A Discussion about Multiple Prophetic Scenarios

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Florin Laiu
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A Discussion about Multiple Prophetic Scenarios

Post by Florin Laiu » Thu Jun 20, 2002 6:12 am

This thread is in reference to Eugene Shubert’s Multiple Scenario Thesis. —Moderator

I have read carefully your message about the concept of multiple scenarios. I don’t want to offend you, but I still cannot see distinct scenarios in Revelation. I don’t claim I understand all prophecy of Revelation (I am really blocked in the face of some trumpets!), but I have some insight in this Book, as I studied it for 25 years and even learned it by heart when I was younger. I really appreciate your efforts to exalt these prophecies, and I think God will bless you to do it even better. Maybe my objections or suggestions will help you some way. This is not a matter of competition. It’s about Truth, and we all are limited – I don’t claim exemption.
When I began to read your view about the two scenarios in Matthew 24, I was ready to agree, but after a new look the Bible text, I couldn’t see a clear distinction. The first scenario is a conditional prophecy (see v. 14.34), while the second one seems to be a hint to God’s foreknowledge of delay (implied in v. 48 and in ch. 25:1-30). But I can’t say they are irreconcilable, because even the strongest word in it (25:19), which says “after a long time”, versus “before this generation has passed away” (24:34), is (in the parable) within the same generation. Only our retrospective make us understand a heavier import of the phrase “long time”, but for Christ’s listeners, it couldn’t seem so long in the future. Peter is, probably, the only one to whom God revealed that the Advent would be not in the same generation, but in the second, or even later (2 Peter 3:1-3).
  • «One prophecy is an exact, unmistakable delineation of future events; the other insists on your ignorance of the future and cautions you to be ready no matter what».
Yeah, the first one is an exact delineation of the future events, but not in dealing with an appointed time, and the second “scenario” is also implied in 24:14. Therefore, I can’t see two distinct scenarios, but rather a single one, a conditional, and thus an open prophecy. Christ’s Second Coming in the first century is not just a possible end of the world, but it was the intended, the ideal scenario, the real plan of God. If it fell down, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t sure and certain. Look at Jer 31:35-40, where God swears that the postexilic Jerusalem will never be destroyed. Was it only a possibility ? It was more than that.
  • «The first scenario (Rev 6) expresses the thought that an imminent return was possible for the Apostolic church.»
The language of Daniel and Revelation, by using only symbolic periods of time, apparently short and not understood by the first readers on the year-day principle, allowed believers to look for a soon coming End. I agree on your comment that Revelation 6 echoes the Olivet Prophecy (Mt 24), but not in speaking about time. I think that the chronological key of this “scenario” is the scene under “the 5th seal”, where the question “Till when…?”, and the answer, “Then a white robe was given to each of [the martyrs], and they were told to rest a little longer, until….” reflect the great question-and-answer of Daniel 8:13-14. Thus the focus of the 5th seal is God’s Judgment begun in 1844 and ended in vindication after the last persecution.
Furthermore, I cannot cut shorter the end of this literary section before the fulfillment of the 7th seal (Rev 8:1). It is obvious that we must read all the story through to the last seal, to be consistent. Think of it.
  • «The second scenario (Rev 7-11) was the possible end of the world during the Millerite Movement in 1844. That possibility was also canceled as foretold in Scripture.»
I may see the Adventist movement in ch. 10, but nothing in the text will tell you about our origins in chapter 7. And there’s seemingly no distinction between the Millerite movement and the SDA in this scenes. Adventist people before 1844 and after are the same movement. The same prophet who was disappointed in ch. 10:10, was told to prophecy again after Disappointment (v.11), and measure up God-s Temple (ch. 11:1). The last part of ch.11:13 speaks about the people who listened to the first angel’s message of Rev 14, no matter it was before or after 1844.
  • «We are now in the third and final scenario (Rev 12-18).»

