17th Jan 2013
In this series, I have documented how Joel McDurmon, with whom I had a formal public debate in July 2012, (DVDs available here) castigates as un-scriptural the Dispensational hermeneutic of prophetic “Double Fulfillment.”
The Dispensationalists say, for instance, that the first century anti-christs that were present in 1 John 2:18 foreshadowed and typified the final anti-christ. Further, all one has to do is Google under “Double Fulfillment of Prophecy” and you will find a plethora of articles by Dispensationalists affirming this principle. Here is just one example: (http://www.highlandpc.com/studies/dubfulfill.php).
McDurmon says there is no scriptural support for such a view. And yet– you must catch the power of this-– Joel believes in the multiple fulfillments of prophecies—over and over again! In fact, the multiple fulfillment of prophecy is fundamental to Joel’s eschatology. In fact, Joel admitted repeatedly during the debate that he has no problem admitting that 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20—yes, the prophecies of the resurrection and the end of the millennium judgment—were fulfilled in some way in AD 70, but, because of his belief system, he claims that there is a yet future fulfillment of those prophecies.
During the Q & A session of our debate, McDurmon was asked about 1 John 2:18. Joel acknowledged that John affirmed the presence of the anticipated anti-christs, and the presence of the “last hour” indicative of the eschatological consummation.
Joel then acknowledged that his view of the multiple fulfillment of prophecy raises the possibility of future anti-christs, (for which he condemns the Premillennialists). McDurmon made no attempt to show how he could reject the Dispensational claims while holding to his multiple fulfillments hermeneutic. Simply stated, Joel had defeated his own hermeneutic (and theology) by his position on the Dispensational Double Fulfillment view.
(Incidentally, prominent postmillennialist Lorraine Boettner rejected the Double Fulfillment hermeneutic as well, stating, “Another principle of interpretation is that when a prophecy or promise has been fulfilled once, there is no valid reason why it must be fulfilled again, or repeatedly” (Four Views of the Millennium, (Downers Grove, InterVarsity, 1977)105). In fact, as a general rule, Postmillennialists openly decry the Dispensational Double Fulfillment hermeneutic, all the while positing Multiple Fulfillment!
As we noted in the previous article, Joel (with DeMar, Gentry, Mathison, Leithart, et. al) believes that the events of AD 70 and the close of the age were typological of the literal, physical events, at the true end of the age, i.e. the end of human history.
The question therefore, is naturally raised, if the events of the first century were typological of future events, then of necessity, there will be future anti-christs, there will be a future Great Tribulation, and it gets worse from there! You cannot affirm the Multiple Fulfillments Hermeneutic, as does McDurmon, and deny this. It is inescapable. This is why we introduced the subject of John the Baptizer.
In the first article about John and the issue of multiple fulfillment of prophecy, we noted that John was an inspired, infallible, authoritative, revelatory prophet. We likewise noted that Joel McDurmon claims that it is possible that there are, in the church today, living prophets, who are inspired, authoritative, and infallible. We noted, however, that McDurmon does not seem too convinced of this, for neither he, or anyone else in the Dominionist movement seem too concerned with finding and following these supposed prophets. This is abundantly strange, for it seems indubitably clear that if McDurmon, DeMar, or other Dominionists who (ostensibly) believe in the continuance of the prophetic office, that they would move “heaven and earth” to find that (those) prophets!
Be that as it may, there is more about John the Immerser and the supposed multiple fulfillment of prophecies hermeneutic to be noted. See my 11 part MPS series on John as Elijah and end time prophet, here.
John was a last days, eschatological prophet. His appearance heralded the impending end of the Old Covenant era, and the incoming of the New Covenant age. He was Elijah and Malachi 4:5-6 tells us that the prophet would be sent “before the coming of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.”
As we noted in the first article about the Baptizer, if, as McDurmon posits in agreement with the Dispensational hermeneutic prophecies are fulfilled over and over again, then surely we have every right to expect the appearance of
A.) The real Elijah, or,
B.) The re-appearance of John the Baptizer, or,
C.) Another end times Elijah.
Needless to say, McDurmon and the Dominionists are understandably (mostly) silent on this issue. On the one hand they join with the Dispensationalists affirming the importance of the Double (Multiple) Fulfillment of Prophecy Hermeneutic. On the other hand, they condemn the Dispensational paradigm, as untenable and unscriptural, leading to all sorts of wrong doctrines.
In fact, Gentry claims that John (as Elijah), “is counter-indicative to both Dispensationalism’s hermeneutic and its eschatology, as well as being supportive of the preteristic hermeneutic and postmillennial eschatology” (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, (Tyler, Tx., Institute for Christian Economics, 1992)367). Gentry is clearly (right) and wrong. If John as Elijah it surely is “counter indicative” to the Dispensational eschatology, but, he is likewise destructive to the postmillennial view.
But, notice that Gentry joins the appearance of John and the (later) appearance of the anti-christs (1 John) together temporally. Gentry says: “The appearance of these anti-christs was not a harbinger of a future coming AntiChrist, for their presence was the signal that ‘the last hour’ had already ‘come’ (gegonasin). The ‘even now’ emphasizes the presence of that which they feared (‘as you heard’). (ibid).
But wait! Gentry, DeMar, Mathison, Leithart, McDurmon, etc. all affirm that the first century events were in fact typological of future, literal, physical events! They all affirm a future “last day” and a future “last hour!” So, if there is a future “last day” and a future “last hour” and if prophecy is fulfilled over and over again as they claim, then why in the name of logic will there not be another John as Elijah, and the appearance of more anti-christs?
The Dispensationalists say that John was in fact Elijah, but, he was simply a foreshadowing of the real one, and that the anti-christs in 1 John were likewise types of the real one that is yet to come. They say this because of their Double Fulfillment of Prophecy Hermeneutic.
The Dominionists say that there is no evidence that the first century appearance of the anti-christs (and John?) foreshadow other, penultimate anti-christs (or Elijah?)—and yet, the Dominionists affirm the “Multiple Fulfillment of Prophecy Hermeneutic!”
It is easy to see the total inconsistency of the Dominionist camp. If their “Multiple Fulfillment of Prophecy Hermeneutic” is true, then clearly, Elijah is still to come and proclaim the nearness of the Great (Greater) and (Even More) Terrible Day of the Lord. And yet, I am unaware of any Dominionist that is willing to affirm such a doctrine. In fact, you will find very little in Dominionist literature about the Baptizer. (With the exception of Gentry, in the above cited book, and yet, his comments are self-destructive to his own view that the first century events were in fact foreshadows of yet future events).
John as Elijah and the anti-christs were signs of the end, signs of the impending Great Day of the Lord—i.e. “the last hour” as Gentry, McDurmon, DeMar all admit. It is disingenuous at the very least for Dominionists to affirm on the one hand that prophecy is fulfilled over and over again, and then turn around and condemn the Double Fulfillment Hermeneutic of the Dispensationalists.
I am currently writing a book on the Dominionist claim that the events of the first century, particularly the end of the age, Christ’s coming, the arrival of the New Covenant Creation, etc., were a foreshadowing of the “real” end i.e. the end of human history as we know it. Stay tuned for that!