By Bill Reeves
This is article four of several reviewing Max Kings Spirit Of Prophecy. He perverts the allegory of Paul, Gal. 4, doing some “allegorizing” of his own about “two sons in Abrahams household at the same time,” and comes up with an “overlapping” of the “Jewish world” and the “Christian world.” His constant play on words is imperative if he is to establish his Preterist-View doctrine. We now notice his “big gun,” mello.
He cites Matt. 16:27; Acts 17:31; 2 Tim. 4: 1; Heb. 10: 27; and Rom. 8:18, and tells us that these texts in the Greek employ the word “mello” which means “about.” For example, concerning Acts 17:31 be says: “Paul told the Athenians to repent and turn to Christ because he was going to judge the world. But when? How soon would that judgment day come? Many feel that there is nothing in the text itself to indicate time, whether near or afar, but to this we can hardly agree. Most Greek interlinear will furnish this reading: because he set a day in which he is about to judge the habitable world in righteousness, by a man whom be appointed.” “Paul said God was about (mello) to judge the world. This word mello, where found in the resent, active, indicative tense signifies, nothinly intention of purpose but also nearness of action, meaning at the point of, or ready to do what has been stated. Had Paul meant to teach judgment of 2000 or more years future, he certainly would not have used mello in any tense, especially in the present tense. Therefore the judgement of the habitable world (oikoumene) was about to take place in Pauls day, and in view of other related scriptures we have every reason to believe Pauls choice of words conveyed the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit.” A-157.
True to Kings style, he stays with the KJV when it suits him, and runs to the Greek text when convenient. Berry uses the word “about” in the texts cited by King (about to come, about to judge, etc.). Now, King, cite Berry on 1 Cor. 15:24! We will cite it for you: “when he shall have given up the kingdom . . .” Yet King confidently says: “I challenge anyone to show that Christ is going to give up the kingdom.”
He knows that no well-known English version employs that precise phrase, “give up,” in 1 Cor. 15:24, but he forgot about Berry, whom he cites when convenient!
Lets now quote Berry, in his dictionary, on mello: “To be about to do, to be on the point of doing . . . the verb may often be adequately rendered by our auxiliaries, will, shall, must; to delay, only Ac. xxii. 16. The participle is used absolutely: to mellon, the future, Lu. xiii. 9; ta mellonta, things to come, Ro. viii. 38.” So, the KJV, the ASV, and the NASV simply say “shall,” or “will” instead of “about to,” in the texts cited by King.
Berry translates phrases built on mello in this fashion, at times: Luke 13:9, “hereafter;” 1 Cor. 3:22, “coming things;” and 1 Tim. 6:19, “for the future.” How near is mello, King, in these passages?
Thayer defines the word thus, “ to be on the point of doing, or suffering something … to intend, have in mind, think to … of those things which will come to pass by fixed necessity or divine appointment … in general, of what is sure to happen.”
King quotes authorities like all false teachers: just that part that suites him! We shall have occasion to notice more of such in later articles.
The word mello appears in the Greek text in Matt. 11: 14, “And if ye are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, that is to come.” (ASV). The Greek phrase says, literally, “this is Elijah, the about to come one.” For four hundred years (Mal. 4:5) there was a coming one. Jesus said that John the Baptist was that one. As Thayer says of mello, “of those things which will come to pass by fixed necessity or divine appointment,” so John the Baptist was destined to come. Thats what mello means here! At the time of Jesus speaking, John had already come (v. 18)! That “about to come” lasted four centuries!
Rom. 5:14 employs the word mello and Berrys Interlinear reads: “who is a figure of the coming one.” The KJV reads: “him that was to come.” The ASV and the NASV read the same. Actually, “was” is not in the Greek phrase per se, but is properly supplied by the context (see especially the next verse), because the point is that Adam was a type of Christ in his first coming to die for man! Christ was “about” to come for millenniums-ever since the time of Adam! King would love for every mello passage to indicate something “about” to be in the near future! But when Paul wrote Rom. 5:14, the “about to come one” already had come! So, Kings play-on-words fails again!
