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EARLY CHURCH

Ambrose
Ambrose, Pseudo
Andreas
Arethas
Aphrahat
Athanasius
Augustine
Barnabus
BarSerapion
Baruch, Pseudo
Bede
Chrysostom
Chrysostom, Pseudo
Clement, Alexandria
Clement, Rome
Clement, Pseudo
Cyprian
Ephraem
Epiphanes
Eusebius
Gregory
Hegesippus
Hippolytus
Ignatius
Irenaeus
Isidore
James
Jerome
King Jesus
Apostle John
Lactantius
Luke
Mark
Justin Martyr
Mathetes
Matthew
Melito
Oecumenius
Origen
Apostle Paul
Apostle Peter
Maurus Rabanus
Remigius
"Solomon"
Severus
St. Symeon
Tertullian
Theophylact
Victorinus

HISTORICAL PRETERISM
(Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Joseph Addison
Oswald T. Allis
Thomas Aquinas
Karl Auberlen
Augustine
Albert Barnes
Karl Barth
G.K. Beale
Beasley-Murray
John Bengel
Wilhelm Bousset
John A. Broadus

David Brown
"Haddington Brown"
F.F. Bruce

Augustin Calmut
John Calvin
B.H. Carroll
Johannes Cocceius
Vern Crisler
Thomas Dekker
Wilhelm De Wette
Philip Doddridge
Isaak Dorner
Dutch Annotators
Alfred Edersheim
Jonathan Edwards

E.B. Elliott
Heinrich Ewald
Patrick Fairbairn
Js. Farquharson
A.R. Fausset
Robert Fleming
Hermann Gebhardt
Geneva Bible
Charles Homer Giblin
John Gill
William Gilpin
W.B. Godbey
Ezra Gould
Hank Hanegraaff
Hengstenberg
Matthew Henry
G.A. Henty
George Holford
Johann von Hug
William Hurte
J, F, and Brown
B.W. Johnson
John Jortin
Benjamin Keach
K.F. Keil
Henry Kett
Richard Knatchbull
Johann Lange

Cornelius Lapide
Nathaniel Lardner
Jean Le Clerc
Peter Leithart
Jack P. Lewis
Abiel Livermore
John Locke
Martin Luther

James MacDonald
James MacKnight
Dave MacPherson
Keith Mathison
Philip Mauro
Thomas Manton
Heinrich Meyer
J.D. Michaelis
Johann Neander
Sir Isaac Newton
Thomas Newton
Stafford North
Dr. John Owen
 Blaise Pascal
William W. Patton
Arthur Pink

Thomas Pyle
Maurus Rabanus
St. Remigius

Anne Rice
Kim Riddlebarger
J.C. Robertson
Edward Robinson
Andrew Sandlin
Johann Schabalie
Philip Schaff
Thomas Scott
C.J. Seraiah
Daniel Smith
Dr. John Smith
C.H. Spurgeon

Rudolph E. Stier
A.H. Strong
St. Symeon
Theophylact
Friedrich Tholuck
George Townsend
James Ussher
Wm. Warburton
Benjamin Warfield

Noah Webster
John Wesley
B.F. Westcott
William Whiston
Herman Witsius
N.T. Wright

John Wycliffe
Richard Wynne
C.F.J. Zullig

MODERN PRETERISTS
(Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Firmin Abauzit
Jay Adams
Luis Alcazar
Greg Bahnsen
Beausobre, L'Enfant
Jacques Bousset
John L. Bray
David Brewster
Dr. John Brown
Thomas Brown
Newcombe Cappe
David Chilton
Adam Clarke

Henry Cowles
Ephraim Currier
R.W. Dale
Gary DeMar
P.S. Desprez
Johann Eichhorn
Heneage Elsley
F.W. Farrar
Samuel Frost
Kenneth Gentry
Steve Gregg
Hugo Grotius
Francis X. Gumerlock
Henry Hammond
Hampden-Cook
Friedrich Hartwig
Adolph Hausrath
Thomas Hayne
J.G. Herder
Timothy Kenrick
J. Marcellus Kik
Samuel Lee
Peter Leithart
John Lightfoot
Benjamin Marshall
F.D. Maurice
Marion Morris
Ovid Need, Jr
Wm. Newcombe
N.A. Nisbett
Gary North
Randall Otto
Zachary Pearce
Andrew Perriman
Beilby Porteus
Ernst Renan
Gregory Sharpe
Fr. Spadafora
R.C. Sproul
Moses Stuart
Milton S. Terry
Herbert Thorndike
C. Vanderwaal
Foy Wallace
Israel P. Warren
Chas Wellbeloved
J.J. Wetstein
Richard Weymouth
Daniel Whitby
George Wilkins
E.P. Woodward
 

