Davo - it was reading Kik’s book myself, a number of years ago, that got me thinking along these lines. I’ve not studied the ‘full’ preterist position but would like to.
Hi Richard et al,
This is an interesting subject and I have been looking through and trying to find old notes from a couple of years ago when I was researching the possible dating of Revelation and the subject of Preterism. This was in response to an invitation that I’d received on a study of Revelation from a group who take the Historicist approach. As I’d come to believe differently (I grew up with the historicist approach) but was still rather sketchy on things I had done some study in order to posit a different perspective. I had some interaction with the authors of the series that was revealing but these notes I can only find in part, but if I find anything more that I think might be interesting I’ll put it up later.
To summarise I felt the dating of the book of Revelation was a weak link in the historicist argument and even though general opinion amongst many seems to favour a late date authorship I think this was more a default position accepted because it fits conveniently with those that take a historicist or futurist view rather than from a scholarly approach.
My enquiries certainly didn’t prove an early date, of course, but certainly give at least considerable credence to the very real possibility, and therefore a Preterist interpretation of Rev must enter the debate.
Below is a summary I came across, in my notes, of some of the arguments. I don’t know where this summary came from so can’t give credit to authorship, other than to say it wasn’t me. I hope it’s not too long for a general read.
"…First a backdrop: What is often forgotten or ignored is the fact that the Book of Revelation has more references from the Old Testament than any other book in the Bible! A magnitude of them deals with prophecies about the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and God’s judgment of Jerusalem, as well as the Jewish headship and the disobedience of apostate Israel. Thus, most postmodern Christians will not understand Revelation because they do not know the Old Testament, its rich symbolism, its culture, or the historical conditions of that time.
The date is significant, because if Revelation was “just” written about far-away future events, then this letter to people in dire stress was mostly meaningless. How could they listen to the words of the prophecies and obey something that was not relevant to them?
This would have been a belated word of comfort or a cruel joke, like a relief agency sending a Christmas card to a persecuted Christian in Sudan and saying we are praying for you, but do not worry we will help your great grand kids. (I need to note that I was a diehard late-date person, but now I lean toward an early date personally. So, pardon any bias of language).
An early date prior to 70 A.D.?
First are the arguments previously given. The main arguments to setting a date proposed in the last post is predicated on the fact that John makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem or the Temple in 70 A.D. and thus the book must have been written prior to these events. However, the retort to that is that this is an “argument from silence” which does not persuade when there is ample evidence that John wrote Revelation around 95 A.D. Also, when the “Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 24) is compared to Revelation, a proof is formed that is hard to rebuff. In addition, Jesus’ own words are seen in Matthew 24:1-3: “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down …This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” In less than forty years later, this prophecy was fulfilled. This statement is climatic and earth shattering to a Jew and for setting up a new covenant, a Kingdom of God age. The “early date” people use this as their main argument. But, is there more evidence?
Word usage and “internal evidence:”
Let’s begin with what the word Apocalypse means. The accepted and understood meaning is that it deals with the end times, with what is going to happen at the end of the world. Also, the popular thinking is that this is about what is ominous, anarchical, and disastrous. However, the word, Apocalypse, has the same meaning as the word Revelation, which comes from the Greek word, apokalypsis, meaning the “discourser of events,” as opposed to undisclosed or mysterious. Thus, even though Revelation has a lot of figurative phrases, it is not necessarily concealed when we take an honest look and compare it to other passages in the O.T. rather than pursuing trends or “newspaper eschatology.” Thus, Apocalypse means something is being revealed as an “uncovering,” an “unveiling,” or, as we have it in the English, a “Revelation.” Revelation is a book of disclosure and hope through John’s seven visions and God’s exhortations (Judges 6:11-23; Dan. 7:16; 10:5-21).
We then see this further as Revelation opens with an elaborate greeting so we can more firmly connect our relationship with the authority that is Christ and we can receive His hope and encouragement. Thus, the title of this Book means the “revelation of and about Jesus Christ” that the original hearers could now know.
Revelation 1:1 states, “what must soon take place.” The word “soon” (swift/shortly—Greek “Tachos”) means quickness and speed, indicating that these events will happen “suddenly” and “unexpectedly” (Matt 24:32; 2 Pet. 3:8-18).
The late date, so people point out, also refers to God’s divine providence and the final phase. The time of waiting is over; Christ is here. The time is near for God who lives outside of space and time, but not necessarily near for us. This is similar to the last days, referring in context to the sudden nature of the Christian era, not necessarily a time reference (2 Pet. 3:3). Many Christians took this to mean that it would happen soon. We need to understand God’s perspective, not our desires. This word is critical to which approach and view of Revelation one takes. If we take this word as it is in English and do not pay attention to the Greek or the context, we will jump to the conclusion of immediate fulfillment (Acts 2:16-17; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 22:6-12, 20).
