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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 



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Cracking “the Code” of Preterism
A Review of Hank Hanegraaff’s “The Apocalypse Code” and a Refutation of Preterism

by Ryan Habbena
2007

In my estimation, preterism is a system of “interpretive convenience.”

Hank Hanegraaff, radio’s “Bible Answer Man,” includes the following statement in the introduction to his new book, The Apocalypse Code: “Make no mistake: this is not the stuff of ivory-tower debates. The stakes for Christianity and the culture in the controversy surrounding eschatology are enormous!” With the stakes so high, he’s entered the fray—writing on the subject of the end times. In this work, Hanegraaff establishes then defends what he calls “Exegetical Eschatology." In so doing, he aspires to give a lesson in how to interpret what the Bible says while teaching his view of apocalyptic texts. As the reader progresses through The Apocalypse Code, Hanegraaff’s view becomes clear: it is partial preterism.[2] This particular brand of eschatology has experienced a recent resurgence in evangelicalism, possibly fueled in part by a reaction to the popular Left Behind series,[3] but, popularity and theological trends do not determine truth. To engage this system of theology we must define preterism, determine whether it is Biblical, and declare the implications of this system of eschatology. When this is done, we will then discern some of the practical problems of preterism.

To accomplish these objectives, I will interact with several of Hanegraaff’s prime arguments, but this article will not be a “classical” book review. Rather, since how he argues his position is standard for this system, I will use these arguments as a springboard to demonstrate why preterism fails the biblical test. What follows is best viewed as a primer that highlights the foundational arguments of preterism and then offers biblical reasons why these do not accurately reflect a proper understanding of the biblical texts relating to the end of the age.


Futurism vs. Preterism: Understanding the Debate

Until recently one’s position on eschatology was, by and large, defined by their millennial position. Now, rather than asking whether one holds to premillennialism, amillennialism, or postmillennialism, the more common question is, Are you a preterist or a futurist?[4] And the debate between these two camps focuses on when the prophecies of the Olivet Discourse in the Gospels (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21 [5]) and the book of Revelation are fulfilled.

The term preterism is drawn from the Latin (praeter) meaning “past.” Preterists postulate that these noted eschatological texts primarily prophesy the events of the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. According to this view, these prophecies were fulfilled in the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.[6] It is important here to note the distinction between partial and full preterism. Full (or hyper) preterists believe that all of the prophecies regarding the second coming of Christ, most significantly the “resurrection” of believers, were fulfilled in the first century. Partial preterists hold that the majority of what is declared in the book of Revelation (and the Olivet Discourse) was fulfilled in the first century, yet there remains a future judgment, a resurrection of the dead, and a bodily return of Christ. Hanegraaff, as well as the other preterists I will interact with in this critique (unless otherwise noted) are firmly in the partial preterist camp. For the most part, both partial preterists and futurists see full preterism as outside the realm of “the faith” in accordance with Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 15.[7]

Futurism holds that the primary eschatological texts of the New Testament prophesy about the events surrounding the return of Christ to consummate history. While a broad spectrum of eschatological positions lay claim to futurism, their common thread is that all hold that the Olivet Discourse and book of Revelation will primarily be fulfilled in the future.

So to summarize: Preterism is the system of interpretation that understands the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation to primarily prophesy the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which has past. Futurism is the system of interpretation that understands the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation to primarily prophesy the events surrounding and including the second coming of Christ, which is yet future.


The Coming of the Son of Man” – When?

Before proceeding, we must discuss “the coming of the Son of Man.” When the Lord proclaims this event in His teaching, is He speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem or His second coming? In Matthew’s account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ teaching culminates with this passage:

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)

According to preterism, this discussion of Jesus “coming” does not describe a literal, visible return, but rather a figurative coming in which Jerusalem is destroyed by the Roman armies.[8] Hanegraaff rhetorically asks:

Certainly no one is so benighted as to think that coming on the clouds in this context is anything other than language that denotes judgment. Why then should anyone suggest that Christ’s coming on the clouds in the context of the Olivet Discourse would refer to anything other than the judgment Jerusalem would experience within a generation just as Jesus prophesied?[9]


So, the preterist considers Christ’s coming in the Olivet Discourse to be figurative language describing the destruction of Jerusalem. Later in this article I will point out that there are strong biblical reasons for us to believe this is not speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem.[10]

Preterists likewise see the book of Revelation as a figurative description of the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and argue vociferously that John’s apocalypse was written prior to this date. Commenting on the futurist position Hanegraaff notes that, “it is foolhardy to suggest that Revelation is principally a book describing what will take place in the 21st century.”[11] He then proceeds to note that the imagery of Revelation, although primarily about the destruction of Jerusalem, has typological implications for the consummation.[12] These interpretations may appear strained to many—I include myself among that group—but the central argument of the preterist system is the “time texts.”


The Time Texts: The Heart of Preterism

R.C. Sproul, in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus, states that “the central thesis . . . of all preterists is that the New Testament’s time frame references with respect to the parousia point to a fulfillment within the lifetime of at least some of Jesus’ disciples.”[13] Most of the books that advocate this view devote many pages arguing that these “time texts” make it necessary for what was prophesied in the primary N.T. eschatological texts to have a first century fulfillment. If we can show that these texts are better understood within the futurist framework, preterism as a system will have lost much of its support. To begin the challenge I will address the two prominent “time frame” references, and why preterists fail to properly interpret these texts.



Time Text 1: “This Generation”

After declaring the birth pangs, the hard labor of tribulation, and the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus declares in Matthew 24:34, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Perhaps no other text is offered as frequently by preterists as proof for their position. Now hear popular preterist proponent Gary Demar’s reasoning on “this generation:”

The texts that govern the timing of the Olivet Discourse prophecy – Matthew 23:36 and Matthew 24:34 – make it clear that Jesus was speaking of the events leading up to and including the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 . . . If people fail to recognize the timing of these events set by Scripture and the historical context of Jesus’ words, they will always be led astray by those who keep insisting that it’s our generation that living in the end times.[14]

Preterists present their interpretation of “this generation” in the Olivet Discourse as an unassailable apex of their system. However, is their interpretation the most compelling given the usage and context of the term in Matthew’s Gospel? I don’t think so. The typical futurist interpretation is that this verse refers to a future generation, or time frame. The typical preterist interpretation is that this verse refers to a past generation, or time frame. A problem presents itself in that both of these interpretations fail to adequately account for several important interpretive factors.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the phrase “this generation” is primary used in the pejorative sense towards a people group; Israelites who rejected Him. To view this as a “time frame” reference (i.e., 40 or 80 years) goes against the usage of the term in Matthew. This term isn’t used in a quantitative manner (years on the earth); rather, it is used in a qualitative manner (describing people with certain spiritual qualities). If we view this term as descriptive of those in ethnic Israel who reject Messiah (which has continued since the first century) not only are we within the bounds of the usage of “this generation” in Matthew, but this interpretation also fits best with both the immediate context and the whole of Scripture. (See Bob DeWaay’s excellent study in the second portion of this issue which further establishes the usage and meaning of this term in the Gospels).