FUTURISTS
(Virtually No Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 & Revelation in 1st C. - Types Only ; Also Included are "Higher Critics" Not Associated With Any Particular Eschatology)

Henry Alford
G.C. Berkower
Alan Patrick Boyd
John Bradford
Wm. Burkitt
George Caird
Conybeare/ Howson
John Crossan
John N. Darby
C.H. Dodd
E.B. Elliott
G.S. Faber
Jerry Falwell
Charles G. Finney
J.P. Green Sr.
Murray Harris
Thomas Ice

Benjamin Jowett
John N.D. Kelly

Hal Lindsey
John MacArthur
William Miller
Robert Mounce

Eduard Reuss

J.A.T. Robinson
George Rosenmuller
D.S. Russell
George Sandison
C.I. Scofield
Dr. John Smith

Norman Snaith
"Televangelists"
Thomas Torrance
Jack/Rex VanImpe
John Walvoord

Quakers : George Fox | Margaret Fell (Fox) | Isaac Penington


PRETERIST UNIVERSALISM | MODERN PRETERISM | PRETERIST IDEALISM

John Noē

The Only Defense in the Major Case Against Christ, Christianity, and the Bible | Armageddon: Past or Future? | Restoring the Kingdom-of-God Worldview to the Church and the World (7 Steps) | 12 Most Common Mistakes People Make About Bible Prophecy and the Endtimes  | 7 Demanding Evidences Why Christ Returned As and When He Said He Would | What About Paul's Man of Sin?

  • 2/22/12: Off Target: 18 bull's-eye exposés This book asks readers to ponder this tough and challenging question: Have we Christians been led astray by our own leaders; dumbed down in our theology by ideas, interpretations, teachings, doctrines of men, and traditions that will not stand up to an honest and sincere test of Scripture

  • Hell Yes / Hell No - "It presents a balanced and scholarly re-exploration of "one of Christianity's most offensive doctrines"-Hell and the greater issue of the extent of God's grace (mercy, love, compassion, justice) and wrath in the eternal, afterlife destiny for all people. Inside, conflicting views are re-evaluated, their strengths and weaknesses re-assessed, and all the demands of Scripture are reconciled into one coherent and consistent synthesized view. "

  • The Perfect Ending for the World (2011) 'End-of-the-world' ranting and ravings are, once again, parading across our paths. All humankind has and is paying a horrendous price for their ages-old trail of failed predictions. Nonetheless, many are wondering if this time could really be it. And the answer is, NO!

 

An Exegetical Basis for a Preterist-Idealist Understanding of the Book of Revelation (2007) “The revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1) has a fuller significance and deeper character beyond its AD 70 eschatological fulfillment.  Consequently, the preterist notion that it only applies to AD 70 when Christ supposedly came in “finality” is a weakness to be amended.  And in a preterist-idealist synthesis, the strength of idealism remains that it “secures its relevance for all periods of the church’s history.”  But its major weakness—i.e. “its refusal to see a firm historical anchorage”— is removed.  That missing anchorage is supplied by Revelation’s A.D-70 fulfillment." 

Idealism is the other symbolic form of interpreting the book of Revelation that is most often associated with the amillennialist position. In its pure form, idealism does not tie the prophecies to any particular post-New Testament event. Instead, it sees them as “basic principles on which God acts throughout history.”[76] Thus, these principles relate to people of every generation.
Erickson describes it this way, “the idealist or symbolic interpretation dehistoricizes these events, making them purely symbolic of truths that are timeless in character.”[77] They are “timeless . . . truths about the nature of reality or human existence that either are continuously present or continually recur.”[78]

