Amillennialism and the Age to Come—A Critical Review # 10

by | Jun 5, 2017 | Book Reviews, Eschatology

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Does Waymeyer recognize the figurative character of Old Testament prophecy or adopt the typical literalism of Dispensationalism with regard to it?

I noted in previous posts that Waymeyer at points seems uncomfortable, or at least speaks as if he were uncomfortable, with the literalistic approach of other Dispensationalists.  His statements about this occur on pages 61-63 and are worthy of a closer examination.

In these pages Waymeyer is responding to Dean Davis’ comments in The High King of Heaven where Davis notes that a literal interpretation of Zechariah 14 entails the notion that at the end of the present, modern age battles will be fought by men riding on horses, camels, and donkeys.  This direct implication of the literal hermeneutics of Dispensationalism, says Davis, poses one of the “intractable problems” for the premillennial view of this passage.

In response Waymeyer argues that Premillennialists have “long recognized the need to take an “analogical approach” with some Old Testament prophecies.” (61)  In this approach, he says, “statements are taken literally but then translated into their modern-day equivalents.” (61)  Waymeyer then opines: “Because it is unlikely (although certainly not impossible) that horses will be used as the primary means of advancing on Israel … the prophet may be describing the implements of future war with battle imagery familiar in his own day.”  (61)

This is an interesting and even startling admission in several ways.

First, Waymeyer here allows a hermeneutic which he denies to Amillennialists.  James Attebury (in his critique on Amazon) speaks of the Amillennial interpretation of Old Testament prophecy as using “the hermeneutic that the future is being described as an idealized present in Old Testament prophecy.”  Here Waymeyer himself allows the possibility that such a hermeneutic is possible.  An “analogical approach” to the Old Testament prophetic genre is all that Amillennialists require in order to answer Waymeyer’s polemic from Old Testament prophecy.

Second, it is also striking that Waymeyer is not entirely comfortable with his own admission.  Thus, as the above quotation makes clear, he holds out the possibility that Zechariah might still be taken in an entirely literal fashion.  He also makes the—what seems to me—contradictory statement that in this analogical approach statements are still taken literally, but interpreted analogically.  This, as with much else that the Dispensational hermeneutic has to say about the literal interpretation of the figurative language of the Bible, leaves me scratching my head.  It seems clear to me that if a statement is taken literally, then it ought to be interpreted literally.  On the other hand, it seems to me that if a statement is interpreted analogically, then this necessarily assumes that it is—as to its genre—analogical or figurative.

Third, further comments by Waymeyer suggest that he is still quite committed to a highly literal or literalistic interpretation of Old Testament prophecy.  Of course, in this vein we have just seen that he does not quite relinquish the possibility of a literal interpretation of the camels, donkeys, and horses of Zechariah 14.  We must also take account here, however, of his comments about the Feast of Booths and the Passover being celebrated in the Millennium in the following pages. (63)

Here Waymeyer argues that celebration of the Feast of Booths predicted in Zechariah 14 is consistent with the New Covenant’s fulfillment of the Old Testament shadows.  He says: “There is simply no reason why a future, eschatological celebration of this feast would require the re-establishment of anything that has been abolished or rendered obsolete by the first coming of Christ.”  Waymeyer may think so, but when the institution of this Feast is considered in Leviticus 23:33-43 and Deuteronomy 16:13-17, it is clear that the celebrating of this feast involves celebrating a ceremonial sabbath!  It also becomes clear that it is to be celebrated at Jerusalem.  It also becomes clear that it is appointed as one of the three great feasts appointed for the Jews to celebrated as part of their ceremonial calendar.  All of this is contrary to the abolition and obsolescence of the Old Covenant.

Waymeyer also in this context suggests that the Passover will be celebrated in the future!  Citing a personal conversation with Michael Vlach, he affirms this on the basis of the words of Jesus in Luke 22:15-16.  He then adds: “Celebrating the Feast of Booths in the messianic will no more constitute a return to the Mosaic law than eating the Passover will.”  The problem with all this is that it would contradict the New Covenant to eat the Passover after Christ our Passover has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7).  Furthermore, and emphatically, Jesus does not say that He will eat the Passover in the Age to Come.  He says that He will eat its “fulfillment.” This is something entirely different: “And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God”” (Luke 22:15-16).

More to come…

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