Wednesday, September 10, 2008

relevance in prophecy

If Revelation were a blueprint of the distant future, it would have been unintelligible for its original readers, as well as the readers of all succeeding generations, and would only become truly and fully relevant for one generation--the one who happened to live in the one period of time it is prognosticating about.
McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 177

I think one can look at biblical prophecy, and see very quickly that quite often the fulfillment of it takes place quite some time, generations even, after the prophecy is initially given.

For example, God promises to make Abraham a great nation and the father of many nations. It's roughly twenty years after that promise is made that Isaac is born to Abraham and Sarah. Abraham has other children, but none of those are of that promise. Isaac has twins, Esau and Jacob, but only Jacob is a part of that promise.

Two generations, Abraham is dead, and the promise of him being a great nations comes down to--a generational line that is essentially a stick.

How relevant, then, was the prophecy and promise to Abraham? After all, he doesn't live long enough to see his offspring become a great nation.

Or God's prophecy and promise that Israel would process the whole of an area of land, which to date they still haven't had the entirety of?

Or the prophecy to the King Ahaz, not a shining example btw, that the virgin would conceive and give birth to Emmanuel? A prophecy that wasn't fulfilled for a few hundred years, until Christ was born.

Or all of the times God promises Israel that a time of peace and prosperity would come to them, which promises and prophecies have still not come to pass?

I think you can see now, that a prophecies relevance has to do not just with the generation that sees it fulfilled, but also with the ones that anticipate the fulfillment.

In regards to His return and the events of it, Jesus tells us that He does not know the day or hour, but that we are to watch and be ready. The relevance, then, of the prophecies of the end to those who were not around when they are fulfilled is that they are to be ready for them to be fulfilled, because the fulfilling may begin at any time.

So, McLaren's statement above does not hold water. The Revelation is relevant to all those generations who came between its being given and its fulfillment; rather, his attempts to water down it's prophetic meaning makes it either irrelevant to us because it's already been fulfilled, or simply another vessel for him to pour his liberal agenda into.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't the point McLaren makes in this post (prophecies have no use before they're fulfilled) directly contradict the point he made in the Sept. 9 post (we can apply that prophecy before it's fulfilled)?

jazzact13 said...

Good point. I hadn't seen that connections. Thanks for pointing that out.