The expectation for the salvation and restoration of ethnic Israel runs through Bible. It was prevalent in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 36:22-38), in the immediate wake of the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:6-8), and in Paul’s teachings. The Apostle writes, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). The issue of the restoration of Israel is pertinent to the Olivet Discourse. Just prior to the Discourse in Matthew, Jesus announces to “this generation”: "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'" (Matthew 23:39 emphasis added).

“This generation” will pass away, but this has yet to transpire—there remain unbelieving Israelites. But a time will come when there are no more unbelieving Israelites who reject Messiah. Those Israelites who remain will see their Messiah when they declare, by His sovereign grace, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Lord will “come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26). But all the events Jesus outlined in the Olivet Discourse must be fulfilled before this occurs.[15]

This interpretation of “this generation” fits much better with Matthew’s usage, with the immediate context of the Olivet Discourse, and the whole counsel of God. So ironically, preterism’s chief text turns into solid support for both futurism and the coming restoration of ethnic Israel when Christ returns.


Time Text 2: “I am coming quickly”

Like “this generation” in the Olivet Discourse, preterists stress that the “time texts” in the book of Revelation such as, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1), and “Behold, I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:12a), demand that we view the prophecy to have a first century fulfillment, namely the events of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Hanegraaff notes regarding these texts: “The natural reading of such phrases as ‘what must soon take place’ or ‘the time is near’ is that the events that follow are fore future and not far future.”[16] Demar agrees on this point, adding: “Thus, the events of Revelation were near – close, at hand, impending, right around the corner – for those who first read the prophecy. If literalism is the standard, there is no other way to interpret these time words.” [17]

Preterists see “no other way” to interpret these terms except as pointing to a first century fulfillment. What preterists fail to incorporate is the entrenched “near expectancy/far fulfillment” dynamic that is found throughout the prophetic Scriptures.[18] The proclamations of “near expectancy” in the book of Revelation are the last in a line of similar passages found in the progressive revelation of the Bible. When interpreting the dynamics of New Testament prophecy we must be aware of the pattern of “prophecy and fulfillment” throughout the Bible. “Near expectant” exhortations frequently have far reaching fulfillment.

First, consider a text from the book of Zephaniah: Near is the great day of the LORD, near and coming very quickly” (Zephaniah 1:14). The day was announced as “near” and coming “quickly,” yet this day includes a terrifying end to the “all the earth” in judgment (1:2-3, 17-18), judgment of unbelieving Israel (3:1-7), and the Lord giving honor and praise to Israel as He defeats all her enemies and restores her fortunes (3:14-20). While the exile was looming (this being the near application), the great day of the Lord (far fulfillment) was announced to call Israel to faithfulness (2:1-3) and give comfort to the remnant (3:14-15) in light of this coming day. Declaring this all to be “figurative language” describing the events of the exile does not do justice to the text; much of what was prophesied simply does not refer to the near events of the exile. Likewise, in Joel 2 we read that the “day of the Lord” is “near,” (2:1), yet the New Testament authors find the application of Joel’s prophecies as having far-reaching fulfillment (see Acts 2:16-21, Revelation 6:12).[19]

It is important that we recognize the “near/far” and “telescoping” nature of many prophecies. The “near expectancy/far fulfillment” dynamic recognizes that many prophecies have a near application but ultimately have a far reaching fulfillment (cf. Haggai 2:6-7, Hebrews 12:26). The “telescoping” dynamic recognizes many prophecies may appear to be speaking of one continuous event, wherein reality the prophecy is fulfilled in successive periods (cf. Daniel 11:29-45, Malachi 3:1-2).

The above passages are just a sampling. These extensive proclamations of the promised near “day of the Lord,” in both the Old and New Testaments caused many to respond negatively, thinking this entails “slowness.” But we are admonished to not view these prophecies in such a manner. Rather, the patience of the Lord, and the delay of His wrath, is for repentance:

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:7-9)


Walter Kaiser’s comments are insightful regarding the nearness of the “day of the Lord”:

[T]his day always had an impending nature to it. Though it found partial fulfillment in such events as Joel’s locust plagues, the destruction of Jerusalem and the threat of national invasions, its final climactic fulfillment always remained in Christ’s future return.[20]

What then do the statements “I am coming quickly,” and other similar proclamations in Revelation, intend to convey? My answer is this: These proclamations call those who read and heed the message of Revelation to be comforted and remain faithful in light of Christ’s sure coming to judge humanity and reward the righteous.[21] The preterist’s interpretation of these texts lessens their intended function—in fact their interpretation strips them of their power. Throughout church history believers have looked to the impending return of Jesus Christ with urgency, an anticipation that parallels the “near expectation” texts in the OT that called Israel to be ready for their impending visitation (see Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 56:1). This function is highlighted in the last chapter of Revelation: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12, emphasis added). Jesus’ declaration “I am coming quickly,” and the other similar texts in Revelation, calls every person to be faithful in light of the sure coming that He has promised. George Eldon Ladd notes regarding the Revelation “time texts”:

There is in biblical prophecy a tension between the immediate and the distant future; the distant is viewed through the transparency of the immediate. It is true that the early church lived in expectancy of the return of the Lord, and it is the nature of biblical prophecy to make it possible for every generation to live in expectancy of the end. To relax and say “where is the promise of his coming?” is to become a scoffer of divine truth. The “biblical” attitude is “take heed, watch, for you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33).[22]

Jesus “coming” to destroy Jerusalem was not the church’s motivation or expectation in the first century and nor is it ours. Jesus coming to judge all that do not gather under His Gospel is. Again, 2 Peter speaks to this issue:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13 Emphasis Added)