Hence, Idealist G. K. Beale characterizes Revelation as “a symbolic portrayal of the conflict between good and evil, between the forces of God and of Satan. . . . a timeless depiction of this struggle.” But he also disclaims that “the problem with this alternative is that . . . [it] does not depict any final consummation to history . . . . [and] it identifies none of the book’s symbols with particular historical events.” This is the opposite of the problem faced by the preterist and historicist views. Beale advocates what he calls an “eclecticism” approach coupling idealism’s “transtemporal” applicability with “a final consummation”[79] and “an Antichrist who comes at the end of history.”[80]

Like historicists, however, amillennialists also “differ on the relationship of the visions to what they symbolize and to each other.” Johnson, for one, believes that these visions symbolize “abstract trends or forces that may find expression in a variety of historical particulars without being limited to one.”[81] These particulars include insights into both “behind-the-scenes heavenly sources and at other times . . . of their visible, earthly outworking in the experience of churches, countries, and cultures.”[82]

Hence, idealism agrees with preterism in that John’s visions revealed “dynamics and developments . . . of the first-century.” It also agrees with historicism that “the visions symbolized the conditions confronting the church throughout the entire church age.” And, it agrees with futurism in that the forces of evil are “far from defeated.”[83] Idealism’s all-encompassing embrace is possible because this interpretative approach does not limit itself to only one historical reality, as do the other views. Therefore, Johnson concludes that Revelation speaks of “forces and trends that would long outlive and far transcend ancient Rome, issues that confront twenty-first-century Christians just as they confronted our first-century counterparts.”[84]
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Ladd seems to characterize idealism in a positive light as “the assurance to suffering saints of God’s final triumph without the prediction of concrete events either in the past or future.”[85] Yet he objects in that “the genre of apocalyptic literature always used apocalyptic symbolism to describe events in history; and we must expect the Apocalypse to share at least this feature with other books of its character.”[86]

Morris acknowledges that idealism’s strength is that it “secures its [Revelation’s] relevance for all periods of the church’s history.” But he flags as a major liability “its refusal to see a firm historical anchorage.”[87] Amillennialist Merrill C. Tenney contends that while idealism “does contain much that is true. Its flaw is not so much in what it affirms as in what it denies.”[88]

But dispensationalist Jeffrey strongly disagrees with this timelessness approach. He blasts its interpretation of Revelation’s visions and prophecies “as mere allegories and figures of speech” which does “not expect any . . . to be literally fulfilled.” This is done, he assumes, “to avoid the clear predictions of Christ coming . . . .”[89]

 

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

Christianity Today
"In the and-now-for-something-a-little-different category, there is Beyond the End Times: The Rest of the Greatest Story Ever Told, by John Noe (Preterist Resources, 314 pp., $17.95, paper). While Bock and company debate the future Second Coming, John Noe argues that Jesus has already returned, as have the "last days" and "the judgment"—in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70. This view—preterism—has a small following though; the likes of R. C. Sproul admit to being at least a "partial preterist." Be that as it may, Noe, president of the Prophecy Reformation Institute, argues, with no little energy, against traditional views. He is finally unconvincing (at least to this amillennialist), but preterism does have an internal logic that makes for exegetically interesting reading."
 

Dr M D Magee
Contents Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 1999


The Return of Jesus

Few Biblical scholars deny that every New Testament writer and the members of the first century Church expected Christ to return within their lifetime. For nearly 2000 years, the Church has continued eagerly expecting and proclaiming the return of Jesus Christ, "soon!"

If the first Christians expected the Parousia "soon" and 2000 years later Christians are still expecting it "soon," does "soon" mean anything that we understand? Well, yes it does. It means that the Christians have been wrong all along. If Christians were misguided or wrong on such a crucial issue as Christ's return, how can anyone believe anything they say? Can they be trusted to tell us the truth about salvation and immortality?

They have turned to their old habit. They make excuses. Conservative scholarship postulates that Jesus' coming again has been delayed or postponed. Liberal scholarship reckons Jesus and the New Testament writers were simply mistaken or deluded. Other liberals think Jesus never made statements implying imminence. These words were altered or added later by his followers. Informed critics of Christianity have no trouble seeing right through the strained attempts of Church leaders to explain away why Jesus did not return as promised, and to protect Jesus' credibility and divinity. Such weak attempts open the door to questioning the authenticity of many other sayings of Christ and the infallible guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Are Christians blind to the implications of "non-return"? Most Christians do not realize the predicament they are in. Christianity is hardly credible if the firmest, clearest prophecy of the son remains unfulfilled.

