BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
AD70 Dispensationalism: According to
that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'.
Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking
the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only
Herod's Temple in Jerusalem
fell. Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old
Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of
Christianity as seen in the New Testament.
AD70 Dispensationalism: According to that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'. Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only when Herod's Temple in Jerusalem fell. Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of Christianity as seen in the New Testament.
material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views,
but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond
the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website. The
classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built
upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and
the convictions of
the website curator (a
former full preterist pastor). The HyP
theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70
(end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors
through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up
to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written.
Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between
Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and
THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"
"Full preterist" material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views, but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website. The classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and the convictions of the website curator (a former full preterist pastor). The HyP theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70 (end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written. Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and fundamentally different.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"
SOME DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF SYSTEMATIZED HYPER PRETERISM
It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines full preterism appeals to - such as the complete end of the Old Covenant world in AD70 - are by no means distinctive to that view. Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper Preterist system in order to endorse this view. Following are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I've seen, are only taught by adherents of Hyper Preterism.:
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD FULL PRETERISM
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
Five Views of the AD70 Rapture
By Walt Hibbard
Many years ago, after I had become brave enough to call myself a preterist, and had begun to feel comfortable with my new understanding of the "time statements" of our Lord and His apostles in relation to the Second Coming of Christ, I assumed that "filling in the details" would be a piece of pie. I could not, however, have been more mistaken. Read on and I will tell you why.
But first, let me state that I will be mainly concerned with the following:
Q. What really happened to the pre-parousia living saints around AD 70?
To begin, for the sake of convenience, I will assign a label to the first three schools of interpretation. I will call them "The Remained-on-Earth Views" of the rapture.
The first three groups can be called, (1) The Corporate view, (2) The Heaven Now view, and (3) The Covenantal Change view. All of these groups of preterists teach that the living pre-parousia Christians remained on earth at AD 70 and continued to do so until they died physically.
(1) The "Corporate view" teaches that the significance of the Second Coming was a judgment against apostate Judaism with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and its Temple. One writer holding this view was quoted as saying, "The destruction of Jerusalem was the Second Coming of Christ." The significance of the rapture passages consists of "the raising of the body of Moses (the Old Covenant people) from the ashes of apostate Judaism into the full corporate body of the church of Jesus Christ (the New Covenant people)." And the "caught up in a cloud" language is "a figure of speech denoting the glory and elevated position of the saints on that day of vindication." This view denies that the doctrine of the resurrection relates in any significant way to an individual body resurrection. One writer devoted nearly 300 pages to explaining his unique view of the resurrection. Even that many pages, in the eyes of some, was not sufficient to give clear understanding to this view.
Objections: The Corporate view employs a bizarre hermeneutic which spiritualizes events that more logically require an historically grounded or literal interpretation. It is unclear just how the first century Christians were given relief from the Neronic persecutions of that period. How would the corporate view of the Second Coming answer to the Apostle Paul’s "we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly expecting adoption, the redemption of our body." (Rom. 8:23) In the final analysis, the pre-parousia Christians received nothing tangible, continued living if they weren’t martyred, and would still be looking, until the time of their death, for the deliverance that the rapture expectation passages had promised them. The complexity of the view would seem to render it unlikely that any of the original audience could have ever fathomed its implications. In a word this viewpoint could be described as contrived.
(2) The "Heaven-Now" interpretation maintains that the pre-parousia living Christians remained on the earth when the Second Coming of Christ took place around AD 70, receiving spiritually all the promised blessings of the inheritance. In other words, everything that the scriptures promised to believers at the Second Coming became the actual spiritual possession of those first century believers. They were really in heaven in their spiritual bodies, yet at the same time, still on earth in their earthly bodies! Did they really have two bodies at the same time? With these first century Christians remaining on the earth at the parousia and being joined by new generations of post-parousia Christians, the heaven now experience was the ultimate fulfillment of all that God promised to His people. Preterists who hold this view today would have us believe that they are really in heaven now, even though they are still in their physical bodies and awaiting physical death.
Objections: The great hope of God’s people from the very beginning has been to dwell in heaven with God, being clothed in our glorious spiritual bodies which would be fashioned for heaven, and beholding in full measure the glory of God in His perfection and splendor. Indeed, the New Testament speaks of the Christian as having a foretaste of heavenly things, such as Paul in Eph. 1:14 speaking of the Holy Spirit "who is an earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." But the vast grandeur of heavenly splendor, "a better, that is, a heavenly land" as being Abraham’s hope (Heb. 11:16), "for He prepared a city for them" can hardly be entered into apart from actually dwelling in heaven. (Ref. John 14:1-3) Is it really possible that these living preterists have received everything that God has in store for them? Most preterists do not possess the imagination necessary to picture themselves in heaven now, amid the sin, suffering, tears, bloodshed, anguish and troubles of this world. This view, incredibly, which is actually held by a number of preterists, smacks of fantasy more than reality. Holding to this position can only rob the believer of the true hope that awaits him in the real heaven in God’s presence.
(3) The "Covenantal view" is a view of the Second Coming that is probably held by more preterists than any other. At one time I leaned somewhat in this direction. This view teaches that when Jesus returned around AD 70, the "change" that Paul speaks of in I Cor. 15:51-52 is the change from the perishable to the imperishable, from mortal to immortality. It was the gathering together of God’s people, both dead and living saints. The Second Coming event, therefore, qualified these living saints to rise immortal at the time of their physical death. The pre-parousia living saints were not literally raptured but remained on the earth, awaiting the time of their physical death, one by one, when they would receive their incorruptible, glorified spiritual bodies (I Cor. 15) and join the throng of Old Testament departed saints delivered out of Sheol/Hades previously, at about AD 70.
Objections: Adherents of this view must spiritualize the I Thess. 4:15-17 passage, finding a way to avoid the lexical meaning of the word "caught up" where, in several other places in the New Testament, such as Acts 8:39-40, it does refer to a literal catching up from one place to another. Another major problem with this view is where Paul in the passage cited above mentions the living believers being "caught up together" with the Old Testament saints resurrected out of Sheol/Hades. This is clearly spoken of as a unified event where the departed saints are taken to heaven, thus demanding that the living saints would accompany them into God’s heavenly realm (Heb. 11:40). But those pre-parousia living Christians supposedly were allowed to remain on earth until the time of their death, in some cases many years into the future. An equally serious objection to this view is the record of the overwhelming number of promises given to the first century Christians which could only be realized apart from life on this earth. They were promised deliverance from suffering, persecution, tears, sin in every manifestation, into God’s very presence. If the rapture in AD 66-70 was nothing more than a covenantal change or a figurative fulfillment, the living pre-parousia believers of that day would actually have received virtually nothing and would have faced a major disappointment in not receiving the promises even when the parousia of Jesus Christ actually happened. It would have been merely a "ho-hum no-show" event, with no tangible or experiential evidence that anything like the Second Coming of Christ had ever taken place. I have noticed that Christians who hold this viewpoint seldom have much to say about the rapture verses. Some even deny the fact of a rapture when approached by their futurist friends. Clearly, this view does not measure up to the fulfillment that scripture requires.
