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Thread: Anti-preterist article

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    Anti-preterist article

    just read an interesting article and would like feedback on what others think.

    http://www.christkirk.org/hyperpreterism.shtml

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    Give me some time to read it and work on a response. In the meantime, what are your thougts?

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    hehehe, I KNEW This would pull old Jack out of the woodwork! I'm gonna read it and get back to everyone. I skimmed over it once and didn't like how it appealed to the "creeds" LOL. I did read an anti-preterist article on preteristarchive.com by Dan Trotter that I'm not completely sure about. I'm not quite ready to anathematize all preterists as these scholars have, as that seems to be a hasty decision
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    Originally posted by Odyssey
    Give me some time to read it and work on a response. In the meantime, what are your thougts?

    Grace to you,

    jak
    here's what i wrote to the preterist friend who sent the URL to me:

    Since the modern form exhibits such striking similarity to Hymenaeus' teaching, we call the current version of this heresy Neo-Hymenaeanism.
    how does he know the ins and outs of Hymenaeus' teaching? it may appear to be similar but i think the preterist would just appeal to the fact that these verses in 2 Tim were written prior to 70AD. if the comparison to Hymenaeus' teaching is his thesis (and the title of his article), then he should interact with this a bit more.

    To support this doctrine, Neo-Hymenaeanism reinterprets both the resurrection of the body and the final judgment.
    this term "reinterpret" is overused and makes little sense. "reinterpreted" from what?...his interpretation? interpreting something differently is not equivalent to a
    "reinterpretation."

    For, while a difference of opinion remains among orthodox Christians on the manner and timing of Christ's future coming, they have always agreed on certain eschatological minimums.
    this is a very strong statement which he doesn't do much to support. using such terms as "orthodox" and "have always agreed" color his whole approach. yet he makes this statement with no more proof than a reference to one creed. perhaps the purpose of the paper is to be abbreviated, however if someone is going to make such a strong assertion he should at least prove it better than this chap did.

    All believe in the future and final coming of Christ, the bodily resurrection of the wicked and the righteous at the end of the world, and the future and final judgment of all men at the last day. Neo-Hymenaeanism attacks these very eschatological issues to which Christians have always given their unanimous consent. In attacking such central doctrines, it is no wonder that other
    important doctrines are also overturned.
    again...he uses "all" and "always" too much. how does he know?

    The heretical nature of Neo-Hymenaeanism becomes even clearer as one evaluates its denial of the physical nature of the resurrection body.
    talk about isolating the reader. if one is a preterist reading this, i wonder if he thinks they'll be excited to continue in reading his argument. using such terms as "orthodox" and "heretical" in this way (without much proof other than that the writer obviously believes he finds himself on the side of "orthodoxy" whatever that may mean) doesn't seem to be responsible to me.

    However, if God does not grant them repentance, one day the weight of the premises will snap their resistance and the logic will drive them to a bodiless Christ, a Savior not found in Scripture.
    again he is isolating the reader. now if he's just trying to get everyone who is currently not a preterist to hate preterists and consign them to a state of eternal hell then he's done a good job. perhaps his audience is not to convince preterists that they are wrong but to prevent non-preterists from ever becoming preterists. if this is his purpose and audience then he's done well. but i don't think it's an honest, even-handed, and responsible argument.

    Consequently, its adherents are in grievous danger of damning their own souls.
    who died and made him pope? [no offence to our resident Roman Catholics] again strong language but without charity, mercy, kindness, and gentleness. he has a lot of good arguments overall but falls into the "i'm orthodox, they're heretics" trap a little too often.

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    Partial preterism

    Unlike soteriology, eschatology isn't quite as black and white as many make it out to be. Full or hyperpreterism is indeed a heresy because it denies the future, physical Second Coming of Christ. That viloates Jesus' clear statements in the gospels and the early witness of the church. Appealing to the confessions is fine as long as those appeals have basis in Scripture as well. However, hyperpreterism is not the totality of the preterist landscape.

