Literalism and the Second Coming
I’ve been encountering a number of believers online who have an extremely literal view of the scriptures. This can indeed be problematic and needs to be addressed.
The question then is what about the scriptures and their predictions? Are they reliable as a literal guide? Are they useful as a guide to the future?
The answer is that material written 2000 years ago is a rough guide at best. As proof just look at the track record of those who have used the Bible as a guide in predicting the future.
How many do you know who have used Bible prophesies to predict the future and have been successful?
What’s that number again?
Zero, you whisper.
Actually, I am the only one I know besides Isaac Newton who has done this. Using the scriptures in the 1970s I came to the conclusion that Jesus was not going to make his Second Coming by the year 2000 as most then believed. As the millennium rolled by I was proven right, but it seems that I am an anomaly among contemporary forecasters.
Many great minds have tried — even Isaac Newton himself. This person who some call the greatest mind of all time put tremendous energy into deciphering Revelations and Daniel in an attempt to see the future. He predicted the date of 2060 for the Second Coming. He wasn’t able to predict anything from the scriptures that have come to pass so far but time will tell on the 2060 date.
The most researched prophecies are around the coming of the Messiah or the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the age. Literally thousands of sincere people have carefully researched the scriptures over thousands of years and failed time and time again to accurately predict anything.
What does this tell us? Does it mean the prophets were wrong? No.
Does it mean the prophecies are easy to misunderstand?
Does it mean the prophesies are difficult to understand correctly.
Do the many failures put a cloud over the literal interpretation of scriptures?
To a degree, definitely, for thousands in the past who literally believed the scriptures have not been able to predict one accurate future event from them. Obviously, literalism has not worked for anyone in the last two thousand years.
Does this mean that scriptures will not be literally fulfilled?
No. All inspired scriptures will be fulfilled, but not all literally as many think. Sometimes a more figurative fulfillment will come.
Another problem is that literal believers do not even agree among themselves. This is most obviously apparent among the many different interpretations concerning the coming of Christ.
Another problem is that literalists pick and choose that which they decide to take literally.
Let us take this scripture:
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thess 4:17)
Most are happy to literally believe that Jesus will come in the air or clouds and they will be caught up to meet him but then ignore who the scripture applies to: “we which are alive and remain…”
Who’s the “we?” Obviously, it is Paul and his fellow believers. Since they are all dead and do not remain then the scripture is pretty much a moot point and does not literally apply to Paul’s time, and places doubt on a fulfillment 2000 years in the future. If a person is going to be literal with part of the scripture, then in the name of fairness, he should be literal with the whole.
Another problem is that even if we take the scriptures literally, they can be interpreted a number of different ways.
For instance we are told: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him:” (Rev 1:7)
Most literalists believe this means that they will look up one day and see Jesus floating among the clouds.
On the other hand, if Jesus rode in an airplane among the clouds (as DK mentioned) the scripture would also be literally fulfilled.
Then there’s another twist. “With” in the scripture comes from the Greek META which can also be interpreted as “after” or “behind.” He could come “after” a time of great cloudiness, but not in the air or with any clouds at all and literally fulfill this wording
Next it says “every eye will see him.” The problem is that if he was floating down with the clouds his body could only be seen from a few miles distant and would be missed by 99.9 percent of the planet. The only way he could be seen by all is through television. But there’s another problem. Less than half the people of the earth even have a TV. But then when we look at the next phrase another literal problem arises:
“they also which pierced him”
If we take this literally then not only will people with no TV’s see him but those dead for 2000 years will see him when he comes. Those who “pierced him” are those who crucified him 2000 years ago.
This illustrates the reason why thousands have been completely amiss in their literal interpretations over the past 2000 years. If we just look at the scriptures with a black and white mindset and expect a faithful but dogmatic approach to produce accurate vision then we are likely to be disappointed.
Here’s what Peter said about the scriptures:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
This explains why so many in the past who have read the prophecies completely missed in their interpretations. They privately interpreted them according to the carnal black and white mind which is geared to the law of carnal commandments given by Moses after the higher was rejected.
The prophesies were given by the Holy Spirit and can only be interpreted by the Holy Spirit and that which the Spirit says may be much different than that which has been passed down by the tradition of our fathers.
The scriptures record that when Christ came the first time those who interpreted them according to orthodox literacy were wrong. The only ones who correctly saw how he would really come were only five people mentioned in the Bible. It mentions Simeon and the prophetess Anna who were moved upon by the Holy Spirit. (Luke 2:25-38) The others were the three wise Magi who came from the East.
It is interesting that three out of five came from outside Israel. If the same percentage applies today then 60 percent of those who recognize the true coming of Christ will be non Christians. Maybe they’ll be new agers. Interesting thought.
“Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail.” (1 Cor 13:8)
A reader points out that we have been discussing the coming of Christ as well as other powerful entities, but perhaps we are overlooking the Big Kahuna himself, the one with the office of God the Father. He then quotes this parable
“Hear another parable: There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and made a fence round it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and left the country. But when the time of fruit drew near, he sent his bondmen to the husbandmen to receive his fruits. And the husbandmen took his bondmen, and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
“Again he sent other bondmen more than the first, and they did to them in like manner. And at last he sent to them his son, saying, They will have respect for my son.
“But the husbandmen, seeing the son, said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him and possess his inheritance. And they took him, and cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him.
“When therefore the lord of the vineyard comes, what shall he do to those husbandmen? They say to him, He will miserably destroy those evil men, and let out the vineyard to other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” (Matt 21:33-41)
He thus sees the Lord of the Vineyard as God the Father and the Son as the Christ. He wants ti know my thoughts on whether or not the Father Himself will make an appearance.
Interesting interpretation of the parable and here’s another scripture indicating this idea from Daniel:
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Dan 7:21-22)
Many believe that the Ancient of Days is God the Father and even Djwahl Khul tells us this title represents the God over this earth, Sanat Kumara. Daniel certainly indicates a “coming” or an appearance of some kind.
Such a coming could happen in a number of different ways.
* It could merely be his presence picked up by a group of disciples or being seen in vision or some type of manifestation as predicted for Adam-ondi-Ahman, or “Adam who is God.”
* His presence could work in conjunction with a Moses type of character.
* Some think he could manifest in the sky with armies of angels.
* Others think he could manifest again in the flesh or even be born as a baby.
The ancient wisdom as related through Alice A. Bailey gives an interesting take on this and says basically the following:
The writings indicate that Ancient of Days was the first self-conscious man upon the earth, but we are not talking about 6000 years ago as commonly believed by Christians. He was born in the flesh 18 million years ago. He will be born again as a baby but it will not be until the last, or seventh root race which is still several million years in the future. This will be a race of androgynous beings.
But the Book of Daniel refers to our near future so how will this being come to us?
Notice in the verse we quoted that the dark forces prevail against the saints, or the lights of the earth, “until the Ancient of Days came.” This will create a turning point in that judgement will be given to the saints.
This tells us that a time will come that the lights of the earth will have power of judgement rather than the forces of darkness.
This is a prediction of a day of power as predicted:
“Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;
“Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.” (D&C 103:15-16)
This one like Moses will not be the Ancient of Days but will be linked to him and will shift the balance of power away from the forces of darkness to the power of light and love.
God the Father thus “comes” with his power, his presence and intelligence, just not yet in a physical body.
“The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything – or nothing.” — Nancy Astor (1879 – 1964)
Nov 9, 2007
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