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What is the Preterist take on Ezekiel 36-39? If fulfilled in the past, when?

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  • What is the Preterist take on Ezekiel 36-39? If fulfilled in the past, when?

    Ezekiel 36 to 39 describe a series of events to take place in "the Last Days," (Ezek. 38:8. 16) beginning with the restoration of Israel as a nation (which took place in 1948) after a worldwide dispersion.

    Futurists believe this was to take place after Israel became a nation again, and that the invasion described is yet to take place (perhaps in our day, perhaps even in the near future). As Preterists do not appear to believe Israel today has anything to do with this prophecy or future events, then I assume they must picture a past fulfillment. I would be interested in when this allegedly took place, and how the details of these chapters were verified (ie. the burial site of Hammon-Gog and the town of Hamonah of Ezek. 39:11 and 16).

  • #2
    Originally posted by xcav8tor View Post
    Ezekiel 36 to 39 describe a series of events to take place in "the Last Days," (Ezek. 38:8. 16) beginning with the restoration of Israel as a nation (which took place in 1948) after a worldwide dispersion.

    Futurists believe this was to take place after Israel became a nation again, and that the invasion described is yet to take place (perhaps in our day, perhaps even in the near future). As Preterists do not appear to believe Israel today has anything to do with this prophecy or future events, then I assume they must picture a past fulfillment. I would be interested in when this allegedly took place, and how the details of these chapters were verified (ie. the burial site of Hammon-Gog and the town of Hamonah of Ezek. 39:11 and 16).
    I don't believe I've considered the passage before. Given Ez. 39:17-20, it is certainly not meant to be taken strictly literally (as that would violate Mosaic law). What I do know is that the modern secular nation of Israel can in no way have anything to do with fulfillment of this prophecy (Ez. 36:26-27, which is a requisite condition for the promises that follow).

    I can't speak for the "preterist take" but I see no tension between a general preterist interpretation and assigning a future fulfillment to this particular prophecy. Given the language of Ez. 36:26-7 (which generally in Christian interpretation of the same idea elsewhere has been applied to the New Covenant), it's possible it's being fulfilled over time with the advent of the Church.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
    sigpic
    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    • #3
      I'm looking at 36:26-28:

      I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

      Verse 28 seems to point toward a literal land interpretation of some sort (as opposed to a vague replacement theology interpretation of it referring to the worldwide church), but it should be noted that the borders of the modern day state of Israel do not match the boundaries of what God originally gave under the Old Covenant. Verse 27 is also difficult to match with the current state of Israel, where secular Jews outnumber the number of observant Jews.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
        ...What I do know is that the modern secular nation of Israel can in no way have anything to do with fulfillment of this prophecy....
        Yet so many Christian churches hang their eschatology on this.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          The prophecies usually involve metaphors and mysteries which probably don't resolve to the physical realities that we may expect from the text.

          A good example of this is in Isaiah 3-4. Within Isaiah 3, we see Jerusalem judged and destroyed. In Isaiah 4, Jerusalem appears intact with blessings. I suspect that the Jerusalem of Isaiah 4 represents the new Jerusalem which descends from heaven in the last chapters of Revelation. My take on Isaiah (without having yet study the overall structure with great detail) is that the problems and fixes within Isaiah correspond to the problems and changes that would occur in the era of the Messiah (i.e., the first century events ... and the gospel).

          We likely find the 'land of the fathers' in Ezek 36:28 to be this glorified destination. The verses about abundant grain and fruit (verses 29-30) then become metaphors for blessings of God upon the people (in Christ).

          Note hat the interpretation of verses 29-30 has three predominant options: 1) Ezekiel was written only to appeal to people who live on farms, 2) people in this prophetic future will depend on their own farms to grow grain and fruit trees, or 3) the language is a metaphor for abundance in people's circumstances (or for getting past the calamities of that era).