Thus, if it is a prophecy of things that were to happen “shortly”, then these or most of these prophecies were fulfilled with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.!
More Word usage and “internal evidence for an early date:”
The eight kings mentioned in Revelation 17:9-14, may present a date of early 70 A.D. just before the destruction of the Temple which happened in the fall season. The argument goes that if the kings were the Roman emperors, and if it started with the first, 1. Augustus, with the next seven being 2. Tiberius, 3. Caligula, 4. Claudius, and 5. Nero (who died June 9, 68 A.D. and may be the “deadly wound” in Rev. 13:3-14), then after Nero’s murder which left the Roman Empire in chaos, there were three very short lived “pocket emperors” 6. Galba, 7. Otho, and 8. Vitellius, who sought to take advantage of the situation and consolidate power, but each was quickly assassinated. Then, after the eighth one came Vespasian, who restored order in 70 A.D. but also did not live long (Job security was not good then). The date can be predicated because the “deadly wound” was healed by Vespasian (Rev. 17:10). If you did not count the pocket emperors, Vespasian would be sixth and Titus the seventh and Domitian the eighth. So an argument can be made using this system for both date theories. Even though the length of a Roman Emperor’s reign might be short, he was still the king.
Another wording of note is how the tense of word and context of “beast” is used. In Revelation 17:8-11, it says, the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not. If the “beast" represents the Roman Empire and its megalomaniac emperors like Nero and Domitian, then Revelation could not have been written during the reigns of either Nero or Domitian; rather, just before either one! Now this just confounds things a bit more.
Another “internal evidence” is how John addressed his personal situation. John was still to experience a lot of life after this writing, not that he was ready to die of old age. In Rev. 10:11, John is told that he “must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” If John received this message around 96 A.D., how could he be able to walk and travel? Of course, an assist from God would be an answer too. If he was told this in 65-70 A.D., then he had lots of time and the enablement to do it.
An O.T. word example in Daniel 9 is the term “the abomination of desolation." This is an image of extreme evils, oppression, sexual exploitations, and the seductions of the world, referring to the evils of paganism and immorality and rationalizing it as OK (Lev 18:23; Jer. 3:3; Ezek-. 27; Hos. 2:2; Rev. 2:23; 7:3; 13:6). Antiochus IV Epiphanes destroyed the Temple in 167 B.C., at which time he also desecrated an idol of Zeus resembling himself. But wait; there is more! Herod rebuilt it, and it was just being finished at the time of Christ (Daniel 8:12, Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel 11:31, 12:11, Matthew 24:15, Revelation 11). This also refers to Matthew 24, and the most despicable apostasy and sacrilege that a Jewish person could conceive of that caused the desolation of the most holy place of the Temple. Daniel predicted this would happen after the death/rejection of the Messiah, which was also fulfilled at the crucifixion and the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. (Dan. 9:25-27; 11:31).
We will also see that Matthew 24 addresses the same issues as Revelation and the same period of time as Daniel 9. In Matthew 24, Jesus is not talking about the end of the future world, but the destruction of the Jewish temple, marking the end of the Jewish system or “age”. He is not teaching about “The Last Day” (of history), but the last days of the Jewish economy, the false religious system of the Jews, and the beginning of the New Covenant era. This is what John’s readers and hearers were going through.
Textual redaction considerations:
• The “Syriac version” of the New Testament, which dates back to the second century A.D., states that Revelation was written during the reign of Nero making a date of 64-68 A.D.
• The “Muratorian Fragment,” dating back to 170-190 A.D., states that this work of John was written during the reign of Nero.
• The “Aramaic Peshitta” version has a remark that places its date prior to 70 A.D. The title page of Revelation states this work of John was written right after the reign of Nero.
• The “Monarchian Prologues,” that dates back to 250-350 A.D., claims that Paul also wrote to these seven churches (possibly Romans which was a “circular letter,” it went out to many addressees) following John’s Book, thus, placing the book even before some of the other Pauline epistles.
•A quote, arguably attributed to Papius (130 AD), states that John the Apostle was martyred before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Roman law of exile:
Nero Caesar exiled John on the island of Patmos. Nero died in 68 AD, and according to Roman law, those banned by a prior Caesar would be released by the succeeding Caesar. Thus, John would have been released from Patmos around 68 AD. (John himself mentions he was at Patmos when he received the Revelation).
The condition of the Church in Asia Minor:
John is clearly writing to the seven churches and consequently to people being persecuted by Rome. Rome was a bloodthirsty, pagan empire that oppressed its people, especially Christians, who were considered criminals and slaves and used for sadistic entertainment.
Peter also wrote to the Christians in Asia Minor around the same time for an early date or a few years before John (1Pet. 1:1-6; 4:12; 5:9). He notes that they were in extreme persecution, suffering, and in dire anguish. This is similar to John’s language and situation (Rev 2:9; 3:9) and similar situations recorded by Paul in Acts 13:50; 14:5,19; 17:5-8,13; 18:12. Thus, the severity of the persecution is consistent with an early date.
