Disputing the Holdeman Version of the Endtimes. (part 1)

I have mentioned that I would dispute the Holdeman version of the endtimes, and it has been a very daunting task to contemplate. The way the Holdemans postulate their version of the endtimes is so loaded with error that one hardly knows where to start.  Once again, I am not going to try to tell you what is exactly true, because for one thing, I don’t think anyone really knows. However, I am going to tell you what is wrong.  As in the case of so many other issues I have confronted, the problem is in how the theory is proved.  Very faulty methods are used.  So first of all we will begin by examining the misuse of scriptures to prove a preconceived belief, instead of going to the scriptures to find what is truth.

I have been pondering this project, and wondering how to begin, but as I was writing a post yesterday and reading in Bible Doctrine and Practice, I saw an article that provoked my interest, so I will start with it.  On page 167, in the chapter heading The Church of God, we find this article: The Church as the City of God. There is a great deal of error in this small portion, which should give us much food for thought.  This chapter uses Revelation chapter 21 as the basis for the proof of the Holdeman belief of the endtime, as well as using it to bolster other false teachings.

First of all, this portion teaches us that the Holdeman church is the “city coming down from God, out of heaven.”  There is a very large problem with this, as in this chapter, as they  prove their ideas, they jump back and forth between future past and present like a kangaroo.  Hop hop hop.  Here is a quote from the portion:  “It is worthy of mention that the church is shown as ‘coming down from God out of heaven.’  Her origin was in heaven.  Her grace, power, and direction are still constantly coming down from God out of heaven.  This means there is a vital and open communication between the church and heaven.”

I have learned one thing, and that is that false teaching is not random, but in fact is put forth because it serves a purpose.  There is always a hidden agenda in false teaching. Here we begin to see one of these hidden agendas.  This interpretation helps to bolster the teaching of one true church.   This teaching helps to prove that the Holdeman church has all authority.  The organized entity known as Church of God in Christ Mennonite becomes this “city, coming down from God out of heaven,” and as such, she has all power and authority on the earth.  Just what is wrong with this  teaching?

First of all, let us go to 2 Peter chapter 3.  There is a verse in this chapter that is used to tell the people that there will be no millennial reign of Christ on earth, because the earth is going to be burned up. Right here, I am not going to try to prove there will be a millennial reign, but rather show that the ways they use to prove their point are very faulty indeed.  Let us take a look at the chapter.

Verse 10 of chapter 3 says “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  This would appear to speak of a time when the earth is burned up, when the time of judgment comes, and there will be no more heaven or earth. But wait. There is a portion further on that is always ignored.  Verse 13 says “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”   Wait. What is this.  The earth has been burned up with fervent heat, the righteous have been whisked away to heaven after the final judgment, and now there is a new heaven (firmament) and a new earth?  If these people are conducting a literal reading of the scriptures, then this part cannot be overlooked.  I won’t quote the entire chapter here, but for the sake of context I suggest the reader take a look at it.   Verse 16 gives a very timely warning…  “As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”  Paul warns against wresting the scriptures when things are hard to be understood.  Wrest means to distort or twist the nature or meaning of.  Let us be aware of this.  Let the unlearned and unstable refrain from wresting.  Now let us move to the 21st chapter of Revelation.

Verse 1 says “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”  This is a reiteration of the message in 2 Peter 3, we would all agree, I am sure, and furthermore, it speaks of some time in the future.  The earth has been burned up, and a new heaven and a new earth have come on the scene. Verse 2 says “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Here we have a verse that the Holdemans quote and claim has already taken place.  They assign this verse to the past. So here in the first two verses we jump from future to past.  Verse 3 follows verse 2, in the past….  “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”  So here we see that in the future the earth will be burned up and restored, in the past, the city of God has already come down, and God is dwelling with men in the Holdeman church.  In verse 4 we jump once again to the future…  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  They do have to admit that this is future, because I have asked before…  “Would you then concede that verse 4 has not yet come to pass?”  And they have to admit that is so. So here we have future, past, future, all following one another in rapid succession in this passage.

Verse 5: ” And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”  Has this happened yet?  I’m sure that when it suits it can be said that it has already  come to pass, when it suits it can be in doubt, and when it suits, it can be said to be in the future. Once again, I would suggest to the reader to read the entire chapter,  with an honest heart.  The scriptures must be read as a whole, logical picture, with the continuity and context intact.  Why would John jump around in his apocalyptic vision in such a manner?  He is simply telling a story in context, and with continuity, and he is reiterating what Peter had said, that the earth will be burned up and a new heaven and a new earth will come to pass.

The Holdemans cannot tolerate these scriptures honestly because they cancel out the amillennial teaching. Why is a new heaven and a new earth needed, if it is all going to be burned up at the time of the second coming, and the saints all traipse off to heaven to play harps and stroll around eating peaches and grapes forever?

I have written quite a bit for your contemplation here, and I find it exhausting to write. When I have collected myself enough to go on, I will return with further disputations.  I welcome others to ask questions or contribute thoughts.

