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August 14, 2013
by James Jacob Prasch
A false eschatology that is plainly heretical, potentially cultic and ultimately lethal.
In the last several weeks Moriel has received multiple inquiries and flat out expressions of serious concern regarding the eschatological paradigm of Paine & Ware .
The source of this teaching (which we can only conclude to be erroneous and dangerous) on the important subject of the return of Jesus is the hypothesis postulated by Frank Paine and Arthur Ware in the last century derived from their writings "Restored Vision" andÂ "Miracle of Time".Â Â
Sir Robert Anderson laid out the dating from the prophetic prediction of Daniel Chapter 9 as to the time of the Messiah's arrival in His first coming and the Evangelical Fellowship of Professional Mathematicians with figures such as Dr. Eugene Faulstich and others have delved into volumes ofÂ incredibleÂ research as to scriptural dating. Although expert Christian mathematical opinion is often divided or inconclusive, we recognise the legitimacy of such research by those believers professionally qualified in the disciplines of mathematics and history to do it who may indeed even be called to itÂ and we appreciate it'sÂ value both in apologetics and in assisting our understand of divine prophecy - providing it operates within the parameters of scriptural bounds (eg. No speculative date setting for the day or hour of The Lord's return, no conjecture or unwarranted extrapolationÂ or fanciful, and unprovableÂ conspiracy theories etc.).
Members of the Evangelical medical community from the Christian Medical & Dental Society (better known for their much needed medical polemics against non therapeutic abortion, their stance regarding euthanasia, medical ethics etc. , and for evangelizing co-workers within the medical profession) have written papers looking with a clinical eye on the healing miracles of Jesus and the possible public health benefits of Levitical legislation. This too is valid and useful. Josh Mac Dowell, Val Grieves, Simon Greenleaf, and Haim Cohen have looked at the trials of Jesus from a legal perspective and applied juridical rules of evidence to gospel apologetics. This too is valid and has been useful. Christians from fields as diverse as AncientÂ Near Eastern linguistics, biblical archaeology, and Semitic anthropology, have all brought the benefits of their respective academic disciplines to the consecrated service of The Lord contributing to our understanding of Holy Writ. Mathematics is no different . My wife is a believing mathematician with a second degree in Hebrew from IsraelÂ giving her an automatic advantage in Old Testament alpha numerics, a skillÂ which I have drawn on more than once in preparing bible studies.
Misapplied however and not subordinated to the doctrinal authority of scripture and not directed by The Holy Spirit, the misuse of secular scholarship has produced everything from liberal higher criticism to heresy and what should have been used for good becomes misused for evil. We all painfully witnessed the havoc wrecked by the deranged antics of Harold Camping who read scripture as a math book resulting in ludicrous prophetic determinations hideously embraced by the naive, undiscerning, and doctrinally ignorant.
Yet we must exercise caution not to demean the potential value of these academic fields themselves. In his brilliant essay "Fern Seed and Elephants" C.S. Lewis, as an Oxford Don and professor of comparative literature, magnificently debunked and demolished the presuppositional idiocy of higher criticism for the pseudo scholarly academic fraud that it is with brevity, devastation, and an inspired magnificence. The best creationists are usually either theologically literate scientists or scientifically literate preachers. The best apologists are likewise often Christian lawyers. God thankfully can and indeed often does use such backgrounds to advance His kingdom, but sometimes so can the devil make use of these - even if the promulgators of such deception are not of mal-intent or even cognisant of their delusion.
Paine & Ware represent what we are forced to describe as a lunatic fringe violating foundational principles of exegetical hermeneutics in the process that leads to veryÂ spurious and potentiallyÂ hazardous doctrinal conclusions: a de facto date calculation for the 'Episunagoge' (concurrent rapture and resurrection gathering of the saints to be with Jesus) and a pre episunagoge parousia via a series of proposed literal physical apparitions of Jesus over a 9 1/2 or 10 day period before the rapture and resurrection, replaying the apparitions of the Risen Lord between His resurrection and ascension.
