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Preterist Prophetic Phantasyland
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"
"PRETERISM" is the idea that some, or all, Bible "prophecy" may be declared by uninspired men as having been already "fulfilled." It is by no means "new," for it originated with the Jews in the "interbiblical" years, prior to the first coming of Christ. It was the "faith" of Josephus in the first century A.D., and it was even held to some degree by a few in the apostolic church age (2 Timothy 2:18).
Bray and King both pronounce that the "Second Coming" is past, but Bray has not yet "realized" what King claims to "realize" in regard to the "Resurrection" and the "Final Judgment" [MATTHEW 24 FULFILLED by John L. Bray, pgs. 274, 282]. When I started issuing critiques of Bray's book, I was immediately informed by the "Preterist Archive" ("full pretie") that Bray did not "speak" for the "P.A." "camp."
The "part-preties" claim that "some" things were "fulfilled" in the past, while the "full-preties" tell us that "everything" has been "fulfilled." The latter view, or the deepest "ditch," includes the Second Coming of Christ, Resurrection, the Rapture, the Judgment, the Millennium, the Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation, the Great Tribulation, the New Heavens and New Earth, all the prophecies of Daniel, Matthew 24, Revelation, etc., and numerous other passages which only those with the peculiar "enlightenment" of the Preterists have "realized" as having been "fulfilled."
If you want to "see" all these glorious "fulfillments" and jump-in for a swim in the pool of "Realized Eschatology," you will find the "Rosetta Stone" of Preterism at the "Preterist Archive." There you can drink of the "elixir" of "Preterist Prophetic Phantasy" to your little heart's content.
Preterists refer to this fantasy in a jargon called "Realized Eschatology," a high-falutin' expression used by the late C. H. DODD, a man who perhaps knew and taught about as much of the Bible as the "ministers" at the nearest "Kingdom Hall," "Church of Latter Day Saints," "Church of Christ," and "Unity Church." An excellent biblical "reference" to such stuff known as "Realized Eschatology" is found in Romans 1:25, for it is the same in its "results" as the type of "vain imagination" therein described.
The "scholars" who man the "fort" at the "Preterist Archive" and reign on the "thrones" which produce the "Kingdom Counsel" magazine are among the modern entrepreneurs who "hawk" the wares of Preterism, hoping to hit "pay-dirt" with all the "suckers" and "mush-lappers" who have no better-way to waste their money. These "hawkers" do not mind using whatever device is "pragmatic" and "practical" in the "making of a buck."
For example, without a blush, they will even snatch any "crumb" they can find which bears the name of "C. H. Spurgeon," whose works we publish and whose name and honor we are set-to-defend whenever "Spurgeon" is distorted, misused, falsely "quoted," etc. We have rebuked and reproved JOHN L. BRAY for his abuse and misuse of Spurgeon, but he is not the only "Pretie" who is guilty.
I have in my hand the "Magnum Opus" of modern Preterism, written by a Baby-sprinkling Congregationalist Minister, J. STUART RUSSELL (1816-1895), who didn't know "what" the word "baptize" means, nor "who" is to be "baptized," yet he "knew" that the "Antichrist" was "NERO," and he wanted his readers to believe he knew what "fulfills" Bible prophecy. This is the "spring" from which most of the modern "preties" have drunk the pretie "elixir," including the "high priest" of the "realized eschatologists" among the Campbellites (or "Church of Christ"), MAX R. KING. From what I can gather, King's father-in-law seems to have led the son-in-law to this "spring," and Max has subsequently led many of his "Restoration Movement" brethren to drink of the "Kingdom" elixir. "Church of Christ" Minister, C. D. BEAGLE, father-in-law of Max King, reportedly was among the "first" to inspire Max into the study of "Russellism" [J. Stuart's brand], and Max eventually "realized" enough of it that he published a book, THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY (1971), to be followed later by the big book of 784 pages of wasted paper, THE CROSS AND THE PAROUSIA OF CHRIST (1987).