John Noe, an evangelic theologian, having struggled with the problem of the absent Parousia and its implications, has decided Christians have struggled unnecessarily. There is no escaping the truth. Christians were wrong to wait for 2000 years for a Parousia while trying to uphold Biblical inerrancy, Papal infallibity, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and other hard acts the Christian sects impose upon themselves.

Noe's astonishing answer is that Jesus did return within the generation which was alive during his earthly ministry, just as and when he said he would. He seems to think this answer is a frightening new discovery. Yet, if Jesus has returned already, why was the event so insignificant that most of the world did not notice any profound influence on the world since, unless it is that cruelty, torture and weaponry have expanded along with theft, skullduggery and destruction of the world until the world is for billions of people unbearable? Is this the impact of the return?

For us, Noe gives from a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint all the good evidence why Jesus was wrong (though he argues Jesus was not). Here we gratefully use some of the arguments of this Christian in support of the view that Jesus indeed expected the miracle of God to renew the world… then!

Skeptical Response

Critics note the dilemma Christians face and the impossibility of escaping it without being disloyal to Christ:

  • The atheist, Bertrand Russell, in his book, Why I Am Not A Christian, discredits the inspiration of the New Testament:

Christ… certainly thought that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at the time. There are a great many texts that prove it… where it is quite clear that he believed that his coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of his earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of his moral teaching.

  • In The Quest of the Historical Jesus Albert Schweitzer, the Christian doctor, summarized it this way:

The whole history of Christianity down to the present day… is based on the delay of the Parousia, the non-occurrence of the Parousia, the abandonment of eschatology, the process and completion of the "de-eschatologizing" of religion which has been connected therewith.

  • Jewish critics contend Jesus did not do what the Messiah was supposed to do—introduce the kingdom of God. That is why he is not the Messiah of the Jews, merely the Messiah of the gentiles, and since there was never ever any prophecy of a Messiah of the gentiles, gentiles can draw their own conclusion, but the inference is plain!

  • Most Muslims acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, but seek to discredit him as a god and destroy the credibility of Christianity by pointing out his failure to return. Either the apostles lied, or Jesus was wrong about his imminent return and the inauguration of the kingdom of God. If the latter, he was a prophet all right, but a false one.

  • Even in the New Testament people with a brain scoffed (2 Peter 3:3, 4; Jude 16-19) that nothing had happened, nothing changed: "Where is this coming he promised?" as they say in 2 Peter. These scoffers doubted the sureness of Christ's promise, viewed Christianity as a perversion of Israel's future, and the Christian reaction to them was to call them the ungodly who, according to Jude would be purged by 10,000 holy ones. The mortal sin was already not accepting the Christian god, not any of the awful things that could have been coted like slavery or crucifixion itself, not banned until the time of Constantine, and then because of its holy connotation not its cruelty as a punishment. In the times of 2 Peter and Jude the delay of the Parousia was only about a century. History has proven the scoffers right—2000 years later Christians are still saying, "soon."

  • Even Christians inadvertently join their own critics because the standard Christian answer to the non-happening Parousia has been to insist Jesus will come again, someday! But this proves the critics' point: Jesus was incorrect in his prophecies of returning soon and cannot be the Messiah. In fact, Noe himself falls into a similar category because he openly admits the criticisms. That he thinks he has the answer does not matter because neither Christian nor critic of Christianity will believe him.

Jesus' Clear Prophecies of the End

Jesus' own statements on the matter left no doubts. In frequent statements, he confirmed the certainty of the eschatological coming and when. At face value, these words of Jesus are some of the clearest in the New Testament. Otherwise, they are puzzling or meaningless. The only doubt in them to a non-Christian is who was supposed to come. No Christian will consider anyone but the man himself, but this aspect is less than clear.

Matthew 26:64. Quoting from the prophet Daniel, Jesus responded to and forewarned the high priest and the Sanhedrin saying:

In the future you shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.

Jesus' "you" meant his audience not twenty-first century fundamentalists. He was speaking in the first-person, directly to them, the audience. Caiaphas, the high priest, and all present were familiar with this biblical language. They were the ones who would "see" his return in catastrophic judgment and his glory displayed in the destruction of their religious institutions. How could Jesus possibly have been describing an event some 2000 years in the future? The text demands immediate impact and fulfillment in their lifetime.

