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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

William Smith Urmy
Methodist | Father of Poet Clarence Urmy

Essay on the Interpretation of Scripture

  • 1900: Christ Came Again The Parousia Of Christ A Past Event; The Kingdom Of Christ A Present Fact; With A Consistent Eschatology

 
 
"Mosheim, in his Ecclesiastical History, tells us that a general belief prevailed in Europe toward the close of the tenth century that the year 1000 would witness the coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and the end of the world. As the time drew near a general panic seized the minds of men. Many abandoned their homes and their families and repaired to the Holy Land; others made over their lands to the Church, or permitted them to lie uncultivated, and the whole course of ordinary life was violently disturbed and deranged."
 
Preterist Commentaries from Modern Preterism


On Constantine
The second class of persecutions came from paganism, especially as represented in the Roman empire. Her policy was to tolerate all religions, and Christianity was no exception so long as it did not interfere with the public welfare. But, as we have seen (Chapter XVIII, Part I), Nero, to avert the execration of the people of Rome for setting the city on fire, charged the crime on the Christians and began one of the most fearful and bloody of persecutions. Then followed nine others from Roman malevolence, having for their dire object the extirpation of the religion of Christ from the civilized world.In the book of Revelation we have these persecutions depicted. In chapter xii the great red dragon is represented as being cast out of heaven and coming down with great wrath upon the earth; this great wrath arising from the fact that he knows that "he hath but a short time." The dragon stands on the sand of the sea and beholds, rising out of the sea, a terrible wild beast (therion) having seven heads and ten horns. This beast represents the empire of Rome as impersonated in Nero. As has already been stated, the dragon gives this beast power to make war with the saints and overcome them (chap. xiii, 7).

Another beast arises out of the earth, or land, which speaks "as a dragon." He exercises all the power of the first beast, and does great wonders. This beast symbolizes the proconsular and priestly power of Rome as impersonated in Gessius Florus; and the persecuting power is also rampant in him, for he causes that "as many as should not worship the image of the beast should be killed" (chap. xiii, 15).

The ten kings which receive power with the beast, and give their power and strength unto the beast, make "war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings" (chap. xvii, 12, 13, 14).

Then in the nineteenth chapter the revelator says: "And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image: they twain were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone: and the rest were killed with the sword . . . which came forth out of his mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh" (vers. 19-21). Here we have the prefigurement of the repression and cessation of the persecuting power of the Roman nation, through its imperial, senatorial, military, and judicial functionaries. We are to translate all these concrete figures back into the abstract, and see in this description the one great fact that pagan persecution, from national sources, ceased to be practiced.

There should be no chapter division between this vivid and graphic description of the revelator and the next paragraph, for now follows merely another scene in the same drama: the punishment of the arch enemy of Christianity and the great instigator of all this malice against its adherents. The dragon himself is seized by the angel and cast into the abyss, and shut up and sealed, "that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished."

This was a great crisis in the world's history. There was a marked and decisive check given to the persecuting power of pagan nations, and the power of the devil, which deceived them into thus persecuting the Church of Christ, was for a time, at least, entirely broken. It was, as Schlegel describes it, "the decisive crisis between ancient and modern times;" and he asserts that the introduction and expansion of Christianity "has changed and regenerated not only government and science, but the whole system of human life" (Philosophy of History, page 276).

This era of the Church's rest from persecution was fully inaugurated at the accession of Constantine, A. D. 312, and the issuance of his edict of toleration in 313. McClintock and Strong say: "In January, 313, he published the memorable edict of toleration in favor of the Christians, by which all the property which had been taken from the Christians during the persecutions was restored to them. They were also made eligible to public offices. This edict has been regarded as marking the triumph of the cross and the downfall of paganism" (art. "Constantine"). "Heathenism seemed to be annihilated at one blow" (Uhlhorn). From that time this edict "was received as a general and fundamental law of the Roman world" (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. xx).