    I'm a bit of an unusual animal in that I'm a partial preterist and historical premillenialist. Most people just say hmmm to that one! Preterism holds a spectrum of views within its boundaries. While full preterism (ala Russell) is heretical, partial preterism is not as long as there is no denial of the future, physical Second Coming. I believe that many, maybe most, of the events foretold in Mathew 24 came to pass in 70 AD, as evidenced both by Christ's statement that these things will come to pass before that generation passed (Mt 24:34) and the historical record. Two distinct questions were asked in Mt 24:3, and Christ answered both. The signs of the end of the age (the Jewish age) came to pass in 70 AD, while His Second Coming is yet to come. Since Jesus interspersed the answers, which statement applies to each question is open to legitimate debate.

    Eschatology provides ample room for debate in the details. The key to charity is remembering that the gospel itself is eschatological in that it guarantees our physical resurrection and glorification in Christ and His eternal reign as our Lord and Judge.
    Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed,
    Because His compassions fail not.
    - Lamentations 3:22 (NKJV)

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    Hi Tanker Bob.... Thanks for the post. I'm hoping to see where it goes...

    I too am a partial preterist, but am amillennial in my futurism. I'm really curious how you came to be a partial preterist premillennial!!!! That is certainly a unique perspective, and I look forward to see how you piece it all together....

    Also, I'd like to see your justification on hyper-preterism as a heretical doctrine.

    Sincerely Yours in Christ,
    Brandan
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    Originally posted by kermie
    I too am a partial preterist, but am amillennial in my futurism. I'm really curious how you came to be a partial preterist premillennial!!!! That is certainly a unique perspective, and I look forward to see how you piece it all together....
    I don't have time at the moment to give either question justice, but I'll tackle this one first. Like all sincere believers, I just follow the Word where it goes. When we look to OT prophesies, e.g., most of Daniel, we look to history to find their fulfillment. There are, of course, thousands of such fulfillments easily seen in history. Partial preterism falls in that category nicely. Parts of Mt 24 (and Lk 11, etc.) are clearly seen fulfilled in 70 AD. Mt 24 starts with Jesus' statement about the temple's destruction, the disciples ask for specifics, He tells them, and we see the fulfillment in 70 AD. That seems pretty cut and dried to me, keeping in mind the general observation in my last post. After all, why treat the NT prophesies any different than the OT ones?

    The historical premil comes from exactly the same reasoning. The bulk of OT prophesy is very plain, while a small amount seems allegorical. Why treat the current future different than the OT future? Most defenses of other mil views gloss over passages that seem perfectly plain. Ken Gentry's works on postmil are great examples. I've me Ken and heard him talk on his theories, and frankly find that they gloss over inconvenient passages, particularly in the OT. We should treat all prophesy similarly, seeking historical fulfillment of those clearly presented. Nathaniel West's classic The Thousand Year Reign of Christ provides an almost exhaustive treatment of this whole-counsel-of-Scripture approach. It is still available in paperback from Kregel, though not an easy read. Some of Ladd's works are more readable, but not as comprehensive.

    I also place some importance on the history of the church and views held throughout. Amil as an overarching system didn't appear until about 4 centuries after Christ. All the early fathers seemed to teach historical premil--the visible reign of Christ for 1000 years. It wasn't until Augustine's City of God that the allegorical approach became popular. Why the gap? Shouldn't we put more weight on those who sat at Christ's feet and their disciples? I believe so. The old adage has a ring of truth: What's true isn't new, and what's new isn't true. Postmil fares even worse since it doesn't pop up until the 18th century.

    That's the thumbnail. Gotta run, but I'll hit the other question later.
    Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed,
    Because His compassions fail not.
    - Lamentations 3:22 (NKJV)

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    Hi Tanker Bob, and welcome to the forums. I'm one of the "resident full preterists," and hope for some fruitful discussions with you.

    Having said that, may I pick a bone of contention with you? You said,
    Like all sincere believers, I just follow the Word where it goes.
    I, too, am a sincere believer, and no one talked me into taking the full preterist view of eschatology. I, too, believe that the Scriptures are sufficient and trustworthy, and are my authority in all matters of faith and practice. I came to the conclusion that all Biblical eschatology (not all prophecy) had been fulfilled from studying the Bible and history. In fact, when I began my study of eschatology several years ago, my purpose was to demonstrate that premillenialism was Biblically supportable, moreso than any other view. I wasn't at all aware that the preterist view existed. From that study, over the span of a very few years, my eschatological views became full preterist, after which time I discovered that there were other full preterists.