In summary of all three of these "Remained-on-Earth" views of what actually happened to the pre-parousia Christians at the time of the parousia of Jesus Christ, we may conclude that any non-Christian in the first century, working shoulder to shoulder with a believer in Christ, could not have possibly known that anything unusual had happened. And yet, the fulfillment that had apparently just taken place in that first century, was such a magnanimous event as to be called "the completion of the salvation of the Christian." Yet, nothing apparently happened that anyone could perceive, not even the benefactors of the event themselves! Something is missing here. Where is the deliverance from Neronic persecution that was the hope of these first century people? Where are the incorruptible, immortal, glorified, spiritual bodies that they had been promised at the parousia? Where was the "better resurrection" that Paul spoke of? How was their salvation any nearer than when they first believed, as far as they could tell? Where was the hope of eternal life in the very presence of Jesus Christ Himself? And what about the face-to-face experience that they were promised? (I Cor. 11:12) If we are to accept what these well-meaning brethren would have us believe, then we would have to abandon the glorious expectations promised in the New Testament for those first century living believers, all of which were to be unfolded at the parousia, or conclude that they had somehow been mislead.
To refresh our minds at bit, I want to quote just a few of the verses that the pre-parousia Christians set their hope on when Christ would return:
2 Tim. 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. For the rest, the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me in that Day, and not only to me, but also to all the one’s loving His appearance."
Rom. 8: 18 "For I calculate that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to compare to the coming glory to be revealed in us."
I Pet. 5:4 "And at the appearing of the Chief Shepherd, you will receive the never fading crown of glory."
Matt. 16:27 "For the Son of Man is about to come with His angels in the glory of His Father. And then ‘He will give reward to each according to his practice.’"
2 Thess. 1:6-7 "Since it is a just thing with God to pay back tribulation to the ones troubling you, and to give you, those being afflicted, relief with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of His power…"
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it was not yet revealed what we shall be. Be we know that if He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is."
Phil. 3:20-21 "For our citizenship is in Heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humiliation, for it to be conformed to His body of glory, according to the working of Him to be able even to subject all things under Himself."
Before we move on to consider the last two views of the rapture, we need to emphasize that all the benefits that the pre-parousia Christians were expecting to receive, according to the scriptures, had their focal point at the Second Coming. Jesus Himself would return and deliver His people from the persecutions that they were enduring, clothe them with their new, incorruptible, immortal, glorified, spiritual bodies, bestow upon them the rewards for faithfulness to Him, and receive them unto Himself in the place that He had gone to prepare for them soon after His ascension. (John 14)
Since we assigned a label to the first three perspectives on the subject, namely, "The Remained-on-Earth" viewpoint, now we will assign a general label to the last two views that we are considering. We shall call them the "Taken-to- Heaven" views, and further break them down into (4) The Literal Rapture Expectation view, and (5) The Perfect Is Heaven view.
(4) The "Literal Rapture Expectation" view teaches that the pre-parousia disciples of Jesus Christ were convinced that the promise of deliverance from persecution at the hands of the Jews and Romans in that first century could only be realized if the references to the rapture (ref. I Thess 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:51-57) were taken at face value. In addition to the deliverance from harsh treatment and other earthly perils, these Christians were eagerly anticipating the gathering together with the other large group of previously deceased and delivered out of Sheol/Hades pre-parousia believers and together would be escorted by the Lord Jesus to heaven, the place that He had prepared for them awaiting His parousia. Included in that grand heavenly procession would be these two groups of God’s people, each one having been given their new incorruptible, immortal, glorified, spiritual bodies. Such an overt expectation virtually demanded an equally overt literal rapture. No mere positional, figurative, or covenantal change could ever fulfill the expectations of these living Christians, nor grant them the crowns, rewards, and words of commendation and praise that they had been led to expect for their faithfulness to Jesus. This view also teaches that the amazing period of silence that followed the parousia, where few if any Christian writings have been found, according to the eminent historians covering that period, such as Josephus, F. W. Farrar, Eusebius, et al, could only be understood if a literal rapture had removed all living believers up to that time. While the silence issue is one ingredient in the overall argument for this view, it is not essential to its main thesis. It is the expectation statements of the New Testament that clinch the viewpoint.
Objections: With the significant number of New Testament passages which the "Literal Rapture Expectation" view seems to faithfully acknowledge for the first time in contemporary preterist circles, it will not be easy for me to come forth with a studied argument in opposition to this view. In fact, from my studies, I would suggest that this will be more of an attempt to point out certain inconsistencies within the body of arguments than to present a clean-cut refutation. So I’ll try to do just that, but no more. I would find it difficult to argue against my own recent writings!
First, if the "silence argument" is as strong as proponents of this view maintain, then the counter-argument that neither is there any record of non-Christian writings to report that all of the true Christians suddenly disappeared, might seem to hold equal validity. To the minds of some people, this kind of argument may be conclusive to them, and be the reason for them to reject the "Literal Rapture" view entirely. Of course, what these critics need to be made aware of is that there are strong arguments that definitely undermine their position. But the obvious reply to this type of objection is to get back to the basics, namely, that the inspired scriptures teach a "catching up," or an "upward call," or "a meeting of the Lord in the air," involving true Christians, and that the silence argument, which ever side you take, while interesting, is not really the main reason to argue for or against the "Literal Rapture" view. The powerful "expectation verses" form a much more formidable argument for the "Literal Rapture" than the absence of anything. The weight of these verses seems impossible to refute, in my opinion.
