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A Preterist's Presupposition

By
Dean Tisch
November 19, 2001


A Preterist's Presupposition related to Premillennial Presupposition 

Preterist John L. Bray wrote in his April 2000 Newsletter that Matthew 24:34 referred back to Matthew 24:3 and used that presupposition as a foundation for Preterism.* 

Like Preterist John L. Bray, Premillennialists use Matthew 24:34 to refer back to Matthew 24:3 and use their presuppositions as a foundation for Preterism. . .oops...some form of Premillennialism. 

34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 

Charles Ryrie links verse 3 to Zechariah 14:4 on page 147 of his book The Basis of the Premillennial Faith. 

And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 

The reasoning of the Preterist presupposition of Matthew 24 is that both of the two questions must have their fulfillment in the generation in which they were asked. Breaking that down further, Preterists teach that since the fulfillment of the first question, when shall these things be? (There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. {verse 2} the buildings of the temple. {verse 1}) was in 70 A.D. (under General Titus Flavius who was a prince that was to come since he was in line to be the next Caesar emperor).  Therefore, so it follows, the fulfillment of the second question was also in 70 A.D. 

If Preterists are right in this presupposition, we should all be Preterists. If Preterists are wrong in this presupposition, we should not be Preterists. 

Here is the second question, note that it contains two parts. what shall be the sign [1] of thy coming, and [2] of the end of the world? Is it not obvious that to find our Lord's answer to this second question we must look for Him to mention some sort of sign? Let's us some common sense, then, and see if we can find some sign here in the Olivet Discourse. The quickest and surest way to do this is by using a big concordance. 

In the concordance we find that our key word, "sign," is found just two times in this Discourse. Of course, we already have seen that the first time is in the 2nd question. The only other time is in verse 30, which is given below with some context. 

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven {and earth, Mark 13:27} to the other. Now let us return to our primary scripture for this study. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 

Does it not commend itself to honest common sense as we read these verses to see that the generation in verse 34 is the generation of the "sign" fulfillment of the second question in verse 30 rather than going way back up to the first question which is dealt with in this chapter's early verses? Laying aside any presuppositions and going by common language usage we must look for what all these things (that shall) be fulfilled, then, in the verses 29-31, quoted above. Did "THE stars. . .fall from heaven" in 70 A.D.? No. Well, what do Preterists and Premillennialists do with such a plain statement? They cannot stand for it to be understood plainly/literally. To do so ruins the presupposions, the foundations of their various systems.  Let's skip over the various ways "THE stars shall fall from heaven" is manipulated by various Preterists and Premillennialists to try to keep the Bible in it's plain words from destroying their beloved systems. Let's even skip over other plain phrases in this context that these brethren must massage. 

Preterists make "THE stars" and other parts of the context to be fulfilled totally in 67-70 A.D. Preterist Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., states their good figurative case for this more thoroughly than any other Preterist I have found. What do the Premillennialists do here? They make "THE stars" into some meteors [the parallel is in the Sixth Seal of Revelation 6:13] so that this earth is not destroyed when they think Jesus will appear before the Millennium. How are these two usually battling positions, Preterist and Premillennial, alike? Neither of them can stand the literal meaning of the language. 

Folks, when "THE stars" fall from heaven this way this planet will be like a droplet of water on billions of very hot stoves. There is no chance to have 1000+ [Premill] years nor some 3000 [Preterist] years of history on this earth after that. The fact that the Preterists are more figurative than the Premillennialists about "THE stars" does not make much difference here except that the Preterist's figurative Premillennial fulfillment version is well-argued from historical documents. 

The Preterists fail most seriously in saying that their figurative argument is the only way to understand Matthew 24. Pristine Postmillennialism, when taking Matthew 24 literally, is neither exclusivist Preterist nor any form of Premillennial. Now is it right here? Let us look to the immediate context for a short proof here (there are others). "the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" These two Matthew 24:29 phrases must have the same time-frame interpretation when dealt with in their literal (not figurative or typical) fulfillments. We do not have to guess about how our God wants us to see the time frame of "the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" because He has one other Bible passage, Heb. 12, that gives us what we need.