What is very remarkable in this connection is that the Christians of that time, with Constantine himself, believed that his edict and its results were the fulfillment of this very prophecy in the book of Revelation. The well-known labarum was made, which consisted of a Roman standard with the first two letters of the name of Christ (^) upon it, and a monument was erected representing the emperor with a cross over his head, and under his feet Satan as a serpent falling headlong into the abyss. Uhlhorn, as quoted by Warren, thus describes it: "At the entrance of the imperial palace there attracted the gaze of all who went out and in an immense picture representing Constantine himself with the labarum, the banner of the cross, in his hand, and under his feet pierced with arrows a dragon, the dragon of heathenism." And Eusebius says: "For the sacred oracles in the books of God's prophets have described him as a dragon and a crooked serpent; and for this reason the emperor thus publicly displayed a painted resemblance (cera igne resoluta) of the dragon beneath his own and his children's feet, stricken through with a dart and cast headlong into the depths of the sea. In this manner he intended to represent that concealed adversary of the human race, and to indicate that he was consigned to the gulf of perdition by virtue of the trophy of salvation placed above his head." So Schaff: "This rising significance of the cross was a faithful symbol of the extraordinary change in the empire. . . . The despised religion exerted a molding influence upon civil legislation, ruled the life of the people, and began to control the general course of civilization." Davidson says: "This leads to the ancient view, namely, that the period [of the millennium] is past, not future. It will be observed that the beast and the false prophet are both destroyed (chap. xx).

Now, the beast cannot mean the papacy, as has been often assumed. It refers to the heathen power which was opposed to Christ and his religion. Hence the millennium began after the abolition of paganism in the Roman empire" (Interior, vol. iii, page 630). Professor C A. Briggs: "The millennium begins not with any definite event or year of time, but in general with the supremacy of the Church or kingdom of Christ over the Roman empire or world power. . . . John Fox is said to be the first who dated it from Constantine. He was followed by Lord Napier, Patrick Forbes, Hugh Broughton, and most interpreters since" (Independent, August, 1883). (These last three quotations from Warren's Parousia of Christ.)

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshiped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (vers. 4, 5, 6).

These "souls" which John sees seated on thrones are, as we have previously shown (Chapter X, Part I), the same "souls" that were seen under the altar. They appear again in chap. vii, 13-17. They are alluded to in chap. x, 7: "Then is finished the mystery of A Resurrection 367

God, according to the good tidings which he declared to his servants the prophets." Again we meet them in chap. xi, 18: "And the time to give their reward to thy servants the prophets;" then again in chap. xiv, 1-5, they stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion; in chap. xv, 2, we see them standing on the glassy sea, and still later (xix, 14) they are the armies on white horses in fine linen, white and pure. All this is in exact accordance with the iterative character of the book; it gives the same events over and over.

This sitting on thrones of those who were previously under the altar is called a "resurrection" not because it is a rising from the graves of bodies which had been dead. There is nothing said of the resurrection of bodies. "This resurrection is to be explained as a resurrection from Hades to heaven. Those who have suffered in this world and have been slain ascend to their thrones in heaven" (Professor Briggs). "The resurrection is ascribed to these persons only in a figurative sense; that, namely, of a transition into a new and glorious existence; as is indicated by the expression This is the first resurrection' " (Heng- stenberg). Hence in the original this resurrection is denoted by a phraseology differing from that which is applied to the resurrection of mankind in general. It is lost sight of in our English version, but it is a peculiarity of too much importance to be rightfully disregarded. The latter is usually styled simply the resurrection of the dead; that of Christ and his martyrs, the resurrection from or from out of the dead. So, in the Vulgate, the resurrectio a or ex mortuis is distinguished from the resurrectio mortuorum. (See Rom. viii, 11; x, 7; Eph. i, 20; Heb. xiii, 20; I Pet. i, 3, 21.) It implies that out of the whole number of the departed there shall be those who attain a peculiar honor, one which they do not share in common with the rest.