          In verses 26-27, the work of Christ is seen. Such changes through Christ have happened through the gospel in the first century. This fulfillment tends to place the previous verses within the same changes as the Christian's receipt of the Holy Spirit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, if Peter in Acts 2 was correct when he quoted the Prophet Joel, then the last days were beginning with the receipt of the Holy Spirit that Ezek. also spoke of in ch 36.

            14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

            17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
            that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
            and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
            and your young men shall see visions,
            and your old men shall dream dreams;
            18 even on my male servants and female servants
            in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
            19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
            and signs on the earth below,
            blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
            20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
            and the moon to blood,
            before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
            21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
            "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

            "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
              Yet so many Christian churches hang their eschatology on this.
              Probably because of the improbable historical circumstances surrounding that event (6 day war, etc.). What's stranger to me is that, while a lot of Christians denounce that particular event involving Israel as having any spiritual or historical significance, they seem to contradict that in their undying support for Israel from a political point of view. That's what I don't get.
              "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by seanD View Post
                Probably because of the improbable historical circumstances surrounding that event (6 day war, etc.). What's stranger to me is that, while a lot of Christians denounce that particular event involving Israel as having any spiritual or historical significance, they seem to contradict that in their undying support for Israel from a political point of view. That's what I don't get.
                Where do you get that idea? As far as I can tell, the two groups are largely synonymous.

                I generally (but not uncritically) support Israel politically because they're better than most countries in the area politically. That has nothing to do with my religious beliefs, however.
                Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                sigpic
                I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seanD View Post
                  Probably because of the improbable historical circumstances surrounding that event (6 day war, etc.).
                  I have heard that a bunch, to be sure. But I also read a book about the amazing preparations the Israelis had made in advance, as well as some unpublished assistance from US sources.

                  I'd say it was a classic example of "work like it all depends on you, pray like it all depends on God".

                  What's stranger to me is that, while a lot of Christians denounce that particular event involving Israel as having any spiritual or historical significance, they seem to contradict that in their undying support for Israel from a political point of view. That's what I don't get.
                  Wait, what? Not getting what you're saying here. How can it not have any historical significance to the secular State of Israel?
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    I have heard that a bunch, to be sure. But I also read a book about the amazing preparations the Israelis had made in advance, as well as some unpublished assistance from US sources.

                    I'd say it was a classic example of "work like it all depends on you, pray like it all depends on God".



                    Wait, what? Not getting what you're saying here. How can it not have any historical significance to the secular State of Israel?
                    I should have clarified that I meant prophetic history. I believe that prophecies can just be a sign of God's omnipotence and control over history and have no real spiritual significance further than that. But you guys don't even accept that in relation to Israel, do you?
                    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seanD View Post
                      I should have clarified that I meant prophetic history.
                      Ah!

                      I believe that prophecies can just be a sign of God's omnipotence and control over history and have no real spiritual significance further than that.
                      For example?

                      But you guys don't even accept that in relation to Israel, do you?
                      A) who are "you guys"?
                      2) Not sure I understand the question

                      And, keep in mind, there's a distinction, I think, between the secular State of Israel and the Biblical Israel.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by xcav8tor View Post
                        Ezekiel 36 to 39 describe a series of events to take place in "the Last Days," (Ezek. 38:8. 16) beginning with the restoration of Israel as a nation (which took place in 1948) after a worldwide dispersion.

                        Futurists believe this was to take place after Israel became a nation again, and that the invasion described is yet to take place (perhaps in our day, perhaps even in the near future). As Preterists do not appear to believe Israel today has anything to do with this prophecy or future events, then I assume they must picture a past fulfillment. I would be interested in when this allegedly took place, and how the details of these chapters were verified (ie. the burial site of Hammon-Gog and the town of Hamonah of Ezek. 39:11 and 16).
                        Ezekiel 37 seems to have been fulfilled by St Matthew 27.51-3.

