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Like many cultists and misguided Christians - some of recent history - Eells appeals to Daniel 12v4 (and 8-9), which speaks of sealing the book until the end and are taken to mean that someone in the end time finally will see into information heretofore unknown and be filled with massive and superior spirituality able to date coming events in the End-Times - and even the coming of Jesus. >>> Eells' 'Disclaimer'!
Acclaimed Hebrew scholars, Keil and Delizsch, deal at length with these verses from Daniel. In their Old Testament Commentary, Volume 9, p312-313, they show that the Hebrew text has to do with the preservation of Scripture, that Daniel's prophecies will be guarded and preserved until their fulfilment. The 'sealing of the believer' by the Holy Spirit is the preservation of the believer. The text suggests the rendering 'preserved in security against defilement' or 'in safety continue to the end.' The verses are not a license for private interpretation, but Eells, et al, will hardly be bothered by that since they claim unique Gnostic insight.
Jesus' warnings 'no man knows the day nor the hour' (Matthew 24v36) and 'it is not for you to know the times and the seasons' (Acts 1v7) should make people cautious about any pinpoint date- setting. However, church history is littered with those who have ignored these admonitions. Orthodox Bible commentators agree that knowing neither the day nor the hour means that no one knows the precise time, or 'season.'
Certainly there are general principles in the Old Testament about sin and its consequences, but the way Eells, et al, apply Israel's history - and principles to guide family life, behaviour, health etc. - as prophetic and try to create normative principles for the End-Times church is to miss all that the Epistles say about New Testament church life.
Beside Kabbalistic numerical speculation common in communities of that ilk, the nearest thing to describe Eells' Hermeneutic, is the Jewish term 'Pesher.' The Dead Sea Scroll Community saw most of the Old Testament as prophetic of just themselves, as 'The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion' explains:
'The authors of the pesharim believed the Scriptural prophecies to have been written for their own time and predicament and they interpreted the Biblical texts in the light of their acute-eschatological expectations' (p 298).
Hence the belief that, for instance, Habakkuk had little or nothing to do with the coming Babylonian invasion and all the words were addressed to the scroll community, for the prophet was inspired to write specifically about their times. Again, this shows the discerning contemporary believer that the Dead Sea Scrolls and the community that preserved them are not to be taken as representative of true believers and their expectations or beliefs. Of course, anti-Christian groups will ignore these arguments as they pour out their attacks on true, Biblical Christianity, in these End-Times!
This is not to say that some prophecies do not refer to us but we must be extremely careful since not all the facts and history of the Old Testament are prophetic of today as these contemporary Gnostics suppose. One-third of the Bible is prophetic and some of that has been fulfilled in Christ's first coming. To try to force the rest of it into a prophetic mold is to do violence to Scripture and to take some words in a strict literal sense when they help your case but spiritualize and allegorize other words as it suits is to invite ridicule from all quarters!
Strange and illogical speculation results and is another specialty of these contemporary Gnostics when dates and numbers in the Old Testament, or from recent news or historical events, arise from whatever source (often 'dreams and visions'). They clearly believe that the dating of events in the Old Testament - and almost anywhere - is a prophetic calendar for today and the fact that the inspired writers gave dates to prove the historicity of the Bible seems to escape them! This compulsion to create facts with Bible numerology is a stock in trade for a number of cults. People try to prove all kinds of things by selecting numbers from Scripture and giving them an arbitrary meaning.
Supposing that numeric patterns give insight into Scripture is a very speculative pursuit called gematria and Ivan Panin - mentioned earlier under 'Bible Code' - E.W. Bullinger, F.W. Grant, Edwin Hartill, LeBarron W. Kinney and Jerry Lucas are just a few who have attempted to draw real meaning from arbitary methods. That all of these disagree as to the precise meaning of various numbers, reveals how ridiculously and un-Scripturally subjective it is. Gematria can be traced to post-Apostolic Greek paganism and, similarly, medieval numerology developed into the Jewish Kabbalistic pursuits.
Supposedly 'divine numerics' are therefore nothing new or Scriptural - and certainly not a key to deeper Bible truth. The 'method' is so arbitrary and subjective that only the most deceived dare perceive it to be a method of 'interpretation,' or source of 'knowledge' or 'wisdom,' and its historical roots reveal it to be merely confused Gnosticism.
(Continued on page 239)