"Being the most exalted state of future reward, it became the object of intensest desire on the part of persecuted saints. Even Paul declared that he made it the object of his most strenuous effort (Phil. iii, 10- 14): 'If by any means I might attain unto [Gr.] the resurrection which is from among the dead.' It was the same inspiring hope that actuated the Christians of the succeeding centuries and led them to seek the bloody crown of martyrdom, the pledge of the crown of victory above. So the sneering Gibbon, chap. xvi" (Parousia of Christ, pages 200, 201)."  (Christ Came Again, pp. 366-370)

 

"So when we read in Heb. ii, 14, 15, "that through death he might bring to nought [destroy, in Authorized Version] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage," we are not to consider this to be an annihilation of the devil, but merely a reference to the cessation of his power over those in whom he had produced this fear of death." (pp 146.147)

 "We grant that a resurrection was to occur at the parousia, but deny that it was to be visible to the eyes of mortals, and therefore insist that it must have taken place just as the Scriptures assert it did; and that, being thus an invisible transaction, it may be still proceeding, as a legitimate part of the events which mark the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who sits on the throne of authority and power to judge and give life—eternal life—with spiritual bodies to all who are believing in him as the years roll on."

(On II Tim. 2:16-18)
"There is a text in Second Timothy which may demand some attention here: "But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a gangrene: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who concerning the truth have erred [have missed the mark, darc^ew], saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some" (2 Tim. ii, 16-18). "The precise meaning of this expression [the one italicized in the quotation] is by no means clearly ascertained; the most general, and perhaps best founded, opinion is that they understood the resurrection in a figurative sense of the great change produced by the Gospel dispensation. . . . Now, as the doctrine of the resurrection of the body was found to involve immense difficulties even in those early days (Acts xvii, 32; I Cor. xv, 35), while, on the other hand, there was so great a predisposition in the then current philosophy (not even extinct now) to magnify the excellence of the soul above that of its earthly tabernacle, it was at once the easier and more attractive course to insist upon and argue from the force of those passages of Holy Scripture which enlarge upon the glories of the spiritual life that now is, under Christ, and to pass over or explain away allegorically all that refers to a future state in connection with the resurrection of the body" (Mc- Clintock and Strong, art. "Hymenaeus").

This explanation being accepted, it is at once perceived that the error of these men was not that there had been a resurrection of the body; and therefore those who now maintain such a doctrine are not properly classed with these heretics.

"Even if they had maintained that a resurrection of the body had taken place, it is to be remembered that this was before the parousia of Christ, and therefore such teaching might then have been erroneous, while now it may be, and, as we believe, is, the only correct teaching, and such as should not subject one to the spear of the heretic hunter.

The faith which was overthrown was doubtless a faith in an actual resurrection of a body into the eternal life of the future. This the upholders of our theory do not interfere with, but sustain with all their powers; only it is maintained also that, this resurrection being necessarily invisible to the bodily eye, it has already occurred, according to the plain and incontestable teachings of Holy Writ." (pp 261-262)

"Our death is the immediate exchange of the visible physical for the invisible physical like unto the ascension. Death is our assumption into the invisible physics; the assumption is the service which death gives us; it is instant on death, the spring of another existence without a wintry ghostly interval. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we repossess our body in death; death is our ingression into the spiritual body without a leap or break. 'To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.' We know that when our earthly house of this temporal residence is dissolved we have—not shall have —a building of God, a residence of eternal elements in the heavens."  (p. 284)

"So our hope in Christ is resplendent with the glories in store for us as we look for our own immediate manifestation with him in the heavenly places so soon as we cease to bear the image of the earthy and begin at once to bear the image of the heavenly. " (p. 284)

(On the judgment)
"We therefore conclude that those who here appear before the throne of the Son of man are the nations of Palestine, the individuals of which received or rejected him in the person of his brethren, and that the rejecters stood there to be judged and doomed, according to Matt. xxii, 6, 7, while the receivers of his disciples entered into the kingdom. " (p. 94)

 

 