Keep in mind that a Preterist view would require that the date for Revelation be prior to 70 A.D.
A late date after 70 A.D.?
Most modern, historical, and biblical scholars tend to state that Revelation was written between 95 and 96 A.D. with the major exceptions of McGuiggan, Jay Adams, Philip Schaff, and some others who contended for an early date of 70 A.D., specifically in the spring, during Vespasian’s reign, thus making an argument for an early date steps one out of the herd into the presumption of pride or a theological agenda; of course, the majority can be wrong too. If the later date is true, then the Preterist position cannot stand up well—if at all. The majority of the prophecies were fulfilled (except Christ second coming). Keep in mind that the key to this position is Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24.
Most scholars contend that the date of Revelation was around 95-96 A.D. near the end of the Domitian’s evil reign. How, and why?
Iraneaus is the main spokesmen to this date. He lived in the second century A.D., a principal “Early Church Father” who made a statement in 185 A.D. that the apostle John "saw the revelation…at the close of Domitian’s reign(A.D. 81-96). (Ref: Contra Haereses 5.30.3; ANF, 1:559-60 also called in the fifth book of his work “Against Heresies”.) The argument against this is that in context, his statement is not clear, rather ambiguous, but can be implicit in various ways.
Here it is: We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen not very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.
There are at least four main problems with this statement. 1. It is actually a “second hand” account, which he quotes from Polycarp. Thus, it is not a direct quote from Irenaeus. 2. In context, this quote referred to Polycarp’s remembrance (also referred to by Eusebius) “that” sometime toward the end of Domitian’s reign there will be an antichrist (which simply means anyone who opposes Christ; here in a grand scale). 3. It is not clear from this statement to what Polycarp was referring or what he meant by “that was seen.” It could have been referring to Revelation or to a coming antichrist that was also implied by John. 4. Irenaeus suffers from credibility issues and/or textual and scribal errors. He also wrote when he was very old and/or made major mistakes. For example, in the same work as the aforementioned quote, he states that Jesus was crucified when he was fifty years old. Thus, the principle source for the late dating of the Book of Revelation has some significant holes.
Did the Early Church Fathers give credence?
Some of the other Early Church Fathers give credence to a late date. Jerome, Sulpicius Severus, and Hippolytus all thought that John was exiled to Patmos under Domitian, where he saw the visions and wrote the Apocalypse. Another was Clement of Alexandria, who was an “Ante Nicene Father.” In his work, “Who is the rich man that shall be saved? XLII,” he gives credence to a late date too. So say many Futurist scholars. But, when the text is examined,
“the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit…”
The key is how you translate the phrase the tyrant’s death, because it could be Domitian as this theory argues, but it could be someone else like Nero. Jerome also stated in his Book of Illustrious Men that during the final reign of Domitian, he instigated the biggest persecution of all, even greater than Nero’s. Therefore, this sets up the situation for Revelation. However, these statements can easily be cross-examined and refuted because of contextual issues similar to the Irenaeus refute. Thus, these late date theories may come out of interpretative errors by their scholars, from reading into a theory and grasping for any evidence, or that the historians just could not recognize how Christ’s statements applied to the audience as he said they did.
The other main theory for a late date is when the events recorded in the book of Revelation take place in Domitian’s reign (81- 96 AD), the contention is that it is in the future after the date of around 82 to 96 A.D. This is backed up by the early church historian, Eusebius (A.D. 300-340), who actually did not state the date but just gave a general connection between John and Domitian, which could just mean John was still alive in Domitian’s reign."
I have read other similar references but cannot say I have cross checked anything so those with greater knowledge of some of these church father’s may have some worthwhile opinion on the validity of the thoughts here.
Hi Sturmy, the above can be found HERE.
Thanks Melchi and Dave.
This is absolutely correct.
Again yes… biblical “eschatology” was all about the end of the world, that is or should I say was the end of the Mosaic world i.e., the Old Covenant “age”. As I understand it there is NO eschatology relevant to the New Covenant age, that is… the new covenant age has no end. This world will always populate the next ad infinitum.
Well actually, the “revelation” was of “Jesus Christ” and of things “soon” to occur… Jesus had previously prophesied such days and now here is John a good while later commissioned to give relevant details etc.
