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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.

HYPER PRETERISM

"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"



Systematic Hyper Preterism
(aka "Full Preterism")



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Jesus: "It is finished" (AD30)
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Hyper Preterism: Defining "Hyper Preterism"- Criticisms from the Inside - Criticisms from the Outside || Progressive Pret | Regressive Pret | Former Full Preterists | Pret Scholars | Normative Pret | Reformed Pret | Pret Idealism | Pret Universalism

William Bell
Max King
Don Preston
Larry Siegle
Kurt Simmons
Ed Stevens
 

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

  • All Bible Prophecy was Fulfilled By AD70

  • Atonement Incomplete at Cross ; Complete at AD70

  • The Supernatural Power of Evil Ended in AD70

  • The Spirit of Antichrist was Destroyed in AD70

  • "The Consummation of the Ages" Came in AD70

  • "The Millennium" is in the Past, From AD30 to AD70

  • Nothing to be Resurrected From in Post AD70 World ; Hades Destroyed

  • The Christian Age Began in AD70 ; Earth Will Never End

  • "The Day of the Lord" was Israel's Destruction ending in AD70

  • The "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ Took Place in AD70-ish

  • The Great Judgment took place in AD70 ; No Future Judgment

  • The Law, Death, Sin, Devil, Hades, etc. Utterly Defeated in AD70

  • "The Resurrection" of the Dead and Living is Past, Having Taken Place in AD70

  • The Context of the Entire Bible is Pre-AD70 ; Not Written To Post AD70 World

DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
(under construction)

  • Baptism was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Lord's Prayer was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Lord's Supper was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Holy Spirit's Paraclete Work Ceased in AD70 (Cessationism)

  • The Consummation in AD70 Caused Church Offices to Cease (Cessationism)

  • The Resurrection in AD70 Changed the "Constitutional Principle" of Marriage (Noyesism)

  • Israel and Humanity Delivered into Ultimate Liberty in AD70 (TransmillennialismTM)

  • The Judgment in AD70 Reconciled All of Mankind to God ; All Saved (Preterist Universalism)

  • Adam's Sin No Longer Imputed in Post AD70 World ; No Need to be Born Again (Preterist Universalism)

  • When Jesus Delivered the Kingdom to the Father in AD70, He Ceased Being The Intermediary (Pantelism/Comprehensive Grace?)

  • The Book of Genesis is an Apocalypse; is About Creation of First Covenant Man, not First Historical Man (Covenantal Preterism)

 

  Regarding "Annihilationism"

By Ed Stevens

Ed Stevens Page | Silence Demands a Rapture | A Servant's View | A Response to "The A.D.70 Doctrine" | Hampden-Cook Preterist Rapture | JS Russell Preterist Rapture

There are a few preterists who have been influenced by Annihilationists into believing that when the wicked die, they either immediately, or after a brief period of punishment, cease to exist.  They simply do not want to believe that God will make the wicked endure eternal conscious punishment.  They prefer to believe that God will only give them some temporary limited punishment (or maybe none at all), and then snuff them out of existence permanently.  This false doctrine is labeled "Annihilationism" by those of us who believe in the Biblical doctrine of "eternal conscious punishment."  The Annihilationists prefer to soften this scary sounding label by calling it "Conditionalism" or "Conditional Immortality."  While the gift of IMMORTALITY (a new kind of body to dwell in God's presence with forever) is certainly "CONDITIONAL" upon one's faith in Christ, that is not the same as saying that one's "CONSCIOUSNESS" beyond death is "CONDITIONAL" upon one's faith in Christ. "CONSCIOUSNESS" of a disembodied soul is automatic for both the wicked and the righteous after death.  But "CONSCIOUSNESS" of the soul after death is something different than an already conscious soul being given a new IMMORTAL body.  The Annihilationists can't seem to understand that difference, or else they intentionally want to keep us ignorant of the difference so that we will think that as soon as a person dies, he loses consciousness.  And since only believers get IMMORTALITY (which they define as mere soul CONSCIOUSNESS, not as an IMMORTAL body), they think only believers will be CONSCIOUS in the afterlife, while the wicked will be annihilated into eternal UNCONSCIOUSNESS.  You can see how it is their faulty definition of "immortality" (as mere soul consciousness rather than a new immortal body) which gets them into trouble here.  Souls can be conscious after physical death without having "immortality."  There are several Biblical examples of it (Samuel at Endor, and Moses at the transfiguration, besides Luke 16:19ff and Rev. 6:9-11).  All of these were before the AD 70 resurrection.  "Immortality" had not been given yet, yet these souls that had already died physically were still conscious in the spiritual realm. 

