Tag Archives: end times

Matthew 24 and the Days of Noah Once Again

I recently added this to my FAQ, but I thought I’d post it here as well.

Do you think Matthew 24:37-38 is a prophecy about the return of nephilim or has anything to do with Genesis 6:1-4?

The short answer to both is no. (I also don’t think it has anything to do with UFOs or aliens). Back around the year 2000 or so I suspected that was the case, but I know better now. It’s not a text-driven argument or position. I blogged about this (and Dan 2:43 as well) back in 2015. There are several problems with the idea, but I’ll summarize my thoughts here.

There are several reasons why Matt 24:37-38 does not connect back to Gen 6:1-4. The sons of God are mentioned nowhere in Matt 24. There isn’t a whiff of divine-human transgression. Their presence is assumed on the basis of the phrase “marrying and giving in marriage,” but that’s actually where the idea breaks down. If Matthew wanted readers to think about Genesis 6:1-4 in these comments, he’d use the Greek terms in the Septuagint of LXX for what the sons of God and mortal women were doing. Matthew doesn’t do that even once. The LXX reads ἔλαβον ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἀπὸ πασῶν, ὧν ἐξελέξαντο (lit: “they took for themselves women from all which they chose”). Matthew doesn’t use any of these terms. Matthew’s Greek for “marrying and giving in marriage” is γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες (lit: “marrying and giving in marriage”). Even if you can’t read Greek you can look at the words and know they aren’t the same as Gen 6 LXX.The other significant problem is that saying Matthew 24:37-38 is about a repeat of Genesis 6:1-4 requires you to ignore parts of what Matthew describes — or deliberately not see the disconnections with Genesis 6:1-4. Here is the full list of what Matthew says will be going on when Jesus returns that was going on in the days of Noah:

– eating and drinking
– marrying and giving in marriage
– not watching / being unaware

Only one of those (conceivably — but incorrectly) could be associated with Gen 6:1-4 — the “marrying and giving in marriage.” The others have no association whatsoever with the supernaturalist aspects of Gen 6:1-4. So why impose the supernaturalist character of Gen 6 onto what Matthew says? It’s an arbitrary decision, and one made incoherent and unsustainable by the lack of any connection to the LXX of Gen 6:1-4. When biblical writers want their readers to cross-reference an OT passage with what they are saying, they create connections. Matthew doesn’t do that even once.

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A Note on the September 23, 2017 Astral Prophecy Hype and Nonsense

I just wanted to put something on the blog (again) about my rejection of the idea that Revelation 12 has anything to do with the second coming or end times in general. I’ve been getting emails with links to YouTube videos like this one that use my thoughts about the astral signage being an indication of the birth of Jesus as proof that the (presumed) repetition of the signage signals the second coming, or some sort of revealing of fallen angels, Watchers, etc. September 23 is the new date for all this to happen “because the Bible tells us so.” Sigh.

As those who follow my work know, I don’t think the signs of Revelation 12 have anything to do with end times. There is no verse in the NT that tells us to look for a repetition of those signs in connection with the second coming. There is also no verse that links the signs to the “sign of the son of man” in the gospel eschatological discourses. The sign of the son of man could be several specific things, or nothing specific at all. We have ZERO scriptural reason to thing this way.

Revelation 12 is HINDSIGHT with respect to the messiah’s birth, not foresight. It is not a fulfillment of any OT prophecy. There is no OT prophecy that told readers to look for the signs given in the passage for the coming messiah of Israel. So let not your hearts be troubled. For those who remember my 2014 post on this issue, the “no one knows” answer Jesus gave to when his coming would be won’t be improved upon by astronomy software.

Anyway, just wanted to put this up. I can hardly wait until October!  One more failure to predict the second coming or the associated events. But, true to form, the date-setters will have their excuses ready.

Yes, it can be soul-crushing for me to read / watch this sort of nonsense. But the real problem is that it is faith-destroying for many. That’s the harm.

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Naked Bible Podcast Episode 153: Ezekiel 38-39, Part 2

This follow-up to Part 1 on these popular and controversial chapters focuses on the interpretation of the Gog-Magog invasion as a whole. Special attention is paid to how Rev 20:7-10 re-purposes Ezekiel 38-39 and how that re-purposing is consistent with a sound interpretation of those two chapters in their own context. They key to this consistency is recognizing the cosmic-supernatural outlook of elements in Ezekiel 38-39, particularly the description of participants and the burial of Gog and his hordes in the “Valley of the Travelers (Hebrew: ʿoberim)” in Ezek 39:11.

The episode is now live.

 

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Naked Bible Podcast Episode 152: Ezekiel 38-39, Part 1: Who or What is Gog?

As was the case with Ezekiel 37, these chapters are among the most familiar in the entire book of Ezekiel. This first of two episodes on these chapters focuses on the terminology: Gog, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah. It also addresses the fallacies of translating Hebrew nesiʾ roʾsh as “prince of Rosh” and interpreting the phrase as modern-day Russia, and the difficulties ancient translators had with the term. An alternative understanding of Gog is offered, one that is consistent with the supernaturalistic worldview of the “foe from the north” motif in Old Testament thought.