Secondly, the "Literal Rapture Expectation" view, where this "catching away" actually resulted in "seeing the Son of Man" (Matt. 24:29-31; 26:64) and being taken to heaven with Him (John 14:2-3), should also suggest that we always need to keep the basic hermeneutic principle of "audience relevancy" constantly in mind as we study. Many preterists who seemingly have mastered this hermeneutical principle, often neglect to follow through when it comes to discussing heavenly realities, and instead tend to apply these things to post-parousia Christians living on the earth. It would be more consistent to clearly affirm that those scriptures that teach us about the glories of heaven, were intended, when they were written, to become a "present possession" ONLY to that pre-parousia company of saints who very soon would be raptured into heaven. The problem of inconsistency arises when proponents of the "Literal Rapture" view begin to teach that these "heavenly verses" actually apply to life on this earth in the post-parousia period, including this 21st century. As a result of this misapplication, the "Literal Rapture" people find themselves coming dangerously close to the "Heaven Now" view surveyed in (2) above. The "Literal Rapture" view would be strengthened considerably if "audience relevance" was more carefully observed, and recognition was given to the fact that only life in heaven provides complete fulfillment for God’s people.
Given the two inconsistencies stated above, I find that the "Literal Rapture" view is a major breakthrough in scholarly preterist studies, and has given me personally a much better understanding of the entire AD 66-70 scenario of events.
(5) And now, we shall survey the "The Perfect Is Heaven" view. I would not consider this a completely distinct view from the previous one, but rather as a more consistent working out of some of the details of the "Literal Rapture Expectation" view. But first, I am very pleased to introduce the Christian gentleman who, more than any other preterist, is responsible under God’s grace for suggesting these fresh insights into preterism. His name is Ian Harding. He lives in Australia, far removed from the American preterist scene but keenly aware of it. Ian is virtually unknown in the States at this time. But he has written a new book that hopefully will be published within the next year or two. Anything that I point out here that illuminates the scriptures is likely to have come from the pen of Mr. Harding, as God’s Holy Spirit has given him these insights. My efforts to provide a survey of his position must fall far short of the beautiful book he has written, but nevertheless, I will do my best to pass on some of the important elements as I currently understand them to be.
Mr. Ian Harding is essentially in agreement with "The Literal Rapture Expectation" view, arriving in his own studies with basically the same position apart from any dependence on what would happen in America about the same time. He also affirms the absolute necessity of a literal rapture happening around AD 70. Any other view, he asserts, simply does not do justice to the pertinent biblical material. But what is most interesting, I noticed, is his fresh and original approach to the audience relevancy issue. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Harding is the first preterist scholar to arrive at these conclusions and it will be very instructive to all of us to learn of his insights. I shall set forth some of these points in outline form at this time.
A. The New Testament authors were addressing the pre-parousia Christians who were about to be raptured. They were assuring these persecuted people that what they were about to enter into could only take place in the heavenly realm. They should not be expecting these things to happen on the earth. He reminds us that "flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 15:50) and it is only when God bestows incorruptible, immortal, glorified, spiritual bodies to the raptured saints, both living and dead, that the ultimate fulfillment of the promises would be realized. These living New Testament Christians were living on the very threshold of entering into heaven and it was only to these people that these comforting words were written. Audience relevancy, consistently applied, drives him strongly to this position. In the words of Ian Harding, "Paul does not seem to me to be saying anything at all about what will be present or not present on earth for post-parousia Christians after the perfect has come for the pre-parousia saints. Rather he is totally talking about what those pre-parousia Corinthians will leave behind, be finished with, will no longer have a need for, once the perfect has come at Christ’s parousia, for they are all partial, dim, childish things which they won’t need anymore where they are going – into the realm of the perfect realm of glorification together with Christ." I believe that Mr. Harding has said this very well and expressed something that is often overlooked.
B. Mr. Harding draws a sharp distinction concerning the "promise-hope- inheritance" theme in its "firstfruit-deposit" experience in the lives of the pre-parousia believers living on earth, compared to the "hope of glory" in its fullness that these same Christians would shortly experience at Christ’s parousia. These believers had arrived at the very threshold of heaven! "But you have drawn near Mount Zion, even the city of the living God, to a heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, and to a gathering and an assembly of the first-born ones having been enrolled in Heaven; and to God the Judge of all, and to spirits of just ones who have been perfected; and to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to blood of sprinkling speaking better things than that of Abel." (Heb. 12:22-24)
C. Like other preterists who believe in "The Literal Rapture Expectation" view, Mr. Harding sees the necessity of both the dead saints being delivered out of Sheol/Hades and those living first century saints all being gathered together as one body and caught up to be with Jesus Christ at the time of the parousia. Citing specific scriptures that teach this, such as Heb. 11:40 ("God having foreseen something better concerning us, that they should not be perfected apart from us"), Mr. Harding stresses the point that any view of the rapture which separates the time of final glorification of the pre-parousia dead saints from that of the pre-parousia living saints, who allegedly would not go to heaven until the time of their physical death, actually contradicts the clear teaching of scripture.
D. Ian Harding’s understanding of "the perfect" in I Cor. 13:10 (coupled with Heb. 11:40 and 12:23) takes exception to the traditional view of many preterists that AD 70 brought in the perfect to accomplish complete fulfillment, encompassing all of covenantal life, both in heaven and on earth. Indeed, around AD 70 was the time when the perfect was put into place, but it initially affected only the pre-parousia saints, both the dead and the living, who were about to be raptured. For subsequent generations of post-parousia believers, the perfect would only be realized at the time of physical death when they would be taken to heaven in their glorified spiritual bodies.
E. Traditional views of the perfect, as pointing to the completion of the canon of scripture, all of which was written prior to AD 70, is not what the Apostle Paul was referring to as he penned these words. Comparing scripture with scripture, in many citations, Mr. Harding sees the perfect as the consummation of the Christian’s hope in heaven. No where in the context of I Cor. 13, or elsewhere in Scripture, do we find any statements as to when the believers were to look for the canon to be completed. In fact, no one could have known when the last of the inspired writings would be completed. Only later did it become evident that the New Testament scriptures were indeed completed before AD 70, but that is not what Paul is talking about in the I Cor. 13 passage. Rather he is showing the superiority of love over all of the other gifts including prophecies, tongues, and knowledge. Only love continues forever, even in heaven, in contrast to the other mentioned gifts which will cease because they won’t be needed when the raptured Christians enter into the perfect, which is another name for heaven. "Now I know in part, but then I will fully know even as I also was fully known." (I Cor. 11:12b) Paul contrasts the then-present experience of the pre-parousia believers, like that of an infant, seeing only dimly through a mirror, and knowing only in part, compared to the mature man, the face-to-face experience with Christ, and with full knowledge as God would allow. It is only the gift of love that shall continue in heaven forever. That is why Paul speaks of love as the greatest gift. Once again Mr. Harding consistently recognizes audience relevance in a very consistent ground breaking manner.