Another idea that Annihilationists use to their advantage is the word "destroy" which is found in many scriptures that talk about the destiny of the wicked.  Since Annihilationists need this word to mean "annihilate" exclusively (and not "conquer, subdue, or punish"), they pick out a few of the places where it does seem to mean "annihilate" and apply that definition to all the texts which speak of the destiny of the wicked.  This is a classic scripture twister's tactic, preying upon the grammatical weaknesses and gullibility of most Christians. 

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus relates the story about Lazarus and a rich man (whose name was supposedly "Dives," according to tradition).  Some interpreters, perhaps even most, consider this story to be a parable.  However, it is highly (if not exclusively) unusual for Jesus to mention specific names of individuals in a parable.  Admittedly, that does not prove that this is not a parable, but it does at least suggest the "possibility" that it is not a parable.  So those who want to assert dogmatically that this has to be a parable, will simply have to back off their dogmatism and allow for the "possibility" that it is instead a factual story about two real men whose destinies in Hades were diametrically opposite.  Personally, it doesn't matter to me either way whether it is a parable or not.  Jesus is always "true to life" in all of His teaching, whether it was a parable or adidactic discourse.  Jesus never paints a word picture that distorts or misrepresents reality.  But that is what the Annihilationists are forced to do with this story here in Luke 16.  Because Jesus paints a very real picture of a conscious existence in Hades for both the righteous and wicked (until the resurrection and judgment), the Annihilationists are forced to try to discredit this story and say that it is only a parable (as if that solves their problem).  What that implies, although they seldom will honestly come right out and say it, is that Jesus literally painted a picture of Hades that was totally false and misleading.  They put Jesus in the position of purposely misleading folks, teaching us that Hades was a place of CONSCIOUS souls waiting for the resurrection, when in fact (acc. to Annihilationists) Hades is not like that at all.  Annihilationists are attacking the credibility and integrity of Christ Himself on this point.  And they are teaching new and weak Christians to reject this story and believe that it is NOT a "TRUE" representation of Hades.  I don't envy their position, in light of what Jesus said about false teachers just two verses after the story about the Rich Man and Lazarus in Hades (Luke 17:2), €œIt would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble." 

And, by the way, think about the long-term implications of what Jesus said about death by a millstone.  If the wicked and false teachers were merely going to be annihilated, why would a millstone death be better?  If they are going to be annihilated after death anyway, why wouldn't it better to live longer here before annihilation?  Why is dying earlier better than facing the eternal consequences of misteaching one of these little ones?  If there are no eternal consequences to face, and the consequences will be annihilation no matter how long they live on earth, why would dying earlier be better?  It would only be better if there was a choice between eternal conscious punishment and temporary physical suffering.  In other words, it would be far better to die a martyr's millstone death for teaching the truth  and suffer temporarily in the flesh (but have an everlasting spiritual reward in the afterlife), than to enjoy a long comfortable and prosperous life as a false teacher and end up in eternal conscious punishment.  The way Jesus poses this threat against the false teachers implies that any kind of physical suffering for the truth's sake would be a far better trade any day than to have what the false teachers will get when this life is over.  Let them do whatever they want against this physical body (as long as it is because of our righteousness), because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.  He is on his way to the heavenly realm.  But if we teach falsehood in order to gain material benefits here and have a prosperous and pleasant life here, watch out!  The next life will not be a picnic.  "Not even when one has an

abundance does his life consist in the things possessed."  "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and yet forfeits his soul?"  It would be better to suffer the worst this life has to offer (in righteousness), than to face what the next life will bring to the false teacher.  If that next life would only bring the false teacher annihilation, why would the false teacher fear Jesus' threat here?  Jesus clearly implies that something very fearful awaits the wicked after physical death.  No man fears annihilation, not even if there is a finite punishment preceding it.  But all men fear eternal conscious punishment.  Jesus says there is something to fear after death if you are a false teacher.  Paul said it this way,  "Therefore knowing the FEAR of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2 Cor. 5:11)  How could an unbeliever be motivated to reconsider his ways and be persuaded to believe if there is nothing eternally to fear after death?  He would laugh in the face of the evangelist.  But true eternal FEAR is very persuasive.  Jesus said not to fear the one who can take your physical life away from you, but rather fear the One who can punish your spirit/soul forever in Gehenna. 

There are many more logical and Biblical fallacies inherent in the Annihilationist doctrine, but these are some of their most common and fundamental errors.  A preterist who happens to be an Annihilationist just emailed me the following list of Scriptures, asking me to comment on them in light of my "consciousness in Hades" interpretation of Luke 16 (see above comments about it).  Here is what he said.  My comments are down below each scripture:

[QUESTION BY AN ANNIHILATIONIST]  If you insist that the rich man and Lazarus is more than a story (a parable) and that the setting is TRUE, then how do you reconcile that position with the following verses??????

(Job 24:19 NASB)  "Drought and heat consume the snow waters, So does Sheol those who have sinned." 

