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Gamaliel's Desk
Friday, November 15, 2002
 
666
A Preterist, who read my recent column on Eschatology, thought he would catch me in a mistake. What he did instead was to expose his own ignorance. I never cease to be amazed by those who believe they can catch me in an error. I have devoted my life to reading sermons, commentaries, books and articles of all sorts so I am considered by most to be an authority on the Bible. At least, I should be so considered by most people.

The crux of the accusation from the young Preterist (a person who believes that nearly all the prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled) is his claim that I don’t take the Bible literally. He accuses me of believing in a physical Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13:16-18 but not believing in a physical “Mark of the Lamb” in Revelation 14:1.

My first objection is that he claims I do not take the Bible literally. Yet his belief system claims that there will be no future Beast ruling over a one-world government. He does not believe there will be a physical mark and that people will not receive invisible tattoos, computer chips or hidden bar codes in their right hands and foreheads. He denies the future need for a massive computer system to monitor people’s ability to purchase goods and services. He claims that all of this was fulfilled during the Roman Empire. How absurd! Rome never had computers or microscopic chips embedded under the skin, so it is clear that this prophecy was never fulfilled. So I have a “brother” who is telling me that I do not take the Bible literally while he himself is guilty of spiritualizing the text.

His second mistake is to think that the Mark of the Beast and the Mark of the Lamb are related. This is pure hogwash. One is a physical mark that is noticeable on the earth. The other is a spiritual mark that is only visible in heaven. These two passages occur in two separate chapters in the book of Revelation. If the apostle John had wanted us to think they were the same kind of mark, there would not be a chapter separation at this point in the KJV Bible. For proof of this, see the Scofield heading above the chapter. It says, “Parenthetical: vision of the Lamb and the one hundred and forty and four thousand.” This is absolute proof that chapter 14 is unrelated to the events in chapter 13 because it is a “parenthetical” event. Some people just don’t know how to read the Bible.

Another mistake this young Preterist makes is that taking the Bible “literally” does not mean that I am ignorant of figures of speech. The Mark of the Beast is a literal mark and it is physical. The Mark of the Lamb is a literal mark and it is spiritual. Taking one passage as a physical manifestation and another as a spiritual manifestation does nothing to detract from the literalness of the passage. It is the responsibility of learned scholars such as myself to distinguish between what needs to be taken physically and what needs to be taken spiritually.

But then, that is the problem with the Bible; it is a spiritual book as well as a literal one. It is a tragedy that some are so carnal as to be incapable of spiritually discerning the truth of God’s word. This dear brother, God rest his soul, is caught in the trap that one cannot take a literal interpretation and a spiritual interpretation at the same time. I am not “spiritualizing” scripture like he is, but spiritually discerning scripture. It is too bad that he cannot be like me and be so discerning.

Gamaliel/RJP

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriputres or the power of God.”
Matthew 22:29 (NIV)

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