F. Challenging the "Remained-on-Earth" preterists, Mr. Harding waxes eloquent as he writes, "The remained-on-earth assumption regarding the pre-parousia Christians alive at the parousia, logically holds that all post-parousia Christians, including us today, enter the same fulfillment of the hope of glory, upon our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, as what the pre-parousia Christians entered at the parousia of Jesus. If the hope of glory expected at the parousia – the hope that the apostle Paul preached and rejoiced in and longed for…- if that hope was fulfilled to the living pre-parousia Christians by giving them an experiential fellowship with God and a spiritual transformation no greater than what we see in a modern preterist, or in the lives of the early church fathers – then of all men they are to be pitied! If the first pre-parousia Christians facing martyrdom under evil Nero could have known that the fulfillment of their hope of glory that they expected at the parousia would consist in their being made only as perfected as modern remained-on-earth preterists, one wonders how such a hope could have ever sustained them in their sore trials. It would certainly have been a disillusioning fulfillment. But of course – thanks to God – it was the hope of a REAL, experiential glorification at the parousia that sustained them, just as, since the parousia, the hope of real glory upon their death has sustained post-parousia martyrs. A covenantal or figurative glorification, etc. just will not fit the scriptures." We can only add a hearty 'amen' to these powerful statements.
G. Ian Harding also teaches that the "deposit-firstfruit" experience of the first century living Christians parallels the experience that we 21st century believers have today. Yet he carefully notes the exceptions that we have with the completed canon of holy scripture, and we are not looking for a repeat-parousia event. Rather, we today anticipate our physical death, at which time we will enter into the fulfillment of all the promises that first century believers experienced at the parousia about AD 70. So Mr. Harding sees a real parallel experientially of Christians living today with those pre-parousia saints of the first century. And that is one reason why we today can so readily identify with those suffering saints and can draw so much benefit and comfort from reading the New Testament scriptures. Yes, we too have the "deposit-firstfruit" experience that those early believers had!
H. Differing with some other preterists who maintain that the ministry of the Holy Spirit as Paraclete was completed at AD 70, Mr. Harding sees no support from scripture to hold this view. He teaches that the ministry of the Paraclete as set forth in John 14-16 is just as much needed by Christians today as His ministry to the pre-parousia Christians was needed in the apostolic period. He firmly believes that the present day ministry of the Holy Spirit, in His equipping for service, in His comforting ministry, in His indwelling in the hearts of God’s people, and everything else that the New Covenant promises to sustain us, is ours, as we await our personal call to the heavenly realm.
Objections: I am hard pressed to find any defect or error in the exegesis that has been the hallmark of this monumental study by Mr. Ian Harding of Australia. (I have read his entire book carefully, some of it several times.) I see his refinement of "The Literal Rapture Expectation" view, which I have called simply "The Perfect Is Heaven" view, as the only preterist view of the rapture and related events that meets the full requirements of scripture. It will be very interesting to observe the comments that this survey may invoke. It does not come easy for any of us to change our viewpoint, especially after holding to a particular position for several years. In the final analysis, however, since all of us see only dimly, especially in spiritual things, in this life on earth, we can unitedly look forward as believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to that day when "we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is." (I John 3:2) It is hoped that the "The Perfect Is Heaven" view, which embraces most of "The Literal Rapture Expectation" view also, will be adopted by hundreds of preterists in the near future.
Already I have heard Arthur Melanson on his Joy of the Lord radio broadcast (at 10:00 to 11:00 am daily over WTMR, Camden, NJ, 800 on the AM dial) introduce this wonderfully satisfying view to his thousands of daily listeners. Mr. Harding’s studies have warmed the hearts of both Arthur and me through the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit, the Comforter or Paraclete, as well as the hearts of countless other listeners, who have called in with their responses.
I hope many of you who read this article will also be blessed toward a richer, fuller, and more accurate understanding of the preterist view of eschatology. Preterist eschatology has not been the subject of contemporary post-parousia scholarly studies in any great depth until the final quarter of the last century. All of us preterists welcome continued exegetical studies from many members of the preterist community. Hopefully, what our gifted friend from Australia, Ian Harding, has written in his new book will find its way into published book form within the next year or two. In the meantime, I urge all of you to carefully study preterism with your Bible open and keeping "audience relevancy" fully in mind. May our Lord continue to illuminate the hearts and minds of His people.
What do YOU think ?
Mr. Hibbard, I thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront once again. I noticed you had not referenced Ed Stevens (Expectation Demand a Rapture –2002) Ernest Hampden-Cook (The Christ has Come –1891), or J. Stuart Russell The Parousia –1878), for these men have also put forth the so-called "Taken-to- Heaven" view with variations. The work of these men should be credited as greatly advancing this view. I have read most of Russell’s book, all of Hampden-Cook’s (read my review), and all of Stevens book (read my review). Stevens’ and Hampden-Cook both talk extensively of “first” and “second rank” Christians. The idea is that the first rank Christians were more faithful, more dedicated to the cause. It is supposedly these first rankers that were raptured while the spiritual half-breed second ranks stayed behind with the non-Christians. This really does murder to the idea of justification and sanctification. Another disappointing aspect of this view is that it neglects that the very “proof text” used by most Rapturists wasn’t even dealt with. That is the verse about “one taken and one left behind”. Let’s look at the verse a moment. Mt 24:40-41 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. This verse (and other similar verses) is the hinge of the Rapturists. They even plaster bumper stickers on their cars reading: “Warning, in the event of the Ratpure this vehicle will be unmanned”. But if we read in simple context we see that it is those that are to be taken that should be worried. The disciples asked Jesus to where these people will be taken (see Lk 17.28-:37 parallel verses). You would expect His answer to be something of a blissful place, a place of safety or a place of honor along with Jesus. But look at Jesus’ response: Lk 17:37 He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." Reading the preceding verses will bear out that the comparisons to those about to be taken “suddenly” are the same as those who were taken suddenly in the past (The people in Noah’s day, Lot’s wife). You will also notice that in the "Harvest" verses we are told the "thistle" is taken first. Hmmm. I asked Stevens’ to address this but he never has. Allow me to move on and deal with point 4 of Hibbard’s letter: (4) The "Literal Rapture Expectation" view teaches that the pre-parousia disciples of Jesus Christ were convinced that the promise of deliverance from persecution at the hands of the Jews and Romans in that first century could only be realized if the references to the rapture (ref. I Thess 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:51-57) were taken at face value. Hmm. I wonder how a Jew might respond who was “convinced that the promise of deliverance from persecution at the hands of the Romans” by a physical king setting up a physical kingdom would instead