[ED'S COMMENT]  This is part of Job's response to Eliphaz, who had suggested that the reason Job was suffering these great calamities was because Job must have been guilty of great wickedness and endless iniquity (Job 22:5.)  This is Job's defense (ch. 23-24).  Job shows that not all the wicked get their punishment in this life, nor do all the righteous get their rewards in this life.  Back in Job 19:25-27 he had already affirmed a belief in an afterlife with God "after my skin is flayed...without my flesh I shall see God." This particular text is affirming that just like the snow is melted and vaporized (not annihilated, but changed into a different disembodied form) by the drought and heat,  so will the wicked be consumed by Sheol (Hades).  They are not annihilated by Sheol, their disembodied spirits/souls are merely "consumed by" or cast into Satan's prison of Sheol until the resurrection/judgment day.  There is no unconscious "soul sleep until the resurrection" taught here.  If anything, this verse is affirming the CONSCIOUS punishment of the wicked who are "consumed" by Sheol at their physical death.  That is one of Job's points here, to show that the wicked who enjoy an unpunished life here will not escape punishment in the next life.  Job's argument here would be meaningless if the wicked are, in fact, annihilated without punishment.  The heat and lack of water to cool their tongues in Sheol would certainly consume them with thirst and agony, just like the picture we see in Luke 16.


(Psa 6:5 NASB)  For there is no mention of Thee in death; In Sheol who will give Thee thanks?

[ED'S COMMENT]  Read the whole psalm and notice what David is saying here.  vv.2,3 - "I am pining away...my bones are dismayed...my soul is greatly dismayed.  He had a lot of adversaries giving him grief and it was stressing him emotionally as well as physically.   He prays for grace, healing, rescue, and salvation out of this crisis, and shame, great dismay and sudden destruction against his adversaries while he and they are still alive to see it.  If the vengeance does not come until after he has died, he will not be still around in this world to boast about God's lovingkindness, nor be able to express his thanks publicly in more psalms of praise.  Once he dies and enters Sheol, he won't be writing any more psalms of praise and thanksgiving.  He asks God to bring his adversaries to shame while he is still alive to see it and praise God for it.  That is all David is saying.  He is NOT saying anything about what is going on in Sheol, nor whether there is consciousness there.  He is merely asking God to judge his enemies while he is still alive to see it. 


(Psa 31:17 NASB)  Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon Thee; Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.

[ED'S COMMENT]  Same thing as above.  Read the whole psalm.  It is not clear which crisis in David's life is in the background of this psalm.  Both 1 Sam. 23 and 2 Sam. 15 have been suggested.  However, I suspect this psalm is more likely speaking of another occasion when David was being challenged by enemies who were not in his family (like Saul or Absalom were).  At least some of his enemies here were evidently idol-worshippers (Ps. 31:6).  It is probably against that group that he prays this imprecatory prayer.  In Ps. 31:17, he asks God to bring shame upon the wicked, and to kill them and put their souls in Sheol, where their evil, arrogant, scheming, lying tongues would no longer be heard on the earth by David or anyone else.  This is a classic example of one of David's imprecatory prayers.  He is praying for the death of these particular idol-worshipping enemies.  He is not saying that there is no consciousness or voices heard in Sheol.  He is instead merely saying that their voice will no longer be heard on earth because they have died and are in Sheol. 


(Isa 38:18 NASB)  "For Sheol cannot thank Thee, Death cannot praise Thee; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Thy faithfulness.

[ED'S COMMENT]  Same as above.  Expressions of thankfulness and praise cannot be heard anymore from the lifeless corpse.  Those who have died can no longer experience the hope that all the living enjoy.  While we are still alive, there is always hope for repentance so that they can see and experience God's blessings both here and in the afterlife.  But once they died, hope of any change of their destiny was gone forever.  Their fate was sealed at that point.  Those who have descended into the pit (in obvious judgment because of their wickedness) dare not hope that they will thereby escape God's judgment.  There is no hope for them in Sheol either.  No praise and thanksgiving can be heard out of a dead corpse, and those who go down to the pit (the bad part of the netherworld) in judgment are beyond hope.  Hope is for the living. 

(Eccl 9:10 NASB)  Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

[ED'S COMMENT]  Excellent motivation for doing what is right while we are in this life on earth.  After we die, there is no more opportunity to prepare, train, discipline and develop our character after that.  The training is over at that point.  We go into eternity with what we have.  So live life to its fullest while you've got it.  Take advantage of every opportunity to do what is right here in this life while you are still alive, because the day will too soon come when there will be no more opportunities like that.  Once you die, your degree of punishment or reward is fixed.  Earlier in this chapter (Eccl. 9) Solomon talked about the same fate (physical death) awaiting everyone.  And it comes too soon for most people, and far sooner than we think it will or want it to.  Therefore, make the most of the opportunity while you still have life.  Live it to the fullest, because the day of death will come and all your plans and activities that you had scheduled will come to a screeching halt.  It's over.  Once we are dead, all our plans for this life on earth will be impossible to pursue any longer, and we will begin following the plan that God has for us in the next life.  That's all Solomon is saying here.  There is nothing here defining what happens to us in Sheol after we physically die.  Consciousness or unconsciousness neither one are clearly affirmed or denied here in this text.  It is merely dealing with how we should live our life on earth while we have it.  Make the most of it, don't squander it, because it will too soon be over and there is no chance for improvement or change after that (as the rich man in Luke 16 discovered).