Max and his "disciples," such as Jack C. Scott, Don Preston, Charles Geiser, and company, have been creating "no small stir" for the "among-us," "faithful brethren," "Church of Christ" for many years. "Kingism" and "A.D.70-ism" have been the "subjects" of articles in magazines and themes of "lectures" at "Lectureships" wherever "the Lord's church" has "faithful congregations," wearing a "scriptural name," opposing the use of "mechanical instruments of music," and teaching the heresy of "baptismal remission of sins," as taught by the likes of the late Austin McGary, "Firm Foundation," "The Spiritual Sword," and their "brotherhood."
This book by Russell has also been promoted by one of the foremost "hawkers" of Preterism, GREAT CHRISTIAN BOOKS [Elkton Maryland - now out of business], the "discount book" company headed by WALTER HIBBARD.
[By the way, there is at least one "redemptive" value in reading Preties, and that is, you can't find any two of them who will stand-by the "views" of another one, and this serves as a sort of "circus entertainment," as all the various "creatures" of fantasized "prophecy" are "whipped-around" by enlightened Preterist "Ringmasters." It is just as "entertaining" as listening to the latest "exciting prophetic reports" from some of the current Premillennial "prophecy-experts," such as Jack Van Impe and Hal Lindsey, who themselves are not free of the preterist "virus," especially on the book of Daniel].
Russell's book of 561 pages of spoiled-paper hopefully profited the printer and publisher, but as for assisting in understanding Bible prophecy, any "profit" comes in the form of the readers' seeing the same type of folly which was displayed by the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18), the Magicians of Pharaoh (Exodus 7-9), and the Magicians, Astrologers, and Sorcerers in Babylon (Daniel 2). I think of Preterism as a sort of "Prophetic Houdinism," for Preties can find more "escapes" from the "chains" of Scripture than "the Great Houdini" found ways to escape the chains used in his craft.
This book, known as THE PAROUSIA, was issued by J. Stuart Russell in 1878, and it was immediately "branded" by C. H. SPURGEON with an unmistakable rejection as to its thesis, in the following words —
"THE REASONING FAILS."
Why Spurgeon even called it "reasoning" is simply due to Mr. Spurgeon's gracious gift of "charity," not being more "critical" than a case required. Spurgeon did say, in his own characteristic manner, that demonstrating the idea that Revelation was "fulfilled" in A.D.70 "requires more ingenuity and strength than that of men and angels combined." He adds, "Amidst the many comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament that which is spoken of as a SECOND, must, we think, be personal, and thus similar to the first; and such too must be the meaning of 'his appearing.' "
While Spurgeon said Russell's "theory is carried too far," yet in typical Spurgeonic charity to the publishers who furnished him books, in his "reviews" he seemingly always tried to at least find some little justifiable "morsel" of "promotional assistance" so as to help the donor-publishers at least recover their "cost" — so, he gave a final word, saying that the book "can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all." [THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL Magazine, October 1879, pg. 553]. In saying this, Spurgeon probably was assuming (as most of us would likewise have assumed) that his readers "had more sense" than to "take seriously" the fantasies of Mr. Russell.
The Preties, however, disregarding the PRIMARY portion of Spurgeon's negative review, which condemns the book as saying "much more than ought to have been said," and declaring that "the reasoning fails," etc., latched-on to the scant few "charitable" words in the review, and have plastered Spurgeon's name on the back cover of a 1983-reprint of this hunk of hokey, creating an impression that Spurgeon "endorsed" the contents! We at times have "suspicioned" that Baker Book House might be a bit inclined to allow "financial consideration" to be a wee-bit more motivational in Baker's choice of titles than it should, and the use of this cover "blurb" only adds "fuel" to that "suspicion." To "represent" Spurgeon by excerpting a SINGLE line from an otherwise completely NEGATIVE review of Russell's book, is "typical" of the "reputation" which Preties are creating for themselves, especially in regard to the distortion of Spurgeon; he seems to be their favorite "victim."
Only those who are ignorant of Spurgeon's views would ever "fall" for the idea that he gave his approval to the contents and views expressed in this piece of palabber.
For C. H. Spurgeon's "REAL" views on prophecy, see our brief article, Spurgeon's VIEW OF THE MILLENNIUM, also visit The Spurgeon Archive, where Dennis Swanson has objectively researched and written the most responsible work on Spurgeon's ESCHATOLOGY available today, other than the writings of C. H. Spurgeon himself.