    While I realize that the full preterist view is not ecclesiastically orthodox, I protest the label of heresy. I believe it is the only eschatological view that fully honors the widely recognized hermeneutical principles of analogy of Scripture and audience relevance. Futurist views, it seems to me, compromise the gospel preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles regarding the imminence of the kingdom of heaven.

    I am not willing, as some are, to stand with futurism on the grounds that the church could not have been wrong on so important a point of doctrine. I would remind the Sovereign Grace thinkers among us that the ante-Nicene fathers, at least the ones whose writings were preserved, believed fully in human free will and denied individual predestination.

    As for the really nasty and uncalled for charge of "Hymaenianism" that many churches are levelling at us, once again, if Paul had written about that after the destruction of Jerusalem, they might have a leg to stand on. But before that happened, Paul had been martyred. The point is that these men actually were teaching that the resurrection had happened before it did.

    There are true hyper-preterists out there who teach that nothing in the Bible is relevant to human beings after AD70. That is not what full preterists claim. We believe that the church is the ongoing fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messianic kingdom. Moreover, we are not schismatic; we are not leaving to form our own churches or trying to make names for ourselves and gather followers. There are probably a few exceptions out there, but that's not what I've encountered.

    There is an excellent introduction to preterism here:

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/Pret...todd_p_01.html

    respectfully,
    cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    I would also like to recommend that you all read this article regarding preterism and heresy:

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/Part...all_da_01.html
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Greetings all!

    Just wanted to drop a line to state that I am nearing the end of my response to Bryan and Nixon. Right now it is about 11 pages and I still have two sections to go (regarding their last two 'points'). Kermie are you going to let me post it here as one article or do I need to just post it in sections?

    Grace to you all,

    jak

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    Right now the max message length is 20000 chars. If it's larger than 20k, you'll need to split your message up. I can increase this if you like

    Brandan
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    Here is an anti-preterist article from a person I respect as a house church leader...

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/Crit...er_dan_ca.html
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    I will leave that to your discression. Right now, i.e., not finished yet, I am at 42k with spaces!

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    OK, go ahead and split it up then Thanks!
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    Originally posted by kermie
    Here is an anti-preterist article from a person I respect as a house church leader...

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/Crit...er_dan_ca.html

    Brandan, Trotter lost my respect regarding this issue (and only this issue) here:
    Paul's view: A.D. 70. Hymenaeus's view (at the max): A.D. 30. The difference? A whopping forty years. FORTY YEARS!!!! And for that, Paul is going to send these guys to hell? For forty years? PUH-LEEZE!! If anyone reading this believes that, please email me, so I can show you some great oceanfront property in Arizona I want to sell you.
    Frankly, I am tempted to offer Mr. Trotter some tropical beachfront property in Siberia.

    Even 1 year could have made all the difference, and I believe we both know that. Hym and Phil were teaching that the resurrection had already ocurred without the destruction of the Old Covenant temple and its practices. That, to Paul, would have been most blasphemous, and certainly would have made shipwreck of the faith of many, who, being carefully instructed by Paul, looked for the destruction of those things as the evidence of their full salvation from the code of death. What Hym was teaching has nothing at all to do with what preterists believe today. Nothing.

    -cm
    "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." - St. Augustine of Hippo

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    Here it comes. Please forgive me for writing so much.

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    Response to ‘Statement of Neo-Hymenaeanism’

    First, I get so tired of doing the same thing over and over again. If, for once, those who oppose the view of Preterism (or Covenant Eschatology) would engage in formal debate about the biblical issues, then we would not have to continually respond to the same rejections. That is, I wish people who opposed the view would honestly read other works and the debated material already given. Then, let their people know what the real position is instead of the ‘straw man’ that is mostly resurrected as the view.