become a spiritual king ruling over a spiritual kingdom? No wonder the Jews continue to reject Jesus as the Messiah that was promised. Much of this Rapture hermeneutic smacks of dispensationalism regurgitated. If preterists are going to use this argument they had better apologize to the futurists from whom they borrow it. To me it is still a question of when do we see the text as figurative/spiritual or literal/physical? There are all sorts of people who will be glad to tell us when we should read one way or another but their reasoning for doing so is as inconsistent as anyone elses. Take the futurists for example that demand the only way to read the bible is “literal” and yet somehow they get nuclear warheads and black helicopters from bows and arrows and locusts. Hibbard and others also claim that the Second Coming was to be very visible to the entire world, and indeed the language would suggest such. But so does the language of Christ’s first coming and we certainly know how localized and obscure that event was. Let me take this "Taken-to- Heaven" view to a conclusion (as extreme as some people may claim this conclusion may be). Suppose the Coming of the Lord was a one-time event. Yes, suppose He came back at the “end of the age”, not simply the end of the old covenantal age since we are being told the resurrection (rapture is not mentioned in the bible but only through straining) was not a covenantal changing event. Suppose it was THE “end of the age”. God wrapped up his dealings with mankind. He plucked out all the people He wanted. Now we who are left are left to our own devices. There is no Heaven (or Hell) waiting for us, we simply return to the ground and become part of the food chain cycle. How dismal would that be? But it clearly is a possibility in light of these new teachings. And it is consistent with what appears to be a “non-working” Holy Spirit to an almost abandonment of humans after the first century. Humans since the first century have been practicing a corrupted form of Christianity by most everyone’s standards. We claim the Roman Catholics aren’t the Church. The fragmented Protestants can hardly be considered the unified Body of the Church (visible or invisible). I think we need to be careful not to go so quickly in this direction. I also wonder why we are again talking about a “Rapture” when such an event is hardly spoken of unless we piece together this and that verse. Are we simply trying to lay our old paradigm over this new one? I do see mention of a coming kingdom, of never dying, of a Resurrection, of a Second Death that was all about to occur in the first century. But this whole Rapture mess is another diversion from how far we have come. It seems a step backward rather than consistent progress. If I’m to believe I'm the bastard child of “second rank” Christians then I have little hope.
Wonderful article. It's about time someone cut through preterist "doctrinal hardness" to again "see" the fullness of God's promises to His children. It looks like Ian Harding, via Walt Hibbard, is ripping aside the stilted thinking that bogs down much of preterism. Thanks for posting this article.
Can you say "begging the question"
I liked the article. It's like a fresh breath of air in a stuffy preterist room. Very stuffy! Shouldn't the article be "The Five Views . . ." not the Four views?
While i respect my good friend Walt Hibbard, i would ask that the readers of this article would now take a look at my earlier response to Ed Stevens view concerning this "rapture" idea, by going to... http://www.preteristarchive.com/Preterism/birks-kelly-nelson_p_01.html Thank you, Dr. Birks
The article is a striking demonstration of the hopeless confusion that afflicts preterists because of their rejection of consistent typology and their reliance instead on subjective interpretations of favorite proof texts.
Very interesting article. Not too long age (perhaps five months ago) when I was a partial preterist, I struggled with 1Thess4:15-17. The writer presents an interesting alternative. My view is generally the covenantal change view, with a little of the corporate view mixed into it. I see no more inconsistency in taking 1Thess4:15-17 spiritually than I see in taking Romans 6:5-7 and other passages (cf. Galatians 2:20) that speak of being crucified with Christ spiritually. That "harpazo" can speak of a physical snatching no more means that the "rapture" must be physical than the fact that the terms "crucify" and "cruficixion" are used literally means that the "crucifixion with Christ" is a physical event. I don't see anyone arguing that Paul was speaking of a physical crucifixion with Christ; why must 1Thess4:15-17 be taken "literally"? The "rapture" was the deliverance from the "wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10), the "present evil age" (Galatians 1:3, 4), "the bondage of corruption" (Romans 8:20, 21; cf. Hebrews 2:14, 15), and marks the consummation of the deliverance from the law already begun (Romans 7:6; 8:1, 2, 22, 23; Galatians 3:13; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:11; Hebrews 8:13; 9:28; Luke 21:25-28). It also marks the consummation of the "gathering" to Christ of believers into one, the body of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2; John 11:47-52). The experience of the early believers is different from our own for at least two reasons: (1) we were not alive under the old covenant period and therefore could not be raptured out of that age, and (2) the New Jerusalem has come out heaven. We dwell with God because Christ and His Father have made their home with us (John 14:21-23). As for the "literal rapture" view, we also have Jesus gathering out all of those who cause stumbling out of His kingdom and throwing them into the furnace of fire in Matthew 13 and destroying all non-believers with blazing fire at His coming in 2 Thessalonians 1. Does this mean that all physical Jews and non-believers were literally destroyed with fire at the second coming? If all the Christians were "raptured" off the planet and all the non-believers were destroyed, who was left to populate the planet? If the destruction of non-believers by way of being tossed into the furnace of fire need not be "literal", why is all lost if the corresponding fate of believers is not a "literal rapture" off the face of the earth? KP
To someone who responded--- Someone, I'm not sure who, suggested that if there had been a literal rapture at AD 70, along with the judgment of all non-believers, that there would have been no one left on the planet to continue this earth's continuing population increase or other endeavor. Perhaps I might try to clarify these amazing apocalpytical events of AD67-70. There are no preterists, to my knowledge, who believe that every last unsaved person on the face of the earth was cast into the lake of fire at that time. Why is this? Simply because the biblical events of that day were strictly "covenantal" in nature! By this I am saying that God was dealing with His chosen people, the Jews. These people had been chosen from out of the vast multitudes of the world to be favored with the oracles of God, the Law, the ministry of the prophets, and finally the incarnation of God's own Son, the Lord Jesus. These chosen people slaughtered and dispised the prophets that God sent to them, and finally crucified God's own Son. They were ripe for judgment (Matt. 23). But we can not say truthfully that people in China, South America, Canada or Australia had been granted any such favors as the Jews in the Holy Land were. We must ever keep in mind that "to whom much is given, much shall be required." It was those Jewish people, as well as those to whom the Old Covenantal ministry was directed. who came under that judgment of that day. But it was all the true believers (which of course limited itself to the Holy Land area) who were saved and therefore raptured to be with Christ in heaven. Then, soon after the rapture, God's Holy Spirit, applying God's Word to the hearts of those who had not previously believed, we regenerated and saved. These people, these post parousia believers, became the missionaries, if you will, to the far corners of the world, and so God's Kingdom was extended throughout ever continent. I don't know of any biblical indicator at all to support the suggestion that a rapture of all believers into heaven, and diversely, the damnation of all unbelievers to hell, would mean that the earth was no longer populated with people. No preterist believes such a thing. We 21st century Christians need to keep our minds on the theme of the Bible, God's covenant dealings with His people. It is easy to drift off into Eastern and Western Hemisphere thinking, the entire world, when we read our Bibles. So ---- "think covenants" to see these things from God's perspective and to see realistically what really happened in AD 67-70. Do you grasp what I am trying to say? ~~ Walt
