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Literal or not? How do I tell?

Discussion in 'Bibliology & Hermeneutics' started by LewisWildermuth, Jul 26, 2002.

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  1. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "Elijah went up to heaven and the Jews expected him to come down from heaven because that is exactly where he went to according to a literal interpretation of 2 Kings. "

    And as Jesus explained they thought wrong. Just because he literally went up to heaven doesn't make the passage in Mal literal now does it. Like I said, you're making a jump that isn't there.

    "1. Where should have the jews expected Elijah to come from? "

    From God just like all other prophets.

    "2. Why did Jesus go through the trouble of explaining that John the Baptist was indeed Elijah? What was the merit in this teaching?"

    So we would know the fufilled prophecy and who John was. :)
     
  2. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    You see a Jewish person does not have the luxury of believing in the New Testament. One has to prove the validity of the mission of Christ, in part, based on the fulfillment of prophecies. Now, there is no indication in the text of the prophecy in Malachi that another person besides Elijah should show up. There is nothing in the text that says that Elijah should come from a different place other than where he had gone to. I am not making a jump. My conclusions are very logical. There is actually nothing in the text that tells me that he should have come back from a different place other than heaven. In the absence of other clues, I take the obvious. He had to come down from heaven. He had gone up to heaven and naturally he had to come back from it. The jews took 2 Kings literally and to this date are waiting for Eljah to come back from the sky. I take 2 Kings figuratively and therefore have no problem accepting that although John the Baptist was born from earthly parents, yet he came from a heavenly place.

    I concur with you when you say that all prophets come from God. That is where Heaven is. Elijah went to Heaven, that is he went back to God and John the Baptist came from God in the power and spirit of Elijah. John the Baptist came from Heaven although he was born of an earthly father and mother. His qualities and perfections were heavenly.

    And now another thing. I am an engineer and analyze things logically. Knowing the limits of this physical sky, Elijah would still be ascending even at the speed of light. Does anybody know the location of this physical heaven that you are saying that Elijah went to? How far is it above the earth?

    God is spirit and does not require a physical place named "heaven" to reside in. The true Heaven is a spiritual place as is quite clear from the passage in John 3:13.
     
  3. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "Now, there is no indication in the text of the prophecy in Malachi that another person besides Elijah should show up. There is nothing in the text that says that Elijah should come from a different place other than where he had gone to"

    So? Just because its not in the text does that mean God didn't wanna do it that way? Find in the OT that there would be 4 gospels..and 3 of them synoptics?

    "He had to come down from heaven. He had gone up to heaven and naturally he had to come back from it. "

    Here is where people go wrong. This is an assumption..You know what that does to you and me don't ya ;)


    "Does anybody know the location of this physical heaven that you are saying that Elijah went to? How far is it above the earth?"

    I'll tell you as soon as you find out how in the world a person can rise after 3 days of being dead ;)



    "God is spirit and does not require a physical place named "heaven" to reside in"

    I agree. That doesn't negate the point I have made at all. Its quite clear in 2nd kings that Big E when up physically.
     
  4. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    "So? Just because its not in the text does that mean God didn't wanna do it that way? Find in the OT that there would be 4 gospels..and 3 of them synoptics?"

    So what you are saying is that God will fulfuill the prophecies according to His own ways and not the expectations of human beings. Is my understanding of your position correct?
     
  5. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "So what you are saying is that God will fulfuill the prophecies according to His own ways and not the expectations of human beings. Is my understanding of your position correct?"

    At first glance I would say yes, but not always. The jews though the messiah would be a political leader too..but they were wrong on that?
     
  6. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    At this point I would like to wait and hear some other opinions on this subject from our fellow believers.
     
  7. LewisWildermuth

    LewisWildermuth Senior Veteran

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    Mike, I find myself agreeing with you, but I tend to take many parts of the Bible non or semi literaly...

    Louis Booth, the literal interpretation of the OT especialy with messanic <sp?> prophesy is what lead many Jewish people to mis the event...

    Elijah never came back down like many were expecting, If John had atleast been named Elijah that might of helped some. If I remember right Jesus had the wrong name if you read the prophesies literaly.
     
  8. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "Louis Booth, the literal interpretation of the OT especialy with messanic <sp?> prophesy is what lead many Jewish people to mis the event..."

    Actaully jesus said himself it was because they didn't understand it, not because they thought it was literal/nonliteral. If you read 2nd Kings the passage is very clear to indicate that it was a literal thing. Why don't you show the names in hebrew and what Christ said and we can see. I'm not sure you're right about that one. The point is, when reading ANYTHING you take it literally until something in the context tells you otherwise. The point of communication is to get a point from A to B. If the person at A doesn't specify it is nonliteral you assume it is literal or person at A doesn't know how to comminicate. The passage in 2nd kings is very literal in nature. Read it for yourself.
     