According to my comments above, I cannot see distinct scenarios, so that I would not outline the Revelation on this criterion. We still need to distinguish the heart of the Revelation (Rev 12-14), from the Seven Plagues’ section (Rev 15-18/19), because the Seven Plagues are certainly a distinct vision, as it is with The 7 Seals or The 7 Trumpets.
  • «The gospel commission is fulfilled in each [of the three scenarios].»
Yes, and look again at their different chronological stress. The white horse of the first seal speaks about the Gospel commission up to the end, with the stress on the beginning of the Christian mission. The two witnesses of chapter 11 speak of the Christian Mission throughout the Middle Ages and to the end, with a special stress on the events of the Antichristian Revolution. The three angels of Rev 14 all refer to the Gospel being proclaimed since 1800 to the End, but with a special stress on the last warning, after the pagan decrees of ch. 13. Thus they look not like 3 scenarios, but three prophetical moments of the same scenario. They are not irreconcilable.
  • «Both scenarios refer to the cessation of Christ’s priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (8:5 /15:8).»
I was once inclined to accept this view, but I now see that it is not so sure as I thought. In ch.15 the cessation of Christ’s intercessory work is obvious. But in ch. 8 I can’t see it. The Angel-Priest throws his fire from censer to the earth, while the frankincense smoke continues to ascend to God. It speaks about judgments mixed with mercy. They are limited to “the 3rd part”, and sometimes leading to repentance. Even under the 6th trumpet, some do not repent (9:20-21), while others repent (11:13c-14). The judgments of The 7 Trumpets are historical (except the 7th, which is the coronation of divine judgments, the Day of Wrath, ch.11:15-19), while the judgments of The 7 Plagues are final. The historical character of the 7 trumpets may be seen in the use of a cryptic period of “5 months”, (which cannot be literalized to destroy the consistent application of the year-day principle, or to imply another time prophecy after 1844, in spite of the warning of Rev 10:6).

God bless your work and family !
"Who gave him charge over the earth and who laid on him the whole world?" (NRS Job 34:13).

Eugene Shubert
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Post by Eugene Shubert » Mon Jul 01, 2002 8:12 pm

Florin,

You sure gave me a lot of hard work to do just to answer one post.
Florin Laiu wrote:I have read carefully your message about the concept of multiple scenarios. … I still cannot see distinct scenarios in Revelation.
My purpose was to only introduce the subject and not to give a complete presentation all at once. However, I could offer you a comprehensive thesis on the multiple scenarios in the book of Daniel. See The Ends of Time, my online commentary. For a brief one page summary, click here. That would be a logical place for scholars to begin.
Florin Laiu wrote:When I began to read your view about the two scenarios in Matthew 24, I was ready to agree, but after a new look the Bible text, I couldnt see a clear distinction.
You’re saying that you don’t see a clear distinction between Mt 24:1-35 and Mt 24:36-51. I enumerated the distinction:
Eugene Shubert wrote:One prophecy is an exact, unmistakable delineation of future events. The other insists on your ignorance of the future and cautions you to be ready no matter what.
If you disagree, you must be saying 1) There’s no distinction in my description or 2) I have misrepresented the two fragments.
Florin Laiu wrote:Yeah, the first one is an exact delineation of the future events, but not in dealing with an appointed time.
The time is very specific in the first scenario. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Matthew 24:34.
Florin Laiu wrote:The first scenario is a conditional prophecy (see v. 14.34), while the second one seems to be a hint to God’s foreknowledge of delay (implied in v. 48 and in ch. 25:1-30). But I can’t say they are irreconcilable.
I think presuppositions are important here. Most persons presuppose that multiple scenarios are impossible. I admit the possibility of their existence.

Consider, for example, the following two verses:

The author of Hebrews said:

“For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37.

while Jesus said:

“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep” (Mt 25:5).


We can look at this apparent dichotomy in several ways. Presuppositions are important here. We could presuppose that one text must be true and the other false and then we could argue: “Who do you think got it right, Jesus or Paul?” We could also view both texts as true conditional prophecies conveying distinct expectations (multiple scenarios). That would be my view. Or we could just close our eyes to all possible distinctions a priori and insist that they say the exact same thing.

