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Thomas Ice and the Time Texts

By Gary DeMar
President - American Vision
2003

Gary DeMar Study Archive | Norman Geisler and "This Generation" | Norman Geisler, "You," & "Zechariah the Son of Berechiah" | Biblical Minimalism and the "History of Preterism" | Thomas Ice and the Time Texts | Will the Real Anti-Prophets Please Stand Up? | Time's Puff Piece: The Devil is in the Details | Dispensationalism : Being Left Behind | Zechariah 14 and the Coming of Christ | Defending the Indefensible | No Fear of the Text | The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth | Who or what is the Antichrist | Rapture Fever: Why Dispensationalism is Paralyzed | Identifying Antichrist | On Thin Ice | Using the Bible to Interpret the Bible | DeMar Articles

In going through the LaHaye/Ice (Lice) book The End Times Controversy (ETC), I continually find the authors arguing for complicated and convoluted interpretations of passages that are clear when the time parameters, context, and audience reference are studied and understood. Attention to these factors hit home for me when I first became a Christian and was told to read Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth if I wanted to know what was going to happen in this end-time generation. This was in 1974. Not knowing anything about the Bible, I believed that the book's sensationalistic claims were actually in the Bible. My enthusiasm for the book's premise waned when I started reading the Bible!

Beginning with Matthew's gospel, and with Lindsey's paradigm swimming in my head, I found myself thoroughly confused. The first passage that did not seem to fit with Lindsey's view was Matthew 10:23: "But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes." Commentaries I checked were of little help. William Hendriksen's comments on the passage from his commentary on Matthew, quoted by Ice in support of his own view, were a big disappointment. Keep in mind that I was not a preterist at this point in time. In fact, I had no idea what preterism was, so I was not looking for a way to defend the preterist position. I only wanted to know what the passage meant. Many of you reading this understand what I'm describing.

Ice spends nearly three pages in ETF trying to show how this passage does not mean what it seems to mean. "I believe," Ice writes, "because of the nature of the vocabulary, Matthew 10:21-23 refers to events that will take place during the Tribulation and climax in the glorious second coming of Christ" (84). Here's the problem with Ice's claim: He never deals with the vocabulary or the context. He quotes a bunch of commentators who know what the passage says but are unwilling to come to grips with its unpleasant implications for their prophetic system. Ice does the same thing when he tackles Matthew 16:27-28.

The Audience Context of Matthew 10:23

Who is Jesus addressing? "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves" (10:16). Throughout His discourse, Jesus has His present audience in mind. Like in Matthew 24, Jesus uses the second person plural throughout the discourse to make this point more than clear. There is nothing in the passage that gives any indication that Jesus has any other audience in view other than His immediate audience. Ice never addresses the audience vocabulary. He jumps to a distant future "Great Tribulation" scenario that would require a discussion of a different audience that is nowhere found in the context of the passage.

Notice how the discourse begins: "And having summoned His twelve disciples" (10:1). Jesus is not describing a future tribulation scenario with a post-rapture, newly regathered Israel. He is characterizing the conditions that existed in Israel in His own day: "These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, 'Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel'" (10:1, 5-6). The "twelve" are the "you" of the rest of the passage. "Israel" is the Israel of Jesus' day. Notice the context: "go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (10:6) and "you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes" (10:23). Once again, Ice muddies what is very clear in the passage.

The Audience Context of Matthew 16:27-28

As I continued reading through Matthew's gospel as a new Christian, the next prophetic passage I came across hit me hard. You know it well: "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (Matt. 16:27-28). Ice spends four pages trying to make this passage fit his system. There is no need for me to rehearse his arguments here since they are common attempts to get around the obvious. But Ice brings up one argument that I had never encountered:

A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said "some of those standing here. . . ." It is clear that the term "some" would have to include at least two or more individuals, since "some" is plural and coupled with a plural verb, "to be." The word "some" nicely fits the three disciples--Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1)--who were participants at our Lord's transfiguration. On the other hand, Peter notes that "John only survived" among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem (88).

Ice is arguing that since only John lived after the destruction of Jerusalem, "some" does not fit the time period. If Jesus had said, following Ice's argument, "one of you will not taste death," then preterists would have a point, but the passage says "some," more than one. The only immediate event that fits, according to Ice, is the transfiguration. Once again, Ice fails to consider the context and audience. Matthew 16:24 reads: "Then Jesus said to His disciples. . . ." The audience of 16:27-28 is made up of the "disciples" which, as I will show, include Peter, James, John, and others. Simply put, when Jesus described the time of His "coming" in Matthew 16:28, Peter, James, and John weren't the only disciples present. The other nine apostles were there and maybe other disciples as well. While the apostles are often described as "disciples" (Matt. 11:1), the word "disciples" often means more than the twelve (Matt. 5:1; 8:21; Luke 10:1).

