The Preterist View Heresy (II)
We continue our review of Max Kings book. The Spirit of Prophecy. The title is taken from Rev. 19: 10, "for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. This is typical of Kings play-on-words. He needs some Scriptural approbation for his doctrine, and these words happen to come close to his "spiritual" interpretation of prophecy. He half-way admits ("While this may not be the purpose of this verse" A-2) that this verse is not touching on the nature of prophecy (i.e., whether prophecy is to be interpreted as "spiritual" or "literal," - Kings choice of words!), still within a few lines we filled him slipping his ideas in: "it is only reasonable to assume that the nature or the spirit of prophecy . . . " (emphasis mine-BHR). This is typical of the handling of the Scriptures that the wary reader observes as he wades through Kings book. He knows that the verse means that the testimony of Jesus is the life and soul of the prophecy (book of Revelation, for the Greek text says, "the prophecy"). But when his Preterist-View of prophecy, with a nature that is "spiritual" instead of "literal", needs a few Bible words to give respectability, he finds some convenient ones in Rev. 19:10. How subservient have the Scriptures been made to the inventions of men!
Here are some quotes to set forth his doctrine: "that the Jewish: age came to a close on Pentecost day" is "another erroneous concept. This is assumed on the basis that Pentecost was the beginning of the Christian age. The error is in failing to see the overlapping period of these two ages or dispensations. Ishmael and Isaac co-existed in Abrahams house for a time before Ishmael was cast out. The Jewish age did not end until their city, temple, and state fell under Roman invasion in A.D. 66-73." Another erroneous A-79 "Applying the last days to the Christian Age is a misapplication fostered by a misconception of such terms as this world and the world to come. While Pentecost, in a sense, was the beginning of the Christian dispensation, yet the New Testament writers often spoke of it as a world or age to come, because the Jewish age had not yet ended at the time of their writings. (The right of primogeniture belonged to Ishmael until he was cast out.) Therefore, statements such as this world are interpreted as meaning this present material world rather than the Jewish age, and the world to come is interpreted as meaning what follows the end of this present material world rather than the new heaven and earth, or Christian age that followed the end of the Jewish age." A-79 "Because scholars have separated in time the fall of Jerusalem and the second coming of Christ, exegetical confusion in various passages of scripture is the inevitable result." A-81 "There is no time period between the fall of Judaism and the second coming of Christ." A-81
So, King affirms that the Jewish age did not end until A. D. 70, and that-the Christian age did not begin until then; it was still "coming" until that date. He half-heartedly concedes that Pentecost in a sense was the beginning of the Christian dispensation (King, just which Scripture teaches that?), but really it did not come until A. D. 70. Make up your mind, friend! Is A. D. 33 the beginning, or not? Your doctrine says "no," but "in a sense" it was. What confusion!
"When Paul wrote the allegory of Galatians 4, Ishmael had not yet been cast out. He was still in the household of Abraham, nudging Isaac, giving him a few short jabs now and then. Paul said to the Galatians, You hold on because the time of your redemption draweth nigh. " 2 "Keep in mind the over-riding of Judaism. 2
King says that "Israel stuck right in that household until God threw him out! He had the inheritance, the first privileges, right up until the day that Jerusalem was destroyed." This is Kings allegory! Sarah brought Ishmael into the picture, not God, and she cast him out, not God. God approved of the casting out because Ishmael never had any inheritance at all in Gods promises to Abraham!
King builds heavily upon Rom. 4:13, making "world" there refer to some perfect, complete state of things, once national Israel is destroyed, A. D. 7 0. "Inheriting the earth," Matt. 5:5, must refer to this same "world." (King runs similar expressions or words together according to his fancy). Judaism (which word lie uses loosely, sometimes referring to the law, most of the time to national Israel) is referred to as the old heaven and earth, and the new heaven and earth is the supposed "perfect," "full inheritance," and "complete" something after A. D. 70! "The saints were waiting, not only for adulthood, but especially for their full manifestation as sons of God at the appearing of Christ in the fall of Judaism." A-234 "The fall of Judaism ...was the coming of Christ in glory that closely followed his coming in suffering (1 Pet.1: 11), when all things written by the prophets were fulfilled (Luke 21:22; Acts 3:21). It corresponded to the perfection of the saints (I Cor. 13: 10) when they reached adulthood in Christ, receiving their adoption, redemption, and inheritance. The eternal kingdom was possessed (Heb. 12:28) and the new heaven and earth inherited (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1,7). Out of the natural body (which received its death blow, Heb. 8:13) arose the spiritual body, wherein the saints were manifested in glory, fully clothed with their house from heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-5). The earnest of the spirit (miraculous gifts) did not fail in power or purpose, bringing the gift of spiritual or heavenly inheritance to all the seed Of Abraham (Acts 2:38, 39; Gal. 3:28, 29; 1 Pet. 1:4)." A-239
That last quote is a typical jumbling of texts together, with complete disregard for contexts, and a play-on-words, which things characterize Kings fanciful doctrine.
On heaven King says: a growing, developing, relationship with God is the best definition of heaven I can think of at this time Heaven is just joy and peace and right-living, right-thinking, right conduct Heaven is part of your life now, and when you die you live on and on and on Youll never get any closer to heaven than that which you make in your on life." King, will a sinner get any closer to hell than that?