What seems to make this error so digestible however, even to one ministry with links to Moriel, is that it is packaged together as a composite presentation with a volume of material that is credible. For instance, valid researchers have explored the eschatological implications of the patterns of 'ha shanaot ha yovel' that is "The Years of Jubilee".Â Paine & Ware are by no means unique in focusing on the Year of Jubilee and trying to determine theÂ eschatological significance of its symbolism. As with the other elements of true statements by Paine & Ware, Paine & Ware did not set the precedent. It is only the erroneous portion of their thesis that they actually appear to have pioneered.
By bundling their 10 days of apparitions error together with citations ofÂ credible material, the error becomes camouflaged. This is a kindred brand of the deception that FARMS, the Mormon academic apologist organ out of Brigham Young university in Utah engages in; formatting to create the impression of academic credibility and massively quoting popularly accepted scholarly sources with footnoted references on related subjects in order to disguise the insertion of a fundamental error. It is a typical cult strategy also resorted to on a popular non scholarly level by the Korean anti christ Unification Church cult of the late Sun Yung Moon and of Roman Catholic scholars looking to lend academic credence to the papal claims and sacramental soteriology of Roman Catholicism by means of scholarly argumentation.
The New Testament term describing this deceptiveÂ strategy infiltrating the church with false dogma is what Peter calls 'parasoxousin' (2 Peter 2:1), meaning placing truth next to error, and is a trick of the enemy that Moriel has warned against repeatedly because so many Christians of noble intention seem toÂ become spiritually seduced and swayed by it.
It is a deviously cultic approach that Peter warns is the calling card of so many false teachers and false prophets and will come into a more amplified prominence as a demonicÂ means of seduction aimed at true believers eschatologically; hiding error in truth.
The leaven is hidden in the cake and leavens the whole cake (Matthew 13:33). In scripturalÂ typology leaven always represents pride, sin that stems from pride and / or false doctrine that always relates to spiritual pride.
The claims are normally the semi-gnostic ones that "we have some secret or hidden doctrinalÂ Â knowledge revealed or restored to us", which is the counterfeit of authentic "apocalyptic" that is unveiling (apocalypsis), or unsealing of things to the elect that are already contained in scriptureÂ (Daniel 12:4). Apocalypsis highlights a clearer understanding of what has already been revealed, but gnosis fraudulentlyÂ claims a new revelation or restoration of a lost truth that contradicts what is revealed in scripture. The revealed truth of scripture says we cannot determine the day of the rapture and resurrection. The gnosis of Paine & Ware claims in effect that we can as long as we can count to ten from the first return of Jesus during the 10 day period before the rapture.Â This however, while serious in itself, is not what is most serious and dangerous.
We have the unmitigated, unambiguous, and emphatic caveat of Jesus Himself speaking in the first personÂ in the Olivet Discourse that there will be people attempting to mislead believers into swallowing the lie that He (Jesus) has in some way and in various places returned before the rapture and resurrection (Matthew 25-28):
"Behold I tell you in advance.If therefore they say to you 'Behold He is in the wilderness' - DO NOT GO THERE. Or if they say that 'He is in theÂ inner rooms', DO NOT BELIEVE THEM, for as lightening goes from the East flashing to the West, so shall the coming ofÂ The Son of Man Be" . For false christs and false prophets will arise showing great signs & wonders so as to mislead if possible even the elect"!
The 10 day hypothesis of Paine & Ware directly and exactly is designed by the devil to set Christians up for this precise anti christ deceptionÂ ( although there is certainly much muchÂ more to the anti christ and false prophet than even this) that Jesus personally and plainly warns us to be on guard against and avoid.
Proponents of Paine & Ware assert that post ascension visions of Jesus took place in theÂ New Testament such as on theDamascusRoad in st. Paul's encounter with Christ and these 10 days of apparitions couldÂ be in that character without violating Jesus' prohibitions of looking for a pre rapture return. This assertion is simply not possible.
The Damascus road encounter (Acts 9:3), the vision of Stephen (Acts 7) and the apocalyptic vision of John, as each test specifies, all were visions of Jesus in heaven, not of Him on earth. They all were visions if Him in His Deity, not His humanity, and were all visions of Him given to individuals - not to groups. The Paine & Ware concept moreover is one of some kind of recapitulation of the pre-ascension appearances of Jesus following His resurrection. Additionally, since such heavenly visions of Jesus have already taken place, there is no scriptural or logical basis to limit the possibility of such visions to the 10 day period before the rapture. Again, Paine & Ware fails every possible test of plausibility.
