Friday, July 16, 2010

“The Seal of the Prophets”: is there a dispensational understanding?

While reading some commentaries on the OT book Malachi, I came across the following:

The Jews referred to Malachi as the tam hanne-bî’îm, “the seal of the Prophets,” and as ’ahārôn šebāhem, “the last among them.” (Pieter A. Verhoef, The Books of Haggai and Malachi, p. 153.)

This brought back to mind something Tertullian wrote:

And (then) “righteousness eternal” was manifested, and “an Holy One of holy ones was anointed” — that is, Christ — and “sealed was vision and prophet,” and “sins” were remitted, which, through faith in the name of Christ, are washed away for all who believe on Him. But what does he mean by saying that “vision and prophecy are sealed?” That all prophets ever announced of Him that He was to come and had to suffer. Therefore, since the prophecy was fulfilled through His advent, for that reason he said that “vision and prophecy were sealed;” inasmuch as He is the signet of all prophets*, fulfilling all things which in days bygone they had announced of Him. (An Answer to the Jews, VIII – ANF 3.160)

[*The Latin here reads: signaculum ominium prophetarum (Migne PL 2.615), and can legitimated be translated as, “the seal of all prophets”.]

Prophecy did not end with Malachi, nor with the ascension of Jesus—which suggests to me that the phrase “the seal of the prophets” is not to be understand in the sense of cessation and/or finality.

[I am entertaining the thought of starting a thread on the “two witnesses” (also called the “two prophets”) of Revelation 11:1-12. But if any are inclined to do so, please feel free to begin the discussion in this thread.]


Grace and peace,

David

17 comments:

Ken said...

Tertullian is talking about Daniel 9:24-27

"sealing up prophecy and vision" is part of the finished work of Christ - atonement for sin, finishing iniquity, etc.

John 14 and 16 speak of the Holy Spirit who is to come, who will "lead you into all the truth" - along with Hebrews 1:1-3, Jude 3, and Rev. 22:18 (by principle), it is obvious that the NT teaches that revelation ceases with Christ and His apostles.

Malachi seems to be the "seal of the OT prophets", for the OT, since he was the last one and Luke and Mark and Matthew quote from him about John the Baptist's ministry - which also is more demonstration that the Apocrypha books are not inspired Scripture.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

If this is not on topic or off post feel free to delete this comment.

I would like to know David in the context of Islam what prophets or messengers do you feel may have come after Muhammed (saw)?

I'm not here to dispute any names you give but just out of my own curiosity. Thanks.

Peace be unto you.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>>John 14 and 16 speak of the Holy Spirit who is to come, who will "lead you into all the truth" - along with Hebrews 1:1-3, Jude 3, and Rev. 22:18 (by principle), it is obvious that the NT teaches that revelation ceases with Christ and His apostles.>>

Me: Then what about the “two prophets” of Rev. 11—does this mean that you are a strict preterist?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello GV19,

You posted:

>>If this is not on topic or off post feel free to delete this comment.

I would like to know David in the context of Islam what prophets or messengers do you feel may have come after Muhammed (saw)?

I'm not here to dispute any names you give but just out of my own curiosity. Thanks.>>

Me: Not off topic at all—I am very pleased that you chose to respond.

Within the context of Islam, most Muslims expect the coming of one called the Mahdī (“the guided one”), whom many have described as a “messianic figure”.

There is also the an-Naba’ al-A‘zam (“the great announcement”), which is spoken of in the Qur’an; an-Naba’ al-A‘zam is almost always used in the context of the call of God’s nabi and rasul—including the call of Muhammad (see 6.34, 6:67, 10.71, 26.70, 28.3).

Any thoughts on this?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

Me: Then what about the “two prophets” of Rev. 11—does this mean that you are a strict preterist?