Matthew 10:23— while talking with his disciples, Jesus declared,

But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next: for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.

The obvious meaning of Jesus' words was not to deceive his disciples, but to assure them that during the persecution which was too soon to come upon "them," they would not run out of places to flee for safety before he returned. This was another failed prophecy for they returned from their missionary tour and the son of man had not arrived meanwhile.

Matthew 16:28. He informed his disciples:

For truly, I say to you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.

Here, Jesus is describing the same event. A 40-year period was to transpire between the time he ascended to heaven and the son of man came back in the post-crucifixion revision of Nazarene eschatological hopes. During that time some of his disciples would have died, but others remained alive.

Matthew 24:30, 34. Jesus repeats his promise in the mini-apocalypse:

At that time the sign of the son of man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the son of man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory… I tell you the truth; this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Jesus here uses the very same phrase his disciples had just heard him speak to the scribes and Pharisees when he told them the guilt of the blood of the righteous would fall upon "this generation" (Mt 23:35-36). Jesus' "this generation," in every New Testament usage, always means the contemporaries of Jesus alive at that time.

Luke 21:6, 22, 27, 32. In the parallel passages in Luke's gospel, the message is repeated again. If Jesus did not mean the words to say he would return within a generation, why did he plainly make it sound as if he did, so plainly that the gospel writers write it down even when they knew it was already untrue? If it happened at all it happened in the first century, and could not have been omitted from the gospels because Christians had been taught it for half a century at the minimum. It was included because it could not be left out and, ever since, Christians have had to excuse it.

If Jesus was wrong, he was a false prophet, not a prophet of God (Deut 18:21-22), nor the Messiah. There is no honest way to escape it. The texts demand it and Christians find themselves in an impossible bind—though it has never bothered most of them one whit. He will come "soon," is their mindless mantra. In a sort of defense they appeal to "of that day and hour knoweth no man" (Mt 24:36; 25:13). The period of gestation of an animal is known quite precisely but no one knows exactly when a birth will happen. This is Jesus' point in this statement, not that Christians might still be waiting 2000 years later. That he is telling his disciples to be ever watchful because nobody knows exactly when the moment will be, actually adds to the immediacy of the message. It does not preclude nor override its urgency or the imminence of the appearance of one like unto the son of man on the clouds of heaven.

Expectations of Jesus' Followers

All of the following quotations highlight the immanency of the coming, but do not forget that at the time of Jesus there was only one Lord—God! The "coming of the Lord" was the coming of God—God's visitation at the End Time. Only by promoting their crucified leader to the level of God did the Christians change the coming from that of God to that of Jesus:

  • James told the first century followers of Christ to be patient until the coming of the Lord. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh," and "the judge standeth before the door" (James 5:8-9). The Greek translated "nigh" is literally "within grasp," sometimes translated as "at hand." Jesus used "at hand" too, denoting readiness or availability (Mt 4:17; 10:7; also 26:18, 45, 46; John 2:13) with the same obvious meaning. Were James's readers to interpret his use of this adverbial phrase to mean 2000 years? James's "at hand" has the same immediacy as Jesus'.

    If those Christians are correct that claim God's timescale is much longer than ours (2 Pet 3:8), then there is no getting away from the truth that God or His prophets are fooling Christians, for God's words become devoid of meaning to mankind or mean the opposite to our understanding. The ernest evangelical Noe says that for God to inspire men to write words that meant nearness and imminence to man, but in reality meant a long time is deceitful double-talk. Meanings stretched a thousand years or to protect a theological bias are deceitful.

  • The Writer of Hebrews wrote:

In just a very little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay (Heb 10:37).

He also wrote: "As you see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). 2000 years is longer than the covenant nation of Israel even existed in myth, let alone history, so is this what the author meant when he spoke to these people of "a very little while"? None of Jesus' parables depicting the Lord's coming suggest a potentially "long" time.

It was the evil servant who says "My Lord delayeth his coming" (Mt 24:48).

  • Paul blatantly led his contemporaries to believe that some of them would survive and still be "alive and left" on planet earth and urged that their bodies (soma not sema) should be "kept blameless" until the coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 5:23-24). If they all died without receiving Paul's promise and their bodies were not kept but decayed in graves, then has the inspiration of the Holy Ghost not failed, too? Paul further told Timothy to "keep the commandment… until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim 6:14).