    Second, I also tire of the bias of these articles. You can tell from the outset that Bryan and Nixon have settled on name calling instead of dealing with the issues. Throughout the entire article, instead of referring to Preterism by its name, they slander the view by giving it their already biased name. Futhermore, those reading the article, because of the name-calling, are already seeing Preterism the same way as the writers. They already have a bias against the view.

    For example, when the Roman Catholic Church stated that anyone who did not follow their interpretation and tradition regarding different aspects of the Christian faith were ‘anathema’, then anyone reading those articles would come away with the same conclusions. This is not the way to look at differing views of Christianity. Granted, the elders are to ‘protect’ the flock of God, but that is not done by slandering the views of others.

    Furthermore, most of these types of articles are de-emphasizing the essentials of Christianity and emphasizing the secondary issues. The Church has at times debated about different views of things, but they did not (for the most part) anathematize people who differed regarding secondary issues. These issues should not divide the body of Christ. And this is what I see these types of articles are doing.

    When people find out that I believe in Preterism, and if they have heard or read this type of material, they almost always look at me as the devil himself. They do not even want to look into the Bible to see if what I am stating is true or not. Moreover, most Christians neither spend the time to find out what they actually believe nor do they have the ability to defend their beliefs. They (we) are just regurgitating what others have said instead of looking at the issues for themselves. With those things stated, I will now turn to the objections raised by Bryan and Nixon.

    Bryan and Nixon state that the Hymenaeus heresy was ‘a radical reinterpretation of the bodily resurrection’. How do they know this? Where does Paul even hint at such a statement? They proof text the two places Hymenaeus’ name is mentioned but Paul does not even discuss the view of Hymenaeus. Here are the passages in question:

    1Tim 1.18-20. This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    2Tim 2.14-18. Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.


    Now, is there anything within these passages that stated what Hymenaeus believed about the resurrection? That is, what the form or mode of the resurrection was? Hardly. The only thing mentioned by Paul was that Hymenaeus taught that ‘the resurrection [was] already past’. Here again, we see the bias of Bryan and Nixon. Nowhere in the passages does it state what Hymenaeus believed about the resurrection body—only that the resurrection was a past event. And this issue of the resurrection is, probably, the biggest stumbling block for Christians today regarding the fulfillment of all eschatological events. But, again, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, within the passages in question that tell us what Hymenaeus believed and taught regarding the resurrection body. The straw man is taking shape.

    In the section titled ‘What is [Preterism] (I have purposely changed the label that Bryan and Nixon place on this eschatological view), Bryan and Nixon state that in it’s basic form, Preterism ‘asserts that every NT reference to Christ’s “coming” (Greek—parousia) and to the end of “the age” (aeon) refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 along with other contemporaneous events’ (emphasis added). This suggests that the New Testament writers wrote about different comings of Christ and a different ‘end of the age’. However, one will look in vain to find any reference to this, albeit unspoken, assertion on their part. Where do the writers of the New Testament refer to different ‘comings’ of Christ and different judgments? And, if they did, how can we tell which one referred to the events of AD 70 and the other to the supposed ‘end to history as we know it’? Bryan and Nixon are coming to the biblical passages with a presupposition already in view. That is, they already have a grid through which to look at things. Now, granted, we all do this to some extent. However, when it comes to understanding the views of others, we should put aside our grid and try and see what the text is actually stating, not to us, but to the original audience. That is one of the first rules of biblical interpretation—discovering how the original writer meant something and how it was perceived by the original recipients. Bryan and Nixon do not do that with regard to the eschatological passages. Obviously, they see the resurrection and judgment of ‘all men’ to be something that will be witnessed by natural means. Since those things were not witnessed in AD 70 (supposedly) and people are still here and in their graves, they did not and could not have happened.

    Next, they go on to show the two basic views of Preterism, with the idea that, because of these differences, there cannot be any truth to this view. This is completely absurd. Even within the views of Futurism there are differing views. There are ‘Historic Dispensationalists’. There are ‘Premillenial Dispensationalists’. There are Pre-, Mid-, and Post- Tribulationalists. There are even differing views of the ‘Millennium’; Pre-, A-, and Post-. Therefore, to make a blanket statement about the differences of opinion regarding how eschatological events work within the view of Preterism, without citing the differences within other eschatological views, is another addition to the straw man that Bryan and Nixon are constructing. In other words, they paint a picture that all Futurists agree. This, as I have shown, is clearly not the case.