In my estimation, preterism is a system of “interpretive convenience.” Even this passage in 2 Peter is interpreted by Hanegraaff to be primarily about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.[23] Their interpretation of “near expectancy” passages is stressed to prove a first century fulfillment, while other passages (such as the above) are then forced into their paradigm. When preterists take consummation language and figuratively apply it to the events of A.D. 70, we must ask what language could the Biblical authors possibly have used to communicate the events of the second coming.[24]

In order to come to a well balanced view of biblical eschatology, one must recognize the “near expectation” texts, such as noted above, and the numerous texts that reveal “far fulfillment,” the call for continual faithfulness until Christ comes, and the consummating language evident in these texts. When this is accomplished, we then can see the intended function of these near expectancy texts: to comfort the faithful with the future coming of Christ and call them to continued obedience in light of this impending event. Preterism fails repeatedly in this essential area of eschatological interpretation. Given these considerations (as well as several others), it is more compelling to interpret the “time texts” in Revelation as an exhortation to faithfulness and expectancy than to interpret these texts as a rigid time frame references that require a first century fulfillment.



The Interpretive Importance of the Thessalonian Epistles

Throughout The Apocalypse Code, Hanegraaff stresses a principle which he states that, if understood, “cracks the code” of the Biblical teaching on the Apocalypse.[25] He calls it “Scriptural synergy”:

[S]criptural synergy demands that individual Bible passages may never be interpreted in such a way as to conflict with the whole of Scripture. Nor may we assign arbitrary meanings to words or phrases that have their referent in biblical history. The biblical interpreter must keep in mind that all Scripture, though communicated through various human instruments, has one single Author. And that Author does not contradict himself nor does he confuse his servants.[26]

While I agree with this principle of Biblical interpretation cited by Hanegraaff, his application of this principle is sorely lacking. The root of many of the eschatological errors in his biblical interpretation is the ignoring or mishandling of pertinent texts. We see this most clearly in his (lack of) interaction with the Thessalonian epistles—throughout his whole work there are only a handful of references to the Thessalonian epistles. And when these texts are explored, the exposition is both superficial and deficient.[27]

However, the Thessalonian epistles are essential to our understanding of both the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. The church in Thessalonica had both practical and doctrinal confusion regarding certain points of eschatology. To remedy these, Paul penned two epistles, teaching the church important precepts of Christ’s second coming and the events associated. Because of these letters we received indispensable insight into the nature of Jesus’ eschatological teaching.

Paul establishes several significant points of eschatology in correcting doctrinal confusion in the Thessalonian church. Paul declares that believers, both dead and alive, are resurrected when Christ comes (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The coming of Christ, or the “day of the Lord,” will come at an unknown time (1 Thess. 5:1-2). Believers will experience relief from affliction when He appears (2 Thess. 2:7). Unbelievers will experience the eternal wrath of God when He appears (2 Thess. 2:9-10). The “man of lawlessness” will be revealed and then destroyed by Christ’s coming at the day of the Lord. (2 Thess. 2:1-10).

Through exploring the linguistic links and the flow of arguments in both epistles, it is well established that Paul places all these events within the same time frame.[28] And these events must occur within the context of the second coming because Paul unambiguously affirms that the resurrection of believers happens at this time (1 Thess. 4:16-17). So how does this point speak to the subject of preterism?

The two Thessalonian epistles contain at least 24 allusions or references to the Olivet Discourse.[29] Most of the time, a handful of allusions will firmly establish that a Biblical author is drawing on a particular previous portion of Scripture. Yet, the Thessalonian epistles are replete with not only linguistic allusions but chronological ones as well.[30] Renowned New Testament scholar, D.A. Carson states that “the discourse itself is undoubtedly a source for the Thessalonian epistles.”[31] Paul draws upon Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse to encourage and exhort the church in Thessalonica regarding the second coming of Christ and the events associated. These are not cryptic, apocalyptic writings, but straight-forward prose to a suffering church regarding “the blessed hope.”[32] If Paul viewed and utilized the teachings of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse to declare the events surrounding the second coming, then we are on solid, “inspired” ground to affirm the Olivet Discourse is a prophecy primarily yet to be fulfilled.[33]

Using the principle of “Scriptural synergy,” as Hanegraaff defines it, we do see the “apocalypse code” cracked, just not in the manner he suggests. As has been demonstrated, Paul draws on the teachings of Christ in the Olivet Discourse to teach on the translation and resurrection of believers, the arrival of the man of lawlessness, and the wrath of God upon the ungodly. The inspired Apostle places these events in the context of the second coming of Christ which has yet to transpire. This provides compelling evidence that Paul understood and taught that the Olivet Discourse was not a teaching about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, but rather the events surrounding the bodily return of Christ to resurrect His elect and repay the wicked. Only the most strained and dissuasive interpretations of the Thessalonian epistles will fail to recognize these dynamics.[34]


What Difference Does it Make?

Several other biblical considerations refute the preterist paradigm. And there are myriad other issues related to the realm of eschatology that need to be individually addressed: issues of apologetics, justice, hermeneutics, the perspicuity of the Scriptures, and the list goes on. My primary practical concerns regarding the preterist view of eschatology are twofold: It minimizes our future hope and removes a prime source of motivation for godly living. Christians throughout history have fled to the book of Revelation and the Olivet Discourse for comfort, encouragement, and motivation to live in light of the return of our King. By interpreting these texts as being already primarily fulfilled, the function of the Olivet Discourse, and the book of Revelation, is undermined. No matter how hard preterists may argue against this point, the function of these texts, to comfort and motivate the faithful, is grossly minimized by this paradigm. Although much still remains outside the realm of our knowledge, the Scriptures consistently proclaim the sure reality to come. The second coming of Jesus Christ, including the events surrounding it, is history that is yet to transpire. He is coming again and we need to heed his words calling us to preparation and faithfulness:

Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36)

May we continue to flee to the word of God for comfort, encouragement, and preparation for what is “yet to come.” For the “coming of Christ” does not consist of Rome destroying Jerusalem, but rather the return of the risen King to consummate human history and set up His eternal Kingdom. Since our King is returning to repay the wicked and rescue His people, we are called to be both prepared and faithful in light of this reality. We must cling to the blessed hope of being resurrected to be with the risen King forever. Until this “great and terrible” Day arrives, may we live as ambassadors for the Gospel, pleading with the world to “Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). For, indeed, “the end of all things is near” (1 Peter 4:7).