    In all of Paul's writings including 1 Corinthians 15, he evidently had no need to clarify that he was referring to the nearness of any other coming or end different from that taught by Jesus. Paul clearly anticipated the imminent return of Christ in his lifetime and in the lifetime of his hearers. The plain grammatical meaning of Paul's often-used "we" (1 Thessalonians
    4:15-17), and the saturation of his epistles with nearness expectations and exhortations, allow no other conclusion (Rom 13:12; Phil 4:5; Gal 4:4; 1 Corinthians 7:29, 31).

 

  • The two epistles attributed to Peter also exhort their readers to holy living and to hang in there for "a little while" (1 Pet 1:6; 5:10). This was to be "unto a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet 1:5) of "these last times" (1 Pet 1:20). Peter is referring to the same identical, first century time frame as all the other New Testament writers. That is why throughout, Peter employs the personal pronoun "you." Peter's "you" in its normal, face-to-face, customary context means his contemporary audience, not an abstract reader anywhere, anytime.

    Here, and elsewhere, whenever modern-day Christian interpreters have to stray away from the normal meaning of words or create new definitions of familiar and natural words apart from their customary usage, they are admitting, whilst trying to disguise it, that something is dreadfully wrong with their religious foundation. We are invited to believe that the New Testament writers were addressing whoever would experience these eschatological events living in or beyond the twenty-first century, and that all earlier Christians have been admittedly deluded to imagine it might mean them. They were addressed to people alive then and there. In no stretch of the imagination could 2000 years be Peter's "a little while," or justify his sense of urgency for his target audience.

 

  • Jesus' coming was often compared to "like a thief" (Mt 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15). The reason for the thief comparison was that no one could know the precise time when they would be burgled. Jesus' followers would not be caught off guard (1 Thessalonians 5:4). His disciples could watch and see "the day" approaching by discerning the signs. Others "slept" and did not discern the signs (Heb 10:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6).

    Moreover, Paul wrote and admonished first century believers that that day should not overtake "them" as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:4). No one is bothered about a thief coming in the distant future. A warning about a thief has to apply to "now" or a time that will soon become "now," not a time 2000 years or more hence. A 2000-year delay violates both the imagery, sense of urgency and contemporary significance of this simile.

The "this generation" immanency of the coming of the son of man was the central motif of New Testament teaching and the uniform expectation of the early Church. Just how many times, in how many ways, and using how many inspired words and phrases must the New Testament express this first century immanency before Christians cease persisting in their lies? This language of nearness is very significant and plainly forbids the passing of a protracted period of time.

Biblical Precedents

Behold he cometh with the clouds (Rev 1:7).

"Coming on the clouds" is used of Old Testament portrayals of God descending from heaven and coming in power and glory to act in deliverance of his people or to execute judgment on wicked nations and cities. God habitually came on a cloud because the Hebrew god, Yehouah, was originally a sky and storm god like Baal of the Canaanites. Sky gods always, naturally, have a sun aspect and normally it is the sun that becomes dominant. All of the descriptions of the god of the Hebrews and Christians are descriptions of the sun. But sun gods, sky gods and storm gods, manifest themselves in the heavens through the clouds and when they do, they "come on the clouds."

The nature of the Hebrew god is plainly given in Genesis where he leaves his bow in the clouds as a token of His covenant with His people. What is a bow in the clouds? The rainbow is a manifestation of the sun and sky and storm god. God is found in clouds in many places in the scriptures (Gen 9:13,14,16; Ex 13:21,22; 14:19,24; 16:10; 19:9,16; 24:15,16,18; 34:5; 40:34-38; Lev 16:2; Numbers  9:15-22; 10:34; 11:25; 12:5; 14:14; 16:42; Deut 5:22; Judges 5:4; 2 Sam 22:12; 23:4; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chr 5:13-14; Job 22:13-14; 26:9; 36:32; 37:15; Psalms 18:11;69:34; 77:17; 104:3; 147:8; Isaiah 14: 14:19:1; Lam 3:44; Ezek 1:28; 10:4; Dan 7:13; Nahum 1:3; Zeph 1:15; Zech 10:1).