    Furthermore, just because a view is agreed upon by ‘all’, doesn’t make it right. Conversely, just because a view is not agreed upon does not make it wrong. To determine whether a view is right or wrong, one must put aside what ‘everyone’ else believes and weigh the view in light of Scripture.

    Concerning ‘The Gravity of the Situation’: Here is really where the bias of Bryan and Nixon can be seen. They state over and again that the Church has ‘always agreed on certain eschatological minimums’ and ‘all believe in the future and final coming of Christ, the bodily resurrection of the wicked and the righteous at the end of the world, and the future and final judgment of all men at the last day’. This, again, is completely wrong. Anyone who does a study of Church history will see the fallacy of such statements. The Church has not ‘always agreed’ on doctrine (why do you think we have different denomination within Protestantism), especially within the area of eschatology. Furthermore, the Church has never (to my knowledge) ‘fleshed out’ its views concerning eschatology. They just continue to site what others have stated. The creeds were written to ‘flesh out’ certain beliefs, mostly to do with the deity of Jesus, and the views of eschatology were not really addressed.

    With that stated, Preterists believe in those eschatological events! What we disagree with is the timing of those things. In another article I wrote, ‘Preterism believes and adheres to the creeds. Specifically, Preterism believes in the Second Advent, the Resurrection, and the Great White Throne Judgment. Preterism adheres to the traditions found in “orthodox Christianity,” not because they are in the creeds, but because they are clearly taught in Scripture and correctly interpreted in the creeds. However, when “orthodox Christianity” does not interpret the Scriptures correctly, changes must be made’ (from Reformation Revisited). The idea is not if Preterists believe in those eschatological events, but are those events interpreted properly. Preterists don’t believe that they are.

    Is this something new? Hardly. Even in Jesus’ day the interpretation of the Law was vigorously debated. In one instance, Jesus said, ‘You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.” But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!” shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “You fool!” shall be in danger of hell fire’ (Matt 5.21-22). Here we see Jesus correctly interpreting the Scriptures (many other passages could be sited of course). The ‘orthodox’ views of the sixth commandment looked only at the external aspects of the Law. Jesus stated that it was the motivation that caused the person to be judged, not just the external breaking of the commandment. In other words, it is ‘what comes out of a man…[that] defiles a man’ (Mk 7.20). Preterists are stating that the interpretation of eschatological events needs to be addressed anew. They believe that the ‘orthodox’ interpretations are incorrect mostly because of the limited time in which those events were to come to pass from when they were given.

    Concerning an ‘Erroneous Approach to Scriptural Interpretation’: In this section we see that the Church has not always agreed on eschatological interpretation. Bryan and Nixon wrote, ‘Within the bounds of orthodoxy it is permissible to apply many or even most of the references to Christ’s “coming” and to the end of “the age” to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (e.g., Mt 24; Lk 20, etc)’. Here we see the debate within the Church. Some ‘within the bounds of orthodoxy’ (whatever that means) place one passage fulfillment in AD 70, while others disagree and place it in the future. This, according to Bryan and Nixon, is ‘permissible’. However, within the view of Preterism, it is not. For Preterists conclude that all the passages find their fulfillment in AD 70. But, according to them, this interpretation is ‘erroneous’. It is not ‘permissible’. The question that they fail to answer is ‘Why’? Why isn’t it ‘permissible’ for all of the events to find fulfillment in AD 70? They conclude that it is because ‘similarity of language does not necessitate an identity of referent’. Preterist agree with this. However, they, once again, fail to show their readers which passages refer to the different comings and judgments of Christ. Instead, they use a different verse to prove their point. They refer to John 5.24-29 as proof. John wrote,

    Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

    Bryan and Nixon state that Jesus used the term ‘death’ to refer to ‘spiritual’ death as well as ‘physical’ death. Preterist don’t have a problem with this. Furthermore, we understand that context and original audience understanding must be taken into account. However, Bryan and Nixon have not shown which verse Preterists take out of context and force them into the supposed ‘erroneous approach to Scriptural interpretation’. They just make this assertion without exegeting one text. Their tactic then, is not to instruct and protect, as they claim, but to divide, ostracize, and anathematize.