Issue 100 - May / June 2007

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End Notes

Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code,, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007) xviii
Hanegraaff has been reluctant to call himself a preterist, yet his central arguments and exposition are standard for those in the partial preterist camp.
Given that many recent books espousing preterism (including The Apocalypse Code) address the “Left Behind” series, a reaction to the theology of this popular fictional series is a prime possible reason for the resurgence.
There are other eschatological paradigms such as historicism and idealism, but futurism and preterism are the most prevalent systems in evangelical theology.
Luke’s eschatological discourse has so many distinctions from Matthew and Mark that many see this as a distinct teaching altogether. While I see this as having some merit, for the purposes of this article I will be grouping all three eschatological discourses in the synoptic Gospels together.
Preterists would be quick to point out that much of what they declare to have been fulfilled was not just in A.D. 70, but also the years surrounding. For the purposes of this article, I will be using the date A.D. 70 to correspond to all the events associated with the fall of Jerusalem at that time.
Kenneth L. Gentry, “The Historical Problem with Hyper-Preterism” in Keith A. Mathison, ed., When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism, (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing Company, 2004) 10, 28-33. This work is a collection of Reformed writers (both partial preterists and futurists) who critique hyper-preterism.
A popular modification of preterism was articulated by Beasley-Murray that is held by several evangelical scholars. Recognizing that the “coming of Christ” in the Olivet Discourse is best viewed as the consummation, Beasley-Murray limits the events that he sees taking place within the context of the first century to what Jesus listed before the announcement, thus excluding of the “coming of Christ.” See, George Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Last Days, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993) 448-449.
Hanegraaff, 84.
This does not mean that the destruction of Jerusalem was an insignificant historical event. In fact, in Luke’s eschatological discourse there is a prophecy that is best viewed as specifically describing the destruction of the Jerusalem and dispersion of Israel in A.D. 70 (Luke 21:20-24).
Hanegraaff, 110. We must note that well grounded futurists do not insist that Revelation must take place in the 21st century, for we do not know the “times and the seasons” (1 Thessalonians 5:1, Acts 1:6-8) Also note that the traditional dating of the book of Revelation is around A.D. 95.
Being a partial preterist and recognizing the need to preserve the truth of a future judgment, Hanegraaff sees the judgment of A.D. 70 as “typological” of the judgment to come (Hanegraaff, 134-36).
R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 25.
Gary DeMar, End Times Fiction, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001) 114.
Many preterists see the need to defend Jesus from the skeptics by showing that these prophecies had a first century fulfillment. The benefit of this interpretation is that it preserves the prophecy of Christ without straining the consummating language of the Olivet Discourse.
Hanegraaff, 91.
Demar, 56-57.
To Hanegraaff’s credit, he does recognize the need, on the basis of many of the Old Testament prophecies, to incorporate some mode of near/far fulfillment (Hanegraaff, 262-263 n. 23). Yet, his exposition still is inadequate because of his insistence to view the prophecies of the consummation to be seen through the “typology” of what is declared about the destruction of Jerusalem.
Another example of this is Ezekiel 36:22, 24-25 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went . . . For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.’”
Walter Kaiser, Hard Sayings of the Old Testament, (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1988) 225.
Holman notes: “The dominate theme of the Apocalypse is clearly one of eschatological anticipation which seeks to encourage a lively expectation of the soon coming of Christ among those who must endure in an unfriendly world until that time.” Charles L. Holman, Till Jesus Comes: Origins of Christian Apocalyptic Tradition, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996) 142. Continuing on this point, the vivid descriptions of future judgment and cosmic renewal serve as the source of encouragement for all to endure and thus be vindicated by the coming of Christ and to participate in the new heavens and new earth.
George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972) 22-23.
Hanegraaff, 135.
See John MacArthur, The Second Coming, (Wheaton: Crossway 1999) 121-128 for helpful thoughts on the consummating language in the Olivet Discourse and the interpretive “slippery slope” partial preterists find themselves on by interpreting these metaphorically
Hanegraaff, 227, 237.
Hanegraaff, 228-229.
See Hanegraaff, 212-213.
See Tracy L. Howard, “The Literary Unity of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11,” Grace Theological Journal 9.2 (1988), 163-190 for some helpful notes on the unity of this section. It is also germane to note that strict “telescoping” is not a suitable application to the Thessalonian epistles given the literary unity in both letters, and the intertwined relationship of the events described.
See G. Henry Waterman, “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 18 (1975), 105-13, for detailed exposition on this point.
See Howard, 180-190.
D.A. Carson “Matthew” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, 12 Vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 8:489.
This does not mean there are no interpretive difficulties with these epistles. Yet, the didactic nature of the epistles is easier to access than the apocalyptic and therefore leads us to the maxim of biblical interpretation that we should allow clearer passages of the Bible to cast light on the more obscure.
Many futurist, premillenial commentators see “near/far” fulfillment regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in the Olivet Discourse. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was a “near” fulfillment with a greater “far” fulfillment yet to transpire in the context of the Second Coming. This is a compelling possibility given that this is a familiar pattern of prophecy and that the eschatological discourse in Luke, although distinct from the discourses in Mark and Matthew, has a vivid description of the “near” destruction and dispersion of Israel in A.D. 70 (Luke 21:21-24) which has language that is echoed in the other discourses (Matt. 24:15-19, Mark 13:14-18).
Partial preterists are caught between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” with the Thessalonian epistles. While the source of Paul’s teaching is well established as the Olivet Discourse, they are hesitant to interpret 1 Thess. 4:13-18 (as well as other portions of these epistles) as being fulfilled in the first century because it is a central text that establishes the future resurrection of believers (see Hanegraaff, 57-58). The doctrinal point of the second coming and the future resurrection of believers is the primary point that distinguishes them from their heretical counterparts. For full preterists have no problem stating that this text is both referencing the Olivet Discourse and is prophesying a “spiritual resurrection” which was fulfilled in A.D. 70. See http://www.preterist.org/articles/matt.24_and_1_thess.4_compared.asp, http://www.preterist.org/articles/divito_letter.asp, http://www.preteristarchive.com/Preterism/preston-don_p_21.html for examples. Yet if partial preterists give way to the point that Paul is using the Olivet Discourse to teach on the future second coming their position is dealt a devastating blow. Therefore, the most compelling and biblical alternative is to see the Olivet Discourse, the Thessalonian epistles, and the book of Revelation as primarily prophesying the future time of consummation.
 

