I thought Norm's presentation was excellent. I don't however find it doctrinal. Which doesn't mean that we can't have mystical impressions from our studies, only that it might be only for our own understanding and not what we ought to teach scripture is saying. If that makes sense.
Robin, I'm going to have my written presentation posted at some time soon after the conference. You will notice that my method is to use mostly scripture to build my case that I'm presenting. I'm a strong believer in letting the scriptures prove these things. What I will need to be refuted is someone taking the time like I have and showing me why my scriptures don't develop the ideas that I'm proposing.
I look forward to your interaction with it once we post it after next week.
Also Robin how can it be excellent if it isn't doctrinal. I'm just curious:)
I have something that I have been mulling over since your presentation Saturday. I would like to throw it out to get your impression.
There has been something bugging me about Heb. 11:1ff for some time. The specific detail is that the writer of Hebrews talks about God making the "ages" [plural]. Some translations (e.g. NIV) insert "universe" [singular] into the text, since it seems pretty clear the writer is speaking of creation in Genesis 1 -- he naturally moves forward to Abel and on from there. Here is the text from Young's:
And faith is of things hoped for a confidence, of matters not seen a conviction,
2for in this were the elders testified of;
3by faith we understand the ages to have been prepared by a saying of God, in regard to the things seen not having come out of things appearing;
4by faith a better sacrifice did Abel offer to God than Cain, through which he was testified to be righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and through it, he being dead, doth yet speak.
Now my question related to v. 3. Here it is:
Do you believe it to be possible that phrase "the ages to have been prepared by a saying of God" could perhaps be a reference to the six days of creation in Genesis 1? In other words, do you think the term "ages" refers to the equivalent of the six days of creation... sort of like Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 10:11:
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
Your presentation illuminated this statement (as it relates to Heb. 11:1-3) as if Paul understands that they lived at the fulfillment of all creation, the 6 ages of God's work. Does this seem like an accurate development of your concept?
Thanks again for your work. Very thought-provoking.
I agree with you when it comes to the problem the language creates for a material view of Genesis creation.
The writer of Hebrews is not talking, in any way, shape or form, like Genesis creation is about the physical universe at all. (That is why the text is such a strong demonstration of the Covenant Creation view.) The translators have to import that meaning due to their theological paradigm and conception of Genesis creation. It doesn't look right to them, so they have to "fix it" for the reader.
Seems like preterists have a lot of experience dealing with these kinds of translation problems. The fact we are now seeing them in relation to Genesis creation is precisely what I would expect if both covenant eschatology and covenant creation are true.
If you remember, a question came up about this very subject during the Q&A at the 2009 Covenant Creation Conference. The questioner asked about the meaning of the ages [plural] in Heb. 11 in contrast to the "end of the age" which preterists seem to have comfortable grasp as the end of the old covenant age taken as a whole. The "end of the age" ushers in the consummation/harvest.
Mickey Denen (I think?) suggested something along the lines of your suggestion above, to the effect that there are two ages and this is the meaning of the plural. According to Mickey's explanation, the writer includes a reference to the old covenant world and the new covenant world, associating God as creator of both by his word.
I am not fully comfortable with that response. My observation is simply that it does not appear that the writer of Hebrews is doing anything other than looking back at Hebrew history from the very beginning.
Follow his thought in the transition from Heb. 10 to 11. Hebrews 10:32 draws the reader back to the "early days" of their faith in Christ. Then the writer reaches all the way back into Hebrew history for examples of others, the old covenant faithful, who persevered even amid persecution and suffering.
The context seems to be locked on the past, exclusively. I'm not sure how we get the new covenant world into this text. To me, it doesn't fit with what the writer is actually doing if you read it carefully.
What if the writer is really thinking of Genesis 1 creation and speaks of "ages" [plural] simply because, well, because that is how he thought of Genesis creation (as in times - plural) and the six days specifically as ages?
Young's makes it even more interesting since it presents this as a "saying" of God. Perhaps someone with some Greek background could help us at this point, but doesn't a "saying" of God include the possibility of something more like a "prophecy" -- i.e. that the writer of Hebrews understood himself at the conclusion of the prophetic creation week of "ages"? That sure looks like how Paul uses the language in 1 Cor. 10. I suppose this could be dismissed as simply God's creation by his "word," but the connection between God's "word" and God's "prophecy" is well established throughout the biblical text.
Perhaps I am heading in a direction that will turn out to be a dead end on further analysis. It just seems to me like it should be considered, however, given Norm's excellent presentation.
I had already looked at how the NT used age and ages and below is just a few samples that verify your observation. Unfortunately most versions use “world” instead of ages and we lose the flow and connotation of this recognition. I’ve pointed this out before to folks and it doesn’t resonate until you have an eye for this mindset. Paul often referred to the Present Age to illustrate the era they were in.
(Heb 11:3) by faith we understand the ages to have been prepared by a saying of God, in regard to the things seen not having come out of things appearing;
(Heb 9:26) since it had behoved him many times to suffer from the foundation of the world, but now once, at the full end of THE AGES, for putting away of sin through his sacrifice, he hath been manifested;
(Heb 6:5) and did taste the good saying of God, the powers also of the COMING AGE,
(Heb 1:2) in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also HE DID MAKE THE AGES;
(Tit 2:12) teaching us, that denying the impiety and the worldly desires, soberly and righteously and piously we may live in THE PRESENT AGE,
(2Ti 4:10) for Demas forsook me, having loved the PRESENT AGE, and went on to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia,
Also when the idea of eternity is put forth they simply use “aion” (age) back to back meaning ages upon ages unending.