25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. [:as He did at Sinai:] For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, "Yet once more," signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved. . .

 Putting this simply for our present purpose, shaking in an earth/astronomy sense equal removing. Thus when "THE stars of heaven" meet in the vicinity of the tiny planet will be "The Bible's Big Bang," and implosion rather than an explosion, and astronomy as we know it will be removed. It will be Revelation 20:11. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. That Revelation 20:11 event, as everyone may know easily, is after the Millennium. 

The literal fulfillment of Matthew 24's second question "and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" must be after the Millennium. Bible, logic, and physics leaves us no alternative. Horrors! What is left if the Preterist and Premillennialist systems are dead? The various "higher critical" systems, which deny the Bible's inerrancy, and Pristine Postmillennialism. Welcome. Arch Premillennialist Charles Ryrie in his Study Bible says, "These astral phenomena which will accompany the return of the Son of Man are foretold in Isaiah 13:9-10(ff) and Joel 2:31(p), 3:15(p/f)." (added verse inserted) 

9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. . . 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. . . 

12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Just compare these Isaiah and Joel passages with our Matthew 24 passage. When our Lord returns, literally, it will be 29 Immediately after the ("Great") tribulation of those days (when) the sun (shall) be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven {and earth, Mark 13:27} to the other. 

Now let us return to our primary scripture for this study. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 

Does Ryrie even mention the above verses in The Basis of the Premillennial Faith book? Not one bit. The only verse in this chapter mentioned in his book Dispensationalism Today is the 14th. Well, much later when he issued THE RYRIE STUDY BIBLE* he gave these notes on the above verse. "all these things. The signs described in verses 4-28. this generation. No one living when Jesus spoke these words lived to "all these things" come to pass. However, the Greek word can mean "race" or "family," which makes good sense here; i.e., the Jewish race will be preserved, in spite of terrible persecution, until the Lord comes. 

Now, note that Ryrie and Bray have the same hermeneutical error here. Both bypass the obvious and nearby connection of Matthew 24:34 to 29-31 and try to force their readers to look to earlier verses in the chapter only for connection. It seems to me that no proof for this bypassing is offered, it is strictly gratuitous. With Preterism and Premillennialism once more discredited and higher critical systems denying verbal plenary inspiration, there is but one alternative left, The Old Time Religion which God honored when He gave The Great Awakenings. (c) 2001, wordwon@cs.com Simpsonville, SC. 

*I like to call this Study Bible "The New New Scofield."

What do YOU think ?

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Date:
22 Nov 2001
Time:
03:22:07

Comments

To: dtisch@solagroup.org (Dean Tisch) From: WORDWON@cs.com 

Thank you for the well written article debunking preterism. Your argument is very strong. You fall short when equating the faulty hermeneutic of the preterists with that of the premillennialist. Your argument does not at all pertain to those of the premill. persuasion. In fact, it is the same argument we use. Post millennialism has a miriad of problems as well. If you are interested I will send you information detailing those problems. 


Date:
27 Nov 2001
Time:
00:15:18

Comments

Dean seems to me to have little knowledge of "apocalyptic language" and it's precedented biblical usage.

Has he even read the OT?

According to the OT use of this exact same language in the NT that Dean says MUST be taken "Literally", The Stars have fallen from heaven many times already and it would appear that the earth has been destroyed on several occaisions as well.

Can anyone explain this notion that a "spiritual" fulfillment is somehow NOT a "Literal" fulfillment?

Can anyone show from scripture that the Spiritual realm is not a LITERAL reality?

Thanx,1P70


Date:
27 Nov 2001
Time:
06:59:29

Comments

Jesus does not say the "end of the World" but the end of the age, the age that was coming to an end in Paul's day (1 Cor. 10:11). While physics and logic are good things, they must be tempered by what the Bible says. How does the author deal with similar texts in the Old Testament? He doesn't. Compare Scripture with Scripture.