We noted that the idea that Bible "prophecy" is "past," as declared by uninspired men, is called "Preterism," and it alleges that predictions and foretellings of Scripture have "already been fulfilled." This form of uninspired "divination," claiming to "know" what, when, and where something was "fulfilled," apparently originated with the uninspired Jew (or, Jews, as the case may be) who wrote the uninspired books called "Maccabees," which appear in the "Apocrypha." He wrote in a "desolated" time when, he indicates, there was no "prophet" (1 Maccabees 4:46); but evidently he thought he was at least enough-of-a-"prophet" to "divine" the "fulfillment" of prophecy. Consequently, he ventured to proclaim it in his day, and to further complicate matters for future generations, his "divination" has been perpetuated by the continued publication of the Apocrypha.
The most notable "victim" of this Jewish "diviner" is perhaps the BOOK OF DANIEL and its prophecies about the "Little Horn" who is to appear in the latter days of the world as we know it today. The vision of Daniel in chapter 2, and the visions of Daniel in chapters 7, 8, and 10, all pertain to the "END," culminating with the Second Coming of Christ, the destruction of the "Little Horn" ["Antichrist"] and his Kingdom, the Restoration and Conversion of the Jews to Christ, the Resurrection of the Dead, the Final Judgment, and the Reign of Christ on earth with His Saints. But the Preterist Jew who wrote the Maccabees found "fulfillments" of Daniel's prophecies in persons, places, and events which preceded even the first coming of Christ.
Right from the "get-go" of the book of First Maccabees, we are asked to believe that "a wicked root, Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king," was the "man" to whom the Angel referred when he communicated the "truth" to Daniel about his visions. According to First Maccabees, this man, Antiochus, "set up" the "ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION" (1 Maccabees 1:54).
When that uninspired Jew penned that pronouncement, Preterism had its "birth." This is the "first cornerstone" of Preterism — the idea that Antiochus Epiphanes "fulfills" something either in-part or in-full in the Book of Daniel. And it was the "first" of many such "divinations" of "fulfilled prophecy" yet-to-come in the history of Preterism.
This pronouncement has influenced both the eschatology of "Futurists" and the eschatology of "Preterists," as both "camps" have disregarded, distorted, discombobulated, and otherwise mangled the Book of Daniel in regard to prophecy.
JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, had committed unto Him ALL of the "revealable" knowledge about prophecy and its fulfillments, according to the Will of His Father, in Whose "Power" all prophetic knowledge abides (Acts 1:7), and when the Son spoke the name of "Daniel" in the ONLY use of the Prophet's name in the New Testament, Jesus demonstrated a TOTAL REJECTION of the "diviner" who wrote Maccabees. He didn't even bother to say, "You have heard... BUT." Jesus Christ did not even bother to dignify the Maccabees' "divination" as being worthy of any "notice" (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). In effect, Jesus was saying, "You have seen NOTHING yet! The Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel, is STILL TO COME!"
Jesus REJECTED the very first "leg" of the Preterism "Paradigm"! He did not give the "Antiochus" theory the "time of day!" And the only reason we are giving it the "time of day" is because the old "divination" is still around and causing more misunderstanding of the Book of Daniel in all the "prophecy camps" than we could catalogue. And... it has appropriated the name of Spurgeon to some of its merchandise, as if he endorsed the product.
That uninspired Preterist Jew "thought" he had "seen" a "fulfillment" of Daniel, but he had really "seen" nothing. From that "point-in-time," of course, he knew nothing of the subsequent history of events which would transpire — the history which we know from a 1997 point-in-time, as we look backward. He was "divining" in accordance with the very limited information he had of events of history available to him in those days before the coming of Christ, and he thought that Antiochus looked-like the "real thing," considering how Antiochus had dealt so viciously with the Jews and their Temple.
But Antiochus was not the "man" — he did not set the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel, and so was not the "Little Horn." When he read "king of the south" and "king of the north" (Daniel 11), he could not forsee, for instance, the FUTURE "king of the south" and "king of the north" who would arise in the 7th century A.D. when the Arab Empire would be born, and "split," and generate wars over which Muslim "king" would dominate the Middle East. He could not forsee that the "vile person" of Daniel 11:21 would arise in the "northern" kingdom of the divided Middle East Arab Empire, the "Great Nation" which God had promised to ISHMAEL (Genesis 17:20; 21:13, 18; cf Daniel 11:5).
