Key Passages:

Dan. 8:17, 19 – The vision is for the time of the end; cf. Dan. 12:9 (sealed until time of the end)
Dan. 7:15-16 – Daniel was terrified by the prophecy and needed help understanding it
Dan. 8:17, 27 – Daniel was puzzled and sickened by the prophecy
Isaiah 8:20 – Testing truths by the law and the testimony
2 Tim. 2:15 – Rightly dividing the word of truth
John 16:13 – Spirit guides into all truth

Key Question:

For those who take the message of Scripture seriously and apply it to our contemporary experience, four key factors seem to be important. How do we keep the following elements central in our thinking and living?
a) Immediacy, focus on the present day.
John 8:56 — Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus’ day
1 Peter 1:10-12 — The prophets did not serve themselves but those in Peter’s day
Revelation 1:1; 22:7, 20 — events that soon must take place, the soon coming of Jesus
b) Moral and ethical focus.
Micah 6:6-8 — not sacrifice, but justice, kindness, and walking humbly with God
Matthew 25:31-46 — key issue in the judgment: helping those in need
c) Element of surprise.
Matthew 24:36-44 — as in the days of Noah, the son of man comes unexpectedly
Matthew 24:45-51 — the master will return and surprise his servants
Matthew 25:1-13 — the bridegroom comes unexpectedly, but later than expected
Matthew 25:14-30 — the owner comes back to settle accounts “after a long time”
d) Restoration lies ahead.
Daniel 2, 7, 8-9, 10-12 — each of Daniel’s prophecies point to divine intervention and restoration
Revelation 21-22 — the promise of a new heaven and a new earth
Note: The eschatological passages in Scripture, those which speak of “the time of the end,” divide the human family into widely divergent groups. Believers and nonbelievers can often agree on important human values, but part company when God is invoked.


Apocalyptic & Eschatological Perspectives – Addendum A

In our modern world, views of prophecy, especially with reference to the “last days” or the “end of time” (apocalyptic/eschatology) fall into four basic categories:

A. Preterist: The “liberal” rationalist, critical perspective that denies the possibility of predictive prophecy as well as God’s active involvement in the world. The Bible is simply a human book describing what human beings thought about God. Thus Daniel would be seen as written “after the fact” (ex eventu), typically, after the “abomination of desolation” perpetrated by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168-65 BC. Jesus’ reference to the “desolating sacrilege” as still being future in His day (Matt. 24:15), reveals the inadequacy of the strict preterist view for dealing with biblical material.

B. Futurist: The “conservative,” fundamentalist, dispensationalist perspective that rejects conditional prophecy, and insists that all (as yet unfulfilled) prophecies will be fulfilled in detail at some point in the future. In this century, dispensationalism has been the most popular perspective on eschatology among conservative evangelicals.

C. Historicist: The traditional Reformation perspective, generally held by Adventists, sees prophecy as outlining a continuous, on-going sequence of events leading up to the end of time. Daniel 2 and 7 to 9 are the key chapters. The book of Revelation is seen to augment and expand the basic pattern found in Daniel. While the book of Revelation often echoes Daniel and other portions of the Old Testament, a continuous historical line is not as evident in Revelation as it is in Daniel, though a pattern can be overlaid on the material in Revelation, so that the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, for example, are seen to represent seven eras of history.

D. Idealist: The perspective that seeks to combine all the views, resulting in multiple applications: past, present, future, and throughout history. Ernst Kaesemann’s line, “apocalyptic is unbeatable because it is reheatable” applies here — the “time of the end” is always near and imminent. Thus the “desolating sacrilege” of Daniel could refer to several different events. For Daniel himself, it was the destruction of the temple in 586; for the Jews at 165, it was the desolation of the temple at the hands of Antiochus; in the New Testament it was the destruction of AD 70; and after the destruction of all earthly temples, the believer looks to the heavenly sanctuary and its restoration, an insight that came to Seventh-day Adventists as a result of the Great Disappointment on October 22, 1844.

A biblical example of reapplication: Joel 2:10-11, 25, 28-32 (grasshopper plague, dark day and other signs in the heavens; prophetic gift), reapplied in Acts 2:16-21 (Pentecost), reapplied in part in Revelation 6:12-17 (sixth seal; second coming).

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