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Date:
11 Feb 2004
Time:
20:46:04

Comments

It continues to amaze me that all of these futurists without exception, deny the clear time statements given by the prophets, Jesus, and the disciples.

These verses are numerous and plain. They will never deal with the time statements! They will always shift the argument to the nature (unclear) of things without even considering the time (clear). It is truly sad to see such lack of critical thinking and poor hermeneutics. Words like soon, quickly, shortly, at hand, about to be, this generation, will not tarry, at the door now, last hour, these last days etc. etc. can never mean what they say. PLEASE!!! --Batman


Date:
11 Feb 2004
Time:
22:12:31

Comments

When I now read such defenses of the futuristic views I cringe. I can no longer refrain from asking the following questions.

1. Can this person, or the people of such persuasion, see Jesus? He told his disciples that the world would not be able to see Him, but that they would. The wicked have not seen God neither have they known Him. Scary!

2. Can these writers, or these people, see Christ's kingdom? Taking what Jesus said at face value assures us that our seeing the kingdom in the now is up to our choice, - it is our own personal responsibility, and is something that every Christiian must do. If they do not - they cannot enter it. St. John

3. This is something that sould make all who claim to be a preterist really be filled with concern. We must do some soul searching and repenting and be about praying for our friends and relatives who say that Jesus is not here. For it would appear that in their doing this they are denying his 2nd coming and are, in some sense, denying Christ.

 God help us all. Vern www.peacekey.com


Date:
12 Feb 2004
Time:
06:48:54

Comments

"By no stretch of sound biblical exegesis can the concept 'new heavens and earth' in Scripture refer to anything less than an entirely new creation."

I find it interesting, and a little disturbing, that the author cites the description of the new creation in Isaiah 65 and Isaiah 11:6-9 in defense of his position, but completely ignores Isaiah 11:1-5, 10-16. I suppose, since verses 1-5 set a context that is clearly a reference to Christ's earthly life and since Paul quotes verse 10 as being fulfilled during his life (Rom 15:12), citing the rest of the chapter would kind of destroy the author's argument. Better, I guess, to practice "sound biblical exegesis" and ignore half a chapter that doesn't fit into your position.


Date:
12 Feb 2004
Time:
08:00:55

Comments

In Peter's day the scoffers were saying, "where is this coming he promised?" We must answer one very important question: Who was right? Peter, Jesus, and the other Apostles or the scoffers? What would those same scoffers be saying today, now 2000 years later and still no coming?

Also, why were they scoffing if indeed Jesus never promised a soon return? The credibility of the scriptures is at stake here. This well intentioned brother is, IMHO, chipping away at the infallibility of scripture. David


Date:
12 Feb 2004
Time:
12:29:07

Comments

I am surprised that the author quotes John Owen approvingly in his comments on Hebrews. Has he read Owen's exposition of 2 Peter 3 (John Owen, "Providential Changes, An Argument for Universal Holiness," in William H. Goold, ed., The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. [London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965-68], 9:134)?

Owen writes: "On this foundation I affirm that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state"--i.e., the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. "

Then there is the problem of Isaiah 65:20 where it states: "For the youth will die at the age of one undred nd the one who does not reach the age of one hundred shall be thought accursed." Death in the "new heavens and the new eaerth" (65:17)? How does the author get around this?

"In light of the above texts, v.20 cannot mean there is sin and death in the new heavens and new earth." He claims that 65:20 is "poetic." It may be. But isn't this the very thing he charges preterists with in their interpretation of "new heavens and new earth"? Mitchell Dick has a lot of work to do. He should start by reading John Owen's article. Gary DeMar


Date:
12 Feb 2004
Time:
21:49:23

Comments

The writer argues that the expression "for the child shall die an hundred years old_" is to be understood, that Isiaiah had switched from literal into poetic mode, that "SHALL DIE an hundred years" describes THE FACT (????) that there will be NO DEATH for the child! The rationale given is that it is impossible for a child to die when an hundred years old for then the child would no longer be a child! Is this "biblical hermeneutic"? If one applies the same argument, it will make a mockery of many biblical prophecies, like Luke 1:76, "And thou, CHILD, … SHALL GO before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways", as interpreted by Zacharias. As such, John the Baptist could not had fulfilled the prophecy as by the time he appeared in the wilderness, he was no longer a kid! ==== Will there be animals in the new cosmic creation - in the New heavens and New Earth - "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock"? If there will be no death, then these animals do not die. Or it is to be interpreted as "poetic" too? And if it is to be "poetic", then why is only the "New Heavens and New Earth" interpreted literally? ==== MS Cheo.


Date:
13 Feb 2004
Time:
09:40:10

Comments

James Jordan (partial preterist) demonstrates in his book "Through New Eyes" that the new heavens/new earth theme runs throughout the old testament, and indicates a renewal/expansion of the covenant, not the end of the world. Good book.