I agree that Matthew 24 isn’t my strongest argument. However, there are contrasts and dichotomies that are even stronger than what I suggest in Matthew 24.

“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep (Mt 25:5).

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them” (Mt 25:19).

is in opposition to Mt 10:23:

“But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.”


For the Seventh-day Adventists reading this thread, I want to point out that even Ellen G. White perceived, from Matthew 24, a distinct first century application being mixed with the great day of Christ’s Second Coming.
Ellen G. White wrote:Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming. He mingled the description of these two events. Had He opened to His disciples future events as He beheld them, they would have been unable to endure the sight. In mercy to them He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves. The Desire of Ages, p. 628.
Florin Laiu wrote:Christ’s Second Coming in the first century is not just a possible end of the world, but it was the intended, the ideal scenario, the real plan of God. If it fell down, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t sure and certain. Look at Jer 31:35-40, where God swears that the postexilic Jerusalem will never be destroyed. Was it only a possibility? It was more than that.
I wholeheartedly agree.
Florin Laiu wrote:«The first scenario (Rev 6) expresses the thought that an imminent return was possible for the Apostolic church.»

The language of Daniel and Revelation, by using only symbolic periods of time, apparently short and not understood by the first readers on the year-day principle, allowed believers to look for a soon coming End. I agree on your comment that Revelation 6 echoes the Olivet Prophecy (Mt 24), but not in speaking about time.
I consider the words of Christ, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34), to be a very definite statement about time.
Florin Laiu wrote:I think that the chronological key of this “scenario” is the scene under “the 5th seal”, where the question “Till when…?”, and the answer, “Then a white robe was given to each of [the martyrs], and they were told to rest a little longer, until….” reflect the great question-and-answer of Daniel 8:13-14. Thus the focus of the 5th seal is God’s Judgment begun in 1844 and ended in vindication after the last persecution.
If we accept your previous admission of an intended first century End and the comment that Revelation 6 echoes the Olivet Prophecy (Mt 24), then, without question, there would have been a pre-advent judgment in the first century.
Florin Laiu wrote:Furthermore, I cannot cut shorter the end of this literary section before the fulfillment of the 7th seal (Rev 8:1). It is obvious that we must read all the story through to the last seal, to be consistent.

I’m not cutting the seven seals short. I’m admitting that a second scenario interrupts the first. I do not deny the logical meaning of the 7th seal in the first or second scenario. You do! See my commentary on the first scenario.
Florin Laiu wrote:We still need to distinguish the heart of the Revelation (Rev 12-14), from the Seven Plagues’ section (Rev 15-18/19), because the Seven Plagues are certainly a distinct vision, as it is with The 7 Seals or The 7 Trumpets.
I agree with the distinctions but you mustn’t put too much stock in your outline because it ignores too much Scripture and avoids thorough exegesis. Your method is dangerous. All the “interludes” (Revelation chapter 7, 10:1--11:13 and 16:13-16) add up to a large chuck of text. There is no logical reason to dismiss its meaning.
Florin Laiu wrote: «The gospel commission is fulfilled in each [of the three scenarios].»

Yes, and look again at their different chronological stress. The white horse of the first seal speaks about the Gospel commission up to the end, with the stress on the beginning of the Christian mission.
The issue here is the timing of this end. Indisputably, Matthew 24 has a primary, first century application and the seals are parallel.
Florin Laiu wrote:The two witnesses of chapter 11 speak of the Christian Mission throughout the Middle Ages and to the end, with a special stress on the events of the Antichristian Revolution.
Correct. But this scenario doesn’t extend far beyond the Antichristian Revolution. Here’s a summary:

The Holy city (a symbol of the saints) was to be trampled during a figurative period of 1260 days. The two witnesses represent Bible truth which is clothed in sackcloth during this time. At the conclusion of this non-literal 3&1/2 years, even the two witnesses are put to death. They are soon resurrected which means that Bible truth quickly comes back to life. This begins a brief period for the fulfillment of the gospel commission. The witnesses seen going up into heaven is a great awakening of Bible understanding, revival, and preaching of the gospel with such power that “great fear falls upon those who behold them.” This is the loud cry of the strong angel (Rev 10:1-3) whose stance covers the whole world, land and sea. The entire world hears the gospel message. With it, the inhabitants of the world are warned of coming judgment. Then the book of destiny is opened and a pre-advent judgment takes place. Probation then closes for all mankind with the casting down of a golden censer. This is followed immediately by seven trumpet judgments on the wicked.