From my perspective “the world” being judged was the old covenant world that was found wanting Heb 8:7-8]. You have to remember that in spite of previous devastation and deportation [722BC and 587BC] Israelites and in particular their culture survived. Their world was not limited to Palestine, in fact it was for this very reason along with the common Grecian world (trade) language and the Roman roads that traversed the kingdom carrying the gospel message that the early church was predominately viewed as “a Jewish sect”. Hence Paul’s affirmation… “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Acts 15:21 cf Jn 7:35; Acts 2:5, 26:7; Jas 1:1; 1Pet 1:1
John’s ‘Revelation’ speaks of those who “…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire…”. The ‘lake of fire/second death’ was much more than a picture of ‘physical death’ – DEATH like in Israel’s former captivity actually meant EXILE. Yes many literally died, but in covenantal terms “death is exile”. Comprehending this helps us to see Paul’s words to the Thessalonians with more clarity, appreciating the historical context as opposed to applying something more ethereal…
2Thess 1:9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…
As I understand it “eternal destruction” speaks not of longevity but of TOTALITY – it is qualitative NOT quantitative. History bears witness to the fact that in the aftermath of the Ad70 Judgment a good portion of the Jews were taken captive as slaves back to Rome and paraded by the conquering Titus as part of the spoils of the Roman-Jewish Wars. These captives were all very much alive, yet having had “their part” in the “lake of fire” (Israel’s/Jerusalem’s AD66-70 conflagration) were now banished forever… permanently exiled [DEATH] away from “the presence of the Lord” in Jerusalem – their world had come crashing down and they were as dead-men-walking… judged and found wanting.
Thanks davo that’s helpful.
Out on vacation last week; just noticed this. I suppose first of all I’m intrigued by the breadth of your personal musings about life and theology!
I mean, why this, why now…
Within my denomination of upbringing (and where I currently reside; very Historicist! eg see sturmy’s notes…) there is this inside joke among the more bold… We Adventists (ie the SDA) have no need for hell; (we - though not me! - are annihilationists as you may recall…) we do however have a perfect substitute: the fear engendered by our own particular eschatology – which renders our Second Coming scenarios (and up-leading events) just as fearsome as any hell!
I’ve no fondness for the subject myself. It’s been nothing but a source of fear and trembling and uncertainty. So my bias is inherent and frightfully strong. I’ve found discussions of eschatology mostly as negative; ie quite counter to any notion of gospel (GOOD news folks!!) one might have.
In my experience then, Eschatology serves merely to select and empower a certain enlightened few with, you know, the “special knowledge” that can make one feel so smug and certain and (let’s just admit it) self-righteous… Because, you know, we “know” (wink wink! what those other less insightful bible readers don’t “know”. It was, in short, a mechanism of exclusion, and control (he with the secret knowledge rules!) and (in retrospect) frightfully manipulative… Little wonder then that for me, my dawning realization of the true God (for me, in ’94…) involved a heavy dose of reworking of my understandings of …. Eschatology.
But to cut through a whole lot of anguish and questions and thought, my response to this question of your’s Richard is, (apologies for sounding crude or irreverent…) so what? All biblical eschatology culminates/is realized in 70 A.D. So what? Jesus came again… Final Judgement… Hell… All over and behind us… So what?? Or, with a nod to my Historicist upbringing (yes, the very one which left me in a tetanic fear…) Most, or maybe NONE of it was fulfilled — it’s ALL going to happen sometime… out there… in the future… gotta “be ready” … Again I’d ask; so what?
For, it seems too obvious to even need to mention, and just think of all to whom this has applied over the ages since the Cross, here we are. Still. Looking, waiting, suffering, yearning, and asking - over and over again until we faint of exhaustion - Why? Oh God? and… How Long Oh God?? The majesty & victory of the Cross simply fades away into the very thing faith always was… waiting out the storm, catching fleeting glimpses and glimmers of the (all too often far off) Kingdom, and then, we die… Die just like those other hero’s of faith. (Heb 11) Die in hope – not having received the promise… still waiting for that heavenly country…
Eschatology fulfilled? So what… Life goes on. And we find ourselves asking the same questions, facing the same dilemmas also faced and asked by vast throngs who’ve trod the way before us.
And no, we’re not leaving Him; we affirm, as did Peter so long ago, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal Life… we know You are the Holy One of God…”
Of what use, then, is eschatology? What happened, and when? … what will happen, and when? So what? Why do we need to know with such specificity??
I’ve known many who hold that eschatology exists so that, when it happens (is fulfilled) we can all say “see! - God really does know the future!” which I suppose is to generate confidence in God. Except, as you’ve noted, we can’t even agree that “it” has even happened! To see eschatology as indication of God’s complete foreknowledge, or as refutation of open theism, misses the point – or so it seems to me…
The only way I can even begin to make a coherent place for eschatology is to find a place for it within the overarching narrative of God. God – origin of everything, thus a personal being, the Creator ‘invested’ in His creation. But something’s amiss; call it the ‘fall’, or call it the painful journey towards freedom and right doing from our initial condition of ambiguity, self-centeredness, delusion. Thus, the central actions of God involve redemption. Of not just us, but of the entire creation.