Date:
14 Feb 2004
Time:
08:29:24

Comments

before reading the article below I suggest you listen to the audio link. It is from a website totally unrelated to the article below. Remember also the name Rothschild and Scofield.  One Worlders Promote Televangelists, ‘Last Days,’ Rapture to Lay Foundation for Global Government Powerful globalist forces are promoting high-powered television evangelists and religious publishers who teach “end times” and “last days” religious dispensationalism talking of an ultimate “rapture” in order to help lay the groundwork for one world government. That “controversial” proposition was put forth during a lively interview on Nov. 18 between Radio Free America host Tom Valentine and his guest, John Anderson, producer of the thought-provoking new video, The Last Days. Anderson contends that true Christian fundamentalism, based on the teachings of the Bible, has absolutely nothing to do with the “end times” and “last days” theory (first enunciated in the late 18th century and popularized in the 19th century by Darby and Scofield). Instead, true Christian fundamentalism takes the Bible at its word and accepts that Christ accomplished all that he intended to do while on Earth and that His kingdom is here and is now. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview. Comments by Valentine are in boldface. Anderson’s responses are in regular text. A host of television evangelists preach that “we are living in the last days,” that we are “facing Armageddon” and “the end times are upon us,” that the modern-day political and geographic state of Israel is “the handiwork of God.” In the Nov. issue of Insight magazine, which is published by Korean cult leader Sun Myung Moon [the owner of The Washington Times], writer Don Feder criticizes President George W. Bush for pressuring Israel, saying the fate of America and “the seed of Abraham” are intertwined, that the United States has to treat Israel as the “handiwork of God” or else America will go down the tubes. When I first became a Christian and began reading the Bible on my own and not listening to others’ interpretations, I realized there is no such thing as “Israel.” “Israel” was wiped out in 70 A.D. and God had a hand in it. Your excellent videotape, The Last Days, explains precisely that. We are on a campaign to get people back into the Bible. We get so much of our theology today from movies and television. We have best-selling icons out there, such as The Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsay, the number one selling book for a long time. Now Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series has sold over 40 million copies, and is a feature-length film. We are getting our Biblical information from these types of people. As a result, we are getting a fictional account which they are portraying as being Biblical. Today you have more evangelical “end time” Christians in office than any other obvious “religion” in the world. So when people talk about God saying, “I will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel,” this rings down the corridors of Congress. Political decisions are being made based on this faulty interpretation of the Bible that only came into popular teaching in the mid-1800s. The bottom line fundamental Biblical truth—contrary to the so-called “fundamentalism” taught by the modern-day false prophets who teach that we are in the “end times”—is that Christ did everything he said he was going to do and as he said he was going to do it. Anything other than that is absolute heresy. So how could Cyrus Ingerson Scofield come along in the 19th century and footnote the Bible and claim the Bible says what it doesn’t say? Let’s look at human nature. People say, “Why polish the brass on a sinking ship? We’re going to be raptured anyway.” What’s easier to sell: responsibility and doing what Jesus Christ commanded you to do to make a difference, or to sit back and say, “Hey, we’re in the last days and getting ready to be raptured. Why worry about what’s happening in our world today?” Which is easier to sell? The escapist mentality, obviously. If you want to bring about a one-world government and you have this huge Christian force out there, you must get them to believe that prophecy has not been fulfilled yet and that a one-world government by the Anti-Christ must come before Jesus Christ will return and destroy all of this. All of the land promises to Israel were conditional—and fulfilled. Scofield’s Reference Bible was first published by the Oxford Press controlled by the Rothschild family of Britain who have been major forces promoting a New World Order. A book, The Amazing Scofield, written by Joseph Can field deals with Scofield. I am going to produce a video on Mr. Scofield and give the history of this “dispensationalism” and how it first came into popular teaching. Canfield shows that Scofield, and, earlier, his mentor, John Darby of the so-called Plymouth Brethren, brought this in. Morgan Edwards taught this philosophy here in the United States in 1799, the first documentation of such a message being given here. Where did they get their information from? A Jesuit priest. If we are going to have a one-world government, Christians are going to have to believe that prophecy has not been fulfilled. So dispensationalism was brought forth into the Dallas Theological Seminary and the rest is history. Yet, modern-day “end times” teachers attempt to link the land promises to the physical nation that is called “Israel.” That is the key political point being made by the people who have put forward this one-world scam (in the name of “Christianity” via the fraud of dispensationalism). They can’t have their global government if people believe that Christ has come and fulfilled the Old Testament and is there for every single person and that we should all be out there being better stewards of His planet and His kingdom on Earth and the gifts he has given us. Anyone who has actually bothered to read the Bible, realizes that the Bible only speaks of one “last days.” There are not multiple last days. There is only one. We find if we go back to Genesis 49:1, it says: “When Isaac called his 12 sons together” (which made up what was known as Biblical Israel in the natural sense), he said, “Come and let me tell you what shall befall you in the last days.” We find this theme all through the Old Testament. The last days were simply the last days of the old Jewish Covenant. As the writer of Hebrews 8:13 points out: “That which is waxing old and which is ready to banish away.” This appears time and time again. Hebrews 1:1-2 says that God, at sundry times and in diverse manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, but has “in these last days,” spoken to us by His son, Jesus Christ. These two points were made: the writer of He brews said that he (the writer) was living in the last days and that Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was in the last days. We have 1st Peter 4:7 saying “the end of all things is at hand.” We find James talking to the rich, saying, “you have heaped together for yourselves treasure for the last days,” and the apostle, John, says in 2:18 that “it is the last hour.” So we have a choice. If we say that we believe the Bible, that is holy and inspired in both the Greek and in the new language, then we can either believe them or not. As Jesus said to his apostles, He would lead them into all truth. Luke 21, beginning with verse 8, quotes Jesus as saying: “Many will come in my name saying ‘I am Christ,’ and that the end has drawn near. Believe them not.” He then lists about a dozen things that they would see and know and be qualified to say when the end had drawn near. That meant that anyone before them was a false prophet, saying that the end had drawn near, or anyone after them saying that the end had drawn near. Those to whom Christ spoke were the only ones empowered by Christ, God Almighty and the Holy Spirit to say when the last days actually were. The Old Testament was there to establish the New Testament. After I read the Old Testament, I read the New Testament several times, because I realized that the Old Testament had been fulfilled. “Fulfilled” means that it was over with: everything that God had promised Israel was given to them. It was a conditional promise and they didn’t keep all of it and they ended up paying a stiff price. That was the horrid destruction of Jerusalem in the three and a half years leading up to 70 A.D. When that temple was destroyed by Titus, the Roman, who said himself that God had a hand in its destruction it tore that whole structure of the original covenant people to oblivion. Even the Jewish leaders were killing their own people, according to Jewish historian Josephus. Your videotape makes this clearer than anything I’ve ever seen. There was no more. There was no more Zion. There was no more Israel. There was no more Judaism. Christ was now on the throne. Christi anity was the thing. The old order was gone. Yet today, we have the Zionists trying to rebuild the temple in Israel and a whole bunch of people calling themselves “Christians” who say that the rebuilding of this temple has to take place for God’s plan to work out. My simple mind says: “Hey, wait a minute. Christ doesn’t have to do anything. He has already done it. What’s with you guys? This is a bunch of hokum.” I felt very alone when I came to this realization and stopped talking to people about it because many Christians were outraged that I had concluded this. However, I met the late Grace Halsell and others who understand the truth out there. It dawned on me that this “Christian Ecumenism” which is teaching the various Christian churches that we are living in “the end times” is a scam—a deliberate scam to worm the Pharisee plan for a world government into the minds of Christians who will be dominated by these Pharisees. We are committing what I call “the Jewish error” all over again. When Christ came, the Jews were looking for the Messiah to be the one who would break the Roman yoke off them and that he would set up a physical, literal kingdom on this Earth. That was not His intention, contrary to what some of the modern day “prophets” would say. When He attempted to try to explain it while feeding the 5,000 who came to Him and they tried to make Christ king, He slipped away to the hills, saying, “My kingdom is not of this world. The kingdom of Heaven comes without observation. The kingdom of Heaven is within.” So the kingdom he brought and offered them is the one that they rejected because the physical, literal kingdom that they wanted, Christ never intended to establish. Today many people want a physical, literal Jesus and a physical literal temple and a physical literal kingdom that they can point to and say: “There they are.” Yet, today, we have the most magnificent kingdom that anyone who is a Christian and knows it in his heart can see. The kingdom is there for those who have Christ in their heart. He is on the throne and is there for every individual in the world who chooses to reach to Him. No king, no power on Earth, can take that away. It is already established. Yet, some people don’t think that is enough. First Samuel, Chapter 8, points out that when they came to Samuel and asked for a king, he told them that they didn’t need one. Samuel took it to God and God said, “Samuel, they have not rejected you but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” Today people are doing the same thing. People want to believe this 18th century theory that God is going to come down from Heaven and pave the streets of the literal city of Jerusalem with gold and that He will rule there for 1,000 years. Yet, none of this is going to happen, according to Scripture. That is correct. One of the problems is that the dispensationalists totally ignore the time statements that are made in the Bible. New Christians always want to study Revelations, but many of them do not study it carefully to find out what it really says. When you look at Revelation 1:3 it says that “the time is at hand,” and you go all the way to the end, Revelation 22:10, where Jesus says don’t seal up the prophecy of this book, for the prophecy “is at hand.” Those are “bookends,” so to speak, on the entire Revelation, which means that everything had to transpire within the “at hand” scenario. “At hand” simply means it is about to happen. Paul said: “The time of my departure is at hand.” Jesus said, “the time of the passover is at hand.” When we allow the Bible to interpret itself, we have to take a look at the time statement. People constantly use Second Peter to say that the day of the Lord is a thousand years and a thousand years is equal to one day and that God’s time is different from our time. Well, God is outside of time and not a part of time, yet when He communicates to His creation, He does it in a manner that they can understand and that’s vitally important. When we look at the phrase “at hand,” the consequence of that statement, we have to understand, is that Revelation was “at hand.” I knew a television minister driven off the air because he challenged the teachings of “the last days.” You cannot be a bigtime television evangelist unless you go along with these “late great planet earth” teachings. This evangelist told me that Revelation was written prior to 70 A.D. as a warning to the Christians of the day about the tribulations to come. Your video explains this very well. When we look at the book of Revelations, we have to take God’s time statements literally. He says at 1:3 that “the time of Revelation is at hand.” At 22:10 He says that “the time is at hand.” Both the internal evidence of the book itself, and the external evidence, confirms that. The destruction of Jerusalem and the treatment of the early Christians by Roman emperor Nero are things that were such momentous events that if anyone who had written the book of Revelation and not mentioned it, it would make no sense at all. The case is closed. Revelation 17:10 refers to the seven kings and says that five have fallen; one is, and one is yet to come. If you count from Julius Caesar forward and count forward, you get to Nero, so you have number six, who was the one who “is” (at the time) and the one yet to come was Vespacious. For that final 42 months, February of 67 A.D. until September of 70 A.D., that was the tribulation spoken of in the book of Revelation. That is all described in Revelation and in Matthew 24. First John says that the Anti-Christ was present when First John was written. Nero was clearly “anti-Christ.” The Jewish elements that were also “anti-Christ” in their harsh opposition to the teaching that God’s kingdom was already established on earth. Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, not about the physical land of Israel. The reality is the kingdom of God, which was not of this Earth. The new kingdom of God, the new Jerusalem, was a new system that re placed the old system which vanished in 70 A.D. If the Christian world woke up to this truth, you would see the shock waves go around the world. Many good people may ask, “Well, if this is true, why haven’t we heard about it?” I tell them: “I will answer that question if you answer this question: why did it take 1500 years for a man like Martin Luther to come forward saying, ‘the just shall live by faith’ which is what Paul taught in the first century?”