That is a fair question - no; full preterism is a heresy, because it denies the resurrection of the flesh and the second bodily coming of Christ in our future ( Acts 1:11; I Thess. 4:13-18; I Cor. 15:20-28; 15:50-58; Hebrews 9:28; John 14:1-3; John 5:24-29; Revelation 20-22, Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:8-18)

But, I find a lot of truth and attraction to the partial-preterist view, that a lot of Jesus said in Matthew 23-24 and Revelation was fulfilled in 70 AD.

But John tells us who they are - Rev. 11:4 - two olive trees and the two lamp stands.

Is it referring to Zech. 4 (two olive trees - true believers filled with the Spirit; and Rev. 2-3 - the two lamp stands that were churches that were not rebuked ? Smyrna and Philadelphia ?

Seems to be a symbol of the true believers, the remnant, the true believers, the OT and NT people of God.

And the temple was still standing in Rev. 11:1

So, the other stuff about being resurrected, etc. could be symbolic of their perseverance of the saints (I am not dogmatic about this and would need to study it more)

the true believers persevered, beyond 70 AD into today, even though, literally, even Smyrna and Philadelphia were also eventually wiped out by Islam. There is still a small church in Smryna - Greek Orthodox, but since Smyrna was burned by the Ottoman/Greek war for modern Turkey and I don't know the details of how the current G.Orthodox church was allowed to come back there, etc.

But, they left the gospel also, like RCC in their denial of sola fide, so I don't consider them a true Biblical church.

The two prophets dead bodies were also in Jerusalem, mystically/spiritually called Sodom and Egypt - Rev. 11:8

So the writer is pointing to the fact that Israel had become just like the enemies of God in the OT - like Sodom, Egypt and Babylon (Rev. 17-18) Israel is the adulterous woman who rides the beast of Rome, controlling her to persecute the saints, apostles, and Christ (we have no king but Ceasar, etc.)

But those are all musings off the top of my head, and I have not studied the details of Rev. 11; only the big picture of the whole book of Rev. from a Partial Preterist view; after years of bad dispensational/pre-trib. teaching.

Ken said...

I thought the Mahdi مهدی ( from هدا، هادی، هدایت - guidance, the guide) was only a Shiite doctrine. ?


Can you show me that it is a Sunni dogma or doctrine or even emphasis or pious belief by some Sunnis, etc.?

Ken said...

Ok, I got a better idea of the Madhi in Sunni Islam:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahdi

Interesting that Sunnis dispute the details about the Mahdi; and it is not mentioned in the Qur'an nor Sahih Al Bukhari.

It is definitely not an emphasis and they seem to say that much of it is an Iranian thing.

Ken said...

The Bahai faith and Ahmadiyeh movements are considered false religions by orthodox Muslims, both Sunni and Shia - yet David seems to leave room for at least the Bahai faith as possible new revelation, or something like that - right David?

please explain better; and more specific; do you definitely condemn Bahai'ism and Ahmadiye and/or Ismaili ( 7 Immate) as false; or do you leave open the possibility for prophesy to continue through these movements?

(In our discussions at other posts)

Do a search and see some of his speculations and openness to this.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord,

"There is also the an-Naba’ al-A‘zam (“the great announcement”), which is spoken of in the Qur’an; an-Naba’ al-A‘zam is almost always used in the context of the call of God’s nabi and rasul—including the call of Muhammad (see 6.34, 6:67, 10.71, 26.70, 28.3). "

I would have to see this term used in a context that does refer to Prophet Muhammed (saw).

Or I would have to understand in what context you mean the terminology, Qur'an , Hadith etc...

Ken or David what do you think about this text?

. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" -Malachi 4:1-5

The chief priests and Levites asked John the Baptist, "If you are not the Christ (Messiah), and not Elijah - are you THAT Prophet?" [Bible - John 1:20]

Why were the Jews expecting three figures? One the messiah or a title.

The other a given name Elijah.

The third so powerful that it was just given a generic title 'THAT PROPHET'... ?

