

I said:
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I am not a believer in the doctrine called Historicism,
   ;D

Peng Bao

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2007, 08:06:16 AM »
And literally not physically is splitting hairs. My view is that all prophesy is fulfilled literally. Not literally as Historicists and Premillennialists define literal. But as it was literally supposed to symbolize. For example, when John the Baptist went forth preparing the way of the Lord, it was "LITERALLY" the fulfillment of the prophesy of Elijah that was to come before the Lord. Not as Historicists and others define literally, but as God defines it! That's the difference, and that is why I reject the methodology of Historicism, Literalism, Premillennialism, Dispensationalism, and every other ism that doesn't "really" understand that God is the interpreter of His own word. His interpretation is not governed by their strict rules, but by His! And that literal doesn't mean a nation in prophesy will be a historical nation in Revelation, or that the antichrist nation is Rome, or that the Muslims’ are what chapters of Revelation symbolize literally. That may be Historicism, but it most certainly is not the true methodology of interpretation of scripture.

 Big Amen Tony. I couldn't agree more. Bad methodology is the fall of the church. Historicism may be judged by the church a sound method of interpretation, but it's really not. It's a bad one. It's a method that led many protestant reformers in the wrong direction. I guess that's why it's now an obscure and rare belief system. And I hope it stays that way.

For christians, the study of History should be accomplished through the bible. Historicism, from my point of view, seems disinterested in biblical historical fulfilments, but rather in current events. Thus Rome, at the time of reformation, was believed to be the prophecied seat of Antichrist. The interests it represents in interpretation are it's own, but as you say, the 'methodological' interests it represents are far from its own. The system of Historicism in preservation of the Jewish form of interpreting symbols literally as nations and society may be described as bracketing-out of the bible. Coupled with their belief that history is the sole presiding and surviving judge of the past as interpreter of symbols, it fails. This is what constitutes the basic contradiction of historicism.


Anne

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Re: Historicism Methods of Interpretation
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2007, 09:20:27 PM »
Sanford,

In reading about Historicism, I believe that Tony was right. Historicism is a methodology. In fact, it is predicated on a hermeneutic which militates against allegory and spiritualism. Have you really looked into it? I would suggest reading some good books or articles about it. If you do that, it will become clear that it is a methodology. Do you know that Postmillennialists and Amillennialists can be Historicists? So it's not really a particular eschatological view, but a system of interpreting. Strangely enough, it is also a system said to have originated out of Israel and used by the chosen people (their words not mine).

 


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