Sunday, September 06, 2015

Less than it seems

I'm something of a fan of C.Ervana, being a subscriber to both of his* YouTube channels, though for a number of reasons, I'm not convinced that the End Times begin in earnest a mere 17 days from today.  But I appreciate talent, and if I needed a videographer after September 23rd and C.Ervana was available**, I would definitely hire him.  I just hope that when September 23rd comes and goes, without an asteroid or a rapture or an alien in sight, he will take advantage of the teachable moment that eventually comes to everyone who ignores the plain meaning of Jesus' admonition that no man knoweth the day or the hour.***

That said, this post is not about September 23rd, which I suspect will pass with little of real eternal interest occurring, but addresses the oft-used appeal to authority that falls upon "Bible Experts" rather than upon the scriptures themselves.

Now, if you watch the video - and you should - one thing you'll note is the lack of explanation of why this legion of bible teachers****, most of whom lived about the same time, all came to the conclusion that strange things are afoot at the Circle K coming in 2015.  And the reason is not that each of them independently studied many scriptures and reasoned their way to 2015, but that each of them subscribed to a particular interpretation of particular passages in Daniel and Revelation that was popular during their lives.

When you understand this, it becomes obvious that the 2015 date relies less on 'expertise' than on the strength of that particular interpretation, so let's take a look at it.

Now, it might come as a surprise that Adam Clarke, a Methodist minister and author of a series of commentaries I admire quite a bit, did name 2015 as a meaningful year.  And he did so in his commentary on Daniel 7:8:
If the Papal power as a horn, or temporal power, be intended here, which is most likely; (and we know that that power was given in 755, to Pope Stephen II, by Pepin, king of France;) counting one thousand two hundred and sixty years from that, we are brought to A. D. 2015, about one hundred and ninety years from the present A. D. 1825.—But I neither lay stress, nor draw conclusions, from these dates.
Ignoring that fact that Clarke specifically denies that he is setting dates here, the facts remain that:

a) He really did name the year 2015 in 1825.
b) Lots of others followed.

Point b) is most easily explained by the fact that Clark was a big fish who knew whereof he spoke when it came to biblical exposition.  One could not go much wrong taking him at his word, though he doubtless suffered from a handicap common to all men who study prophecy from the wrong end: now we see through a glass darkly, etc.

Still, Clarke did not pick 2015 out of the blue: it was the mathematical result of an interpretation that posited:

a) The Papacy is the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7:8
b)  The 1260 days or 3 1/2 years or 42 months or time, times, and half a time of Daniel and Revelation apply to the Little Horn.
c) The 1260 days really mean 1260 years.
d) The end of the Little Horn means the destruction of its entire system.
e) The count began in 755 AD.

Now, if all those things are true then it's hard to argue that 2015 will fail to hold some biblically-important events.  If a single link in the chain fails, then 2015 should similarly fail. I'm not convinced by Clarke's interpretation. That doesn't mean it's wrong, but we'll know in a couple of weeks, or maybe a couple of months.

I said all that to say this: the 2015 date of the destruction of the Papacy and the coming of all sorts of trumpets and bowls and aliens, despite the claims of the video, does not rely on dozens of Bible experts, or at least not those experts coming to independent conclusions.  With the exception of Newton and those who relied on him, the 2015 date is based on a specific interpretation of the intersection of biblical prophecy with historical events that was posited by a briefly-popular school but has since been all but forgotten.  It may be correct, or it may not.  But when you realize that's exactly how 2015 is named in Biblical prophecy by experts from centuries ago, I think it's less compelling than the headlines might state.

* I think C is a "his," though plenty of others comment by calling him "sister." I simply cannot tell from the voice, and so fall back on actual, as opposed to SJW, English, in which the masculine gender encompasses the feminine.
** I suspect he will be.
*** Having been a Christian for three decades, and holding interests in both history and prophecy that whole time, I'm amazed that I'm still amazed at the lengths to which prophecy experts will go to explain why that phrase does not mean what it says.  Still, each of them has been proved wrong thus far.
**** Newton is different and to be fair both to him and my remaining reader, we shall handle him in a separate post.

1 comment:

ehart said...

And your one remaining reader will be waiting.