I really don't see any disparity at all between Luke 16:19-31 and these other texts.  Seems to me that the message is the same.  Get your life in order now in this life while you have a chance, because a day is soon coming when we will pass out of this life and there will be no second chances after that.  Like Luke 16:26 says, there is a "great chasm fixed" between the wicked and the righteous, and "none [of the wicked] may cross over from there to us [the righteous]."  There is nothing a wicked one can do or say in his afterlife that will affect anything here on earth, nor change his eternal destiny there in the Lake of Fire.  That is all these texts are saying, and they are in perfect harmony with Luke 16. 

I might also add here that some preterists are prone to take an annihilationist position because they think that all the references to "Gehenna" in our NT were completely fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 when the dead bodies of the Jewish rebels were thrown without burial over into the Valley of Hinnom (the city dump) and consumed by the continually burning fires, the ever munching maggots, or by the vultures, wild animals, and rodents that were there.  That may sound like a reasonable approach to these scriptures until we look further at the texts which use the word "gehenna," or its same concept of fiery punishment.  There are actually 12 passages which use the Greek word "gehenna" (the valley of Hinnom).
 
Eleven of them are used by Jesus and found only in the synoptic gospels.  The other occurrence is in James.  Here's the whole list.
 
Matt. 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, You good-for-nothing, shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, You fool, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
Matt. 5:29 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Matt. 5:30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
Matt. 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matt. 18:9 If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.
Matt. 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you
travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one,
you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
Matt. 23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?
Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
Mark 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,
Mark 9:47 If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
Luke 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

Notice Matthew 10:28 in particular (and its parallel in Luke 12:5) --  Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."   Annihilationists think this is prooftext for their position, since it mentions the body being destroyed in hell (Gehenna).  Since the body is mentioned as being destroyed, the assumption is that Jesus is speaking about a physical place where a body could be destroyed.  But that ignores two  things.  It ignores the "soul" being destroyed right along with the body in the second half of the verse, and it ignores the way the first part of the verse deals separately with the body and the soul as if they are severable and distinct at physical death.  This is significant.  Annihilationists try to scare us away from looking deeper at this text by introducing it early into the conversation and claiming it is teaching their view.  They assert this text teaches that the soul dies right along with the body, and that both body and soul are reanimated together at the resurrection for judgment and final departure into their respective destinies.  We have already shown that Luke 16 teaches a consciousness of the soul in Hades apart from its body. 

And the first half of this verse (Mt. 10:28) says the same thing, that death of the physical body does not "kill the soul."  This verse says more than Annihilationists want it to say.  Even after the body is killed, the soul lives on consciously, both for the wicked and the righteous (as Luke 16 shows).  When this distinction between the body which dies and the soul which lives on after death is applied to the second part of the verse, it forces a conclusion that Annihilationists don't want to hear:  a conscious soul (that cannot be killed) along with its body is placed into Gehenna and destroyed together there.  But how do you "destroy" a soul (which cannot be"killed") in a physical place where only physical bodies are burned and eaten by worms?   This proves that "Gehenna" is a place of destruction not only for dead physical bodies, but for "unkillable" souls as well.  Gehenna is the final destiny of the souls and bodies of the wicked.  It sounds very much like what Jesus says in Matthew 25:41, 46  --

"Then He will also say to those on His left, €˜Depart from Me, accursed ones, into THE ETERNAL FIRE which has been prepared for the devil and his angels ...  "These will go away into ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, but the righteous into ETERNAL LIFE." 

These two verses about the final judgment (between the sheep and the goats) also passes judgment upon the Annihilationist view.  Notice the use of the word "eternal" here in reference to both the length of the life that the righteous would receive, as well as the length of the punishment that the wicked would receive.  So if we say that the punishment of the wicked is not really eternal, then the reward of the righteous is not eternal either.  The same Greek word for "eternal" is used in reference to both the reward of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked.  It does NOT say merely that their shame would live on forever after their death, but rather that their "punishment" would last forever, just like the reward for the righteous would last forever.  Very significant point!  But that is not all that annihilates the Annihilationist position here.  Notice also that the FIRE will be "ETERNAL" (see Mark 9:43 above where it calls it "unquenchable").  This "eternal" and "unquenchable" fire was not only where the wicked humans would go at the judgment, but also where the devil and his angels would be cast. 