There are many more references to clouds in the scriptures and the same nimbic metaphors are applied in the New Testament, often in the same sense as in the Old, referring to God, but usually interpreted by Christians to mean Jesus and sometimes explicitly so. The popular one for Christians, though, is that from Daniel. With this nimbic chariot imagery of "coming on the clouds," the son of man was prophesied by Daniel to come (Dan 7:13):

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

If this is not proof that the one prophesied in Daniel is not God, considered as the sun in the sky, then what is? Not Jesus but the later Christians, who had already taken him as a manifestation of God, put into Jesus' mouth the image of him "coming on the clouds" at the end of the age in his Olivet Discourse.

No Christian bothers that this "prophecy" speaks of "one like" the son of man, not the Son of Man. It is the traditional way in which dreams were described and the verse quoted says it was a "vision." It means simply that Daniel had a dream of a figure that looked like a man. A son of man could not be a cow or an angel. A "son of man" was a fashionable way of saying a man. Americans today have a similar but insulting expression that means a man is a dog.

"Son of Man" was the expression that Jesus used to mean a "man," but Christians prefer to convince themselves it was Jesus' self awareness of godhood. If this were the case, in logic, Jesus might have called himself a son of God, though he never did. But his habit of using a polite faddish expression as a circumlocution—his, perhaps Essene, view of derekh eretz (good manners)—was seen as his equating himself with Daniel's vision.

In fact, Daniel explicitly tells us, someone in the appearance of a man he saw in another vision was Gabriel. How then is Gabriel the same as Jesus? In fact, in the pseudepigraph called Daniel, the "prince" (of Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1) most closely matches the one who would have a kingdom in Daniel 7:13. The prince was called Michael, not Jesus. Fundamentalists will have to explain all these aliases that Jesus used, if this is him as well.

Jesus was a law abiding Jew who would not have blasphemed God by saying he was God. Even if Jesus were God in disguise, he could not have broken the law already given by himself, as God, to Moses face to face. How could God encourage the Jews to stick rigidly to his laws, cruelly punish them when they stumbled, yet appear himself on earth in the form of a man to tell them to break them, and then, though men were not allowed to claim to be God, go around, still in the form of a man, saying he was God?

Even if he was, how could the Jews do anything other than say he was blaspheming, since any man saying he was God was blaspheming (even if he was God in disguise), and blasphemy was against God's own law? Since men were not supposed to speak like this, can any Christian blame the Jews for not believing a man who did, and can they explain how they themselves could distinguish God in the form of an ordinary man from a faker making the same claims? The law itself forbids any just God from playing such silly games.

Furthermore, in all the biblical comings of God in the Old Testament, God was apparently never visible, but manifested himself in other ways, through His Presence or Glory and various symbols. The Jewish concept of a theophany seems not to be based on the way modern Christians have been conditioned to think of Christ's "coming on the clouds." But every biblical instance of coming on a cloud is God coming! If Jesus, and not merely the authors of the New Testament, used this "cloud" language in his prophecies—he was prophesying the coming of God, not his own return. This is proved by the meaning of the word "Parousia," which is a theophany of God, not a return of some man saying he will.

Apocalyptic Language

The writers of the New Testament also used other apocalyptic language from the Old Testament prophets to describe the coming "day of the Lord". Noe tries to pretend that the "day of the coming of the Lord" or the "day of the vengeance of the Lord" are just expressions meaning any of the calamitous punishments God meted upon his Chosen or their enemies. He tries to make out that this apocalyptic language is used to describe real events caused by the direct intervention of God which cannot be fully comprehended in human language. But it is specifically the event that the Christians are supposed to be waiting for—the Day of Judgment. Examples he gives are examples of apocalyptic prophecies by such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Joel and so on.

Noe has begun his own apology, which is that such language just meant pretty awful events but not the end of the present imperfect world. In this way he prepares the reader for his thesis that the "Day of the Lord" happened when the temple was destroyed by the Romans. The universe did not end and God did not appear visibly, on a cloud or otherwise, but that is what it was—the Parousia! And no one even noticed!

Noe adds that only understood in this way, could the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2) have been confused that that "the day of the Lord" had already come. Yet, the Christian gospels, particularly Matthew, try to give the illusion that some of these cosmic occurrences actually happened at the crucifixion, and even Noe agrees that a forty year period was involved in the final period of settlement, so why should the Thessalonians have not been confused, if they had been told such things?