  9. Caedmon

    Caedmon kawaii Supporter

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    Well Louis, it doesn't really matter how long a "day" is within the narrative. It can be 24 hours within the story. But the thing is, it is a mythology, which operates outside of reality. It's like a dream. You can watch the events of what you perceive as 24 hours within the dream, and no one can say you are right or wrong, because it wasnt' reality. It's an existence that your mind created. Likewise, things function differently in the myth genre. The myth genre of the narrative defines its own existence. A "day" can be "24 hours" within the reality of the text. But that does not say whether or not that translates as 24 "real world" hours. Since the genre is myth, the point is actually moot.
     
  10. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    "Actaully jesus said himself it was because they didn't understand it, not because they thought it was literal/nonliteral."

    They didn't understand because they thought it to be literal. They were waiting for Elijah and not John the Baptist. The text literally tells us that the jews were waiting for Elijah. Let's read it literally!!! The text literally points to Elijah coming. And here was Jesus telling them that it was John the Baptist.

    How would you have understood it without the guidance from Jesus, if you were a jew at the time of Christ and that you had read it literally?
     
  11. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "It can be 24 hours within the story. "

    I agree. I just don't think the text lends itself to this (my opinion).

    "They didn't understand because they thought it to be literal. "

    So you were alive then and talked to them about it? Again, this is your assumption.

    "How would you have understood it without the guidance from Jesus, if you were a jew at the time of Christ and that you had read it literally?"

    I wouldn't have understood a lot of the OT without the guidence of Christ, Paul and many others. Does that make it any less literal in 2nd kings? Nope.

    Lets examine this passage... first verse

    "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. "

    If this passage is nonliteral Eijah must have not literally gone to Gilgal, but he literally did.

    " And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.

    2Ki 2:8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped [it] together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

    2Ki 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

    2Ki 2:10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: [nevertheless], if thou see me [when I am] taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be [so].

    2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
    "

    Here also, the jordan must be a nonliteral place for this passage to be nonliteral..but there is a real river named Jordan.

    there are tons of hints that tell us this passage is quite literal.
     
  12. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    I was rather referring to Malachi 4:5

    "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

    The jews read this literally and they missed our Lord. They were expecting a literal Elijah.

    You read 2 Kings literally and as such the NT has not helped you any in understanding it, since you read it as a jew would read it without the need for the guidance from Christ, Paul, and many others.
     
  13. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    I am rather running impatient here....

    Louisbooth you said earlier that

    "The point is, when reading ANYTHING you take it literally until something in the context tells you otherwise."

    I submit that&nbsp;one should take it in a way that it does not contradict other parts of the the Word of God. In other words, it should be coherent with the rest of the Word.

    For example, only looking at the context, one is obligated to take the following passages literally since there is nothing in the context that would indicate otherwise:

    Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

    Which says that God walks and therefore has legs.

    Exodus 19:4

    'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.

    Which would indicate that the jewish nation actually flew out of Egypt on Eagles' wings.

    Isaiah 11:7 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

    Which would indicate that after our Lord comes back, the lions will become vegetarians. And you are well aware that there are certain denominations that believe as such. Again, there is nothing in the context that would indicate otherwise. Exodus 24:9-11&nbsp; Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up&nbsp;and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire,&nbsp;clear as the sky itself.&nbsp;But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

    Which would indicate that God has feet and that these people actually saw God.

    &nbsp;
     
  14. sola fide

    sola fide neo-Puritan

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    I don't know if anyone else has mentioned any book recommendations, but "Knowing Scripture" by R.C. Sproul is a great book on this subject...you can get it just about anywhere for around 12 bucks.

    Soli Deo gloria!
     
  15. Mike Etemadi

    Mike Etemadi New Member

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    My dear friends, the fear that consumes me is that we expect our Lord to come back according to our understanding of the text of the Word. This has been my driving motivation in understanding the MISTAKES that the jews made which led them and still leads them to denying Christ, their Messiah. What if He does not come back riding in the clouds according to our literal understanding of the text? What if the moon does not turn into blood according to our understanding of the text of the Word? What if..... Do we measure Him according to our own understanding or do we uphold Him as the Standard by which everything else must be measured?

    Sola Fide the book that you mention I have not read and will try to find it and read it. Thank you for the guidance.
     
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