Paine & Ware were unmistakably deceived and the deception to which they subscribed is being propagated to deceive others. We cannot believe both Jesus and Paine & Ware. No believer should swallow this con job. We may disagree among ourselves on multiple aspects of eschatology , many godly believers in fact do and will continue to until The Lord by His Spirit corrects all of our misunderstandings. When something like this whichÂ in no uncertain terms inescapably contradicts the clear teaching and warning of Jesus however,Â the faithful church must close ranks and stay on the same page in opposing it and above all refrain from promulgating it.
Paine and Ware were bamboozled into propagating this schismatic error by faulty hermeneutics. Their essential approach to scriptural interpretation was not only devoid of Holy Spirit illumination but they violated or ignored at least four essential maxims of scriptural Judaeo - Christian Hermeneutics traditionally adhered to by conservative Evangelicals of every majorÂ denominational and sectarian description from the time of the apostolic church:
1st.Â We can only base doctrine on exegesis (drawing out of a text what scripture actually says) and not eisegesis (reading into a text something it does not actually say). There is no passage that teaches a pre rapture visible return of Jesus to various localities, but thereÂ is a discourse pericopae instructing to to beware of it commanding we avoid it vociferously.
2nd. We can only use typology, literary symbolism, and midrashic hermeneutics to illustrate and illuminate doctrine, not base doctrine on it which misleads towards gnostic hermeneutics. The Paine & Ware hypothesis depends on a subjective interpretation of festal symbolism not on an exegetical analysis if the pertinent texts.
3rd. We interpret the nebulous and ambiguous passages of scripture in light of lucid and unambiguous ones. The clear teaching of Jesus and the apostles alerts us to keep away from those who claim that Jesus will visibly return before the rapture. Paine & Ware are those who claimed Jesus would visibly return before the rapture. Jesus Himself literally warned us against paying attention to Paine & Ware. Those failing to do so reject the explicit command of Jesus concerning His return.
4th. We interpret the Old Testament in light of The New Testament revelation of Christ.Â Jesus totally fulfils the meaning of the three Spring holy days of Israel (Passover/ Pesach , First Fruits, Pentecost/Weeks)Â from Leviticus 23 & 24 according to The New Testament:Â 1 Corinthians 5: 7, 1 Corinthians 15: 20, Acts 2:33).
The three Autumn holy days were only partially fulfilled by Jesus in His first coming :Â Yom Kippur (Hebrews 9:11), Tabernacles (John 7: 8), and Trumpets (possibly John 5:1,Â plus 70 AD/ CE events predicted by Jesus in Olivet Discourse).
All of these have future eschatological meanings as yet to be fulfilled. The death of the azazel (the devil goat) when Satan is destroyed , Trumpets when Israel is surrounded in the Time if Jacob's Trouble (Zechariah 12: 1-10), and Tabernacles (Zechariah 14).
The Paine & Ware hypothesis is fundamentally convoluted. It looks at the already fulfilled Spring holy days of Israel and their festal typology and symbolism as a prophetic picture eschatologically instead of the still to be fulfilled Autumn Holy Days . Paine & Ware quite literally had their boots on backwards, not fundamentally understanding the Judaeo- Christian hermeneutics upon which they supposedly predicatedÂ their poorly constructed and badly conceivedÂ contra- scriptural eschatology that overtly and inescapably contradicts The Lord's very own specified caveats in The Olivet Discourse.
The Hebrew Festal calendar is indeed a typological outline of prophetic heilsgischichte (salvation history), this is certainly true and is not something we would contest, but as with many conservative Evangelicals (particularly among, but not only amongÂ those in the dispensational camp) it is what we have always accepted andÂ taught ourselves in both published and recorded materials. But with Paine & Ware, once more we see the ''parasoxousin" strategy Peter raises the alarm concerning. Yet within the prophetic typology of the Hebrew calendar , Paine & Ware miss the entire reality ofÂ the 10 days they base their case on. It is not the 10 day period between the Ascension of Jesus ( His rapture) and Pentecost (The Hebrew Feast of Weeks cum Hag Shavuoth) that prefigures anything eschatologically , but rather the 10 days of Awe period ( Ha Yomim Noraim - literally "the terrible days') between The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Truah cum Rosh Ha Shannah) and The Day ofÂ Atonement (Yom Kippur). Such 10 day periods of testing additionally represent fixed seasons of Satanic siege or attack (Revelation 2:10, Daniel 1:12) not christophanic visitations and moreover these 10 days prophetically apply to unbelieving Israel and the Jews during The Time ofÂ Jacob's Trouble and do not in any primary sense apply to the faithful church which will be removed out of the Great Tribulation at some point when Satan intensifies his desperate campaign to destroy Israel.