Question:  How do you punish "the devil and his angels" FOREVER in a physically burning trash heap outside Jerusalem?  I thought the devil and his angels were spirit beings that were not affected by physical things.  Were the devil and his angels given physical bodies at the judgment in AD 70 and cast into the literal valley of Hinnom to have their physical bodies eaten with maggots and consumed by wild animals and the ravages of the "ETERNAL" and "UNQUENCHABLE" fire there in the trash heap?  Is that what this text is really saying?  Did Josephus or any of the Romans see the devil and his demons literally incarnated in physical bodies and thrown onto the trash heap outside Jerusalem?  I don't think so.  And I haven't heard a preterist annihilationist yet who has taken that position.  I would like to see them try to defend that position.  It would be interesting. 

Look at the reference to "gehenna" in James 3:6, "And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell."  Question:  Is James talking about our literal physical tongue being a literal physical fire?  If the Annihilationists are right, James would have to be talking about a literal physical fire being taken from the literal physical valley of Hinnom and put in our mouth on our tongue, which will then literally burn up the entire physical body.  Otherwise, I think it would be best to understand James as using the word "gehenna" in some other metaphorical or spiritual sense than a literal fire in a literal valley of Hinnom.  The valley of Hinnom did see some physical bodies thrown there, but that did not exhaustively fulfill all the imagery that is wrapped up in this typological reference to Gehenna.  If one reads the Talmud or Josephus' tract on Hades, he will notice that the Jews of Jesus' day used this same kind of language about the destiny of the wicked, and they did not understand it as merely destruction of the flesh in the trash heap.  They knew that the soul was to be cast into the spiritual realm's typological equivalent of Gehenna (the Lake of Fire, or the Eternal Fire) where spirit creatures like the devil and his demons would also be cast for eternal punishment.  They used this very word "Gehenna" to identify that place in the spiritual realm where the wicked souls would be punished forever.  If that is not what Jesus and James were talking about when they used the word "Gehenna" in the presence of these Jews, then Jesus and James should have stopped to redefine it so everyone would know what kind of Gehenna they were talking about.  The physical "valley of Hinnom" was merely symbolic of (and typological of) an even worse spiritual reality.  It is not surprising that Jesus would use this physical symbol to talk about the punishment that the soul would undergo after physical death.  It would have made perfect sense to a Pharisee standing there listening.  And it makes perfect sense to a preterist today.  The Annihilationists are just trying to take all the FEAR out of the afterlife for the wicked, for fear that they will be offended and reject Christianity because it preaches too much "fire and brimstone."  We should never fear what people will say against us for standing on the truth.  We should fear rather what God will do to us if we fail to preach the truth. 

Lastly, in this examination of the Annihilationist doctrine, we come to the "Lake of Fire" passages in the Apocalypse.  There are two of them that need particular notice:  Rev. 14:9-11 and Rev. 20:10.  In the first text (Rev. 14:9-11) the angel says that anyone worshipping the beast or his image and receiving the mark of the beast would be "tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night."  Now the Annihilationist who is a preterist might simply try to apply this language to the literal valley of Hinnom.  To do so, he has to physicalize every one of the following things:

1. Literal wine of the wrath of God in a literal cup of His anger
2. Literal conscious physical torment with literal fire and brimstone in the literal presence of the holy angels and in the literal presence of the Lamb
3. Literal smoke of literal conscious physical torment rising up into the literal sky over Jerusalem forever and ever after AD 70
4. This literal conscious burning torment with literal fire and brimstone lasts at least a literal "day and night," since it says "they have no rest day and night" -- they are literally and consciously not able to get any rest from this literal physical torment.  It lasts day and night forever and ever.

All four of these points involve physical or historical impossibilities, which every hermeneutics book would assert is a red flag to alert us to possible figurative language.  Without God intervening to keep the physical bodies alive, they could not endure that kind of endless physical burning torment without being completely consumed and taken out of physical consciousness.  But it clearly says "they have no rest day and night" as the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever.  Questions:  Can smoke rise forever if there is nothing to burn?  Is "torment" really "torment" if the folks whose physical bodies were being tormented are not conscious to feel the torment?  The smoke implies there is something there to burn, and the torment implies there are conscious folks there to experience the torment.  Hermeneutics would force us to interpret this figuratively as a description of the Lake of Fire and the Gehenna and the Eternal Fire that the other judgment passages talk about.  None of them are talking only about a literal physical trash heap in Jerusalem.  They may use that Gehenna trash heap as a symbol of the real spiritual place of eternal destruction, but the physical trash heap does not exhaustively fulfill everything these texts have to say about the destiny of the wicked and the demons. 