The episode is now live.

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Book Review: The New Christian Zionism

Most Christians are interested (and many absorbed) by the topic of the future of Israel and how, in the wake of the New Testament emphasis on the Church as the people of God (Gentiles included), Israel still matters. The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land looks like an important book discussing that topic from various angles, judging from the review on the My Digital Seminary blog. Here are some excerpts of the review:

Like many in my age group, my upbringing was filled with New Year prophecy updates and Left Behind novels. Growing up in the Calvary Chapel family (and still happily in it!), this was my bread and butter. But also like many my age, I have found myself reconsidering some childhood assumptions. In light of the modern Christian shift against supporting a national state and prophetic future for Israel, The New Christian Zionism is an opportunity to reconsider a dominant but former consensus of the past, but with fresh argumentation for a fresh generation. . . .

Given the modern distaste and even disgust for Zionism, McDermott is quick to set out what it is not. It is not to be confused with dispensationalism and a specific detailed end-times forecast. Instead, it “looks to a long history of Christian Zionists who lived long before the rise of dispensationalism” (p11). Though I find this distinction a little overstated, given that at least two of the authors are progressive dispensationalists, the point is still received. The New Christian Zionism does not depend on a particular Israel-church distinction or end-times schedule. Moreover, it is not merely nationalism, due to the historical presence of Jews. Nor merely Christian, but shared with ancient rabbinic opinion. Nor is it about land theft, racism or establishing a theocracy.

 

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Why Do Christians Disagree About End Times?

That’s the title of a new Mobile Ed mini-course I created for my employer Faithlife / Logos Bible Software. It’s a short video introduction to some of the issues that undermine consensus in eschatology. Folks who follow this blog will have gotten more detail on these items in my “Why an Obsession with Eschatology is a Waste of Time” series, but this course is still good for exposing the problems to beginners (or people sheltered from the difficulties of eschatology).

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Naked Bible Podcast Episode 101: Jesus, the Exile, and the Tribulation

Mike does some eschatology (and next week, too). Kind of like a Bigfoot sighting. Get it while supplies last!

 


Naked Bible Podcast Episode 101: Jesus, the Exile, and the Tribulation was first posted on May 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm.
©2016 “Dr. Michael S. Heiser“. Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at webmaster@postmortaldesign.com

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Why the Meaning of Daniel’s 70 Sevens (“Weeks”) is Not Self-Evident

Years ago I wrote a series of posts under the title “Why an Obsession with Eschatology is a Waste of Time.” One of the fundamental goals of that series was to debunk the notion, held by countless Christians of all eschatological persuasions, that whatever view they held about end times was not self-evident from the Bible. In other words, no view comes to light just by observing “what the Bible says.” Frankly, what the Bible says about end times is cryptic — deliberately so. The series gave a number of examples where “literalism” is simplistic, as the way the New Testament writers utilize and interpret the Old Testament does not conform to simple 1:1 correspondence literalism. Noting that a “plan, literal” reading of Daniel’s seventy weeks could actually go in more than one direction was a small part of that series.

A recent article in the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament well illustrates the problem with a “literal” chronological understanding of the seventy weeks:

“The ‘Seventy Sevens’ (Daniel 9:24) in Light of Heptadic Themes in Qumran” by Ron Haydon

The author tries to (hold on to your hat) understand the seventy sevens in light of the context of the ancient Jewish sect from Qumran. Here’s the abstract:

ABSTRACT: Daniel 9:24 is fraught with puzzling language, particularly the meaning of the “seventy sevens.” Rather than add to the relevant commentaries, this paper approaches the phrase in light of the heptadic language we find in select Qumran sources. Jubilees, 1 Enoch, and related scrolls portray these heptadic structures as primarily theological expressions, with chronology either set in the background or absent altogether. I suggest this context casts the seventy sevens in a new light, wherein it serves a mainly theological function instead of a rigid temporal one. Beginning with a brief examination of each major extracanonical source, we will consider two theological implications that come as a result of these texts’ reception of Daniel: first, Daniel’s seventy sevens may need to be considered a theological image; second, the image likely paints a picture of exile and restoration in its fullness, spanning all epochs, not just the Babylonian, Media-Persian, and Seleucid-Hasmonean crises. The conclusion notes how such literary and theological moves may also point to a deliberate shape inherent to Dan 9, one that includes subsequent, interpretive communities, such as Qumran and its sects.

My point in blogging this article is not to endorse its conclusion or any other conclusion. Rather, it is to point out that (a) this is what we should be doing — trying to understand Scripture in ways the original or near-original readers would have parsed things due to their own cognitive framework, and (b) readings other than the simplistic chronological approach are not only possible, but would have been familiar to ancient readers.

In short, eschatology is much more complicated than popular Bible teachers tell you.

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