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    Whiston’s Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies {III}

    May 28, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    I figured out something about the language in Whiston’s work. He refers to what he calls the “Age of the Messias” and in my first post I said that I didn’t understand why that seemed to be plural. The more I read, however, the more it seemed to be singular, and so the “s” at the end confused me. Until it didn’t. I believe that an “s” on the end of a name can be the masculine singular in Greek, and also perhaps in Latin, though my Latin is, um, so beginner that there are third graders in Idaho who know more than I. However, I still think I’m right about the “s”.

    Back when I was in college, I really wanted to take the Messianic Prophecies course. But then a friend of mine came home from the class crying and saying that the particular professor was denying that all of the prophecies about Christ were really about Him, or something like that. Why would he do this? she cried.

    Well, because he was tenured, obviously.

    But I digress.

    I feel like I am taking a course on Messianic prophecies, just like I had wanted to a decade ago. It’s exciting!

    More notes:

    1. The main aim of the Old Testament prophets {or the Holy Spirit speaking through them} was the coming of the Messiah, the character and circumstances of His coming, and the character and circumstances of His Kingdom. Whiston refers to this truth as central, the “very key” to understanding the old prophets. This is the way it was seen by faithful Jews before Christ’s coming, as well as Christ Himself, His disciples, and the early Church Fathers, who all had “Christ’s kingdom in their eye.”
    2. Whiston spends some time mourning the loss of objectivity in his age. He says that theologians are coming to the Scriptures already biased. He believes this is a source of difficulty for the Church. His solution is for us all to resolve that we will take our Opinions from Scripture rather than bring them to it. Si and I lately have been on a sort of theological adventure, and adventure is an apt word for coming to Scripture with hearts yearning for Truth rather than simple confirmation. It is exciting to read Scripture with fresh eyes!
    3. Whiston gives an example of the singleness of prophetic meaning by referring to the very first prophecy, which is that given to Adam and Eve in the garden. He explains that it was obscure, which is the nature of the “prophetick stile,” but clearly pointed to one and only one Person, Who is Christ Jesus the promised Messiah.
    4. There are two types of ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah:
      1. Concerning His first coming. These, says Whiston, are comparatively few. Such prophecies refer to His coming to suffer, and to destroy the Jewish Nation for their rejection of Him.
      2. Concerning His second coming. Such prophecies refer to Messiah advancing His kingdom and restoring the Jews. Whiston says that these are the bulk of the prophecies.

      Whiston explains that the Jews missed Jesus because they were so focused on an earthly kingdom of power over the whole world that they missed their suffering, dying King. He also says that “Modern theologians” {funny since I am reading this hundreds of years after the fact} are likewise “missing it” in regard to the Second Coming, which is, in His opinion, “more ridiculous than the Jews” since they themselves {the Modern theologians} already accept the plain sense of the prophecies concerning the first coming.

      Whiston summarizes this part succinctly:

      Messiah was first to come in a mean and low condition to die for the sins of the World, and to plant a spiritual kingdom that should generally be in a mean and low condition also, and under tyranny and persecution also for many ages; and that afterward He will come in glory to restore again the kingdom to Israel, to put a final period to all idolatry and persecution, and to advance an everlasting dominon over Jew and Gentile, after both become Christians, to the ends of the Earth.

      I must admit that I didn’t expect Whiston to hold exactly this view, which makes all of this reading more intriguing to me.

    5. It seems Whiston feels the need to restate his argument, or at least it seems like a restatement to me. He says that any Old Testament prophecies which are referring to the Messiah are emphatically not referring to any other person at any other time at all. He therefore concludes that the Apostles’ use of such prophecies was correct and appropriate and Modern theologians should stop acting like they need to apologize for the Apostles in this area.
    6. St. Paul did make stranger allegorical connections than were common among the Jews of his time, but St. Paul was lifting these not from prophecies, but rather from the Scriptural histories and ceremonies, and therefore any issues a theologian has with St. Paul should be dealt with elsewhere.
    7. Whiston explains that there are other prophecies along the way in history that do not pertain to the Messiah. There are, for instance, prophecies in the book of Psalms which refer to King David rather than Jesus. He also notes that the Apostles do not apply such prophecies to Jesus also. Rather, they leave them in their place, allowing them to apply to David alone.

    More to come…

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    4 Comments

  • Reply Brandy May 31, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Kimbrah,

    That makes me feel better! I was wondering if I was boring everyone… πŸ™‚

    By the way, thanks for the probiotic advice. We are starting Dr. Ohirra’s today. Can you email me the name of the duck book you mentioned, please? Thanks!

  • Reply Kimbrah May 31, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    This sounds like a book Eddie and I would be interested in reading. I have been enjoying your posts on this! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy May 31, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Mystie,

    I must say it is a delight to have someone interested in this other than Si and myself! πŸ™‚

    I must preface my answers by saying that I am struggling through the older version of English and there have been a couple times already that I’ve had to revise what I thought the meaning of the text was, so I’m answering this based on the best of my knowledge right now. πŸ™‚

    So, yes, he denies the existence of dual fulfillments. He does leave room for something that happened in actual history (like the serpent lifted up in the wilderness) to also refer to Christ. He seems to think he has a handle on which Psalms refer to David and which to Christ, and he doesn’t allow for overlap. Same with judgment. I look forward to reading more to figure out how that works.

    The interesting thing to me is that he acts like his view is the traditional view, in line with the earliest of the Church fathers, and that those who speculate otherwise are “modern theologians.”

    Funny, because this is now the dominant view in our culture, from what I can tell.

    You know, I really don’t pretend to comprehend his view on the Second Coming. You see, from what I can tell from his commentary within his translation of Josephus (an different work I’ve been reading), he is a preterist, believing that the Great Tribulation was, in fact, a prophecy of Nero’s 3.5 year persecution of Christians followed by the 3.5 year war between Rome and the Jews, which culminated in the destruction of the Jewish temple by Titus Vespasian in 70 AD.

    With that said, what I read most recently seems to put the Tribulation as part of the first coming, which makes no sense to me at all, but that is the sense I get from it. Like other things I haven’t understood, Whiston is very good at building on the ideas as he goes along and not forgetting to pick them up and explain them further, so I hope to be able to say I understand this before I’m done with my reading.

  • Reply Mystie May 29, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    So he denies that there are any prophecies that have dual fulfillment? None that refer to both David and Christ? None that refer to both ancient judgment and future judgment?

    And is he saying that all judgment and glory comes after the Second Coming?

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