Whether the process of redemption, or “re-creation”, is itself part of, or necessary to the overarching goals of God’s creation I cannot say for sure. (ie following Talbott’s suggestion that we are born into ambiguity, ignorance, and prone to delusion…)
Necessary to this process – and surely we should be able to all agree that it’s mostly a process, not just an instantaneous churning out of perfected beings – is time. Things just need to work out, evolve; cause and effect becoming ever clearer even as the revelation of God’s way’s & means become clearer. (ie without the dark glass; knowing even as we are known etc) This lack of complete clarity however, even as we learn and grow and move, can be extremely anxiety producing as we are tempted to despair, lose hope; our faith shudders.
Into this setting then, this narrative, eschatology begins to make perfect sense when seen as an indispensable part of God’s redemption. It is a framework of history, part and parcel of our narrative, which serves to remind us, over and over as necessary, of the truths on which our hope rests. God is there; God is cause; God is personal; God is involved; we are not alone; God is compassionate; God is redeeming; and most of all, God is victorious. Any eschatology that doesn’t end with a completely victorious God is no eschatology at all.
The point of an eschatology then is not to raise our predictive IQ so we can just plug correct events in with correct dates. Rather, it is to encourage the despairing, rekindle their hope, rebuild courage and strengthen faith. The point is, God stands astride all of history… As we all should be painfully aware, there are those who follow Christ today whose loyalties are costing them their lives. We argue finer points of theology; they’re getting killed. I should think that an eschatology that speaks to God’s current intimate involvement in our Redemptive drama would be rather more pertinent, and powerful, than one which only affected “them” way back “then”. If belief in complete fulfillment “way back then” fosters confidence today (and why wouldn’t it?) then that is fine too of course and that eschatology will also have served its useful purpose.
Or something like that…
Thanks for the thoughts Richard!
steve7150 wrote:It says Jesus is returning to judge the world and the dead will be raised and judged and those whose names are not in the book of life will go into the lake of fire.
From my perspective “the world” being judged was the old covenant world that was found wanting [Heb 8:7-8]. You have to remember that in spite of previous devastation and deportation [722BC and 587BC] Israelites and in particular their culture survived. Their world was not limite
Sorry i have not had much free time, hopefully after July 4th i’ll have more. I read individuals being raised from the dead in Rev 20 and individually being judged and any individual not found in the book of life being put in the lake of fire.
This is nowhere to found in Full Preterism. Also i read in scripture an end to evil at some point also not found in FP. The dating of Revelation is not an issue as for the Historicist and Idealist view it can be written at either date. The things happening soon could have begun in 70AD and simply continued through the church age. However sometimes God described things in the present tense that happened hundreds of years later like Isaiah 53 or Genesis 3.15. Paul said God speaks of things that are not as though they are (Rom 4) therefore the word “soon” may or not mean it the way we normally would take it.
Again… from my perspective the “world” being judged was the “old covenant” world that had failed miserably Heb 8:7-8] and was “about to” μέλλω] “pass away”, as per the likes of Heb 8:13; 2Cor 3:11; 1Jn 2:8.
Although my view of pantelism is in the fully prêteristic camp I certainly do not speak for all full prêterists, far from it, however… as I understand it, this is not some cosmic endless post mortem scene, but rather refers to the Mosaic world’s “end time”, i.e., ‘the lake of fire’ is a metonymic euphemism used to express the conflagrations that were to befall Palestine in AD66-70, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in particular the Temple, the paragon of LIFE in the old covenant “world”. Those who remained faithful to Israel’s covenant renewal as founded in Christ “enduring to the end” were delivered, that is, “saved” out of harm’s way, as per Mt 24:13; Lk 21:21.
Those who “had their part” in the lake of fire Rev 21:8] suffered tremendous loss in the Roman-Jewish wars of the period, and particularly so with Jerusalem’s destructive inferno of AD70… some to the point of DEATH, for others deprivation and DEPORTATION to Rome.
Again, history bears witness to the fact that in the aftermath of this AD70 “Judgment” a good portion of Jewish captives were taken back to Rome and paraded as slaves before the conquering Titus as part of the spoils of war. These captives were all still very much alive, yet having had “their part” in the “lake which burns with fire” were now banished “forever”… permanently EXILED, i.e., covenant DEATH aka “the Second Death” away from the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem – their world had come crashing down; they had been judged and found wanting.
These were the ones banished from ever again being found in “the Presence of the Lord” (at the Temple) as per Paul’s words to the Thessalonians… These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power… 2Thess 1:9
And so it was in contradistinction… they had “no place” or “part” in ‘the Book of Life’ – a euphemism with undertones in part saying no place found for them in the land of the living as per the likes of Ex 32:32; Isa 4:3; Psa 69:28; Rom 9:3.
Steve, which text/s of “scripture” do you actually have in mind that mention “an end to evil”?
Has anybody considered that while all the stuff to Jerusalem did happen, that it is also a type/shadow of the future, meaning the same bad stuff will happen again and that Jesus really will come back in the clouds to save us all from killing each other.