It's a week later when Peter, James, and John go up the mount with Jesus. After the experience of the transfiguration, we read in Mark's account of the event: "And when they [Jesus, Peter, James, and John] came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them" (9:14). It's obvious, therefore, that the disciples of Matthew 15-17 are a larger group than the three disciples Jesus chose to take with Him to see His transfiguration. This means that the plural "some" fits the context very well. "There are some who those who are standing here [Peter, James, John, and other unnamed disciples] who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" (Matt. 16:28). D. A. Carson's comments on the transfiguration solution dismiss an interpretation like Ice's:

The problem [with this view] is twofold. First, "some who are standing here will not taste death before they see" is an extraordinary way to refer to Peter, James, and John, who witness the Transfiguration a mere six days later (17:1). Second, as magnificent as the Transfiguration was, it is not entirely clear how the Son of Man comes in his kingdom (Matt) or the kingdom comes in power (Mark) through this event.

Once again, Ice presents his arguments in terms that his dispensational readers will accept without debate. By never raising the issue of how the second person plural ("you") is used throughout Matthew 10, he is counting on his loyal readers not to notice. And who would think to go to Mark's account of the Transfiguration to see that the "disciples" is a larger group than Peter, James, and John? Of course, we all know the answer to this question: Preterists would.

What do YOU think ?

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Date:
29 May 2003
Time:
14:40:19

Comments

We have a discussion forum just for this book at planetpreterist.com. Please come by, read, and post. http://planetpreterist.com/modules.php?name=XForum&file=forumdisplay&fid=14 Scott


Date:
29 May 2003
Time:
19:04:35

Comments

Nice assessment Gary. I think John P. Meier provides the best analysis of Matt. 10:23 "Matt:10:23 is part of the large and multifaceted "missionary discourse" that makes up chap. 10 of the Gospel . . . . the sermon--like all the large sermons in Mattew--is actually a composite of various sources and sayings (Mark, Q, M), some wandering far from the supposed setting and purpose of the missionary discourse . . . . The disciples will be delivered over to local Jewish sanhedrins and scouraged in the synagogues (v 17); they will be brought before governors and kings for the sake of Jesus (v 18). Indeed, families will be rent asunder by betrayal as brother hands over brother to death (21) . . . . Needless to say, such a detailed scenario about the disciples' being involved in legal procedures before Jewish courts and before the tribunals of pagan governors and kings, to say nothing of suffering the death penalty for acknowledging one's allegiance to Jesus, reflects the time of the early church, not the time of the historical Jesus . . . . Hence the original and originating setting [sitz im leben] of the prophetic logion in Matt 10:23 was most likely the first Christian generation in Palestine. The logion does set a time limit for the final coming of the kingdom . . . . it is a time limit set by Christian prophets as consolation and instruction for weary, persecuted Christian missionaries longing for the coming of the kingdom that would signal their deliverance. It has nothing to do with the historical Jesus (A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus v 2, pp. 337-338). Ice recognizes the discontinuity of the details in Matt 10:16-23 with the events in the life of the historical Jesus "there is no indication in Scripture that the disciples experienced the kind of persecution mentioned in this passage before the crucifixion of Christ" (ETC, p. 84,)and interprets it as a future prophecy made by Jesus, but this is improbable given the second person plural, "you," which addresses the disciples.


Date:
01 Sep 2003
Time:
19:34:15

Comments

How Old Is The Church? Answer: The Church is NOT yet 2,000 years old! Let me explain. When was the Church born? Pentecost, A.D. 30. What was the expected length of the Church Age (Messianic Age to the Jews)? According to many of the Church fathers and Jewish scholars, 2,000 years. When might it be expected to end, if these things be true? A.D. 2030. This means we are not in the 3rd millennium of the Church Age. >From Adam to Abraham was 2,000 years. >From Isaac to Jesus was 2,000 years. >From the Apostles to now is 1,973 years. Will 2030 be the beginning of the 7th millennium? Where do I learn more about this? Click this: webspawner.com/users/7Kweek/ To contact me: SevenKweek@cs.com Yours for the Kingdom, Alan Lunn