                        This passage in Acts 15:

                        12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.
                        15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

                        16
                        “‘After this I will return
                        and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
                        Its ruins I will rebuild,
                        and I will restore it,
                        17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
                        even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
                        says the Lord, who does these things’[b]—
                        18 things known from long ago.

                        quotes verses 16-18 from the Septuagint of Amos 9.11-12. This indicates that James, or Luke, or the Jerusalem church, or the NT Church, or all four, saw the OT prophecies of restoration as being fulfilled in the community founded by Jesus, and not as being fulfilled, at some unknown future date, for national Israel AKA the descendants of Abraham through the Twelve Tribes “according to the flesh”. Such a belief would agree with the use of OT passages to describe Jesus, His Ministry, and His Identity. That raises the question, if passages from Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah and other Prophets were seen as applying to, or fulfilled in, Jesus; why would passages in Ezekiel not be read in the same way ? The “last days” began long ago:

                        1 Peter 1:

                        17Since you call on a Father who judges each one’s work impartially, conduct yourselves in reverent fear during your stay as foreigners. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot. 20He was known before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in the last times for your sake.

                        1 John 2.18:

                        Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

                        The other references, especially in the Gospels, that treat “the last days” as future, are either uttered from the perspective of an earlier period, like the Ministry of Christ, or can be seen as referring to the period in which SS. Peter and John wrote:

                        https://biblehub.net/search.php?q=last+times


                        https://biblehub.net/searchnt.php?q=last+days

                        As for Romans 4 & 9-11, those can be reconciled with Acts 15 on the supposition
                        that the promises of restoration to Israel in the OT were made with the Christian Church in mind as the “Israel of God”;
                        and that the Israel “according to the flesh” for which St Paul would have been glad to have been cast away was the national Israel;
                        and that the Church, by being grafted on to the “stock” of Israel was the nucleus of a new, restored Israel “according to the promise”, to which in God’s good time Israel “according to the flesh” would, and will, be ingathered.

                        Israel is not being deprived of anything - on the contrary, God’s promises were and are being fulfilled, and even the rejection of the Gospel cannot thwart God’s Purpose. Israel may as it were have gone AWOL; but God Who can raise up children to Abraham from the stones, does so by founding an Israel that consists of those who accept the Messiah sent to Israel.



                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the replies so far.

                          Granted that the scriptures presented above indicate "the last days" began in Christ's day and continue into our future, I'm still trying to sort out how Preterists find fulfillment of the following:

                          Ezekiel 39 (NET)

                          9 “‘Then those who live in the cities of Israel will go out and use the weapons for kindling—the shields, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears—they will burn them for seven years. 10 They will not need to take wood from the field or cut down trees from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons. They will take the loot from those who looted them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them, declares the sovereign Lord.
                          11 “‘On that day I will assign Gog a grave in Israel. It will be the valley of those who travel east of the sea; it will block the way of the travelers. There they will bury Gog and all his horde; they will call it the valley of Hamon-Gog. 12 For seven months Israel will bury them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will be a memorial for them on the day I magnify myself, declares the sovereign Lord. 14 They will designate men to scout continually through the land, burying those who remain on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. They will search for seven full months. 15 When the scouts survey the land and see a human bone, they will place a sign by it, until those assigned to burial duty have buried it in the valley of Hamon-Gog. 16 (A city by the name of Hamonah will also be there.) They will cleanse the land.’

                          I have no problem understanding how this could take place literally in the future, but where are these places on the map if this invasion of Gog and Magog occurred literally in the past?

                          If there is no literal interpretation, what is the allegorical meaning of these actions and places? And on what basis can we be assured that any allegorical fulfillment is valid? 7 years to burn weapons as fuel - means what? 7 months to bury the dead bodies - means what? Names of non-existent burial grounds and the nearby town - mean what? If all this is somehow in the past, shouldn't there be some agreement as to the meaning?