There seems to be a duality between events that take place in the spiritual realm being accompanied by events in the physical. It can be said that Jesus' death on the cross marked the remittance of our sin-debt in heaven, His physical rising from the grave marked victory over the “second death” for believers, and the physical destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple marked the crowning of Christ as “King of kings and Lord of lords” in the spiritual realm. It is likely therefore, that the spiritual harpazo (Christ “claiming” or “seizing” legal ownership of His church) was accompanied by some kind of physical “snatching away”.. The question then becomes “what was the physical nature of the harpazo?” <br><br> It could well be that living parousia saints were physically whisked away to heaven, (but I doubt it).. Then, again, it might be that these same living saints physically “died” at the moment of “harpazo” thus being given their spiritual bodies and joining the pre-parousia saints with the Lord. But if that is the case, why was John “seen during the time of Domitian”? It could also be, as many preterists hold, that the wicked were taken, “as in the days of Noah” leaving the then living parousia saints without any antagonists. So what of the Neronic persecution Harding and Hibbard speak of? Nero died in 68. Vespasian and Titus were not known for their persecution of the Christians. In fact, there would not be another serious Roman persecution for decades. The Jews were too decimated by the invasion of Rome to press their persecution of Christians. Therefore, it can be argued that the Autumn of 70 A.D. saw relief from persecution for the then living parousia saints.<br><br> One more point , if I may... The parousia was well foretold and subsequently well documented in secular history. There is less information about the harpazo event in scripture and virtually nothing, that I know of, documenting its actual occurrence. It is enough for me that the parousia and the harpazo happened. Why is it so important whether Jesus appeared on a cloud or brought judgment in “clouds of war”, whether people were physically taken to heaven or covenantally “transferred” into the Kingdom? The point is that, whatever the nature of it was, it already happened. Let's not split ranks over it 20 centuries later.. .
What a load of nonsense. It bears repeating: PRETERISTS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN THE FIRST CENTURY BECAUSE THEY REJECT CONSISTENT TYPOLOGY AND RELY INSTEAD ON THEIR PERSONAL OPINIONS REGARDING SELECTED PROOF TEXTS. A stunning combination of ignorance and arrogance. The spiritual density they demonstrate almost makes dispensationalists look spiritually intelligent.
The above comment is more boring ignorance of the topic.
TYPOLOGY PRIMER: The slaying of the natural lambs (Ex. 12) typified the slaying of Christ, natural Israel's hasty departure from Egypt typified Christ's hasty burial, the safe emergence of natural Israel from the Red Sea typified Christ's safe emergence from the tomb, and the gift of the law at Sinai (OC inaugurated) typified the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (NC inaugurated). During the subsequent 40 OT years, the followers of Moses (a type of Christ) were where Moses was; therefore, during the 40 NT years AD 30-70 Christ's followers were where Christ was -- "quickened together with Christ...raised up together and seated together in heaven with Christ" (Eph. 2:5,6). The subsequent events in the history of natural Israel, including the faithless nation's destruction in AD 70, also were merely TYPES.
Thank you Walt, for your comment. I was the one who asked about the physical rapture. My point was simply that if the 1 Thessalonians 4 passage demands a physical rapture of all the saved, then the 2 Thessalonians 1 passage should demand a physical destruction of all unbelievers by Jesus as well. I would think that if Paul's promise of being "in the clouds" to the Thessalonians (individuals outside the land of Israel) implied a physical rapture of all believers into heaven, that his statement to them concerning the corresponding destruction by fire of all unbelievers should refer to those outside of Israel as well. Even if this rapture implied only a physical rapture of those in Jerusalem/the Promised Land, one should think that the 2 Thessalonians 1 passage would mean that all unbelieving Jews in the Promised Land were to be destroyed physically by literal fire. By the way, I DO think covenantally (as indicated by my parallel of the physical crucifixion of Christ/the spiritual crucifixion of the believers to Christ's physical resurrection into heaven/the believer's spiritual "rapture" into the clouds in the first century); my point was that IF the physical rapture logic were taken to its logical conclusion, one should think that the physical casting into the furnace of fire should have also happened in the first century. Thanks again for your comments. KP
To the individual(s) who insist(s) that the events of AD 30-70 were merely types, what makes you so certain that these are not the FULFILLMENT of OT types? Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 and Hebrews 3, 4. The events pertaining to the OT Israelites served as an example to the first century believers, on whom the ends of the ages had come. Thus, Israel was the type, and the generation alive in the first century (AD 30-70) was the fulfillment of this type. Was Jesus a type of a future Messiah and Savior of the world, or was He the fulfillment of types of the OT? If you can understand that Jesus was not a type, but the fulfillment, why is it inconceivable that the events of AD 30-70 were not also the fulfillment of types? With the fact that Jesus was, in the first century, the fulfilment (and not the type)in mind, what basis is there, besides starting with futurism and working backwards (preterist interpretation does not satisfy my conceptions of how the end times events should be fulfilled, therefore AD 30-70 are not the ultimate fulfillment but a type), for arguing that the establishment of the church (AD 30-70) was just a type and not the fulfillment? KP
RE: TYPOLOGY - Paul said that natural things are temporary (proskairos - Strong's 4340) and only spiritual things are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Therefore, the history of OT, natural Israel was merely a parenthesis within the history of the natural world, which is itself merely a parenthesis within eternity. God's solution to those twin problems was spiritual regeneration (a new and spritual birth), with the new and spiritual and eternal thing being TYPIFIED by the old and natural and temporary thing. In the moment of the resurrection of Christ, the Son of David, the new and spiritual and eternal Israel appeared and in the moment of the parousia of Christ, the Son of man, the new and spiritual and eternal world appeared (as described in Rev.21 and 22). Because the mere natural minds of scholars typically have no use for the miracle of spiritual regeneration, they have been unable to discern those two momentous spiritual truths for 19 centuries. They cannot see that 1) the old and natural Israel passed away in the sight of God when the new and spiritual Israel appeared and that 2) the old and natural world passed away in the sight of God (Rev. 21:1) when the new and spiritual world of Rev. 21 and 22 appeared. The first event in the temporary existence of natural Israel, the slaying of the natural lmabs, typified the first event in the eternal existence of spiritual Israel, namely, the slaying of Christ, and the last event in the temporary existence of natural Israel, the destruction of the Christ-rejecting nation in AD 70, typified the last event in the temporary existence of the natural world (not the planet), namely, the future destruction of the Christ-rejecting world, as described in Rev. 20:7-15).