Also, when the Bible says that Jerusalem will not be built again, I think it meant it literally in the sense of a nuclear war.
The preterist view (without any future event) seems to miss out on that fact that global events have gotten progressively worse over time. There is more bloodshed, war, immorality, hypocrisy in the churches, broken families, disasters, famines, monetary debt, and general evil in the last couple of centuries (read: World War I, II, Holocaust, etc.) than ever. The biggest evidence comes from the fact that secularization corrodes Christian values in America and Europe to the point that Christians are unsure of whether God cares. That’s what I call mass manipulation by ‘humanist’ leaders who supposedly represent the ignorant people. Eventually, the leaders will be exposed for their lies and people will cry out for Jesus to save them and bring back order. Jesus gonna boss, man.
BTW, I come from an Adventist background but now I’m an Universalist who believes that Jesus will come back and sort this whole mess out soon. I don’t mean to be negative, just keeping it real.
Sincerely (yes, I mean everything I said),
P.S. Jesus loves you. You’ll be fine if you put your trust in Him.
I love your post despite disagreeing with almost everything in it! I thought quite similarly in the past but now I’m older …and well, just OLDER! I may be wiser but that’s more debatable… Anyway, there is a lot that could be discussed here as you’ve laid out some things here that are very provocative regarding things getting worse in the last few centuries and the corrosion of “Christian values.” I sense a new thread arising from this and wonder if you’d be game to pursue this? If so, I’ll start a new one using this post as an intro and off we go!
post a link, please.
Preterism is really a neat concept that too many Bible readers have not considered. The idea that I am reading something prophesied in the future that is actually in the past from my time-frame is often over-looked. The average evangelical theologian is often scared by the term preterism, but I think with thoughtful discussion we could get every Christian to agree that the Bible has spoken of at least some events using the future tense that are already in the past. Any such statement is a preteristic statement. In fact most Christians hold to some form of this.
The question then is where to draw the line. How do we understand the multitude of statements that Jesus and his Word makes about the future? What has already happened and what remains in the future for mankind?
One thing predicted in the future is the glorification of the God’s people, the complete removal of sin and the perfection of our minds, bodies, and souls. In fact this future event is SO certain that Romans 8:30 even speaks of it in the past tense. Yet I think each of us could consider our aches, pains, and struggles with sin and realize that we are not yet glorified. Of course one might try to follow Mary Baker Eddy into Christian Science and the denial of pain. One could also argue that this temporal life is simply an endless incubator bringing new people into this broken world in order to find Jesus and that glorification happens for all upon death. However, this simple model misses the Biblical teaching about the rapture and resurrection as well as other things.
One question I am researching along these lines is whether the White horse in Revelation 6 is the same event as the White horse in Revelation 19. One could try to understand Revelation as a prophesy of events and judgments, concerning Jerusalem or otherwise, beginning with the White horse in Revelation 6. John then returns to the same white horse in Revelation 19 to communicate that these events he just described in the body of the book are now beginning. This literary device would be called a framing-effect. I’ve tried to understand it that way, but after some effort it seems too cumbersome.
Presently I’ve simply settled to a partial-preterist stand while trying to build a consistent understanding of where to draw the lines in what is past and what is still future. The challenge is having a thorough enough understanding of history past while wading through the highly symbolic language of apocalyptic literature.
I have proposed a chart of redemptive history on this page. I’d love to have your feedback there. dgjc.org/optimism/hope-in-jesus
I guess that as a full preterist and a universalist, I have found that to come to these conclusions I have had to unlearn many assumptions I have had over the years.
I am not sure why most all Christians believe that Christ came to earth, born of a virgin, did many miracles, taught of many incredible truths, was put to death, died, was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven… We believe all these things (and I may add none of us has seen with our own eyes) and yet many will not believe that he came for all, to reconcile humanity to the Father, that he bore the sin of all the world, that he came to completely fulfil the covenantal requirements to the house of Israel, that through a partial hardening of heart, ALL have been Included… in short, Christ has done everything he said he would do.