Date:
18 Oct 2003
Time:
20:51:32

Comments

This is without a doubt the most obsurde presentation of Daniel's writings and the Great Mt. Olivette Discourse I have ever seen. Even those who are not sure of the exact events of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel can see there is no explanation here that is proven by scripture. Why would our Lord have given us exact dateing in the scripture if not for a purpose? Why is there perfect Bible chronology from the begining of the creation of man until the asension of Jesus Christ and then cease with no more chronology? Therefore if there were to be seventy weeks determined upon thy people(Daniel's people) until the full trangression.......sixty nine weeks until the Messiah and the Messiah would be cut off in the midst of the week......when was He cut off.....in the midst of the seventieth week......God did not break His Chronology and cast the seventieth week 2000 years into the future waiting on it to happen. I ask you a simple question...The first Nation was form from the Exodus, a combination of Jew and Egytian....50 days after the birthing....they were given the law written on tablets of stone.....The first Pentecost....Second birthing of a Nation in Acts.....50 days the law given written on their hearts......this time it was Jewish only.....then the Lord had to shoe them by the introdcution of Cornelius in Acts 10 that the same was for all. There are so many scriptures that totally refute what you are trying to state. The very thread of the Gospel of Life given by the Power of the Holy Spirit and revelation Of Yeshua proves that he came to fulfill not replace, and the that He did fulfill the covenant and did make the covenant with many with His blood and sacrifice. I am not a person who has been to the great schools of learning but I have search this out and went far beond the average seeker, and I beleive that the heart of God is that all mankind should be saved and He is not a respector of persons. I am of the chosen people and regret that my brethern have not accepted Yeshua as their Messiah, but He is solvern and there will be an oportunity for them somehow. I would like to ask you, is Israel becoming a nation in 1948 of God? Did Sarah help God by giving Abram Haggar? Is this new Nation the same sydrome of Israel tryng to solve its own problems and help God out....just like Sarah and Abram helping God provide them with a seed? I saw you reference Phillip Mauro or at least you have him as link on your web, if you read and study his material it is hard to believe that you would present the material y have presented.


Date:
21 Oct 2003
Time:
10:28:06

Comments

My name is Eric Fugett and I am an electrical engineer. I have written a book entitled, A Personal Revelation. Gary has read the book and said that it offered some interesting insights. In my book, I show that the date for Jesus' appearing to give John the Revelation was September 11, 63 CE. This is based on the discovery that the trumpets were in reference to the Jewish Feast of Trumpets. With that knowledge, I date the resurrection as well. I also show how all of the prophecies of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 were fulfilled between that date and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. If you would like to know more about my book visit my website at www.todaystheophilus.com.


Date:
16 Dec 2003
Time:
06:39:30

Comments

Well said Gary!


Date:
17 May 2004
Time:
14:23:14

Comments

Why do you resort to personal attacks ("LaHaye/Ice [Lice])" on those with whom you disagree? Surely this is not a Christian way of behaving. LaHaye and Ice are Christian brothers yet you treat them as unbelievers. Perhaps you resort to name calling in order to hide the inadequate nature of your own theological system. Attack the system if you must but leave out your nasty comments.


Date: 01 Jan 2006
Time: 17:29:46

Comments0:

MY HUSBAND IS TRYING TO TELL ME THAT CHRIST ASENDED UP INTO HEAVEN MORE THAN ONE TIME AFTER HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. HE STATES THAT IS THE ONLY WAY HE WAS ABLE TO GO IN AND OUT OF THE DISCIPLES LIVES WITHOUT OPENING DOORS.

I TOLD HIM THAT CHRIST ONLY ASENDED ONCE. THAT WAS ON THE 40TH DAY AFTER HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. HE WAS ABLE TO GO THROUGH WALL BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE SPIRIT BODY. THAT IS WHY HE DID NOT WANT MARY TO TOUCH HIM WHEN HE APPEARED TO HER.

HE CHALLENGED THOMAS TO TOUCH HIM BECAUSE OF HIS UNBELIEF BUT WITH CHRIST KNOWING ALL THINGS HE KNEW THAT ONCE HE SAW THE HOLES IN HIS HANDS AND FEET HE WOULD NOT TOUCH HIM. BUT THERE HAD TO BE A CHALLENGE. BECAUSE IF THOMAS HAD TOUCHED HIM, HE WOULD HAVE TAKEN ON A SINFUL BODY AGAIN.

PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS. HE STATED THIS IN BIBLE STUDY ON LIST WEDNESDAY. MTHS.


Date: 14 Jun 2006
Time: 18:59:19

Comments0:

Well said, Gary. When I read James Stuart Russell's book "Parousia", I begin to see the Bible in a new and wonderful way. When I realized how the people to whom the books were written would understand them, many of the sticky questions got answered, like "will take place soon" in Rev and "this generation" in the Gospels.
Bob Kukla, Frisco Texas


Date: 13 Nov 2006
Time: 08:03:01

Comments0:

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Mt. 16:28).

