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.