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks much for responding; you posted:

>>Me: Then what about the “two prophets” of Rev. 11—does this mean that you are a strict preterist?

That is a fair question - no; full preterism is a heresy, because it denies the resurrection of the flesh and the second bodily coming of Christ in our future…>>

Me: Seems I was not clear, for by “strict preterist”, I did not mean what has been termed either “full” or “hyper” preterism, but rather the partial preterism held by most conservative post-millennialists. This form of partial preterism holds that all prophecy but the coming of Jesus after the millennium which ushers in the final judgment and resurrection of the body has been fulfilled by 70 AD (see THIS LINK for an excellent summary of the various views).

Now, with that said, I have some difficulties with placing the events depicted in Rev. 11 into the 67-70 AD period; but like yourself, at this point I cannot be dogmatic.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You wrote:

>> The Bahai faith and Ahmadiyeh movements are considered false religions by orthodox Muslims, both Sunni and Shia - yet David seems to leave room for at least the Bahai faith as possible new revelation, or something like that - right David?>>

Me: Yes, I remain open to the possibility that the Bahai Faith is true. But, with that said, it is important to point out that relationship of the Bahai Faith to Islam is considerably different than that of the Ismailis and Ahmadis—the former believes that they are a new religious movement akin to the relationship that Christianity has with Judaism, while the latter two believe that they represent ‘true’ Islam.

>>please explain better; and more specific; do you definitely condemn Bahai'ism and Ahmadiye and/or Ismaili ( 7 Immate) as false; or do you leave open the possibility for prophesy to continue through these movements?>>

Me: As I said above, I am open to the possibility that the Bahai Faith is true; but I am not open to the latter two.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi GV19,

Thanks much for taking the time to respond. You posted:

>> "There is also the an-Naba’ al-A‘zam (“the great announcement”), which is spoken of in the Qur’an; an-Naba’ al-A‘zam is almost always used in the context of the call of God’s nabi and rasul—including the call of Muhammad (see 6.34, 6:67, 10.71, 26.70, 28.3). "

I would have to see this term used in a context that does refer to Prophet Muhammed (saw).

Or I would have to understand in what context you mean the terminology, Qur'an , Hadith etc...>>

Me: I should probably start a new thread so I can properly address all the salient details.

>> Ken or David what do you think about this text?

. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" -Malachi 4:1-5

The chief priests and Levites asked John the Baptist, "If you are not the Christ (Messiah), and not Elijah - are you THAT Prophet?" [Bible - John 1:20]

Why were the Jews expecting three figures? One the messiah or a title.

The other a given name Elijah.

The third so powerful that it was just given a generic title 'THAT PROPHET'... ?>>

Me: IMO, “that/the Prophet” is a reference to Deut. 18:15, which the questioners of John the Baptist seem to have believed to be a separate figure from the Christ/Messiah.


Grace and peace,

David

Lvka said...

Precisely because John the Baptist was a Prophet, and Jesus the greatest of all Prophets, is the Protestant siding with the Jews so pathetic, when they deny any sort of canonical or respectable status to the so-called Apocrypha, on the excuse that prophecy presumably ceised with (or before the time of) Sirach.

Ken said...

David wrote:
Me: As I said above, I am open to the possibility that the Bahai Faith is true; but I am not open to the latter two.


Incredible!

Believing that would completely gut all of orthodox Christianity as truth (for you); and would make you not a Christian, if you go that route.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

Well Ken you never know. Maybe Jesus was a Bahai too. :)

Ken said...

Bahai'ism is considered a heretical bida't بدعت(innovation, heresy) in the view of all orthodox expressions of Islam. It is Haram and punishable by death in Iran.
(although not always enforced or carried out.) The Bahai are very persecuted.

Ken said...

David,
Since you are open to the possibility that Bahai faith is true; doesn't that indicate that you don't really believe in Christ and what the Bible teaches about Him at all?