Antiochus Epiphanes "fulfilled" nothing written in Daniel. The things attributed to the "time-frame" of the "Little Horn's" career have NEVER come-to-pass — they still lie in the future. Whenever you read or hear someone claim that "Antiochus" is any kind of "fulfillment" of any part of Daniel, you are reading or hearing JEWISH PRETERISM which first appeared in the uninspired book of First Maccabees, an uninspired writing by an unspired Jew —
Jesus REJECTED it!
You are in "Maccabeesville" when you hear that "Antiochus" fulfilled something in Daniel, and your "Tour Guide" is a "Maccabees Preterist." Watch your step, or you'll fall into the ditch of Preterism! Or, you could get "routed" by the "Guide" to another "city" in Preterist Phantasyland...
Here you will encounter "Josephus," the chief priest and "Father of Preterism" in relation to the "time-frame" which takes-in "A.D.70." This Jewish priest was the "Pet Jew" of Roman Emperor, TITUS, the "General" of the Roman Army when Rome decimated the city of Jerusalem in A.D.70. Later on, when Titus became the Emperor of Rome, he was "so desirous" of notoriety that he "ordered" the publication of a "History," written by Josephus, in which Titus is highly "embellished" and praised for his impeccable military qualities, and for what Josephus calls "the kindness of his nature." If we can fully believe Josephus, we can fully believe that General Titus' hands were "clean" as to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of the Jews — he reportedly even tried to get his soldiers to put-out the fires which Titus allegedly said were set by "the Jews" themselves (WARS Book VI, paragraph 2, pg. 584, Kregel reprint of 1966).
But Josephus has his "critics," and they do not speak too highly of his reliability. In his "Foreword" to the Josephus book, William S. LaSor brands Jospehus "an egotist and opportunist," and a man of many domestic problems — "married three times, perhaps four; he was deserted by one wife and divorced another" (pg. ix). LaSor says Josephus gives a "distorted picture of the Essenes," and alleges other foibles in him (pg. xi). Certainly, Josephus' embellishment of Titus involved a "pragmatic" element, avoiding any offence against the Emperor. Many of his descriptions of the "attributes" of Titus are a little "much" to "swallow." This is not to say that his history is "totally unreliable," but it is to say that some things he reports must be "taken with a grain of salt," evaluated in the light of the circumstances. In fact, Josephus was of the sect of the Pharisees (Complete Works of Josephus pgs. 1 & 2).
The account of Titus' having his soldiers "beaten" as an encouragement to put-out the fires of the Temple, yet to no avail, is an example — can we "really believe" that a Roman soldier would risk "refusing" to obey his General, an act which would have surely merited death? This appears to be at least an "overstatement" by Josephus, designed to "curry favor" with and for "gentle" Titus. Like many "Generals," Titus perhaps relished that idea he was "on God's side" and "God was on his." The statements in Josephus about the "role" of "God" as being the "assistant" to the Romans certainly would clearly serve to enhance Titus' reputation with both the Romans, the Jews, and with other peoples of that time.
Thus, "History" has recorded that Titus was a "gentle" sort, that "God" was his "assistant," and he was therefore someone very "special." In fact, Josephus has made Titus so very "special" that Josephus, a Maccabees Preterist, "made room" for Titus and added his name to the the "fulfillments of Daniel" category. Before A.D.70, Josephus was already a believer in the Preterism of the Maccabees in regard to "Antiochus," but now, no doubt to the great delight of Titus, Josephus "divined" another "fulfillment" of Daniel when he said that "Daniel ALSO wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them." (ANTIQUITIES Book X, chapter xi, para. 7, pg. 227, Kregel edition, 1966). Josephus said, "See how they [Daniel's writings] have been FULFILLED" (Ibid.)