To Typology Primer: I appreciate all of your numerous posts, but you never elaborate on you view of type/fulfillment during this age. As always, I cannot tell where what the website says differs from what you say. Do you know that it is a misnomer that Preterists believe all PROPHECY has been fulfilled? It is not the case, ask any seasoned Pret. Instead, fully Preterist people believe that all ESCHATOLOGY has been fulfilled. The temporal pattern that was established under the New Covenant era (growth of kingdom, development of industry, technology, medicine, etc.) will continue in a trend probably more dramatic than seen during the first 1,000 years of Christian History. Though all Old Covenant eschatology has been fulfilled, the New Covenant has no eschatology, so we can except great fulfillment of prophecy as Ezekiel 47's waters issuing from the Temple continue to rise. Isaiah 9:7 is yet another of the masses (thousands upon thousands) of Old Testament prophetic scriptures finding fulfillment under the spiritual and temporal administration of Jesus Christ, Israel. So, where exactly does what you say about AD70 being a type differ from this? A cataclysmic end to earth and human history? Well, lets see it in Scripture. Thanks for writing ! your servant, Todd
The truth about the rapture is this. When Gabriel blows his trumpet Jesus will come down on a cloud hence what He said when left "this same manner shall I come back". Then we who have confessed our sins and ask Jesus to save us will be changed and will go up to meet Him on that cloud. And the dead in Christ will rise first. And we shall all be changed in a moment in a twinkling of an eye. Jeannie Hash
Preterists' errors result from their mistaken insistence that the new heaven and new earth of Rev. 21:1 refers to the NC that, they mistakenly believe, became effective in AD 70, rather than in AD 30. In fact, however, Rev. 21:1 refers to the new and spiritual and eternal WORLD referred to in the posting above. Then, in an attempt to make the scriptures fit their erroneous beliefs preterists arbitrarily claim that even though 2 Peter 3:5,6 clearly refers to the WORLD, the next verse refers to ISRAEL. Because preterists view nearly everything with the mere natural eyes of man and because the new and spiritual and eternal world of Rev. 21 and 22 cannot be seen with that kind of vision, they have to find something natural and visible that came to an end in the first century -- which leads them to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. As mentioned, spiritual regeneration is NOT a topic with which preterists are comfortable -- they don't like things that must be spiritually discerned, such as the new and spiritual Israel that appeared in the moment of Christ's resurrection and the new and spiritual world of Rev. 21 and 22 (the eternal spiritual dwelling place of Christ and the church on the earth) that appeared in the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia (at the end of the true first century in fulfillment of the flood that occurred at the end of Noah's last 100 pre-flood years). Preterists would rather talk about fantasies such as natural, physical bodies going to heaven!
As N.T. Wright has pointed out, it was always understood that Israel's king would also become the king of the world. Unfortunately, it was mistakenly believed 2,000 years ago (and still is by dispensationalists today) that the fulfillment of those expectations involved an earthly and natural reign, rather than the spiritual reign that God had in mind. Through spiritual means alone, the satanic, usurping spiritual rulers of, first, ISRAEL and, second, the WORLD had to be overcome. The spiritual triumph over the satanic, spiritual rulers of Israel, headquartered in Jerusalem, was accomplished by Christ in the moment of his resurrection and the spiritual triumph over the satanic, spiritual rulers of the world, headquartered in Rome, was accomplished by the young church, empowered by Christ's Spirit, in the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia. Unfortunately, Bible scholars have always failed to understand that latter spiritual triumph -- the triumph of the gospel preached to the first-century world over Rome's satanic and blasphemous worldwide enforcement of emperor worship -- the triumph that ended the age of Satan's rule over the world, which he had maintained for millennia through successive world governments that claimed that their king was God.
Harding suffers from the standard preterist problem -- he ignores complete and consistent typology in favor of his personal opinion of various proof texts. A correct understanding of typology would inform him that just as the OT, natural Israelites WERE WHERE MOSES WAS during the 40 years in the wilderness, so the NT, spiritual Israelites (the church) WERE WHERE CHRIST WAS during the 40 fulfillment years AD 30-70, namely, IN HEAVEN (Eph. 2:5,6). Heaven is a spiritual place and flesh-and-blood bodies can't go there. Preterists apparently can't comprehend the fact that God's goal for the believers was HEAVEN ON EARTH, which was realized in the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia (at the end of the true first century), as described in Rev. 21 and 22. For preterists to adopt a dispensationalist-style view of 1 Thes. 4:16,17 is truly, as stated in the first comment above, a very big step backward.
To the individual who wrote the comment of 08:06:13, 15 Sep 2003, saying, "Preterists apparently can't comprehend the fact that God's goal for the believers was HEAVEN ON EARTH, which was realized in the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia (at the end of the true first century), as described in Rev. 21 and 22": This is almost exactly what I, a preterist, believe! See this article for more (it's a bit old an I'll be sending Todd a revised version soon, but the quote at the beginning is a good overview of my view): http://preteristarchive.com/Preterism/perkins-kenneth_03_p_01.html KP
everyone that does not submit their name after posting a critique of someones work is pathetic...taking no responsibility for their comments...is this how you deal with other areas of your lives? Too afraid(or maybe not serious enough) to own up to your beliefs? I have a hard time considering someone's pointof view if they will not own up to it. It makes me think "why should i put my name behind someone's view if they are too scared to put their name behind it? Adam Boone email@example.com
KP: Re: 9-11-03 TYPOLOGY PRIMER. The point is that the NATURAL things involving OT, natural Israel and the land of Canaan -- from the slaying of the lambs at the nation's birth to and including the nation's final, complete destruction in AD 70 -- typified the SPIRITUAL things involving NT, spiritual Israel (the church) and the world. The typifying NATURAL REDEMPTION of natural Israel was not complete until AFTER the typifying 40 wilderness years when God enabled it, through the use of natural weapons, to triumph over the usurping natural dominion of the SEVEN nations in Canaan (Jos. 3:10) and finally enter into the promised blessings of natural life. Therefore, the SPIRITUAL REDEMPTION of spiritual Israel, the church, was not complete until AFTER the fulfillment 40 years AD 30-70 when God enabled it, solely through the use of spiritual weapons, to triumph over the usurping, worldwide spiritual dominion (Dan. 7:26) of first-century Rome, the city on SEVEN hills, and enter into the promised blessings of eternal life. That usurping spiritual dominion was the first-century Roman Empire's worldwide enforcement of emperor worship, the satanic blasphemy that made religious liberty an impossibility in the world. ---- The final events in the temporary existence of the Christ-hating natural Israel (AD 70) typified the future final events in the temporary existence of the Christ-hating natural world (Rev. 20:7-15).