The “some” standing here are more than one disciple. There would be some - more than one - which would not taste of death. It does not say how many would taste of death; it might be several, but need not be more than one.
Those who do not taste of death would literally see Him coming in His literal kingdom. They would not see a “miniature representation,” or anything like that. Did this happen at the Transfiguration? It couldn’t have. The transfiguration happened only a week or two later, and there is no biblical record of any of the disciples dying before that time. But nearer to the time of the crucifixion, one disciple did taste of death: Judas Iscariot.
The next time the remaining disciples saw Jesus was after His resurrection.
He came and told them that all power in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. Romans 1:4 verifies that when He rose from the dead, He was in possession of power. So, if He had all power in the whole universe, what kingdom was there that He could not be King of? According to Daniel, God’s kingdom, was set up in the days of the “ten toes” of the fourth beast, Rome. Those ten toes represented the ten (approximate number) kings of the Middle East nations which Rome had conquered, and which made up the Roman empire.

“Literal interpretation” is Dispensationalism’s main claim to fame but, as seen in their interpretation of this passage, they don’t always adhere to it.

C.P. “mac” Machovsky
mac@tribulationhoax.com
http://www.tribulationhoax.com


Date: 27 Jan 2007
Time: 06:25:48

Comments0:

While trying to find out the meaning of the passage concerning the blessing and cursing found in the Abrahamic Covenant I was introduced to Steve Gregg's teaching on the subject of Israel at his site, "The Narrow Path." I too knew very little about the subject of preterism. Yet after taking part in Mr. Greggs study, my entire views about the "end times" changed. Mr. DeMar is correct. The dispensationalist goes into the Bible with a preconceived viewpoint which makes demands on passages in the scriptures that have clearly been fulfilled during the time of the apostles. Thanks Mr. DeMar the the good studies.


Date: 07 May 2007
Time: 10:16:49

Comments0:

THE PRETERIST ATTACK

As always, I have yet to find a Preterist who has the courage to quote Dr.Tim La Haye or Dr. Tommy Ice, word for word, accurately and completely. ItÂ’s a bit daunting isnÂ’t it?

How do you refute good old fashion Biblical exegetics? The Preterists attempt it with a not so clever brand of dogma that has to stretch and rewrite scripture in order to survive.
If they would spend as much time in practical research as they do in attacking Dr. Tim
LaHaye, they would likely see the fallacy of their own teaching.

Gary DeMarÂ’s brand of eschatology/theology has people burning their Bibles.(see the reader input on his web site) Has that made him stop and think? Obviously not. Then
again Revelation 22:18-19 has failed to capture his attention as well. (DeMar is far from the only theologian to support into the Dominion/.Preterist/ Postmillennial position)

HereÂ’s a not to original idea, let scripture interpret itÂ’s self. Extra biblical dogma can be a
devastating weight to bear. It places unending demands at every turn. Before you know it, you find yourself forcing round pegs into square holes.

Take the recent book by humble Hank Hanegraaff, “The Apocalypse Code”. If you removed every remark aimed at Dr Tim La Haye, you wouldn’t have enough book left to publish. Hank had some fascinating ideas, but chooses to focus on LaHaye instead of the subject. Then again, if you’re playing games with scripture to make your theology work, you probably need a good smoke screen.

Dispensationalism and Left Behind Theology (Futurism) do not rely on forcing a dogma to fit scripture; rather they are the result of searching the full cannon of scripture and discovering the joy of GodÂ’s will. Probably explains why Dr. Tim La Haye and Jerry Jenkins donÂ’t find the need to use the pages of their publications to attack other theologians or points of view.

Dr. T.M. Wallace
Wallywrld7@AOL.com


Date: 08 May 2007
Time: 21:46:48

Comments0:

It is true that Matthew 10:23 is a difficult passage. But your rendering of it is at least as unsatisfying as you say Tom Ice's is. When do you believe Jesus came back? 2 Peter 3 speaks of people like you.


Date: 20 Dec 2007
Time: 07:21:27

Comments0:

I BELIEVE THAT THIS GENERATION WILL BE THE GENERATION THAT WILL WITNESS THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AND THAT HIS RETURN WILL HAPPEN SUDDENLY AND TAKE THE UNIVERSE BY TOTAL SHOCK AND SURPRISE FOR THERE WILL BE NO WARNING WHATSOEVER.
SO WE SHOULD ALL REPENT AND PREPARE FOR THAT FINAL DAY.

 

 

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