The Modern Interpretation of History (2021)
By Gerald Flurry • November 19
A radically new interpretation of history is being taught in our schools and colleges today. Intellectuals and scholars reject God and the Bible. You may be shocked to learn why.
The result of rejecting God in the study of history is confusion. One historian even called the modern interpretation of history chaotic. “We live under the shadow of a gigantic question mark. What are we? Where did we come from? Whither are we bound?” wrote historian Henrik van Loon in The Story of Mankind. (Our free book Mystery of the Ages will answer these questions for you.)
If we don’t answer these questions, we will be confused. History will make no sense.
In all my adult life, I have never lived under a gigantic question mark. God will give answers to anyone who is humble and teachable (Matthew 11:25). That’s a promise!
Our predecessor, the late Herbert W. Armstrong, opened Mystery of the Ages with: “Did you ever ask yourself, Who am I? What am I? Why am I? You are a mystery. The world about you is a mystery. Now, you can understand.” Mr. Armstrong asked questions similar to those of Mr. van Loon, the confused historian. But Mr. Armstrong actually knew the answers!
It is impossible to believe both secular history and the Bible, according to the late Ambassador College historian Herman Hoeh, who wrote the Compendium of World History. This is a concerning problem!
The public has listened to the historians, archaeologists, scientists and theologians and has been convinced to reject God. Let’s examine the modern interpretation of history.
“We still know very little, but we have reached the point where (with a fair degree of accuracy) we can guess at many things,” Mr. van Loon continued. Guesses aren’t good enough! We need facts. We need proof of the Bible. Our interpretation of history can’t be based on guesses. No wonder mankind doesn’t know who they are or the purpose of life!
“Yet these guesses are masquerading today as authoritative interpretations of history,” Dr. Hoeh wrote. Most people just accept the guesses and assumptions of the supposed experts. It is taken for granted that the historians are collecting facts and making judicious evaluations to provide the truth of our posterity.
“The reconstruction of ancient history is an abstracting from the facts by means of hypothesis,” wrote G. Ernest Wright in The Biblical Archaeologist Reader. A hypothesis, according to Webster’s, is “a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences” or “an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument.” Historians are just assuming and guessing! Is that really the kind of history we can trust?
History based on assumptions won’t explain who you are, why you’re here, or what your future holds.
“The ‘historical method’ of study is essentially a new approach to history,” Dr. Hoeh wrote. “It is not based on demonstrable fact. It rests on only one fundamental—and unprovable hypothesis: that God has never and does not intervene in, or determine, the course of history” (emphasis mine). Do you accept this?
The modern interpretation of history “does not take into account any intervention of God or of the devil or of demons,” wrote Rudolf Bultmann (Jesus Christ and Mythology). Jesus Christ routinely cast out demons. Have they just disappeared? Satan the devil not only exists but has possessed world leaders! (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28).
Anything but Historical Truth
A historian today is not a scribe but a judge. He judges history but doesn’t let history judge him. The truth should judge all of us.
Scholars might call God and His involvement in history a myth, but God labels them a myth! Who is wrong? We need to look closely at this.
It is human nature to be convinced by prejudices. Naturally, we don’t want to hear the truth! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Do you really believe this verse? Human nature is desperately wicked. Why put your faith in that? We must overcome human nature to understand Bible history or anything else.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28). When people reject God, He allows their minds to become reprobate, or void of judgment. History won’t judge or change them. They aren’t humble, teachable and childlike enough to listen to God! They don’t even search for the real truth at all.
Christ rebuked the arrogant scholars of His day: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23). These Pharisees counted all the little seeds and were meticulous in tithing—important things but not nearly as important as judgment, mercy and faith.
Notice: Christ listed judgment ahead of mercy and faith. Judgment must be very important! God will give it to any of us if we ask Him.
Dr. Hoeh recounted a major court case in 1954 that went all the way to the Supreme Court. During the hearing, a noted historian and expert was called upon to provide his expert opinion. He explained to his fellow historians what happened:
The problem we faced was not the historian’s discovery of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; the problem instead was the formulation of an adequate gloss ….
It was not that we were engaged in formulating lies; there was nothing as crude and naive as that. But we were using facts, emphasizing facts, bearing down on facts, sliding off facts, quietly ignoring facts and, above all, interpreting facts in a way to … “get by” ….
The historian said historians don’t lie, then listed all the ways they lie!
Human reasoning tries to make history fit with preconceived ideas and conform with the popular view. That historian went on to say he was forced to decide between historical truth and the whims of our ever changing society, which “bothered [him] terribly.” Any historian who goes against the trend will be cast out, criticized, and called ignorant and superstitious by his fellow historians.
“I am convinced now that this interpretation, which we hammered out with anything but historical truth as our objective, nonetheless contains an essential measure of historical truth,” the historian concluded. Can you imagine that? He convinced himself of his own arguments. He admitted he didn’t even seek the truth! Really, he rejected God.
“History is not mere recording of facts,” Dr. Hoeh wrote. “Contrary to the common idea, it is essentially interpretative.” American and British histories of the American Revolution, for example, can be totally different because each side interprets the events a certain way—and they should not.
Secular historians use some essential facts but don’t tell the whole truth. Telling only part of the truth is the same as lying. And many are deceived.
What is God’s view? Don’t we have a right to give students and the public God’s view?
Ninety percent of the prophecy in the Bible is being fulfilled in this end time. Your Bible is right every single time!
Thousands of ancient records corroborate the history of the Bible. Here’s the advice the late archaeologist Prof. Benjamin Mazar gave to his granddaughter Eilat, with whom we excavated in Jerusalem for over a decade until she died earlier this year: “Pore over the Bible again and again, for it contains within it descriptions of genuine historical reality.” All her life, Dr. Eilat Mazar dug according to Bible history—and she found King David’s palace and made some of the most important archaeological discoveries of all time! All she did was follow the Bible.
“Dr. Eilat Mazar, world authority on Jerusalem’s past, has taken King David out of the pages of the Bible and put him back into living history,” wrote Rachel Ginsberg (“Reclaiming Biblical Jerusalem,” aish.com). Living history! God’s view of history will make your life lively and dynamic!Read More