Although Josephus had formerly believed that Antiochus Epiphanes had "fulfilled" the prophecies of Daniel (ANTIQUITIES Book X, chapter xi, pagrph. 7, pg. 227; Book XII, chapter vii, pagrph. 6, pg. 260; WARS, Book I, chapter I, pagrph. 1, 2, pg. 429), out of respect for his "sponsor," the former Roman General and now Emperor, Josephus accommodated the Emperor, "adjusted" his Maccabees-Preterism, and "immortalized" Titus by exalting him to the level of Antiochus Epiphanes — A "FULFILLER" of the prophecies of the Divinely-inspired prophet, Daniel, who "ALSO" wrote of the "Romans" under General Titus, hundreds of years ahead of time! Don't you suppose Emperor Titus perhaps felt a little "special" to have "God" refer to him in the Scriptures?
Titus could henceforward and forever "put his finger" on the prophecies of Daniel and say, "That's me! God prophesied of me! Right there in the prophecies given by the Angel, in the Divinely-inspired Daniel! I'm the 'man' about whom the Jewish prophet wrote, hundreds of years ago!" That would make any General feel "special," especially if he was "doing the will of God."
Do you think Josephus' Preterism didn't make Titus feel "special"? Now, whether-or-not Titus "really believed" that Preterism is beside-the-point; but just consider how being "in" Daniel's prophecy exalted Titus in the eyes of both the Romans and the Jews. It elevated him to the likes of Jesus and John — fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies. And Titus had the "certification" of a Jewish priest, scholar, and historian — Josephus — that this was indeed authentic: he indeed "fulfilled" the prophecy! How many Generals or any others could say that? He was right in there with Nebuchadnezzar!
So Titus not only had his "divinity" as Emperor of Rome, even more significantly, he had the "uniqueness" — "thanks" to Josephus — of being the one-and-only Roman Emperor who "fulfilled" one of the most significant of all the Jews' Old Testament prophecies. No wonder Josephus was Titus "Pet Jew" and was paid a pension! (JOSEPHUS pg. 21, Kregel reprint).
But... there was "one small problem" ...one little "fly in the ointment" — the "small-print" area — namely, the Christians "didn't buy it"! They did not "see" what Josephus "saw." They went right-on looking for the "future fufillment" of prophecy! They did not believe Preterism, that Titus and the Romans had fulfilled prophecy. Even the Preties themselves bemoan the "futurism" entertained by the post-A.D.70 church, a church which allegedly "saw" the "Abomination of Desolation" so clearly they all escaped the "wrath" which came upon the Jews, yet didn't see the Second Coming of Jesus, the Resurrection, the Judgment, nor any of the other things they would have been expected to "see." The Preties claim that the church didn't "begin to see" these things until many years later, perhaps about 150 A.D. ("Kingdom Counsel" Magazine, Ed Stevens, Jan. '93, pg. 12).
As years passed, some of the "Christians" yoked-up with secular Rome in the making of Christianity as THE "state religion," and began to "discover" what "really happened" in A.D.70 (that is — according to Josephus; see Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History pg. 86; Baker 1966). They began to "see" the Preterism of the Maccabees and Josephus. A "Bishop" named EUSEBIUS, a sympathizer with heretic Arius and a "middle-of-the-roader" as to the controversy on the Sonship of Christ, began to spout the Preterism of the Maccabees and Josephus. "SAINT JEROME" joined the "camp" and wrote on "Daniel," promoting at least some of the preterism originally set-forth by the uninspired Jewish writer of Maccabees. Now Preterism was "expanding" itself to incorporate the "New Testament prophecies," blending them with the "fulfillments" pronounced by the Maccabees and Josephus, disregarding the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:15, or else "adjusting" those words so as to "accommodate" Preterism. Some of "the Fathers" accepted Jerome, Eusebius, Maccabees, and Josephus, and Preterism was now becoming "entrenched for the ages."
It now not only had Jewish "authority" and Roman Emporial "authority" behind it — it had the embellishment of some of the "Fathers" of the "Church."
To insure that the Maccabees' Preterist theory of Daniel's having been "fulfilled" in the past in the days of Antiochus, early-on the Jewish scribes and scholars set themselves to the task of "expounding" point-by-point, verse-by-verse, the "fulfillment" of Daniel's prophecies, especially as recorded in Daniel 11. They took that chapter and "hammered-out" the "historical fulfillment" theory you see in all the "Pete and Re-Pete" books and commentaries which present the Preterist theories of Maccabees. They applied Daniel 11 to the "Ptolemies and Seleucids," following the collapse of the Grecian Empire. They developed a "chronology," allegedly showing the "history" of "how" and "by whom" Daniel's prophecies were "fulfilled," culminating with "Antiochus Epiphanes." All of this sounded "wonderful" to the "inerrantists," for this "fulfilled prophecy" surely demonstrated the "inspiration" of the Scriptures! No, what it demonstrated was UNBELIEF in the Second Coming of Christ, as revealed by Daniel!