Jesus himself expected the Day of the Lord's Vengeance in the garden of Gethsemane. It never happened and Jesus was crucified instead. But when the corpse apparently rose from the dead by disappearing, they thought that the risen Jesus had initiated the coming of the kingdom as the first fruits of the dead. So, it is quite conceivable that early Christians thought the "Day of God's Vengeance" had come with the rising of Jesus but yet had to be completed after forty years of cosmic battle. They would have been happy as many modern Christians are that God has a different concept of a "day" from us, after all 2 Peter said so.

Noe urges us to think like First century Jewish believers, who were much more apocalyptic-oriented than we are. They knew that behind every descriptive symbol, image or figure of speech was a literal reality. When the "day of the Lord" came, they would recognize it. Inadvertently, Noe is describing one sect, the sect of apocalyptic Jews who would indeed think in this way—the Essenes. We must think like Essenes, we are urged, to understand the earliest Christians. That is because Jesus himself was one.

Parousia

New Testament writers confirmed they were then living in those "last days" (Heb 1:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1; James 5:3; 2 Pet 3:3; Jude 18; 1 John 2:18), when Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come robed "with the garments of vengeance" (Isaiah 59:17), and he would proclaim not only salvation but, "the day of vengeance of our God" (Isaiah 61:2). Jesus' statement in Luke's Olivet Discourse contains this very wording, "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near… flee… For these be the days of vengeance in which all things that are written must be fulfilled" (Luke 21:20-22). Noe is losing the thread here because he has just convinced us that the "day" was immediate, in the words of Jesus and his contemporaries (see above) yet now is saying "immediate" is forty years in the future. He takes this to be 66-70 AD, the Jewish War and the destruction of the temple.

70 AD, for Noe, epitomises everything Jesus promised. As this historical time approached, James said, "The Judge is standing at the door." And, "The coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:9, 8). How long in our traditional view are we going to leave Judge Jesus standing at the door? Paul reminded his readers, "the time is short" (1 Corinthians 7:29). How long is short, anyway? Peter in perfect, first century harmony proclaimed, "The end of all things is at hand" (1 Pet 4:7), and warned, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God" (1 Pet 4:17). Urgency permeates Peter's sense of expectation. He is emphatic, "the time has come"! John wrote in his day: "it is the last hour!" (1 John 2:18b).

The issue that is missed is that Jesus died expecting the "Day of the Vengeance of God" in the garden of Gethsemane, after the Lord's Supper. He expected and clearly says he would not drink new wine until he was in the kingdom of God. He expected the kingdom of God that very night. It did not arrive and the followers had to revise their ideas quickly. It would arrive within a generation of the disappearance of Jesus' corpse—the cosmic battle of the heavenly hosts led by the prince of Israel, Michael, against the prince of darkness, Satan, would take forty years.

It is all clear, if we are not looking through the distorting glass that Christians have put between the events then and now. There is no need to explain away any of the above scriptures. For forty years after the crucifixion, all early Christians, Paul included, expected a Parousia, but Jesus was substituted for Michael. Michael might always have been seen, for Essenes, as the heavenly double (fravashi) of Jesus, so when Michael came with the heavenly hosts, it was Jesus returning.

First century believers watched, waited and eagerly expected in vain (1 Pet 1:5-9; 2:12; Heb 9:28; 10:25; Luke 21:28; Phil 3:20; Gal 5:5; Rom 13:11-13; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Tit 2:11-13).

The technical word most often used in the New Testament to speak of his coming/return is the Greek word, Parousia. Although it is most often translated "coming," its primary meaning is "presence," it being the presence of God in a theophany. Noe wants to assure us that Jesus is with us because he returned in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed. That was his sign. Nobody noticed because God is invisible, but every Christian declares "Jesus lives," so he must have returned sometime.

These desperate theories are all because, no Christian can face the obvious, though the evangelical Noe gets close to it in his curious arguments—Jesus was a false prophet according to scripture. All the Jews know it. Jesus himself knew it. Only his followers do not know it, and their priests and preachers have been agitatedly obfuscating the truth for 2000 years. The have to be congratulated on their success in so doing. They are the word's best ever liars—they'll meet all their best friends when they die, but in a warmer place than they expect.

 

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