Thus, the entire Paine & Ware perspective does not comprehend either the basis of the typological interpretation of the Hebrew timing system nor of the Second Temple period Sitz im Leben (cultural setting) upon which the interpretation depends. Paine & Ware were quite evidently way out of their theological league. They really didn't understand what they were doing, yet strongly pontificated error detailing an egregiously manufactured falseÂ scenario precipitating the Return of Christ as if they did. We might say that they suffered from the same spiritual disease as Harold Camping. My main reason for writing this refutation is that having personally witnessed the unspeakable damage perpetrated by Camping's unscriptural calculations and the abject pretence (kindred to that of Paine & Ware) heÂ configured it upon to the tribal Hmong Christians in Vietnam, I honestly fear that this disease could mutate into something contagious if it is not killed off now. This is especially so given the fact that Jesus specifically notified us that this very same ugly plague was coming in the last days. It has already morphed into something that at least some normally astute brethren are somehow courting as a viable possibility which it isn't.
I propose no personal indictment of Frank Paine or Arthur Ware themselves in terms of their motives; I will leave judging the heart to Jesus. Yet from the perspective of the very words of Jesus, these men taught a serious false doctrine of a schismatic proportion that can only rightly be described as nothing short of being out and out heretical. It is not by any means just a fanciful oddity or peripheral issue. It is what Jesus said to look out for.
Although I amÂ adversed to accepting any Patristic theology as doctrinally authoritative , citations of certain very early Pre Nicean Church fathers such as Irenius, Heggisippus, and Polycarp tracing their line ofÂ faith back to the apostle John can and often do give us a historical insight into the dogma and eschatology taught by the apostles which they received from Jesus directly. There is positively no mention of anything even remotely resembling what Paine & Ware misrepresent as a "restored vision" in early Christian writings. It is a faulty belief without any internal exegetical or external support. The primary vehicle driving the error contrived by Paine & Ware howeverÂ is theirÂ demonstrably twisted exegetical approachÂ ( which I state as a matter of theological fact and not as an intended personal insult). If we mishandle scripture, as with a Jehovah's Witness, our dogma turnsÂ Â Â daft, but worse, as we observe in cults, those buying into the lie become more dogmatic about it beyond the point of reason and way beyond the point of scripture read in context.
A wrong hermeneutical model can only produce a wrong exegesis which in turn can only yield bogus doctrine as its end product. In this case however, the doctrinal and theologicalÂ conclusions of Paine & Ware are not merely false, but are absolutely dangerous and openly contrary to the unmistakeable and pronounced warnings of Jesus Himself.
He is NOT coming before He comes. To suggest He will return before He returns is not only sinister and erroneous, but is a diabolical proposition that Jesus Himself literally and in context called wholly "anti christ" in its very nature. It is the anti christ, not christ who comes before Christ comes. Jesus saw to it that we were forewarned and forearmed about this very deception and this is certainly no time to put down the gun that He Himself gave us to protect ourselves in this very regard. On the contrary,Â it is rather a time to load it.
I prayerfully trust that any sincere believer taken in by this heresy will renounce it at once. On a microcosmic level in Vietnam I have already encountered the horrific ramifications of botched and contra scriptural predictions generating false expectations about the return of JesusÂ such demonically inspired religious shenanigans inevitably result in, and the results were not pretty. As with Paine & Ware, it emerged straight from attempts to pre-calculate events that God's Word teaches against by concocting calendrical schemes thatÂ negate the most ardently plain cautionary statements in scripture uttered by Jesus Himself personally. I would implore all presently considering this noxious folly to throw it away now.
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