Date:
20 Feb 2004
Time:
10:30:04

Comments

I found this piece to be very amusing. Someone who knows the words exegesis and eisegesis and the difference between them, completly skips over chapter 1 of Is. where the author CLEARLY instructs the READER that as you read this book Rev. Mich , Isreal will "have" or "go by" the name, "heaven and earth". I actually laughed out loud in the office when I read the paragraph on Gen.8. Maybe next time you could add the word "might" to the title of your Article, as in, "Rev.M.D. "might" defend the Orthodox Viewof the Second Coming......." "Might" that is, if we truly know the meaning of "exegesis". And as to the harmony of Paul and Peter I thought I had heard somewhere that it "might" be the Holy Spirit who wrote the WHOLE thing anyway. I "might" be wrong on that though. I suspect we "might" hear from Rev.D again on this "fit it all in the glove" issue again though. Of course it "might" be that Rev.D goes and reads "the PRINCE of the 'Protestant Church'(my twist), John Owen, on 2 Pet.3, and truly comes to grips with "good" exe and eise. At least, stop trying to force the Gospel to fit into the Glove of Orthodoxy, Rev D. Welcome to the Kingdom Rev. D! P.S. Ever read Hebrews 1 ? That Holy Spirit Guy said that ALL sin HAS BEEN purged! Hmmmmm. I wonder what Peter thought though?


Date:
26 Feb 2004
Time:
10:19:51

Comments

There are two senses of the word "new." A "new" heavens and "new" earth could mean, essentially, renewed or "made new," meaning "made like new." Could that be the sense of 2 Pet. 3:13? If so, then it wouldn't be necessary to have in view the complete obliteration of the old and the ex-nihilo creation of something new.