In conclusion:

“The nations were enraged, and God’s wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to His bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear His name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev 11:18).

(As you may have concluded from the previous summary, I have employed a few assumptions and routine exegesis. Rev 10:1-11:13 is an interlude that deals specifically with the associated historical happenings of the second scenario, thus telling us what events were to lead up to and surround the day of Judgment).

Florin Laiu wrote:The three angels of Rev 14 all refer to the Gospel being proclaimed since 1800 to the End, but with a special stress on the last warning, after the pagan decrees of ch. 13.
We almost agree here. I’m saying that the two ascending witnesses lost their relevance after 1844, which is the time that the third scenario became effective.
Florin Laiu wrote:Thus they look not like 3 scenarios, but three prophetical moments of the same scenario. They are not irreconcilable.
The 1st and 3rd scenarios have a clear beginning and end. That means there are at least two scenarios. Because the first interlude makes no sense between the 6th and 7th seal, it makes perfect sense that the second interlude may also be out of chronological order with its surrounding text. A little reordering to Rev 7-11 gives us 3 scenarios.
Florin Laiu wrote:«Both scenarios refer to the cessation of Christ’s priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (8:5 /15:8).»

I was once inclined to accept this view, but I now see that it is not so sure as I thought. In ch.15 the cessation of Christ’s intercessory work is obvious. But in ch. 8 I can’t see it. The Angel-Priest throws his fire from censer to the earth, while the frankincense smoke continues to ascend to God.
I believe you’re wrong about this. The Bible says that “the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it (the censer and its contents) on the earth.”
The Apostle John wrote:Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Revelation 8:5.
Here is one more footnote of interest to Seventh-day Adventists:
Ellen G. White wrote:I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer’s inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the ten commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, “It is done.” And all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” —Early Writings of Ellen G. White, page 279-280.
Florin Laiu wrote:It speaks about judgments mixed with mercy. They are limited to “the 3rd part.”
Where is the mercy? I believe that the trumpet judgments are extremely severe. I haven’t overlooked “the 3rd part” references.
Florin Laiu wrote:…and sometimes leading to repentance. Even under the 6th trumpet, some do not repent (9:20-21), while others repent (11:13c-14).
You are misinterpreting the three woes. Rev 11:13c belongs to the second interlude; It is not a part of the 7 trumpets. Click here for a clear Biblical exposition on the three woes.
Florin Laiu wrote:The judgments of The 7 Trumpets are historical (except the 7th, which is the coronation of divine judgments, the Day of Wrath, ch.11:15-19), while the judgments of The 7 Plagues are final.
This is an ancient historicist presupposition without a shred of Biblical exegesis to support it.
Florin Laiu wrote:The historical character of the 7 trumpets may be seen in the use of a cryptic period of “5 months”, (which cannot be literalized to destroy the consistent application of the year-day principle, or to imply another time prophecy after 1844, in spite of the warning of Rev 10:6).
You are veiling a contradiction with obscure SDA lingo. No one interprets the 1000 years of Rev 20 as 360,000 years. The day/year principle doesn’t apply to events after the close of probation. Of course there are time prophecies after 1844.

