Despite the wide proliferation of heresies on the internet, the children of God may still protect themselves with the sword of truth. Yes, I thank the Lord that the Bible is still effective in combating false views and erroneous systems of doctrine.
Perhaps one of the most vocal heresies of today is that of Hymeneanism. This view holds that the resurrection is a past event. How does one pick out a Hymenean? He merely asks one whether he or she believes that the personal physical death of Christ on the cross was substitutionary in nature.
The Hymneneans do not believe so. They profess that Christ’s sacrificial death served only as an ‘outward sign.’ Thus their theory robs the blood of Christ of its objective efficacy in the work of salvation. This is tantamount to denial of the Lord that bought them (2 Peter 2: 1).
The cause of this Hymeneanism may be traced to an a priori system of theology known as Preterism, whose adherents teach that Christ’s Olivet Discourse was fulfilled during the first century. Since Christ predicted the resurrection of believers at His second coming, Hymeneans hold that it occurred at the destruction of the Jewish temple, and that therefore Biblical ‘death’ is not the separation of the body and soul, but is something spiritual or ‘covenantal.’
The question then arises, why did Christ have to physically die on the Cross for our sins? For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6: 23); and Christ paid the wages when He died on the Cross. Either His sacrificial death was substitutionary in nature, or it wasn’t. If substitutionary, then death must equal the separation of body and soul–for Christ did exactly what was necessary to reconcile men to God.
Since Christ’s death was substitutionary, the Hymenean view stands condemned, and any Preterist theory of the Olivet Discourse falls to the ground. For it is impossible for any resurrection of believers to have have occurred, without contradicting the plainest evidences of our Christian experience. But as we’ve learned, not all men are living in reality.
It needs no prophet to see that a few errors in hermeneutics may lead the downward trend into the deceptive mires of Hymeneanism. When one follows these heremeutical assumptions to the very end, he may arrive at the erroneous conclusion that “all Biblical prophecy” was fulfilled in A.D. 70. This would of course, include the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, and the judgment.
Whence springs this strange view? How comes it that so many espouse this theory, which makes a wreckage of 2,000 years of Christrian teaching? The answer: because of a false interpretation of three parallel verses in the New Testament.
(Matt. 24: 34) “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
(Mark 13: 30) “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”
(Luke 21: 32) “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”
In each instance the phrase ‘this generation’ means the nation to whom Christ was speaking: The Jews. But because of the mistaken concept that the phrase means ‘my first century hearers,’ some within the church are now declaring that Christ’s visible coming in the clouds occurred 2,000 years ago! When Bible passages are harmonized, the end conclusions are obvious. One cannot escape the view that, according to this interpretation, the resurrection and judgment are past events.
Regardless of what others may think, I call this opening wide the gates to Hymeneusville. I realize, of course, that some valiant men and women have placed themselves at the threshhold with flaming swords in their hands to bar the way of entrance. However, so long as the door remains open, some will enter. And we see daily, that no matter how strenuous their efforts to oppose entrance and challenge those who would pass through, the population of Hymeneusville grows daily.
What is the solution? The solution is to accept the Biblical usage of the phrase ‘this generation,’ which means ‘the Jewish nation.’ Else, if we insist on claiming that ‘this generation’ means ‘my first century adience,’ we must be prepared to find some A.D. 67-70 fulfillment of the parallel visions of Daniel. But if we cannot do this, we must reconsider whether our interpretation of ‘this generation’ is even accurate.
Thankfully, I am one who learned why it’s wrong to open the doors to Hymeneusville. I consider it the obligation of every true Christian to adopt and espouse a responsible method of Biblical interpretation. If we propagate a false faith, what will happen in the day when Christ returns from heaven with all His holy angels, to punish the wicked and reward His faithful servants? If keeping the doors to Hymeneusville open makes you feel lucky, then please continue doing what you’re doing–for you are beyond my ability to help.
But if, on the other hand, you realize deep down that your interpretation is wrong, I urge you to close the doors, and take your stand with me, that we may fight those who try to open them–whether they come at evening, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing. Happy are those servants who shall be found defending the faith when the Master arrives.