The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Qaz' official review of How the End Times Ended

#1

How the End Times Ended (hereafter HTETE) is a short, but scripture-packed case for preterism. Stephens shows that the New Testament’s numerous time statements demand a first century fulfillment of the end times. As a preterist myself, I have believed that the beast in Revelation is Rome. Stephens on the other hand argues that there are actualy two beasts: the first is the ten northern tribes (Israel), the second is the two southern tribes (kingdom of Judah). He bolsters his argument by examining Old Testament prophecies of the war.

Stephens makes a fairly compelling case that Gehenna/the lake of fire refer exclusively to the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem carried out by the Romans. I was delighted that Stephens addressed the elephant in the room for his theory, Romans 2:5-10. Here Paul writes that wrath would come upon every evil Jew and Greek. Stephens explains the judgment on the latter like this: the “Greeks” in view here were Israelites scattered across the known world. The “Greeks” who would be punished then were Israelites living in gentile territory who heard about and decided to join false messiahs attempting to overthrow Rome. I wish Stephens addressed the other elephant in the room for his theory, Revelation 21:8. What is the postmortem status of murderers, liars, fornicators, etc who weren’t killed in AD 70?

The impression I got through the majority of HTETE was that Stephens is a universalist. I was disappointed to read Stephens write on p 140 that some of the people who were in Sheol/Hades passed into oblivion during the judgment (along with Sheol/Hades itself). To challenge such a notion, I would simply point out that in Revelation 22, after all the sinners have been cast into the lake of fire, the Spirit and Bride say, “Come.” Since the Bride is the church, it can’t be inviting Christians; the only logical conclusion is that it’s inviting those who didn’t already have eternal life.

I would highly recommend HTETE. The style is not academic, but Stephens is a great writer and bright exegete. I hope to read a book in the future by him where he argues from a preterist universalist position, rather than as preterist annihilationist.

1 Like

#2

Thanks for the review, Qaz.
NT Wright makes a strong case for Greeks meaning Greeks.

0 Likes

#3

Thanks for your review.

0 Likes

#4

As a pantelist that would likewise be my understanding.

I strongly suspect Stephens holds to the ‘Israel only’ (IO) theory that started up in prêts circles about 10-15yrs ago; it claims that biblical “Gentiles” were the northern exiled tribes of Israel carte blanch… overkill IMO.

There is ground for recognising certain gentile references in terms of Israel, but they are not the rule and logic dictates the bulk of the term references non-Israelites… the Greeks of the day to whom Paul is inclusive would be Greeks — possibly proselytes… thus the pertinent warnings etc.

I can’t speak for Stephens’ prêterism but the pantelist view is that the… “murderers, liars, fornicators, etc” were those of the OC mode of existence who either died or were deported as a result of Israel’s LoF, i.e., AD70 — it’s not really talking about postmortem BUT rather… the final end of the old covenant world, i.e., “the second death.

0 Likes

#5

He definitely seems to. If the “Greek” in Rom 2:5-10 is in fact a gentile, I don’t see how he was punished in AD 70.

0 Likes

#6

One thing to consider… any proselyte joining the sons of Gehenna (Mt 23:15) would likely suffer the same end.

0 Likes

#7

That’s very interesting davo. I had not considered that verse.

0 Likes

#8

davo’s post is about history… So how do you see the today view of scripture?

0 Likes

#9

For mine… that might depend on what text is in view. Take for example collectively the reconciliation of man — a done deal, as per 2Cor 5:19. And yet on an individual level there are any amount of life principles and lessons one can glean and adopt into one’s own experience, as per Jas 1:21 etc.

0 Likes

#10

I forgot to mention in my review another elephant in the room for Stephen’s. @davo what about the parable of the unforgiving servant?

0 Likes