Most excellent presentation! I am on my second time through and it certainly will not be my last. I will have some more specific comments later, but what I wanted to mention in general, is that you answered the "chronology" aspect of the creation account that I hadn't been able to put together yet. I know you had shared some things on this before, but I hadn't taken the time to really processs where you were going with it. The way you laid it out in this one talk presented such a clear picture, it just delighted me! Truly.
And I appreciate too what others are saying here about the plural "ages" ("once at the end of the ages" Heb 9:26 ) and how **perfectly** the chronological framework you presented answers that little nuance in NT language.
Just a thought I had...those "day age theory" folks were on to something....beyond their wildest dreams. :)
I think when people begin to grasp that the Jews were laying out that their “world” or existence had a beginning and an end will cause a lot of anxiety. Rocking the world with eschatology is hard enough but to come to grips that the complete story has a beginning and an ending will challenge people’s world view in so many different facets. It will create challenges for all of us to deal with in helping provide good answers that strengthen people’s faith rather than allow it to be shaken by such insights.
Yes, I always had to chuckle to myself about the Day Agers missing the boat. What we see is that many folks have bits and pieces of the story correct but get side tracked for one reason or another.
One problem I see with Augustine's 6 day/ ages is how that is laid out. If what Ted & Tim mentioned about the prophetic word of God being our marker for these ages, then how is the era of Moses - Samuel not one of them?
The prophecy to Abraham was how his promised children would spend 400 yrs in Egypt and then a deliverer would bring them into the promised land. So why no division between Abe-David? Because it was in that age before a king was given them that God ruled over them. In fact their request for an earthly king was a direct affront to God and why He gave them Saul before David.
This age of the patriarchs is mentioned often in scripture, how is it to be skipped?
There are some important points that you raise. First Augustine was dealing with the structure of the six Day as age’s concept that fits a Temple creation motif. The Jews had other structures that they also used to illustrate the epochs of time in their historical period of existence. One that closely mirrors Augustine’s 7 Day is the Book of Enoch written 200 years or more before Christ. They use a Seven Week breakdown and then a final Three week wrap-up for the time of the Messiah to bring the total to 10 Weeks or epochs/ages. One of Augustine’s methods of breaking the six Days apart was to follow Matthew’s 14 Generations of the lineage back to Abraham. If you look at Matthew will see that there were breaks that corresponds to Augustines understanding.
Mat 1:17 ESV So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
This takes care of four of the six Days which leaves us with the first two Days which Luke takes us back to Adam where Genesis assigns 10 generations from Adam to Noah and 10 from Noah to Abraham.
Here below is the Enoch breakout as well.
3. And Enoch began to recount from the books and said:
'I was born the seventh in THE FIRST WEEK,
While judgement and righteousness still endured.
4. And after me there shall arise in THE SECOND WEEK great wickedness,
And deceit shall have sprung up;
And in it there shall be the first end.
And in it a man shall be saved;
And after it is ended unrighteousness shall grow up,
And a law shall be made for the sinners.
5. And after that in THE THIRD WEEK at its close
A man shall be elected as the plant of righteous judgement,
And his posterity shall become the plant of righteousness for evermore.
6. And after that in THE FOURTH WEEK, at its close,
Visions of the holy and righteous shall be seen,
And a law for all generations and an enclosure shall be made for them.
7. And after that in THE FIFTH WEEK, at its close,
The house of glory and dominion shall be built for ever. p. 133
8. And after that in THE SIXTH WEEK all who live in it shall be blinded,
And the hearts of all of them shall godlessly forsake wisdom.
And in it a man shall ascend;
And at its close the house of dominion shall be burnt with fire,
And the whole race of the chosen root shall be dispersed.
9. And after that in THE SEVENTH WEEK shall an apostate generation arise,
And many shall be its deeds,
And all its deeds shall be apostate.
10. And at its close shall be elected
The elect righteous of the eternal plant of righteousness,
To receive sevenfold instruction concerning all His creation.
XCI. 12.-17. The Last Three Weeks.
12. And after that there shall be another, the EIGHTH WEEK, that of righteousness,
And a sword shall be given to it that a righteous judgement may be executed on the oppressors,
And sinners shall be delivered into the hands of the righteous. p. 134
13 And at its close they shall acquire houses through their righteousness,
And a house shall be built for the Great King in glory for evermore,
14d. And all mankind shall look to the path of uprightness.
14a. And after that, in THE NINTH WEEK, the righteous judgement shall be revealed to the whole world,
b. And all the works of the godless shall vanish from all the earth,
c. And the world shall be written down for destruction.
15. And after this, in the TENTH WEEK in the seventh part,
There shall be the great eternal judgement,
In which He will execute vengeance amongst the angels.
16. And THE FIRST HEAVEN SHALL DEPART AND PASS AWAY,
And a new heaven shall appear,
And all the powers of the heavens shall give sevenfold light.
17. And after that there will be many weeks without number for ever,
And all shall be in goodness and righteousness,
And sin shall no more be mentioned for ever.
Did you notice that Enoch centuries before Christ accounts for everything in the First Heaven and Earth stretching from Adam to Christ?
You raise some important questions which need to be dealt with. I'm going to be out of pocket until later tonight and will proably be brain dead when I get home. I may not get back to you until tommorow but I'll leave you with this thought for now. What I try to do is exercise the same hermenutic method that we use in Revelation and Ezekiel to understand those two pieces of literature. It's essentially the method Preterist used in coming to the full Preterist understandings.
So to quickly answer your question; how do we say that the full Preterist method is more biblically sound than others. We will have to bring a lot of evidence to prove it and even then most still won't accept it. I'll see what I can do.