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The Jewish Origins of Preterism
By Bob Ross
Was ANY Prophecy Fulfilled in AD70? | The Jewish Origins of Preterism | Prophetic Perfidy Pertaining to Prophetic Pronouncements | The Historical Background of Modern Preterism | "PRETERIST PROPHETIC PHANTASYLAND"
In the article on our website, entitled "Preterist Prophetic Phantasyland" details are given which demonstrate the origin of the Preterist "presupposition" as being with the Jews of the "interbiblical period," a long span of years prior to the coming of Christ during which there was a "famine of hearing the word of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). Jesus and the Apostles never recognized any utterances during the "interbiblical" period as being "scripture."
The "presupposition" of Preterism is that UNINSPIRED men are capable of, and do, discern and pronounce what "fulfills" prophecies of the past. One of the major foundations of Preterism involves writings of the interbiblical period, when uninspired Jewish sources ventured to declare certain "fulfillments" of prophecy, apart from any Divine authentication.
This is what the Jewish writer of the "Maccabees" (books in the Apocrypha) did in regard to the writings of Daniel, as he declared that "Antiochus Epiphanes" was the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies. Not only was the writer uninspired, there is no reason to believe he was even in a "salvation"-relationship with the Lord. There is no New Testament recognition for the validity and authenticity of anything or any writer in Maccabees, the Apocrypha, or the interbiblical period. It was during this period of time in which the "Pharisee" sect was formed, as a sort of "revival" or "restoration" of the Mosaic system. Jesus rejected Phariseeism on the whole, and endorsed only what was consistent with the true Law of Moses.
As was the case with the writer of Maccabees, the same was true of JOSEPHUS, as even the Preterists themselves emphasize. He was not a professing Christian, did not accept Jesus Christ, and certainly was not inspired in what he wrote. In fact, he was of the sect of the Pharisees (Complete Works of Josephus, pages 1, 2). That he was "not inspired" is stated by ED STEVENS in his booklet "70 A.D." (page 4), and Ed is one of the managers of a Preterist website called "Kingdom Counsel."
Even more significant, J. STUART RUSSELL, author of the book which is at the "foundation" of most modern Preterist thinking, THE PAROUSIA, says this about Josephus:
Russell refers to Josephus as "a Jewish statesman, soldier, priest, and man of letters" and "this testimony [of Josephus] does not come from a Christian... but from a Jew — indifferent, if not HOSTILE — to the cause of Jesus" (pgs. 110, 111).
While Russell seems to think this is a significant point in favor of his cause, we think quite the contrary. It demonstrates that the man who is responsible for the Preterist view of A.D.70 in relation to the writings of Daniel (and consequently in relation to the reference to Daniel in Matthew 24:15), was an unsaved, unregenerate Jew who was allegedly "indifferent, if not hostile, to the cause of Jesus." This was not one with an attribute for discerning the "fulfillment" of prophecy. Yet our research has not discovered any Preterist source even hinting that this unsaved, uninspired Judaistic priest is to be doubted in the least when he proclaims Daniel's writings "fulfilled." Rather, we have found some sources which not only take his word as "law," but even "add-to" what Josephus actually did say, "expanding" his writings to emphatically validate points in their "eschatalogical" scheme of things. He is actually made to "say" certain things which he does NOT say.
In addition to (1) the writer of Maccabees and (2) Josephus, the alleged "historical" criteria used by modern preterists, such as Philip Mauro on Daniel chapter 11, by which to assert "the prophecy was fulfilled with literal exactitude," was developed by the Jews, and it has become so "traditional" it is repeated without question in commentaries and other sources. Keil & Delitzsch have documented numerous inaccuracies in the alleged "correspondence" of "the Jewish history" to the contents of Daniel and, in many cases, to "the facts of history." The practical consequences of the alleged "historical chronology" to Daniel are (1) the elimination of Daniel's writings, on the one hand, as prophetic of the Second Coming of Christ, and, (2) on the other hand, many novel efforts to effectively force Daniel to somehow conform to the supposed criteria.
Mauro himself is an example of the latter, as he tries to make the prophecies conform to the history of the "Asmoneans," in one instance making the "king of the south" to be "Cleopatra," who was in fact a "queen" in Egypt, which does not correspond to the "south" of Daniel 11.
There is absolutely no evidence that early post-A.D.70 Christianity considered the Roman conquest of Jerusalem to be a "fulfillment" of Daniel's prophecies, nor of the passage in Matthew 24:15 which refers to Daniel. Such an idea came on the scene much later, and apparently was derived solely from the writings of Josephus, who wrote under the "watchful eye" of the Roman General, Titus, who is embellished by Josephus as the leader of the conquering army of which Daniel supposedly "wrote" in the Divinely-given prophecies. It does not seem "coincidental" that Titus is a rather "impeccable" General when described by Josephus, and that Josephus was rewarded with "no small quantity" of tax-free property and a pension for his favorable account of Titus in this "history."
Church "apostasy" moved toward the "establishment" of "Christianity" as the official religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine (313 A.D.). Eusebius, the alleged "Father of Church History," endorsed the "history" of Josephus and incorporated the uninspired Jew's claim of "fulfillment" of Daniel's prophecies by the Romans with the words of Christ in Matthew 24:15, thereby giving a stamp of "validity" to Josephus.
Thus, both the official secular "history" written by Josephus, being authorized by the Emperor, and the "ecclesiastical" (church) history of Eusebius, were "merged," and the "church" learned to embrace Josephus as "authentic" in all respects. To question Josephus, one would have to walk-over the endorsement of Eusebius, who wrote:
"On comparing the declarations of our Saviour with the other parts of the historian's [Josephus'] work," etc. (Ecclesiastical History by Eusebius, Book I: chapter VII, pg. 93; 1966 edition, Baker).
The "rule of measurement" became the writings of Josephus, not the book of Daniel itself, and that continues to the present time.
Added to this, with the writing of a commentary on Daniel by "Saint Jerome," the "scholarly" corruption and permanent distortion of the prophecies of Daniel were firmly established in the secular, the "historical," and the "expository."
The "foundations" of Preterist eschatology were therefore "laid" by the uninspired minds of Jewish sources, incorporated by secular and "Christian" Rome, and perpetuated by "scholastics" of the "church." The consequence is the "Full Preterism" of writers such as Russell and the current crop of "Parousia" enthusiasts who claim to have "realized" the Second Coming, the Millennium, the Tribulation, the Resurrection, and the Judgment.
That's why I call Preterism a "Prophetic Phantasyland."
For a more thorough presentation, read "Preterist Prophetic Phantasyland."
written by Bob L. Ross
E-Mail: Pilgrimpub@aol.com (1st) E-Mail: Pilgrimp@swbell.net (2nd)
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