What do I think of Duane Garner’s book published by Athanasius Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This book is a part of series of answers in an hour. The book is short enough that if you have the question about the end times of if the end is near, this book is meant to answer that. Of course, one could say we don’t know when the end is so it could be near, but I’m inclined to think we still have time since there are still unevangelized parts of the world.
Thankfully, Garner does hold to the future resurrection of the dead, but most of this is meant to deal with premillennial dispensationalism. Readers of my work know that eschatology is a favorite topic of mine and I speak as a former holder of the view of premillennial dispensationalism. Garner sums up well in his book reasons for my own change in position.
The position that he is responding to is quite likely the most prominent one in the church today, which is odd since it has virtually no presence in the early church. Even those who try to point to a few isolated passages would have to say those are the exception and not the rule. This is not the case with premillennialism itself. While I do not hold to that position, it was a prevalent one in the early church.
Garner asks how it was that the modern interpretation came about. There are some that trace it to a minister who held to some heretical positions named Edward Irving or the visions of a Scottish girl named Margaret MacDonald. It was largely popularized by John Darby and then further pushed by Scofield’s Bible.
Garner will point out various hermeneutical problems that I have with the rapture view. One main one is how do you divide the comings of Jesus? We are to talk about the second coming but the rapture is Jesus coming for His church, yet somehow it is not a coming, and then the second coming is seven years later. I’d add in also that Jesus says the resurrection will be on the last day and Paul says at the last trumpet, but if you read Revelation with the rapture viewpoint in mind, then there are 1,007 years at least after the last day and seven more trumpets after the last trumpet.
The far better way is to read passages like the Olivet Discourse like you would Isaiah 13. Isaiah 13 sounds like a doom and gloom future passage about what’s coming up. However, it is a prophecy against Babylon. Some would try to push this into the future with a future Babylon (Think New Babylon from the Left Behind series), but the reading of it as referring to Isaiah’s near future works just fine.
While I hold a great love for my brothers and sisters who hold to the idea of the rapture, I do hope that will start changing soon. End times madness is incredibly shaping in the church and those from the Preterist viewpoint, like myself, often have our orthodoxy questioned immediately as if we’re denying the Trinity. I look forward to the day when the church is caught up in understanding many more aspects of the faith than just prophecy.
(And I affirm the virgin birth.)
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