|Dr. Louis Berkhof (1873-1957) has an excellent book entitled "Principles of Biblical Interpretation." It was written in 1950 and is a help for students of the Word in understanding how to know their Bible. He lists some great principles for studying prophecy but then sets those principles aside and gets all fouled up when explaining how we understand the prophecies of things to come.|
Some of Berkhof's principles:
Berkhof says in His Systematic Theology that Christ's Second Coming will be visible, sudden, glorious, and for the purpose of introducing the future, eternal age. But Berkhof trashes the idea of Israel's kingdom. He sees no plans for the Jews. And, for what reason we do not know, he takes to task the premillennial return of the Lord. He cannot explain why! And yet, he has given to us some sound interpretative principles about prophecy in his hermeneutic book.
In his Theology, he gives some silly arguments against premillennialism that he cannot justify. He writes:
The Premillennial theory entangles itself in all kinds of insuperable difficulties with its doctrine of the millennium. It is impossible to understand how a part of the old earth and of sinful humanity can exist alongside of a part of the new earth and of a humanity that is glorified. How can perfect saints in glorified bodies have communion with sinners in the flesh? How can glorified saints live in this sin-laden atmosphere and amid scenes of death and decay? How can the Lord of glory, the glorified Christ, establish His throne on earth as long as it has not yet been renewed?
Berkhof then quotes a writer by the name of Brown who says: "What a mongrel state of things is this! What an abhorred mixture of things totally inconsistent with each other!" Berkhof forgets that Christ was resurrected in His eternal, new and glorified body and fellowshipped and even ate with the disciples! Also, he has not looked carefully at contexts and studied all the passages carefully. He is the one confused, not premillennialists, and as well, he does not let the Bible speak for itself! He pre-judges passages to try to make them say what he wants them to! If Berhkof applied his own excellent principles in interpreting prophecy, he would come to what the orthodox Jews, and the early church came to, and that is, the premillennial concept of the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David, and of the establishment of His earthly kingdom reign! I have a feeling he was influenced by others and did not study these issues on his own!
The same kind of interpretative confusion is going on today! – Dr. Mal Couch