                          And if you rule out today's "secular Israel" as being the focus of this prophecy, and you rule out "Biblical Israel" as no longer existing, then exactly which "Israel" is it that Christ is going to return to save at Armageddon? If you try to replace "Biblical Israel" with the Church, then how do God and Magog invade the church from the uttermost north? And what are we to make of the burial site, nearby town, etc?
                          Last edited by xcav8tor; 09-01-2019, 08:56 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by xcav8tor View Post
                            Thanks for the replies so far.

                            Granted that the scriptures presented above indicate "the last days" began in Christ's day and continue into our future, I'm still trying to sort out how Preterists find fulfillment of the following:

                            Ezekiel 39 (NET)

                            9 “‘Then those who live in the cities of Israel will go out and use the weapons for kindling—the shields, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears—they will burn them for seven years. 10 They will not need to take wood from the field or cut down trees from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons. They will take the loot from those who looted them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them, declares the sovereign Lord.
                            11 “‘On that day I will assign Gog a grave in Israel. It will be the valley of those who travel east of the sea; it will block the way of the travelers. There they will bury Gog and all his horde; they will call it the valley of Hamon-Gog. 12 For seven months Israel will bury them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will be a memorial for them on the day I magnify myself, declares the sovereign Lord. 14 They will designate men to scout continually through the land, burying those who remain on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. They will search for seven full months. 15 When the scouts survey the land and see a human bone, they will place a sign by it, until those assigned to burial duty have buried it in the valley of Hamon-Gog. 16 (A city by the name of Hamonah will also be there.) They will cleanse the land.’

                            I have no problem understanding how this could take place literally in the future, but where are these places on the map if this invasion of Gog and Magog occurred literally in the past?

                            If there is no literal interpretation, what is the allegorical meaning of these actions and places? And on what basis can we be assured that any allegorical fulfillment is valid? 7 years to burn weapons as fuel - means what? 7 months to bury the dead bodies - means what? Names of non-existent burial grounds and the nearby town - mean what? If all this is somehow in the past, shouldn't there be some agreement as to the meaning?

                            And if you rule out today's "secular Israel" as being the focus of this prophecy, and you rule out "Biblical Israel" as no longer existing, then exactly which "Israel" is it that Christ is going to return to save at Armageddon? If you try to replace "Biblical Israel" with the Church, then how do God and Magog invade the church from the uttermost north? And what are we to make of the burial site, nearby town, etc?
                            Upon reconsideration, a strictly literal interpretation is unlikely (unless we're talking post-nuclear winter or something, and we revert to Bronze Age civilization). The "seven years" and "seven months" are certainly symbolic. The Church IS "Biblical Israel" - see Rom 11 (the olive tree). That doesn't mean Jews can't be grafted back in. I can't tell you what the passage means - all I can do is rule out obviously faulty interpretations.
                            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                            sigpic
                            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                              Upon reconsideration, a strictly literal interpretation is unlikely (unless we're talking post-nuclear winter or something, and we revert to Bronze Age civilization). The "seven years" and "seven months" are certainly symbolic. The Church IS "Biblical Israel" - see Rom 11 (the olive tree). That doesn't mean Jews can't be grafted back in. I can't tell you what the passage means - all I can do is rule out obviously faulty interpretations.
                              The “literal interpretation” is the one intended by the original human author (whatever authorship may mean in a given case). In that sense, passages like Ezekiel 38-39 are to be “taken literally” - even though the events described are fantasy. The literal truth of Rev 12 is, not that a Great Red Dragon will fall down from the skies, but that satan and his power will be overthrown. The fantastic details of the texts in these books are not the theological meanings intended by the sacred authors, but are the vehicles of the meanings intended. This distinction between vehicle and meaning is not a reason to disregard the letter of the text - because the letter is what gives access to the meanings and their vehicles. So the concept of “literal meaning” is a bit more complex and ambiguous than is sometimes realised.

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