Boone: You attach too much importance to earthly and natural things, such as the names the fallen offspring of Adam are given at their natural birth. For the fortunate ones among that number who are blessed with a second and spiritual birth -- i. e., saved, converted, spiritually regenerated -- everything is new and spiritual and eternal, and God's name is written in their foreheads (Rev. 22:4). Bible commentators are, in general, far too eager to have their earthly and natural names glorified among men through the articles and books that they produce.
Dear Bro. Walt: The 'time relevancy' factor would resolve many, if not most, of the debates among those who defend Realized Eschatology. I really appreciate your work and Bro. Todd Dennis'. A Good ole Irish, "God Bless". Bro. Bob USMC KOREAN VETERAN 1385573 Pelham, N. C.
Crazy preterists. How dare you use your own interpretations of the Scriptures! Just like that Luther guy... -Derek W. Truesdale
Is there any indication of the first century saints receiving anything more after the Parousia? Were they not to receive everything promised at the time of or concurrent to the Parousia? Where some not promised and expected to be physically alive at the time of the Parousia? Are there any promises, blessings, or gifts to them after the Parousia and then at physical death? I suggest that they were indeed raptured into the unseen spiritual world and to Heaven itself at the Parousia in 66-70 AD time frame. Glenn
Very Interesting! Donnie
Hi Walt, thanks for this forum. I have been stimulated by the posts. I am not settled in any particular interpretation of how the "rapture" occured but delighted at the quality of ideas being exchanged here. Everyone keep digging and maybe we can come up with a unified understanding of the Faith. I find especially dear the ideas that support a present miracle working God via the Holy Spirit. I believe we need the same miracles and healings that the 1st century church had in our present time church.
My question concerns the fact that Christians and enemies of Christians were all over the Roman world (Col. 1:6, 23; Rev. 2, 3). As another has pointed out in another article, if the Christians are removed, so must the enemies be removed for their judgment. Now, it is argued that the Christians in Jerusalem wouldn't be missed because they left Jerusalem beforehand, as Jesus told them to, and many of the Jews were killed who would have known about them. "Where are the Christians" was the last thing on the mind of the survivors. But if Christians were removed from the entire Roman world, (which the epistles make clear they would be), where nothing was occurring in the likeness of Jerusalem, these Christians would have been missed, and in some cases, would have disappeared before the eyes of others. Either the bodies would have disappeared, or dissolved, or fell to the ground, but obvious a bunch of people would have disappeared or have appeared as having died all at once. Not only that, so would have the enemies who were still living, for they were to be judged in the same event, in the same spiritual realm. We cannot separate the judgment of the enemies from the event of the rapture (Mt. 25). So, while it makes sense that in the area of Jerusalem, there would be silence about the disappearing of people, it makes no sense that there is silence about the missing of Christians all over the Roman empire. This would be a major event, and actually witnessed by some. The modern rapture sensationalistic view that people would disappear while going about their routines, or from beds, or fields, or transportation devises would be true, except that it occurred in the first century. We can't limit the rapture to only certain Christians, for Paul gives the same promises to churches no where near Jerusalem, to Gentiles in other countries. So while the Scriptures appear quite clear that this is an event that requires something more than a remain-on-earth view, there is equal, yes equal, extra biblical evidence (including silence) that nothing of the sort happened throughout the Roman empire. This is quite a problem when truly thought through.
The post just before this one was by: Christopher Alsruhe, OHS Sorry, I like names, too. That way, if I really disagree with someone, I can track them down and. . . ! :-) In another article, someone stated that if this event happened on earth, not by a rapture, there should be writings about how wonderful it was. But why would there be? The Scriptures were given to reveal new revelation and correct life and wrong interpretations/understandings. Since everyone believing in 70 AD, on earth, would be in this glorified state (whatever it is), no writing would be needed. Everyone would understand equally as the other, without need of correction, what happened. No one would need to write to other Christians (and scripture [such as every epistle] was only written to believers), for all knew equally what state they were in. I really like the rapture argument, but it has some holes.
Dear Brother I have read with interest Preterist Eschatology in recent months and I am trying to come to terms with subjects such as the Rapture. I admire your attempt to tackle the subject of the Rapture, Five Views of the AD70 Rapture, and I would like to ask: If a physical, literal rapture took place, what happened regarding the Apostle John and why did he remain? I understand that he lived to old age, eg 90AD+ Having been taught to believe Dispensational Pretribulation Rapture Premillennialism, I have become concerned with propagandists of this view interpreting scripture on worldwide television broadcasts, finding thermal nuclear bombs and missiles in Old Testament scriptures. Is this interpreting scripture literally as they insist? Also I have asked myself the following ragarding the Rapture; What would have been the effect if the Second Coming of our Lord in AD70 happened based on Dispensational Pretribulation Pre-Millennial beliefs, eg, if the rapture had taken place in AD63: Would Paul have been able to fulfil his commission to preach to the Gentiles throughout the 'world', would he have reached Rome and completed his work there, as prophesied? Would Peter have been martyred (AD67-68) as prophesied by our Lord? Would John have reached old age as suggested by our Lord? The New Testament (Covenant) Scriptures would not have been completed; Acts: AD63 Paul's Prison Epistles AD63-68 Hebrews AD68 Jude AD67 John's Revelation The Rapture in AD63 would have been during the Old Covenant Age. Would that have been jumping the gun? So far I have not read references to these and maybe I am just being silly in my suggestions. One thing for sure, since studying Preterism I have learned to question and examine my beliefs more closely. Your comments would be appreciated. Respect in the Lord Alexonsunday@aol.com
Date: 27 Jun 2006
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