So desperate is King for something “about to be” that he takes up the notion of “two comings of Elias” A-162 According to this fancy, John the Baptist was the first one, and the “first born ones or remnant of Israel were the messengers that prepared the way for Christs second coming” A-162 in the destruction of Jerusalem, and were the second of the two Eliases. King bases this on Matt. 17:10-13, affirming that since “come” is present tense, and “shall restore” is future, that there was another Elias to come, future from then, and that the word of Preparation for Christs coming in the destruction of Jerusalem, on the part of the saints, was the fulfillment of the second Elias to come!
Verse 11 is an abstract statement on the part of Christ showing that Elijahs coming precedes in time the coming of the Messiah. As for actual fact, Christ makes it crystal-clear in v. 12 that Elijah had already come in the person of John the Baptist! Johns work of “restoring all things” is set forth in Mal. 4:6 and Luke 1: 17, and that is, in a word, his preaching of repentance (Matt. 3:1-12). So, the “two Elijahs” is another invention of false teachers desperate for a proof.
King has a section on the two Adams. A-212ff Here he confuses or runs together (in his constant play-on-words) Rom. 5:14 and I Cor. 15:22. They are not of the same context, but what matters that to King who is most interested in words? Rom. 5:14 speaks of spiritual death and life, while 1 Cor. 15 of physical. King says, after quoting 1 Cor. 15:22, ” But the question is; when did the second Adam make all in him alive? According to Paul, it was at the resurrection or the coming of Christ, when the natural body was raised a spiritual body. But is this still future? The writer thinks not, for Paul said in his Roman letter (60 A.D.) it was at the point of happening then. Concerning Adam, Paul said, who is a figure of him that was to come, (Rom. 5:14). The literal translation here is, who is a figure of the coming (one). ” A-213
Now lets answer Kings question: If your question is based on 1 Cor. 15:22, the answer is that He has not done it yet! Paul did not say in 1 Cor. 15:22 that Christ was “at the point” of doing something. King ran back to Rom. 5:14 for his mello, and hoped that his readers would not catch him at it! But, if his question is based on Rom. 5:14, the answer is that He did it when he died on the cross, thus making justification possible. Friends, read the verses which follow Rom. 5:14, noting especially v. 18, and in chap. 6, vv. 11, 13, 18, 22. That all happened well before A. D. 70. It had already happened in A.D. 60, if that is when Paul wrote Romans. King presses his limited application of the word mello and tries to get Christ coming in A.D. 70 to do what Paul said He was the coming one to do-justify us sinners! If Paul meant that Christ had not come quite yet, then sinners were not quite yet justified until A. D. 70! What a doctrine!
On page 213 in his book, King refers to a good article in Bible Herald, Vol. 18, No. 3 (commenting on Rom. 5:14-BHR). He says that the writer of that article “completely misses the point.” The writer does not; but King is the one who not only completely misses the point, but also misrepresents the writer at the same time! King very subtly slips in his “about phrase” and says, “Paul did not say Christ was about to come in Adams day . . .” Of course Paid did not, and no one said that lie did say it! King is misrepresenting, as so often lie does when he refers to his opponents positions. The writer in Bible Herald was saying what Paid did say, and that is that Adam was a type of one who was coming from the time of Adam until He finally did come, to die on the cross and make justification possible. That was well before A.D. 60! The “nearness” of fulfillment is no point of Pauls. Pauls point was that Christ was the anti-type of Adam, and as such was the coming one, or about to be one, in order to give life for death. When he came is determined by when he gave that life! V. 18, that “one act of righteousness” refers to the cross of A.D. 33! King ignores the context of Rom. 5 and 6, and jumbles it with that of 1 Cor. 15, to make out a case for his fanciful invention of one “world” rising up out of another one at A.D. -Rt. 3
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 12, pp. 9-11
January 25, 1973