Date:
28 Feb 2004
Time:
20:39:15

Comments

It is time to wake up philosphers, with our "intellectual" arguments and verbage, for Christ wrote to infants and not the world's (biblical) puzzle solvers of high calibre. We must snapout of our pride and admit that we all carry a piece of the kingdom. The devil has trapped us once again, cleverly and in subtle fashion as usual, into bickering with one view verses another, just like the "issue" of free choice and predestination, justification by faith or good works, and on and on: both have elements of truth and error, both are biblically backed by those who choose a side, and those who take one side of a matter such as those above, clearly omit direct biblical truth opposing their "belief." So it is here with the prophecies of Revelation. Generally, here is some truth to consider regarding the matter at hand: The beast of the sea is the world. It tricks you into following its patterns and never building and living in the real world, the hidden world: the kingdom of Heaven, which God has been building since the world began in the midst of all that you see and each true Christian contributes to until it is complete. Despite the fact that John may have clearly warned of Nero, don't get caught up in labeling the heads and horns with men. The simple fact of the coun


Date:
28 Feb 2004
Time:
20:39:25

Comments

It is time to wake up philosphers, with our "intellectual" arguments and verbage, for Christ wrote to infants and not the world's (biblical) puzzle solvers of high calibre. We must snapout of our pride and admit that we all carry a piece of the kingdom. The devil has trapped us once again, cleverly and in subtle fashion as usual, into bickering with one view verses another, just like the "issue" of free choice and predestination, justification by faith or good works, and on and on: both have elements of truth and error, both are biblically backed by those who choose a side, and those who take one side of a matter such as those above, clearly omit direct biblical truth opposing their "belief." So it is here with the prophecies of Revelation. Generally, here is some truth to consider regarding the matter at hand: The beast of the sea is the world. It tricks you into following its patterns and never building and living in the real world, the hidden world: the kingdom of Heaven, which God has been building since the world began in the midst of all that you see and each true Christian contributes to until it is complete. Despite the fact that John may have clearly warned of Nero, don't get caught up in labeling the heads and horns with men. The simple fact of the coun


Date:
01 Mar 2004
Time:
21:47:20

Comments

I support what Rev. Mitchell writes and find your preteristic interpretation of scripture oddly interesting. I do wonder, though, what your views are on the rapture of Christ's church that are without question described in Revelation. How do you explain the disappearance of human beings on Earth? When did this happen in 70 A.D.? I have yet to find this topic discussed on this site to support preterism. Don't you think this is a rather important subject to cover? If you plan to attack another for skipping over parts in the Bible, you should at least refrain from doing this yourself.


Date:
10 Mar 2004
Time:
22:24:37

Comments

Rapture? Where is that word found in the Bible? Did "scholars" invent this? The reason this topic isn't addressed here is that Preterist don't believe in a rapture of this sort. I once believed as you did as well however, if you really try to tie the OT and NT together you will hit some walls. Check out the history of millennial movements that will help. http://www.presence.tv/cms/christianhope_clouse.shtml However, before I am tempted to use long or difficult Theological terms let me give you some things to think about. If the world is to be destroyed why would Jesus tell people to run and hide in that day? What is the purpose of new physical bodies out of graves and why would we need to leave our superior spiritual bodies to then go back to the grave to be raised in physical bodies and called up into the air? Is this really making any sense to you? It only did to me because that is what I was told to believe. You see the wonderful thing about believing that Christ was victorious the first time was that you now have only one thing to worry about. If you love him keep his commandments. The greatest of these is to love thy neighbor. Although I find all types of subject matters about the Bible fascinating, I can't let it keep me from simply getting out there and loving people that don't read these comments. There are really good reasons why all of this is important because it will shape how your approach to the world. However, do not let obsession take you to the point that you hate your neighbor because or their views. I have read many websites where the commandment of LOVE is not being obeyed. So do these people really love God if they do not keep his commandments? You know the Atheist and Agnostics are loving this stuff. Arguments about the Bible and what scripture really meant go all the way back to A.D.70 so it isn't surprising that we are still working on it. We are the early church. Remember it was 1500 years before Martin Luther spoke out. I'm sure you will feel more comfortable with these types of debates once you explore the history of the church in depth. Indeed if you find 2 scholars that agree on everything you are privileged to a rare event. I don't think your comment about Preterist skipping over the Bible is fair. This forum is not to defend Preterism entirely. I can promise you that there are probably several ways to answer your questions on the rapture and the interpretation of Revelation. I must also tell you that the in the last days when darkness covers the earth and the earth shakes and the dead rise, all happened when Christ died. So there is your physical resurrection if you will. This description is only found in one Gospel and I have yet to see it addressed. This is what made me think that the last days where already upon that generation. Preterists spiritualize all of this but my brother it did happen. We should all appreciate the gymnastics of Rev. Mitchell because it is good to see why the futurist views are still held to so tightly. Rev. Mitchell however sees the Preterist as reading into scripture what they want to see. Let he who is not guilty of this cast the first criticism. Try as we might to let the scripture speak for itself we all will still see things differently. To me that is one of the marvelous mysteries of the author of the Bible. I’m okay with this as long as the plan of salvation is understood plainly. I choose the path of the transmillennialst and you know something, if I’m wrong. I think God will understand. After all what happens to all those souls raised Muslim or Hindu? I know what they should believe about Christ, and we should preach the gospel but ultimately it is in God’s hands. After all Christians are not rushing out to learn these religions. Some do but honestly we have enough differences of our own to worry about. Don’t we? If Christ was here now what religion would he be? What Church would he attend? Mine? Yours? Another? What would he think of our legalistic arguments? How did he feel about the law in his time? Keeping the Sabbath? Doctrine and Tradition are important, but possibly their import should lie with each individual as they see it in their heart. What a man thinks in his heart is what he is. So, if we all feel that we are obeying the will of the father with all our hearts where do the religions of the world stand? “Seek and Ye Shall Find”? I’ve just got to believe that there is at least one person in every Christian religion truly and sincerely seeking and yet finding they are satisfied in their religion. Was every Church in Asia the same? Did they all worship the same? Considering their cultural diversity I would think not. So how do we deal with these differences? This is a much harder question than that of any millennial view, is it not? I leave you with the words of Martin Luther when giving advice to a friend struggling with what to believe. “Sin Boldly” You see you are the PASSION of Christ and he really wants you to concentrate on Love. Why? Because “God Is Love” and when you love your neighbor you will see God as you look upon them through His eyes. Incidentally, I am very thankful to the Lord for spell check and apologize for any grammatical or spelling errors. After all I am just a simple lay person, but through Christ I share an equal inheritance as a brother of Jesus and a child of the Living God. Gotta Love It! God Bless all of us on our journeys!


Date:
15 May 2004
Time:
16:20:55

Comments

Great Article, with correct scripture


Date: 12 Dec 2006
Time: 18:43:23

Comments0:

What does Matt.21:43 mean to you? Does it mean that Christians are now the children of Isreal , purchased with the Blood? Are we not Isreal?

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