As to sins, pains, sufferings, glorification etc… I will quote George McDonald:
God does not, by the instant gift of his Spirit, make us always feel right, desire good, love purity, aspire after him and his will. Therefore either he will not, or he cannot. If he will not, it must be because it would not be well to do so. If he cannot, then he would not if he could; else a better condition than God’s is conceivable to the mind of God-a condition in which he could save the creatures whom he has made, better than he can save them. The truth is this: He wants to make us in his own image, choosing the good, refusing the evil. How should he effect this if he were always moving us from within, as he does at divine intervals, towards the beauty of holiness? God gives us room to be; does not oppress us with his will; “stands away from us,” that we may act from ourselves, that we may exercise the pure will for good. Do not, therefore, imagine me to mean that we can do anything of ourselves without God. If we choose the right at last, it is all God’s doing, and only the more his that it is ours, only in a far more marvellous way his than if he had kept us filled with all holy impulses precluding the need of choice. For up to this very point, for this very point, he has been educating us, leading us, pushing us, driving us, enticing us, that we may choose him and his will, and so be tenfold more his children, of his own best making, in the freedom of the will found our own first in its loving sacrifice to him, for which in his grand fatherhood he has been thus working from the foundations of the earth, than we could be in the most ecstatic worship flowing from the divinest impulse, without this willing sacrifice. For God made our individuality as well as, and a greater marvel than, our dependence; made our apartness from himself, that freedom should bind us divinely dearer to himself, with a new and inscrutable marvel of love; for the Godhead is still at the root, is the making root of our individuality, and the freer the man, the stronger the bond that binds him to him who made his freedom. He made our wills, and is striving to make them free; for only in the perfection of our individuality and the freedom of our wills call we be altogether his children. This is full of mystery, but can we not see enough in it to make us very glad and very peaceful?
Macdonald, George . Unspoken Sermons Series I, II, and III (p. 75).
I kind of like how he puts this. Having pasted the above, I have no problem with the notion that Christ did all he said he would do. And we are exactly where the Father wants us.
1Co 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
1Co 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
1Co 15:21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
1Co 15:24 then comes the end,
(if we consider the end, what is talked about here, is the ending of the age Christ spoke of=70AD destruction of the Temple)
1Co 15:24 (continued) when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1Co 15:27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
1Co 15:28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
Once again, I have no problem with believing Paul saying that Christ is doing (has done in our time) everything he said he would do. The above has everything to do with God’s covenant with Israel. We keep trying to make it into a personal evangelical revelation.
Wright puts it like this:
Paul’s understanding of God’s accomplishment in the Messiah is that this single purpose, this plan-through-Israel-for-the-world, this reason-God-called-Abraham (you can see why I prefer the shorthand “covenant”; this is going to be a very long book if I have to use multihyphenated phrases all the time), finally came to fruition with Jesus Christ. Here is the point which has so puzzled John Piper that he thinks a “covenantal” reading would be a belittling of Paul’s meaning. The single-plan-through-Israel-for-the-world was called into being by God as the means of addressing and solving the plight of the whole world. The “covenant,” in my shorthand, is not something other than God’s determination to deal with evil once and for all and so put the whole creation (and humankind with it) right at last. When will it become clear to the geocentrists? Dealing with sin, saving humans from it, giving them grace, forgiveness, justification, glorification—all this was the purpose of the single covenant from the beginning, now fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Wright, N. T. (2009-09-25). Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision (pp. 94-95). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
Just my opinion.
I guess I see all as all inclusive. Seems clear to me.
As I understand it from an “inclusive prêterist” perspective, aka pantelism… I would say the exact opposite to be true. In fact it was 1Cor 15 that that led me as a full prêterist to see the all-inclusive nature of God’s grace – TO ALL. I’m not making a case for “universalism” per se but rather “inclusion” – similar but with significant differences that foster different conclusions and assumptions that to my mind negate and quash a lot of unnecessary and manufactured doctrinal contradictions.
IF as Pantelism contends – in the AD70 Parousia of Christ the LAST enemy to be destroyed was “the death” (1Cor 15:26); and IF along with “the death” its paralysing venom of “the sin” duly empowered by the “the law” all suffered demise (1Cor 15:56); and further… IF God having reconciled all things in heaven and on earth to Himself through the blood of Christ’s cross (Col 1:20); THEN regardless of what you or I or anybody else thinks or reasons – God has no more enemies.
Now even if in the ignorance or arrogance of some men’s feeble minds they consider themselves enemies of God, from HIS perspective they are not (Col 1:21), period. The logic is clear-cut – IF from the pantelist perspective “the last enemy” to be destroyed was “the death” aka spiritual separation (that which the first Adam wrought was that which the last Adam rectified), then a consistent prêterism must dictate that there can be NO MORE ENEMIES thereafter; therefore God has no more enemies, period! And thus… IF God has made peace, and the Scriptures testify He has, THEN who are we to question His gracious will?
Needless to say I became the bane of existence in prêt circles being duly labelled “a dirty universalist!!” – lol.
If all is fulfilled then an unequivocal YES!
Some remain unconvinced but I suspect this is due to looking at life from our fleshly perspective; always a deficiency. Consider the logic… IF “Christ in you” can be relegated to the scrap heap based purely on the human observation of judging a person’s life i.e., their works, THEN no Christian can or could claim that reality that Paul claims to be true.
Just because a lot of humanity does not live as though God were present within does not mean He is not. Again simplifying it… just because a lot of believers do not live as though Christ were truly present within does not mean He is not.
I read the text with the prêteristic hermeneutic of “audience relevance” in mind, meaning… BEFORE I read “myself” back into the text I ask, HOW did this (the text) have meaning for those to whom it was specifically written, i.e., what did the original audience understand these words to mean? NOT what do these words mean to me? That is secondary and should be governed by that which is primary.