What about all those references in the Scriptures to a future end of all things, and of "comings?" They must be "allegorized" and "spiritualized" (God forbid that anything should be taken literally!) so as to be seen as Preterit, past, as of A.D. 70! King says, "I dont know what the destiny of this physical; world is that were living in.
Now to his "key" passage, Gal. 4:21-31. The purpose of Pauls allegory of Sarah and Hagar is presented in v. 21. This is Pauls purpose; King has a different one in mind! This allegory serves its inspired purpose when it is applied to the invalidness of the Law of Moses, now that the New Testament of Christ has been established. Any other use of this allegory is a perversion! Re-read, please, V. 21.
Abraham had two sons (v. 22). In the sense that Paul speaks of, of course this is true. In another sense it can be said that he had more than two (Gen. 25:1-6). Furthermore, in a very special sense it must be said that he had only one (22:2). But, respecting the circumstances of this allegory, he had two: Ishmael and Isaac.
In the allegory Hagar (the servant) represents the Law of Moses given on Mt. Sinai, and so the Old Testament, and Ishmael (born according to natural law) represents the Jews under the Law. On the other hand, Sarah (the freewoman) represents the Law of Christ, and so the New Covenant, and Isaac (born miraculously and according to promise) represent Christians of all races. As Hagar and Ishmael were cast out, so was fleshly descendancy from Abraham of no merit in determining heirship. The "blessing of Abraham" and "promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3: 14) was justification from our sins (v. 8). The Judaizers sought this justification by the law (5:4), and so, Paul by means of this allegory showed the Galatian brethren the consequences of desiring to be under the law: it was to be like Ishmael and Hagar; i.e., to be cast out! They were no part of Gods promise to bless the seed of Abraham!
This allegory condemns premillennialism that bolds out a hope for national Israel, the Sabbatarians, the denominational practices that are based on the Old Testament (such as instrumental music in worship), and Kings Preterist-View of prophecy. I call the readers attention to the following list of facts recorded in Genesis:
(1)The call of Abraham and the triple promise that God made to him (great nation land, in him bless all nations of earth) - 12: 1-7.
(2) Who would be Abrahams heir? Eliezer? No, says Jehovah, "but be that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir."15:1-6. Gods promises (12:1-7) did not depend upon human plans and arrangements.
(3) The birth of Ishmael, as a result of human plans and according to natural law.16: 1-16. Abraham was then 86 yrs. old. It was not the work of God! Gods promises no more depended on Ishmael than upon Eliezer.
(4) God renewed his pact with Abraham. Abraham proposed that Ishmael might be the one by whom Gods promises could be realized. Again God rejected human plans. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, in spite of human impossibility due to the advanced age of the two. "I will establish my covenant with (Isaac)," the son of promise and according to divine plan- 17: 15,16,19-21.
(5) The birth of Isaac when Abraham was 100 years old; his weaning at the age of one to three years old (according to Jewish tradition) the mocking of Ishmael, and the casting out of Hagar and Ishmael from Abrahams house - 21:1-12. The casting out was fully approved by God because the promised seed of Abraham would be called through the only heir, Isaac (v. 12). The Divine Plan from the beginning (chap. 12) depended solely upon God. Isaac was the only one ever in the plan of God to make Abraham a father of many nations (Gen. 22:2, 12; Rom. 4:11-18; Heb. 11: 17-19).
(6) The grand promise to Abraham, fulfilled in Christ Jesus 22:18. Read Gal. 3:14-18. Christ is the seed of Abraham by which all the world (Jew and Gentile) can be blessed with the salvation of their souls.
(7) From the beginning of the promises (chap. 12) Isaac was the heir in the purposes of God, and no other was (such as Eliezer and Ishmael). Even as respects the inheritance of material goods, Abrahams sole heir was Isaac (25: 5,6). Even if Ishmael had not been cast out Of the household, he still would not have inherited, even as Abrahams other sons (by concubines) did not inherit anything. From beginning to end, Isaac was the only heir!
King is dead wrong in his claim that Ishmael had a primogeniture until such time as he was cast out. He never had such a thing! He came on the scene by human wisdom (Sarahs), and left it the same way! He never was any part of Gods purposes to bless mankind. Hagar and Ishmael typified the Law of Moses given at Sinai inasmuch as the Law was added 430 years after the promise of God was made to Abraham, and was taken away when the seed (Christ) came. See Gal. 3:17-19, 24, 25; 4:30. Sarah knew that Ishmael was not the heir in Gods sight and plans, and cast him out that he might not so appear to others.
Paul did not tell the Galatians to "hang on" till A.D. 70, when they would really inherit something, and be completely manifested as the sons of God, etc (per Kings imaginations), but that to desire to be justified by the Law of Moses (as the Judaizers did) was to desire to be under that which was cast out. They were already sons of the freewoman (and therefore justified in Christ 4: 31; 5:1,13; 2:4; Rom. 8:15; 2 Cor. 3:17). Their adoption as sons was not something to wait for as yet future (Gal. 4:17)!
They had already passed from bondage to the adoption of sons. They were already complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10).
King says: " Isaac was a grown man before he inherited ... He did not receive the inheritance the day he was born ... neither did the church receive its inheritance the day it had its beginning ... One world ended (destruction of Jer., A.D. 70-BHR) and another one began. . . I stand there tonight because thats the meaning of the allegory." Thats Kings allegory; it is not found in Galatians 4! -Rt. 3
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 10, pp.11-13