[This "Chronology" is about as "clear as mud." WALTER K. PRICE, who wrote a book based on this "Chronology," says "a confounding array of unfamiliar names, dates, battles, and political intrigues challenge every endeavor to relate Daniel's prophecy to its fufillment in the historical events of the third century B.C." (IN THE FINAL DAYS pg. 38). Commentators who take it "seriously" struggle in the quagmire of disciphering the proper "parallels," and will try to tell you "who's what"and "who's not," as best as they can (see John Gill, for instance).]
With the aid of the Josephus' Preterism, "Saint Jerome" and his devotees incorporated Josephusism with Maccabeesism and successfully put a veritable "lock" on the Book of Daniel. Some of the "part-pretie" Premillers, although "buying" much of the Preterism of Maccabees and Josephus, "jumped the traces" and developed a "gap" theory called the "70th Week of Daniel," so as to somehow get some of Daniel into the "future prophecy" category. But their confusing, conflicting, and combobulated "interpretations" and "applications" of Daniel simply served to enhance the view of Preterism. Compared to some of the "hermeneutics" of some Premillers, the "hermeneutics" of the Preties appear "valid." Anyone who can't "swallow" Scofield's two "Little Horns" and three "Abominations," Larkin's chartology and peccadilloes [see his Book of Daniel pg. 30], Sir Robert Anderson's "chronology," and similar "cornfusion," is apt to lap-up the Preterist theories, simply out of "frustration," if for no other reason.
With the added "cornfusion" of the "part-pretie" futurists in the premill, postmill, amill camps, nobody reading their books or listening to them could make "heads-or-tails" of what Daniel actually reveals. Despite their multitudinous "charts" and "prophecy conferences," Daniel is a veritable "labyrinth" of confusion in the minds of most Christians. The miasmic-mix of preterism and futurism only served to "make a good living" for the Hal Lindsey ~ Jack Van Impe ~ Grant Jeffrey types, and other such "prophecy experts" who jam the world of "Christian television" and burden the shelves of Christian bookstores. Such a mixture of preterism-and-futurism represented by this sort has done nothing to expose any "light" on the Jewish preterism which smothered the prophecies of Daniel, so instead of focusing on the focus of Daniel's prophecies — namely, the emerging LITTLE HORN — the modern Premill "prophecy-expert" is trotting-around "Russia" and "Europe," predicting a "Gog-Magog" "Russian invasion of Israel" and a "Restored Roman Empire," with the "Pope" somehow stirred into the mix.
Such "cornfusion" by the Premill futurists has become so repetitive, and with so many failed "raptures" and similar failed "prophecies," such has only served to promote "Full Preterism" to many who don't understand Daniel any more than did the Maccabees and Josephus. They all want to "close" Daniel for good, and keep it closed, relegating it to the past Jewish-decreed "fulfillments" by Antiochus and the Romans.
With the republication of the J. Stuart Russell book, and with the writings by "Campbellite" Max King, "Full Preterism" has been "catching attention" in the last 20 years or so. If we can believe the promotional propaganda of the Full Preterists, Preterism is "spreading like wildfire at the grass roots level," the typical "euphoria" which characterizes every new "movement," "restoration," cult and proselyte sect, obsessed with the "importance" of "restoring the truth." The fact is, "Full Preterism" has made a "dent" in the "Campbellite" sect, the "Church of Christ," primarily because many of the "hawkers" of Preterism were themselves Campbellites, such as Max King, Don Preston, and Ed Stevens (the latter, Stevens, is now "Reformed"). "Campbellite" eschatology was never "straight," and many Campbellites were already "ripe for the picking" by Preterism. The "pretie" views of the late Foy Wallace, Jr. actually "paved the way" for the "full-pretie" views of the "A.D.70-ites."