    Next, they continue to build their straw man view of Preterism. They state what they conclude to be the logical outcome of Preterism:

    ‘Following this method of interpretation, marriage must be abolished (Lk 20:35), the Lord’s Supper terminated (1Cor 11:26), Jesus’ reign at the right hand of the Father ended (1Cor 15:23ff), and Jesus’ presence with his people revoked (Mt 28:20). Going even further, Neo-Hymenaeanism must maintain the preposterous notion that death has been completely conquered, since Paul correlates the “coming” of Christ with the eradication of death (1Cor 15:26). These absurd implications are enough to give most students of the Scriptures a severe case of hermeneutical indigestion’.

    Let’s look at the contexts of the passages cited.

    Lk 20.27-38. Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 “Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 “And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 “Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died. 32 “Last of all the woman died also. 33 “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.” 34 And Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 “nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 “But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him” (emphasis added).

    There are a couple of things that need to be addressed. First is the term ‘age’. Bryan and Nixon silently assert that the term ‘age’ in this passage must refer to something other than the New Covenant age. However, where does the Bible teach that there is to be a different age after the New Covenant age? In the first century mind, there were only two ages: the ‘present age’ (‘the sons of this age’) and the ‘age to come’ (‘attain that age’). Bryan and Nixon apparently believe that there is another age after the New Covenant age but don’t give any biblical proof of this or show us how to determine which ‘age’ the people were referring.

    The ‘Age’ to Come:
    Before we continue our look at Luke 20 and the charge of abolishment of marriage, let’s look at other instances to which the ‘ages’ are referred.

    Matt 12.32. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

    Here Jesus is talking about the ‘unforgivable sin’. We are not here to discuss the meaning of the ‘unforgivable sin’ but the ages to which Jesus refers. Notice that Jesus stated that ‘whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the [age] to come’. How many ‘ages’ would we think is under discussion here? Since the term ‘age’ is not in the second part of the verse it is difficult to determine. However, Young’s Literal Translation renders this verse as ‘neither in this age, nor in that which is coming’ (emphasis added). Jay P. Green translates this verse as, ‘not in this age nor in the coming [one]’. The word ‘one’ was added by Green for clarification. What we see here is the idea of two ages. Our question needs to be, ‘In what ‘age’ were Jesus and His contemporaries then living’?

    In Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse we find, ‘As in the then present state of the Jewish church, there was no sacrifice of expiation for the soul that sinned presumptuously; so neither under the dispensation of gospel grace, which is often in scripture called the world to come’.

    The answer to our question then, is that ‘this age’ represents the Old Covenant age and ‘the age to come’ (or ‘that age) represents the New Covenant age.

    1Cor 2.6-9. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    The question before us in this passage is, ‘What does Paul mean by “this age”? Is he referring to the Old Covenant age of the New Covenant age?’ The answer, obviously, is the Old Covenant age for it was in that age that ‘the Lord of glory’ was crucified. The crucifixion cannot be stated to have occurred in the New Covenant age. One of the establishments of the crucifixion was the New Covenant age. Therefore, again, Paul’s meaning of ‘this age’ meant the Old Covenant age.

    [continued...]

  18. #18
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    Eph 1.19-21. and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

    Here again we see a difference of just two ages; ‘this age’ and ‘that which is to come’. I assert that this is always the understanding found in the New Testament Scriptures. Most scholars agree with this. However, Bryan and Nixon seemed to believe that there is another ‘age’ and that it would be after the New Covenant age. As we have seen, they have not supported this with any type of Scripture and I assert that they can’t.

    Now, back to Luke 20. The idea of ‘no marriage’ is not what the discussion was about. The exchange was about ‘the resurrection’. The Sadducees denied the resurrection. While they denied this totally, their questions were regarding the literal view of the Pharisees. We can see this when we look at Matthew’s account of this discussion.