Look finally at Rev. 20:10 -- "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."  If there was any doubt in the Rev. 14 text about what it was referring to, this text clears it up once and for all.  This text is very similar to Matthew 25:41 which say that the devil and his angels would be cast into an eternal fire along with human beings.  Question:  Can the devil and demons be affected by the physical fire in the physical valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem?  This text involves the same kind of physical impossibilities that Rev. 14 did.  There are both demons and humans in this "Lake of Fire" where both of them (demons and humans) will be "tormented day and night forever and ever."  Now I wish there was some hermeneutical or exegetical way to physicalize or spiritualize this text out of existence, but the stark reality of a real eternal torment in a spiritual place called the Lake of Fire is too clear in this text.  Hell exists forever and ever, and the wicked and demons who go there will consciously experience the torment day and night forever and ever.  Scary, isn't it?  It should be.  It ought to plaster us on our face on the floor in utter terror of the God of this Universe who is most assuredly "a consuming fire" who will judge the wicked and reward His servants.  Does it produce an awesome sense of FEAR and respect in your heart for a HOLY GOD?  That's what it should do, since "the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and "knowing therefore the FEAR of the Lord, we persuade men." 

What do YOU think ?

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Date:

19 Jan 2003

Time:

13:19:06

Comments

Thanks for a fascinating article, Ed.  I will be very interested to read what an "annihilationist" thinks about it - particularly the labels and definitions used.

Todd


Date:

19 Jan 2003

Time:

18:04:01

Comments

I wish that Ed Stevens would answer my questions regarding a past physical bodily rapture or give up that idea if my question can not be answered. ==================================================== Hebrews 12 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. Galatians 4 24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. ==================================================== In the above verses we see that the New Covenant corresponds to the heavenly Jerusalem. ==================================================== 1 Corinthians 15 53For the perishable must clothe (ENDUO) itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." ==================================================== Futurists say that 1 Corinthians 15 has not happened yet. Let's compare 1 Corinthians 15 with 2 Corinthians 5. If we compare 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 5 we find that they use the same language. In 2 Corinthians 5 (below) we see that the transition period saints (30 AD - 70 AD) wanted to be clothed with the heavenly dwelling. The heavenly dwelling corresponds to the New Covenant (see the first two verses above). The hope of the transition period saints was to be clothed with the New Covenant (heavenly dwelling) that is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5. In 2 Corinthians 5 we find the same language as in 1 Corinthians 15 regarding being clothed. ==================================================== 2 Corinthians 5 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed (ENDUO), we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. ==================================================== If you are in the New Covenant, you have been clothed and 2 Cor 5, 1 Cor 15, 1 Thess 4 (the "rapture") have been fulfilled. If you deny that all of the verses have been fulfilled and have indeed happened to you also, then you are denying that you are in the New Covenant. If you are a Preterist that is promoting a "physical rapture" then I would ask that you reconsider your position unless you are willing to say that you have not been "raptured" into the New Covenant yet. Either that or you must explain why there was a "physical rapture" into the New Covenant for some some saints but only a "spiritual rapture" into the New Covenant for others.


Date:

20 Jan 2003

Time:

01:14:04

Comments

Forever and eternal in the Bible: Sodom's fiery judgment is "eternal" (Jude 7)--until--God "will restore the fortunes of Sodom" (Ezek. 16:53-55). Israel's "affliction is incurable" (Jer. 30:12)-until--the Lord "will restore health" and heal her wounds (Jer. 30:17). The sin of Samaria "is incurable" (Mic. 1:9)-until-- Lord "will restore ... the fortunes of Samaria." (Ez. 16:53). Ammon is to become a "wasteland forever" and "rise no more" (Zeph. 2:9, Jer. 25:27 --until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of the Ammonites" (Jer. 49:6). An Ammonite or Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord's congregation "forever"-until--the tenth generation (Deut. 23:3): Habakkuk tells us of mountains that were "everlasting", that is -until-- they "were shattered" Hab. 3 3:6). The Aaronic Priesthood was to be an "everlasting" priesthood (Ex. 40:15), that is-until-it was superceded by the Melchizedek Priesthood (Hebrews 7:14-18). Many translations of the Bible inform us that God would dwell in Solomon's Temple "forever" (1 Kings 8:13), that is,--until the Temple was destroyed. The children of Israel were to "observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant" (Exodus 31:16)-until--Paul states there remains "another day" of Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:8,9). The Law of Moses was to be an "everlasting covenant" (Leviticus 24:8) yet we read in the New Covenant the first was "done away" and "abolished" (2 Corinthians 3:11,13), and God "made the first old" (Hebrews 8:13). The fire for Israel's sin offering (of a ram without blemish) is never to be put out. It shall be a "perpetual"-- until-- Christ, the Lamb of God, dies for our sins. We now have a better covenant established on better promises (Lev. 6:12-13, Heb. 8:6-13). God's waves of wrath roll over Jonah "forever"-until--the Lord delivers him from the large fish's belly on the third day (Jonah 2:6,10; 1: 17); Egypt and Elam will "rise no more" (Jer. 25:27)-until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of Egypt" (Ez. 29:14) and "restore the fortunes of Elam" (Jer. 49:39). "Moab is destroyed" (Jer. 48:4, 42)-until--the Lord "will restore the fortunes of Moab" (Jer. 48:47). Israel's judgment lasts "forever"-until--the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Isa. 32:13-15). So, narrow is the way to life and few find it-until-- and His church confiscate the "strong man's" booty, setting the captives free so God becomes all in all (Isa. 61, Luke 11:21-22, Matt. 7:13; 16:18, 1 Cor. 15:24-28). The King James Bible, as well as many others, tells us that a bondslave was to serve his master "forever" (Exodus 21:6), that is,--until--his death. cheers, Gabor