Florin Laiu
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Before a short vacation

Post by Florin Laiu » Tue Jul 02, 2002 2:20 am

Dear Eugene,
Thank you very much for the link to your commentary on the apocalyptical eschatology. I also thank for your coping with my long messages. I see, in some places I didn't express so clear my thoughts, or I misunderstood partially some of your phrases. Consider my poor English (a very foreign language for me) and the long distance between us, which is covered only by this quite thin thread mingled with a lot of Christian love. But this does not suffice to put us in complete agreement, not even to make us well understood to each other.
Now because of my hard work to do for my doctoral studies I won't continue to quote and comment every word of you, I hope to be short. In spite of our present disagreement (and that, partially), I think we are not so far as we think. Moreover, I am open to some new exegesis on Daniel & Revelation, if that brings more harmony to the whole.
Some of your conclusions, I think, are drawn too early. You might be right, but your arguments don't seem to me stronger than those which long time tempted me.
You are right to think of at least two scenarios, but I still can't see them in Revelation, except in the assertion "time is at hand" as against the whole Revelation. Anyway, we agree that the Second Advent could and should have been in (beginning from) the first Christian generation. That means that the Preadvent Judgment must have taken place in the same generation (and 1 Peter 4:17 seems to draw our attention to that). We may imagine multiple scenarios, but understand, that the essential dividing line is between conditional scenarios (that might be more than one), and unconditional scenario (that cannot be more than one). The first are expressions of God's ideal plan in a moment, the second is a wittness of God's foreknowledge (foresight). While this distinction is only a theological insight, never explicite in the Bible (as theological conclusions usuallly are), it is very reasonable.
We see the conditional principle in a lot of prophecies in both OT and NT. But I woul not dare to give it a room in the apocalyptic prophecy, which has another character. Theoretically, we might expect any surprise from the biblical revelation, but if you want to have conditional prophecies in Daniel and revelation, then you must answer this question, Why this covered and cryptic language ? Cui prodest ?
You might be right in more aspects than I am now able to see. I will keep on study these things in the proper time. However, please continue to ponder my outline structure of the Revelation, and please see that the whole chapter 7 is the direct answer to the question of the last verse in ch. 6.
God bless all of you!
"Who gave him charge over the earth and who laid on him the whole world?" (NRS Job 34:13).

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Re: A Discussion about Multiple Prophetic Scenarios

Post by lilianacerchez » Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:35 pm

Florin Laiu said :
Christ’s Second Coming in the first century is not just a possible end of the world, but it was the intended, the ideal scenario, the real plan of God.

This mean that between the moment of Mat 24 and the moment Jesus give John the Revelation, He change His mind! For Revelation told us of the Otoman empire and the precise moment of his fall after 150 years, the rise and spiritual fall of the US, etc, etc.
To say what FL said, is the proof that his theology is the neo-protestant one, not sda. The same jezuite discours have the 5 man that come from Babilon and cause deathly spiritual wounds to the ancient man that stood in front of the sanctuary. Once these guardians of the sanctuary, that is the people of God, are spiritualy death, the 5 man can freely go through the city and smite, that is to deathly spiritual smite the people. And this is the very condition of the leaders and the people of sda church from many years. see Ez 9
Again, to say that FL said, mean that the explanations of the SP on the times of Dan concerning the 1260 years of the catholicism, and of the year 1844 of Dan 8 : 14, are false! This is an indirect attack to the sda theology! We disagree.
God preserve us!

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Re: A Discussion about Multiple Prophetic Scenarios

Post by lilianacerchez » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:46 am

The slaying represented on Ez 9 can be applied not only to sda church, but to all denominations that profess the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus : sda of Reform, The shepherd's road,The Sabbath rest, the mouvement of those that keep the OT feasts, etc. The prophecy made plain that these last denominations, that are represented in the prophecy by Israel, are lead in the captivity before Juda, in Assiria. (Assiria, maybe, represent the massonic faith of today) But finally, the Babilonian power of today are allready swallowed an important part of the christian world, and his intent is for all the rest.
It is important to know where we are in the prophecy today, for to know what must be our relation with all these denominations. If you are in, your orders in the Word of God is : "O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem...for evil appeareth out of the north and great destruction." Jer 6:1 If you are off, run away and have nothing to do with. You can only to preach them the present truth that are in the prophecy, but not in the midle of.
God leads us!

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