Certain "Calvinist" and "Reformed" camps are also "blind-as-bats" to the Book of Daniel as a result of swallowing Maccabees' preterism and the Josephian preterism. This is especially true of the Pedobaptist Calvinists who were already "conditioned" for Preterism as a result of their "interpretation" of the Abrahamic Covenant, Israel~Church, and Circumcision~Baptism. From the Pedobaptist views of these entities there is but a "step" to the precipice of "Full Preterism."
NOW YOU KNOW — "Preterism" is originally based upon Jewish "eschatology" in Maccabees, later that of Josephus, and the "Chronology" concocted by the Jews to make interbiblical "history" match-up with Daniel. Keil & Delitzsch do a commendable work in "ripping-apart" most of the "historical fulfillment" chronology concocted by the Jews and perpetuated by Jerome and others. The Preterist themselves "fumble-the-ball" as to their "use" of Josephus, and they are often "caught" misreading, misquoting, and misapplying his "history," as demonstrated on the "Preterist Archive." I pointed this out to the "P.A." and got a "So What?" in response.
Furthermore, no Preterist can really "defend" the Maccabees, considering the Word of Jesus in Matthew 24:15, putting the "Abomination of Desolation" into the future. Jesus did not refer to "two" or more "abominations," and if any one "splices" in more than "one," he is "adding to" the Word of God. And if anyone tries to tell you "A.D.70" fulfilled the "Abomination of Desolation," hold his feet-to-the-fire of Daniel and make him show the correspondence to "anything" in Daniel. Jesus referred his listeners to "Daniel," and not to "Josephus" or anything else.
"A.D.70" better match-up or march-out.
Inasmuch as C. H. SPURGEON'S name is being "misused" to enhance the book by J. Stuart Russell, entitled THE PAROUSIA, published in 1878 and reprinted by Baker Book House in 1983, we want to "balance-the-books" in regard to this matter and let you "in" on "the rest of the story." You will plainly see that Spurgeon DID NOT endorse this book in its "messchatology," but set-it-aside as "much more than ought to have been said" — and, as to its view of the Book of Revelation, Spurgeon said it would require "more ingenuity and strength than that of men and angels combined" to do what Russell attempts in this book. Here is his review, as published in the October 1878 issue of The Sword and the Trowel Magazine —
"The second coming of Christ according to this volume had its fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem and the establishment of the gospel dispensation. That the parables and predictions of our Lord had a more direct and exclusive reference to that period than is generally supposed, we readily admit; but we were not prepared for the assignment of all references to a second coming in the New Testament, and even in the Apocalypse itself, to so early a fulfilment. All that could be said has been said in support of this theory, and much more than ought to have been said. In this the reasoning FAILS. In order to concentrate the whole prophecies of the Book of Revelation upon the period of the destruction of Jerusalem it was needful to assume this book to have been written prior to that event, although the earliest ecclesiastical historians agree that John was banished to the isle of Patmos, where the book was written, by Domitian, who reigned after Titus, by whom Jerusalem was destroyed. Apart from this consideration, the compression of all the Apocalyptic visions and prophecies into so narrow a space requires more ingenuity and strength than that of men and angels combined. Too much stress is laid upon such phrases as 'The time is at hand,' 'Behold I come quickly,' whereas many prophecies of Scripture are delivered as present or past, as 'unto us a child IS born,' etc., and 'Surely he HATH borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' Amidst the many comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament that which is spoken of as a second, must, we think, be personal, and thus similar to the first; and such too must be the meaning of 'his appearing.' Though the author's theory is carried too far, it..."
[Note: At this point in the half-page review, the Preties have "sliced-off" the following words, printed them on the back-cover of the Stuart book, as if to imply Spurgeon's "endorsement" of the book. Please note that every preceding line has been in a critical and negative category, while the following words are but a meager "conciliatory" remark, which was Spurgeon's usual manner in finding some "positive" commendation for practically all the books sent to him by publishers for "review." Now, the remainder of the sentence —]
" ...has so much of truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all."