Date:

20 Jan 2003

Time:

01:44:05

Comments

Where is the great preterist attention to greek words? - In Rev. 20:10 it is not "for ever and ever" but "for ages and ages" or "for ages of ages". Here is aion again! - cheers, Gabor


Date:

20 Jan 2003

Time:

09:26:27

Comments

Bravo Ed Stevens! While Ed and I do not agree on as many things as we would like to, I can safely say that Ed and I stand togther in locked arms on this issue. It's interesting to read how and Ed and I use the same arguments to defend ECP (eternal conscious punishment) and against annihilationism, having never realy compared our views on this subject formally. Good job in your use of reason, logic, and especially in the use of the scriptures in demonstrating that the Bible (though Ed did not exhaust the biblical subject) teaches eternal punishment for the unregenerate, and by result, teaches against the error of annihilationism. Dr. Kelly Birks


Date:

21 Jan 2003

Time:

00:37:55

Comments

test<br> test2


Date:

21 Jan 2003

Time:

10:51:53

Comments

The assumption is that there are only two possible *fates* for so-called "unregenerate" human beings -- "eternal conscious punishment" or cessation of existence; essentially being *uncreated.* There is a serious gap in the discussion when #3 is not included: there is no more condemnation, nor punishment, nor "salvation."


Date:

05 Aug 2003

Time:

09:50:02

Comments


Date:

05 Aug 2003

Time:

09:51:58

Comments

How do we know "forever" means forever? As Gabor demonstrated, "forever" only lasts until it's end. The rest of the article is good :) . .. . .Skye


Date:

11 Oct 2003

Time:

23:57:04

Comments

Your tone seems to suggests that all believers in Annihilationism try to twist the words of the bible, and do so for their own comfort and ease regarding the eternality of punishment. However, I believe there are many out there who look at all verses about hell and try to let the Word of God shaper their thoughts, not the other way around, and these people still conclude that the unsaved eventually "perish". A more insightful and fair article would have been created if you simply looked at all relevant bible passages and came to a conclusion... not simply attacked those on a certain side of the fence.


Date:

06 Nov 2003

Time:

08:14:42

Comments


Date:

06 Nov 2003

Time:

08:17:54

Comments

Can anyone please tell me,where in the Bible does it say that the eveil ones have any form of eternal life.Send coments to sb1002000@yahoo.com God bless all. bro. Bud


Date:

15 Nov 2003

Time:

01:48:10

Comments

Hi Ed, while I agreed with your AD70 rapture position, I beg to differ on this topic. It is a parable, but loosely based on the scenario of Abraham, his faithful house-keeper Eliezer (equivalent to Greek's Lazarus), and Judah and his 5 brothers - a story that His audience then can relate to (and understand). If it is a real story, then are we to think that the rich man always dine outside at his gate so that crumbs might fall off for Lazarus to pick up to eat? Or perhaps his gate was a rubbish dump where his servants swept the crumbs and disposed them outside at the gate? And do angels really accompany believer's souls to heaven upon death? Then, why do Abraham need a resurrection (in AD 70?) if he is already in heaven? If Abraham was already in heaven, why then did the author of Hebrew many years later still said that Abraham has yet to receive the promises? Heb 11:8-13 - By faith Abraham, when he was called to go … looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God… These all died in faith, not having received the promises… Is heaven that near to hell? - as it is visible and within hearing distance. One either get eternal salvation or eternal punishment (I think you mean eternal punishing [continuous tense]), right? But if it is eternal punishing, then that mean unrepentant sinners also get granted eternal life, but are assigned to a different place! This is contrary to what Jesus said! And if it is just 2 choices to choose, eternal life and eternal punishment (or punishing), then I post the same question back to you, why did Jesus said, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment" (Matt10:15),? How can it be more tolerable - er, unless they get time-off to cool down? <ggg>. This is a big topic itself - as big as Preterist vs Futurist, and cannot be settled in a forum thread. But if while I was yet sinner, having yet repented then, Christ died for me, while I was at enmity with God, God sent His son to take away the sins of the whole world, I can only concur that the all-loving God "WILL have ALL men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth….Who gave himself A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified IN DUE TIME. (1Ti 2:4-6), that God may be (and will be) all in all. AMEN


Date:

28 Nov 2003

Time:

20:24:01

Comments

Ed says: "After we die, there is no more opportunity to prepare, train, discipline and develop our character after that. The training is over at that point." Well how does he know that, from Scripture??? Have a look at the following link from a "non-annihilationist" perpective in see the unbiblical folly of 'eternal consious torment'.


