7

Okay, let me point it out there. This question: The beast with seven heads and ten horns - Is it possibly the G-7 nations plus three more? stinks is not a good fit for the site.

People have been playing guessing games about Revelation since it was written, wondering if this event is what was foretold, or maybe that one. It's always a losing game, and frankly I think it makes most experts on theology cringe.

That said, I wonder if we could say, as a blanket rule, that questions about individual applications of eschatology are actually off-topic for this site. Since the general pattern is such that the questions rarely are concerned with the theology of any particular denomination, but rather a matter of general interpretation, is it fair to argue that all of these questions actually belong on BH?

  • @I quarrel with the phrase that my question "stinks." If you mean that "it is not a good fit for the site," I don't have a problem with it. – Tom Au Feb 23 '13 at 19:52
8

I think the kind of thing you're most worried about already is off topic. The main issue I see with these questions is they are mainly truth questions (which we don't do). People asking them typically don't care about theological constructs, different interpretation methods or doctrine, they just want cake. With frosting. In the case of eschatology, they usually just eat the sprinkles anyway.

Strike two is their inevitable speculative nature. Few of the structures that we use to frame questions are suitable because most of those structures, as a whole, decline to comment on the matter. In the case of the question you linked somebody came along afterwards and tacked on a tag . This makes perfect sense as far as it goes because dispensationalism is the only framework in which the question could possibly be made to mean anything, and the most likely one for somebody which that kind of view of eschatology to be asking about. However its a bit like slapping a band-aid on an arterial bleed. The question is "Does X mean Y?" and Z is the only construct where X could possibly mean Y, so throw it in that bucket. Except that bucket has a veritable ocean of different interpretations and could not be sufficient to provide an authoritative referenced answer this this question. In order to do that you would have to pick some group or individual that has made particular predictions. For example you could ask about whether this prediction matches those of Camping or LaHaye. Those would be specific enough to give the question a real answer, but then basically the question would morph to "Dude Y says Z, is this true?" and we are back to problem 1.

The long and the short of it is that I think the nature of what people want to learn from their question is inherently outside the realm of constructive QnA that we're trying to implement here.

I'm sure it is possible to ask related questions on Biblical Hermeneutics, but the kind that show up here first don't tend to be very portable. Questions on BH need to start with a specific text and be open to various interpretive methods. The questions that show up here text to start with a doctrinal framework (even though as mentioned above they rarely know what that is or why it's important) and a specific application they want to verify. Coming at it from that direction isn't going to fly on BH. By the time the question was edited inside out to make it fit, I doubt the question would still be of interest to the OP and it might be more productive for an interested party that knows BH to just ask a related question and drop a link in a comment on the closed one here for the OP to follow if it still interests them.

  • 1
    "They just want cake." Ok, you convinced me. We can't change someone's motives for asking a question. – fredsbend Feb 23 '13 at 16:44
  • @fredsbend: Maybe you can change my motives. Your comment below made a helpful suggestion about dispensationalism and theological perspective. I like to ask questions, of course. But am willing to work with others to make them acceptable. – Tom Au Feb 23 '13 at 19:56
  • @TomAu The question as you put it was too vague. Maybe it might have been better received if you asked according to a particular denomination or perspective. Ultimately, though, like I said in my answer, the answer is always 'maybe'. But I attempted to give more then that by exploring 'how likely from dispensationalism perspective'. I think a question like "Is it Scriptural to think that the beast might be a financial institution like the G-7?" But this is still the issue: The answer is always maybe. I want questions like this but at the same time see how they can be unproductive. – fredsbend Feb 24 '13 at 14:36
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    This answer truly takes the cake, and lets them have it too... – Affable Geek Mar 13 '13 at 23:22
  • @AffableGeek: So I have to ask. Do you mean that in the sense of "this is the reason nobody can have nice things, plus it rips them a new one" or in the sense of "this really is the best of both worlds"? Because I never realized until now that that expression could mean two totally opposite things ;-) – Caleb Mar 15 '13 at 22:43
  • @caleb. Mostly, I was just having fun with the language there. This is a very good answer (it takes the cake), it does let 'em have it (since you're basically agreeing that these questions are off topic) and yes, I did like the allusion to eating their cake and having it too... – Affable Geek Mar 17 '13 at 13:03
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I agree that that question is slightly unhelpful to this site, but I think it could be revised by simply specifying a certain theological perspective. It is at least tagged correctly with dispensationalism.

I really don't see this as any different then asking for the practical application of any theology from the perspective of that theology.

Certainly we would allow discussion of daniel prophesies, but is that only because most think they have already happened?

Maybe I'm biased but I think my answer proved helpful either way.

  • I appreciate your efforts to improve my question, even if it currently "is slightly unhelpful to this site." I disagree with others who feel that is has "no merit." – Tom Au Feb 23 '13 at 19:53
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This question was recently criticized as a truth question:

In Prophecy what does a beast represent?

Therefore, making it off-topic and not constructive.

I greatly disagree.

The answer is

The beasts in prophecy represent kingdoms and empires as interpreted by Scripture itself in Daniel 7. From my own answer to the question

That is straight from scripture, literally, so it is an exact answer to his question: "In prophecy what does a beast represent?"

I admit that I went far beyond that simple answer and went on to examine a few of the opinions on what the beasts represent in history, but I think that is okay. I also think I was fair to the major interpretations.

So vote this answer up if you think that the question is on topic and down if not.

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