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

Charles Volney Anthony
"William S. Urmy was born on the 21st day of June, 1830, in the village of Sing Sing, New York. At the age of fifteen, he was converted at a camp-meeting held in that vicinity, upon the historic grounds of those days. Almost immediately, he felt called to preach the gospel, and began the study of the Greek language and such books as he thought would be of service to him in his work. When twenty-two years old, he came to California, and at once united with Powell Street Church. Here he was licensed to preach, his license bearing the name of Isaac Owen as presiding elder. He preached his first sermon, in the church Roberts sent from Oregon, in December, 1853. He remained at Coloma, where he was first appointed, about six months, when he was removed by the elder to Sonora and Columbia as junior preacher. They had the whole of Tuolumne County for their field of labor. There were ten appointments, to all of which they went on foot. At the conference of 1855, he was sent to lone, then considered a very important field. Here he had eight appointments where he gave regular services. On his way to Dry Town, one Sunday evening, he lost his way, and came to a strange village which they told him was Sutter Creek. Inquiring if there were any Methodists in that place, they directed him to Mr. Wildman's store, whose wife was a member of the Church. He offered to preach, and Mr. Wildman rang the bell. A congregation assembled in a little school-house, to whom Urmy preached, thus turning his mistake to good account. His success on this circuit was excellent. The membership was doubled in fifteen months. He was next appointed to the Alameda circuit, with C. H. Northup for junior preacher, but when Heath left Folsom Street Church the elder appointed him to that charge'. Here he remained two years doing excellent service. It was while here that he married the elder daughter of Dr. Thomas, then editor of the Advocate, a most fitting companion, though destined to leave him after a few years. She died in 1874. Urmy's success was assured from the first. He wrote' well, now and then wooing the spirit of the muse to the edification of his readers. For ten years he served his conference as secretary. He also represented it in the general conference of 1888. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of the Pacific." (Fifty years of Methodism: a history of the Methodist Episcopal Church, pp. 135-137)

John Alfred Faulkner (1901)
"There are others who interpret the passage in 2 Peter as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish state and church. Among these are the eminent names of John Light- foot, John Owen, and Hammond. The Rev. Dr. Israel P. Warren revived this theory in his "Parousia" (Portland, Me., 1879, 2d ed., 1884), a scholarly and able discussion of the doctrine of the second coming, a book which suggested the article, " Will the World Ever End?" by the Rev. Charles E. Smith, in The Baptist Renew, April, 1879. The Rev. J. Stuart Russell, M.A., of London, advocates the same opinion in a strong and thoroughly wrought-out argument in his book, "The Parousia: A Critical Inquiry into the New-Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming," new edition, London, 1887; and recently the Rev. Dr. William S. Urmy has published, through the Methodist Book Concern, an able defense of the same position in his book "Christ Came Again," New York, 1900.

But I can not think that these divines have made good their interpretation. If the apostle had said that this age, aion, was to pass away in fire, we might think that he was speaking figuratively of the passing of the Old Dispensation. But he compares the future destruction by fire to the past destruction by water. One was historical and literal; so will the other be.  Then notice his words: "The heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire." There is no indication of any figurative reference, or of any limitation of the words " heavens and earth " to the Jewish Church. Certainly if he intended to describe the destruction of Jerusalem, he used language in a very misleading way. " The earth and the works therein "—not Jerusalem simply —"shall be burned up." I must therefore hold with Huther, Frommuller, Weiss ("Bibl. Theol. of New Testament," ii., 245-247), Briggs (Presi. Bee., viii., 750-758), De Wette, Wiesinger, Alford, Beet ("Last Things," 11-102), Lumby, Stevens ("Theol. of the New Testament," 323), and other scholars who can not be accused of dogmatic bias, that the natural sense of the words of 2 Peter is the true sense, and that they do teach that all earthly things shall come to an end in fire. The only way to get rid of the teaching of the book is to deny its inspiration or its right to a place in the canon.

There is to be a new heavens and a new earth. This world is to be fitted up as the abode of God's saints, not permanently or as their only home, but for a time at least, and as one of the many mansions of our Father's house. This earth, the scene of our Lord's redemption, is not to pass away entirely, but is to be renovated for yet more glorious uses." (The Homiletic review, Volume 42, p. 445)

William Revell Moody (1900)
"
In Christ Came Again Dr. Urmy labors with zeal and diligence to establish the old theory, discredited by every evangelical creed, every catholic creed, and every generally acknowledged exegete of Christendom, that Christ came before the close of the apostolic age in a sense which completely fulfilled all predictions concerning His parousia and apokalupsis. His utter variance, not only from the pre-millennial bat also from the post-millennial view of the second advent, is fully confessed by himself. He says: " The system of eschatology which this work presents requires that certain changes be made not only in the current thought of the day concerning the second coming of Christ, but in creeds, articles of faith, rituals, and hymns, where they refer to this and kindred eschatological subjects." We wish Dr. Urmy joy of this task!" (Record of Christian work, Volume 19, p. 381)

 

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