MY COMMENT ON THE REVIEW ABOVE
We do not know "who" was responsible for this piece-meal "representation" of Spurgeon, whether the Publisher, Editor, or some party who collaborated with the publisher in its being reprinted (a practice which we know Baker has done in the past), but we do know an INJUSTICE has been done and continues to be done to the good name of Spurgeon by the manner in which his name has been misused in conjunction with the Russell book. Not only so, but current Pretie-propaganda continues to injure his name, as the same injustice is being enacted via the Internet [see the piece of Pretie-propaganda written by ED STEVENS called "What Is the Preterist View?"]
[Note: Since writing this article, the Preterist Archive has now put the complete Spurgeon review on their website — although they only highlight the end portion (as detailed above), without any special emphsis on the prior statement of "In this the reasoning FAILS." / Note #2: Ed Stevens says he will also make the appropriate change on his website to include the full review (5/14/97).]
The fact is, my "friend" Ed, informed me that he did nothing more than simply reproduce what he saw on the back cover of Baker's reprint of the Russell book, unaware of the contents of the entire review, and I am sure that is exactly the truth — yet, "in effect," this innocent act on the part of Ed Stevens simply unwittingly "chops-out" what would appear, to a naive reader, to be "supportive" of the cause of Preterism on the part of Spurgeon — which is certainly NOT the case.
In the "first place," Spurgeon's views of a PREMILLENNIAL return of Christ are prevalent throughout his sermons.
"Secondly," Spurgeon personally signed a "Confession of Faith" which was printed in his magazine in August of 1891, over twenty years after his "review" of the Russell book (1878), and this Confession has a clear, distinct statement —
"Thirdly," that "Confession" was published "on the heels" of the depressing "Down Grade Controversy," and was carefully-crafted by a group of ministers over several "months" of regular meetings, and when the Document was finished, "each member signed it" as the expression of his faith on the doctrines expressed therein, incorporating "major" and unmistakable "orthodox" views of what is contained in the Scriptures. The entire 3-pages of Confession and the "story" behind it are reprinted in the book THE DOWN GRADE CONTROVERSY, consisting of the collected materials on "The Down Grade," taken from Spurgeon's Magazine [available from Pilgrim Publications for $6 plus $2 shipping].
In view of the "context" of time in which this Confession was prepared, a time during which Spurgeon was opposing the evils of apostasy in the pulpits and schools of England, it appears that he viewed the Premillennial Return of Christ to be of great importance. I know from reading so much of Spurgeon that it is doubtful he would have ever made a "test" of fellowship on "pre," "post," and "a" mill positions, but the great bulk of materials which he wrote and preached clearly show that as to his own personal faith, and what he proclaimed as the Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, he held and the Church held, the Premillennial view.
"Fourthly," one sermon in particular is of special significance, and that is the message entitled THE RESTORATION AND CONVERSION OF THE JEWS (#582, MTP, Vol. 10, Year 1864, pgs. 425-436), which reflects a solid Premillennial position, and this is a constituent element of the Premill view. In contrast, "Full Preterism" has completely eliminated any "future" significance concerning "the Jew." According to the Preties, God is "thru" with the Jews, and some even deny the "validity" of "Jews" today as being the descendants of the Old Testament Jews [such as John L. Bray, for example].
There is absolutely NO DOUBT as to "where" Spurgeon "stood" — he was a "Futurist" for certain, as all evidence points to a clear, decided "Premill" position [see quote below].
Thus, we call upon Ed Stevens, along with the "Preterist Archive," as well as Baker Book House or any other publisher of this book, to undo the existing injustice to Spurgeon and, at least, acknowledge the "whole truth" as we have printed it above in the unabridged, unedited, "original" review as it appeared in THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL Magazine. If Preterism is dependent upon the "one line-morsel" of the Spurgeon review as part of its "accreditation," then it is somewhat like unto Lazarus in his poverty and disease, desirous of the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table (Luke 16:21).
> C. H. Spurgeon's VIEW <
With basic definitions before us, then, let's look at some quotes from Spurgeon to see what his position was on the Millennium.
"If I read the word aright, and it is honest to admit that there is much room for difference of opinion here, the day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. Some think that this descent of the Lord will be Post-millennial — that is, 'after the thousand years' of his reign. I CANNOT THINK SO. I conceive that the advent will be PRE-millennial — that He will come first; and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth. But whether or no, this much is the fact, that Christ will suddenly come, come to reign, and come to judge the earth in righteousness."
What do YOU think ?
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