Date:
27 Nov 2001
Time:
21:38:09

Comments

Oh, oh! Just wait 'till Gentry finds out he is now a preterist! All heaven will break loose. Arthur Melanson


Date:
28 Nov 2001
Time:
10:06:30

Comments

Yes, yes!! I see it!!! Remove the context and the timing, then fill in an unsubstantiated meaning, and even pledge allegiance to a particular group or era as being the peak of all wisdom. They ARE, and there is no one else like THEM!!


Date:
28 Nov 2001
Time:
12:36:07

Comments

Is this article for real? Forget the Apocalytic Language of the OT where these phrases are found and cast away there substantial import upon eschatological events described in Matt. 24. For how can these things be? Forget the context, throw away thorough exegesis, exterminate proper word studies and there you have it, Pristine Post-Millenialism!!! Yikes!!! And I thought Premillenialists went to extremes!!! Wow!!!


Date:
05 Dec 2001
Time:
09:42:50

Comments

The first thing I noticed here is how the author completely ignores "celestial" language and how it is used throughout the Old Testament. It would appear he believes Jesus to actually be a literal cornerstone, lamb, etc. and the believers to be living "stones". He also makes the absurd statement that preterism is based upon a single faulty assumption in Matthew 24. What about all of the other statements of imminence throughout the New Testament (what about Hebrews 10:37 for instance)? Why are the "stars" literal but non of the time statements? I am preterist because it is the most consistent and literal reading of the text following "common sense" guidelines of exegesis. I challenge any futurist to do a serious study of II Timothy 4:1 and Acts 24:15 as to the resurrection of the dead "about to be" (back then). Daniel T. Silvestri


Date:
11 Jan 2002
Time:
22:25:20
Remote User:

Comments

It seems to me that if anyone is guilty of presuppositions unduly affecting their interpretation it is the writer himself. The verses quoted from Isaiah are clearly stated to concern Babylon, the destruction of which history records. Thus to understand the Lord's language figuratively is scripturally consistent. Whereas to deny the plain meaning of generation isn't. Equally much as the ideas disturb me, it is absurd to argue that Jesus came in power in A.D. 70 but not in judgement, what else could Isaiah 66. 4-7 be predicting but the events of A.D.70. Who could fail to link vs.7 with Rev.12.1&5. Were it not for its tragic consequences, the real inability to speak the truth in love, it would be hilarious that those who so fervently oppose dispensationalism because they recognise its essential fleshliness are themselves unable to take that next step of obedience to "all truth" and enter the Lord's kingdom, which is now and eternally "not of this world". "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves ". If all agree that the life we receive from Christ is everlasting, that we truly pass from life to death and "shall not die" why the endless contention over plain truth, the life of the body is nothing, for the " body is dead because of sin " how many different ways do the apostles have to say it before the truth strikes home. I was baptised by a premil dispensationalist but even a cursory reading of scripture exposes the fallacious nature of its doctine, my baptiser yielded to the truth of my criticism and we rejected that nonsense, but the notion of an end of all time judgement, was to deep for an honest reading, the idea of a final judgement is too common, so of course you consume all the works of the reformers. After all thats when God's spirit was really moving and boy their books are large. Its either ironic or satanic, that the very people who urge you to study the bible for yourself, write so much that by the time you've reached their perorations, your faith's all dried up and you've only the energy to argue. In fact its only a debate that gets the juices flowing. So I'm arguing away for amillenialism, its the spiritual truth of the godly, but it does say in Rev.12 that Satan was thrown to earth&co. dashed inconvenient to the interpretation that, but nevermind, keep reading bound to find some clever, sorry, I mean more learned in the things of Christ, chappie, who'll provide an irrefutable argument, couldn't find him, Socrates would be ashamed of our modern-day Sophists, where's that skill that could convince that white is black? Thank the Lord I say for the Preterist, here's a person looking at the Scripture without those blinkers left over from apostate Catholicism and its dictator Augustine, no more philosophy and vain deceit but rather, let us in truth, bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. " For the gospel has for this cause been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to ( the will ) of God ". Thank-you Jesus. Amen.


Date:
11 Apr 2003
Time:
09:22:51

Comments

I now understand where I've been getting garbage email. I did not submit this article. Please, Please remove my name from its author!!! Dean Tisch dtisch@solagroup.org

 

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