Date:

16 Jan 2004

Time:

22:02:18

Comments

So, the lake of fire, hell is literal, where the devil, his angels, and the wicked are? Is this correct? So if a person who does not accept Christ dies, they will be cast into the lake of fire? Please answer.. I need to know...


Date:

24 Feb 2004

Time:

20:06:26

Comments


Date:

19 Apr 2004

Time:

12:44:44

Comments

There is another view of Job 24:19 that the Annihiliation should consider. "Drought and heat consume the snow waters, So does Sheol those who have sinned." (NASB) The word "consumed" doesn't mean nonexistence, it means to take away. Therefore Job 24:19 gives the example of earthly elements (drought, heat) that takes away earthly elements (snow, waters). It is because of the drought and heat by which the snow and waters are taken away no longer are seen UPON THE EARTH. With those comparisions Job applies the same principles of the destination of the sinner taken away to Sheol, (which is a place of punishment) to which sinners are therefore are no longer seen UPON THE EARTH once they are there. So as the drought takes away the snow, and the heat takes away the waters, so does Sheol (the place of punishing) is where the sinner is taken away to spend eternity--which would indicate the sinner's destiny is Sheol. Notice, "those who have sinned" is to indicate that the people have already been viewed in God's eyes as sinners sometime while they were alive on earth, therefore their place is now in Sheol after they have been removed (consumed) from off the earth. Iman


Date:

19 Apr 2004

Time:

12:50:21

Comments

There is another view of Job 24:19 that the Annihiliationist should consider. "Drought and heat consume the snow waters, So does Sheol those who have sinned." (NASB) The word "consumed" doesn't mean nonexistence; in fact it means TO TAKE AWAY. Therefore Job 24:19 gives the example of earthly elements (drought, heat) that takes away other earthly elements (snow, waters). It is because of the drought and heat by which the snow and waters are TAKEN AWAY--the snow and waters are no longer seen UPON THE EARTH. With those comparisions Job applies the same principles to the destination of the sinner that has been removed from off the earth by death and taken away to Sheol, (which is a place of punishment) to which sinners are no longer seen UPON THE EARTH once they are in Sheol. So as the drought takes away the snow, and the heat takes away the waters, so does Sheol (the place of punishing) is where the sinner is taken away to spend eternity--which would indicate the sinner's destiny is Sheol. Notice, "those who have sinned" is to indicate that the people have already been viewed in God's eyes as sinners sometime while they were still alive on earth, therefore their place is now in Sheol after they have been removed (consumed) from off the earth. Iman


Date:

25 Apr 2004

Time:

15:30:46

Comments

I believe that I cover this in my article, "Does SATAN Exist Today?". You still have some unanswered questions. Look at the WHOLE picture. You have scriptures on both side of the issue. Do you accept one side without looking at the other? RKM


Date: 18 Apr 2006
Time: 20:49:01

Comments:

Dear Ed,

Show me one spot in the Bible that says the words "eternal conscious punishment," or, "eternal conscious torture," or, "eternal soul" or "immortal soul," or, "disembodied soul," or, "CONSCIOUSNESS."

You can't do it. I rest my case. u are the one confused and unbiblical to a fault.

Richard Eric Gunby


Date: 24 Jun 2007
Time: 20:23:34

Comments:

Why do you go on and on about false teachers and then mis-quote Mat 10:28 It doesnt say "Jesus said not to fear the one who can take your physical life away from you, but rather fear the One who can punish your spirit/soul forever in Gehenna" it says "fear the one that can destroy both the soul and body in Gehenna". It does not say punish forever. I try to study preterist teachings but this is way outta line to me.


Date: 10 Jul 2007
Time: 01:39:07

Comments:

"Scary, isn't it? It should be."Are your words Ed!

>From your words I see that your motivation to be on God side is fear. I don’t think God sent His Son to threaten us, but to give us Life by faith in Him. Your motivation of salvation and following Jesus is scary!
If you give some false teachings because, your logic for example, of interpreting the Bible is wrong are you going to burn forever and ever in the Hell?
You Know the Bible Ed, but do you have Life?

 

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