Surely it comes to no surprise to you, my gentle snowflakes, that Eschatology Week at The Voice of Stefan carries on in spite jarring chronological gaps and every indication that the subject has been, at last, exhausted. Just as the millennial turn in every imaginable calendar fans the flames of apocalyptic speculation, so the dawn of a New Year redirects our attention to end-times contemplation—particularly in view of the prophetic events that unfolded yesterday.
Given the winds of eschatological fulfillment, I was pleased to learn that my earlier post in which I irrefutably established the identity of the Two Witnesses of Revelation, chapter 11, verses 3 through 12, caught the attention of the anonymous titan of prophetic study who, alas, came so close to the mark but sadly missed it. (You might recall, of course, that our estimable colleague came to the regrettably mistaken conclusion that the Two Witnesses are John Lennon and Paul McCartney—a remarkably close guess, given that, as we saw earlier, these are actually to be identified with Simon and Garfunkel.) Well, a couple of weeks ago, a fine gentleman writing under the assumed name of “Jacob” left a comment on my earlier post alerting me to the fact that, in the ultimate display of altruism, he has now made available his painstaking research on this subject in the form of an e-book, which may be accessed at the following address:
I encourage one and all to acquaint themselves thoroughly with this breathtaking study, which can only broaden your hermeneutical horizons and enrich your understanding of North American popular eschatology.
No, seriously, I mean it.
While Jacob’s conclusion is, to say the least, hermeneutically impossible, the way he arrives at it is methodologically indistinguishable from that which undergirds much of North American popular eschatological thought (or, as I often call it, “sci-fi eschatology”). This sort of “futuristic historicism” is not exclusive to Jacob, or even the likes of Jack Van Impe: only peruse the popular titles by such Dallas Seminary luminaries Charles Ryrie (The Final Countdown), John Walvoord (Armaggedon, Oil and Terror), and Charles Dyer (The Rise of Babylon). No one, then, can mockingly single out Jacob for his conclusions without calling into question the hermeneutically dubious eschatology of a majority of North American Evangelicals, and beyond them, of many other North Americans who for reasons which elude me embrace one or more of the tenets of “sci-fi eschatology.”
One further thing that piqued my interest. Jacob states the following in the epilogue to his book:
I was raised Lutheran but now have no affiliation with any denomination. I now commune directly with Jesus Christ.
Which is to say that he, and therefore also his eschatology, is independent from any community of faith, and therefore (just like many in the academy!) stands outside the “hermeneutical circle.” In this connection, would all do well to take constantly keep in mind what our good friend Jim West wrote only a little earlier today:
Bible instruction belongs in the community of faith [….]. In the community of faith there are controls. Outside of it, there are none. And that is precisely the sort of situation where dilettantism is spawned and hatched.