Hiram

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10 Responses to Disputing the Holdeman Version of the Endtimes. (part 1)

  1. Hiram says:

    One of the problems with interpreting the scriptures is that even while Paul was still alive, Greek thinking, or “hellenism” had come to infect the church. We are warned about this in many places. Not in these words exactly, but in 2 Titus 3:13 we read “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” There were already evil men coming to deceive. In Jude, verse 4 we read “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” This simply tells us that deception was at work, even then. False teachers were out and about. There might be some dispute among theologians as to what constituted this Hellenistic influence, but the main evidence of it is an allegorical reading of the scriptures. In Hebrew thinking, there was not allegory, unless something was put forth as an allegory, such as the parables of Jesus. The Hebrew scriptures were literal. Today much of the NT is “spiritualized” and taken to mean things in a spiritual sense, rather than a literal interpretation of the words of the apostles, or even Jesus. This is not how the mindset of the day was. Nowhere is this more evident than when reading Revelation. Keep this in mind as we study this issue. The Holdemans have taken to spiritulizing many things away if they do not fit the agenda. It is true that all prophecy is highly figurative language, but in the end it has a literal interpretation. For example, Isaiah said “he went like a lamb to the slaughter, he opened not his mouth.” This is figurative language, but in the end, he went forth as a lamb, (he had been depicted throughout the years by the passover lamb, but in the end, an actual literal interpretation of the prophecy came to pass.) I believe it is impossible for us to know exactly how any prophecy is going to be fulfilled ahead of time. In the days of the OT prophets, people did not understand what was being said. When Jesus was born, preaching and being killed, the people still did not really see the fulfillment of the prophecies. However, they were familiar enough with them that all at once, they said This is it! This is the Messiah! He has fulfilled all scripture! I believe it will be the same for us. We can look ahead and try to imagine many different ways in which the final apocalyptic prophecies will be fulfilled, but we cannot truly know ahead of time. However, this is no reason for us to shut it all off and deny it, simply because we are too proud to say we do not have all the answers. Rather it is good to be open, to be humble and thoroughly familiar with the scriptures. When the time comes that it is absolutely necessary for us to understand what is happening, then God can open our eyes to the truth that this is prophecy being fulfilled.

    http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/platonism-tyler.html This gives some information about the influence of Plato and Socrates on church history.

    • Hiram says:

      The thing about this that escapes most people is that this had already taken hold during the time of what is known as the early church fathers. Most of them were infected with this, and it is in fact very much the basis of the teachings of the Catholic Church, and hence the Anabaptists after Menno got hold of them.

    • lotsaquestions says:

      Another thing we hear is that all prophesy has been fulfilled. Not so, because if it has then the end would have come. I have always thought like you stated ” we cannot truely know ahead of time.” Like i commented last week, Holdeman’s teach that the end will come when the church no longer has the truth. Well. they may not teach it, but i hear the thought advanced every now and then. Like 22,000 people have that much sway on the end of the world? Enlighten me anyone.

  2. catalyst says:

    That’s an interesting thought; the end will come when the Holdemans no longer have truth. According to that we should be outa here by now. No, really, how can they say all prophecy has been fulfilled? This is just another reason why they don’t want to go into the book of Revelation. It discredits all of their own prophecies. They like to make up their own story for the end of time. I know they think that Christ could return at any time. They don’t believe in the great tribulation because they aren’t willing to go through such a time of trouble. They say it’s going to get hard before the end, but they don’t know for sure what that means. They like to believe that they will be driving around the cornfield in their enormous tractor pulling an enormous implement, texting the wife on the church approved cell phone, and all at once notice something in the sky and look up and lo and behold, the end. Jesus has come to take the Holdemans home and damn the rest to eternal hell fire. Its more comforting and much less complicated that way. Don’t try to tell them about the way it’s really going to be, because for one thing, they can’t comprehend it, and for another thing, they aren’t willing to go through it.

  3. I never could figure out why the Holdemans think that a literal translation of Genesis is necessary to get you through the Pearly Gates, yet a literal translation of Revelations 20 will earn you a ticket straight to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200…

  4. I was always taught that Jesus would return only to preserve “the very few” from losing out. Well, our church membership is rising steadily so apparently we needn’t worry about the Lord’s return any time soon.

    • lotsaquestions says:

      I heard a Holdeman quote a non member the other day. The Holdeman said ” Yeah, even the outsiders are sitting up and taking notice, Mr. So and So said that the Holdeman church is the fastest growing Mennonite church in the world.” Of course the Holdeman was thrilled. But…..True merit is like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.

      • Hiram says:

        Seems like that was said with a good deal of pride. They should rejoice that others are finding Christ, not that the world notices that their numbers are increasing. Which brings me to another thought….one has to wonder how much this non-member knows of the entire world. Exactly what information does he have that convinces him that in fact the Holdemans are the fastest growing Mennonite church in the world? Has he traveled the world? Does he get out of his own county? And what does it prove if it is in fact true? Actually, Muslims are the fastest growing religion in the world. Should we praise them because of that? Most people fear them for that. Think on that a while.

  5. Hiram says:

    Interesting, the way God wrote the Bible only for the Holdemans.

  6. Hiram says:

    It is interesting that the Bible is full of prophecy for every important event, but not a word about the end of time? If the book of Revelation is discarded as being figurative, already being fulfilled, or just in general not relevant today, then we have to accept that God did not see fit to give us a clue about the end of the age. Never mind that the things the Bible tells us about the end times are coming to pass, already. The scenario for a one world government with tight control over every human being, loss of all personal freedom, and severe persecution is staring us right in the eye; it makes no difference. Everything the Bible might appear to be saying about such things is meaningless……very strange.

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