Which “world” were they not to love? …the one the majority of early converts came from, i.e., Judaism – the OC “world”. THAT world (the one Jesus came to redeem) was under “condemnation” and those who clung to it would duly go down with it, as per Jn 3:16-18, 36.
Again it was “the world” of the old covenant that was coming to naught, or as the immediate writer states “is passing away” i.e., in the process thereof of demise…
The brother who remained in the practice of Pharisaic judgmentalism, i.e., “darkness” was hindering the “true light from shining”. The likes of Diotrephes (3Jn 1:9) was such a one and was in danger of the very likes of the Pharisaic Lawyers, as per Lk 11:52 cf. Acts 15:10; Rom 1:18. This then is the likes of the behaviour 1Jn 2:9 refers to… NOT living out the fullness of NC grace.
Again this ‘passing world’ is in line with the writer to the Hebrews…
Note the then present diminishing nature of the OC world, said to be in the process of… “becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” There is likewise Paul’s words…
Again the OC world was “passing away” and “what remains is much more glorious” i.e., the NC world. Jesus’ disciples asked…
As can be seen there IS historical context determining HOW the relevant audiences understood their world and what was coming upon it, and in particular the words spoken in relation to it.
But to reiterate, and this does need taking note of…
In terms of ECT or some misapplying of the LOF, no! I’m somewhat agnostic on what I would see as ‘justice postmortem’ only because I don’t see it dealt with that clearly in scripture. Now someone might appeal to the likes of…
Again understanding “audience relevance” and “apocalyptic genre” this torturous torment lasting “forever and ever” speaks to the TOTALITY, completeness or fullness of judgment, NOT its length. Not only that… the context itself shows the timeframe of Jerusalem’s ‘last days’ (AD70) where the great Harlot Babylon, i.e., JERUSALEM is fallen.
But even if one wants, for example, to ignore the historic parlance and still claim the likes of postmortem ECT for this passage above then they can be greatly comforted knowing that even as they are likewise “in the presence of the Lamb” they too will be able to speak, as per Lk 16:26, with their lost loved ones as they writhe in flames; though there be a “great gulf fixed” between them at least they will be close enough to communicate… Jesus thought of everything, oh joy!!
Hebrews 10:31 says it’s a scary thing to fall into the hands of the living God. In John 8:24 Jesus warns of the danger of dying in one’s sins. These seem to be clear references to post-portem punishment.
But even if the Bible didn’t deal clearly with the issue, we could conclude based on logic that if Christianity is true, there will be post-portem punishment. (Whether or not it’s unending is a whole other issue).
qaz Posts: 39Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:51 am
Sure, some will be beaten with many lashes, some with few. It’s proportionate.
Which is why I haven’t made that carte blanch claim.
It’s not that they can’t be true post parousia, BUT that those verses’ primary and more immediate focus and applicability was to the THEN suffering church as per ‘the tribulation’ and their need for unity of “love” in the face of division… as per the likes of 1Jn 2:19; Acts 15:1, 5, 24
AD70 was the end game with regards to Israel’s redemption. Any “believer” prior or since who claims to love God and yet hates his brother can be challenged to their apparent hypocrisy… I’m NOT arguing against that point.
Well no, I don’t. You’re saying I’m saying things that I’ve NOT actually said, i.e., you’re making false assumptions. What I’ve said is… by virtue of the parousia (AD70) God has no more enemies, period. AD70 hasn’t stopped anyone from coming to errant conclusions about God and so having ‘attitude’ against God… but that doesn’t faze God NOR change the reality of His grace covers all, dare I say is “all in all” – some people in this life “get it” and are blessed accordingly – the rest will (on the whole) be pleasantly surprised when they step through death’s doorway.
Your word “seem” is a massive qualifier! There is nothing in Heb 10:31 that requires such dire straits as referencing a post-mortem calamity; Israel’s history was replete with examples of what it meant “to fall into the hands of the living God” IN THIS LIFE!
Again in Jn 8:24… nothing apart from of doom IN THIS LIFE not knowing the forgiveness that was theirs, i.e., consequentially dying in their sins. WHERE are you getting “post-mortem” from in this text?
All well and good, so ok, logically state your case accordingly…
Here is some of my logic.
- The wicked dead are punished in a place called Hades. The man died and was buried. Luke 16:19-31
- The righteous dead are raised to life to reign with Christ. Revelation 20:1-6
- The wicked dead are extracted from Hades after the Millennial time period. Hades is not empty, but will be emptied. Revelation 20:11-15
- Fallen angels are likewise being held for future judgment. 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6
- There is temporary postmortem punishment for unbelievers
- There is differential blessed postmortem treatment for believers
- There are redemptive events still in the future
- There is reason to fear the Lord’s wrath for he still punishes the disobedient