    Matt 22.23-33. The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 “Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 “Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 “Last of all the woman died also. 28 “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

    Notice that Sadducees understood the resurrection physically and how it pertains to their understanding of things in the natural realm. That is, they understood the resurrection to be a resuscitation of the physical body with all of the attributes of the physical life. However, Jesus response is all too telling, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God’ (v. 29). About what were they mistaken? Their understanding of the resurrection. Why were they mistaken? Because they did not know ‘the Scriptures nor the power of God’. Their mistake was two fold, they did not ‘know the Scriptures’. They only knew what they had been taught the Scriptures said. They did not know what they actually stated. They just understood what the Pharisees said regarding the resurrection. Furthermore, they did not know ‘the power of God’. That is, ‘all things are possible’ for God. He is not limited by their understanding of ‘life’.

    Jesus continued and stated that ‘in the resurrection (showing that there most definitely is a resurrection) they neither marry nor are given in marriage’. That is, the resurrection is not about the physical life. It has nothing to do with marriage. It has to do with life with God. It has to do with becoming ‘children of God’. The angels did not marry into their life with God. They were created in that way. That is, they were created in the covenantal life of God. The New Covenant age, was/is not obtained by the physical life. It is obtained by the spiritual life. Under the Old Covenant, people were in covenant with God in one of three ways: either by birth, proselytization, or marriage. However, the New Covenant age could not be obtained that way. It was/is not about the physical life. It was/is about spiritual life. Again, the angels were created in the spiritual life of God. The resurrection takes on the same thing. It had nothing to do with the physical attributes of the Old Covenant.

    Regarding the idea of marriage here, William Bell stated, ‘Paul plainly demonstrated that as sons of God in Christ, “...there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” (Gal.3:27-28). Hence, there is absolutely no possible manner in view of this spiritual “oneness” to get a “twain” of anything to become one flesh as demanded by physical marriages. Jesus’ no “marriage nor giving in marriage” theology in the resurrection of the new covenant aeon no more precludes marriages in the flesh today than does Paul’s theology of “neither male nor female” in Christ precludes men and women today.’

    The ‘termination’ of the Lord’s Supper:

    1Cor 11.26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

    Here, Bryan and Nixon find that the Lord’s Supper will conclude at the Coming of Christ. However, that is not entirely the case. The passage does not state that the Supper will be terminated but that the observers ‘proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes’. The idea is more properly understood as a change of meaning in the Supper and not a discontinuation of it We find this exact thought in the teachings of Jesus. In Luke, regarding the Passover, Jesus said:

    Lk 22.15-20. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 “for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 “for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you

    In this passage we see that the Lord’s supper was to take on a different meaning after the establishment or consummation of the Kingdom of God. The full establishment or consummation of the Kingdom of God was AD 70. Therefore, the Lord’s Supper was not to end at the Parousia, but rather find its true meaning.

    The termination of the Lord’s Reign and the ‘Eradication’ of Death:
    Bryan and Nixon assert that if Preterism is true, then Jesus must no longer be reigning based on their understanding of 1Cor. 15.23ff. This is a complete misunderstanding of the reign of Christ and what was taking place at that time. Let’s look at this section of 1Cor. 15.

    1Cor. 15.20-28. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

    Bryan and Nixon understand this passage to mean that Christ will stop reigning at some point in time. Does this anywhere state that Christ will stop reigning? Hardly. The Bible clearly states that there will be no end to His reign:

    Isa 9.7. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    Lk 1.31-33. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”


    Despite these clear passages, Bryan and Nixon believe that Christ will stop reigning! Preterism does not see that (at least, no one that I know teaches this). So what does Paul mean in this passage (1Cor 15.24-25)? Donald Hockner wrote:

    Remember when the Jews rejected God from being their King and wanted Saul (1 Sam. 8:7)? That was not God’s choice (though He permitted under the counsel of His will). God had someone picked out for Himself who would bring the kingdom back to Him (1 Sam. 16:1). That was David’s dynasty. A “branch” was born and finally brought the kingdom back to God after He put His enemies under His feet. This does not mean Christ quits reigning once He returns the kingdom to the Father. Christ co-reigns with the Father forever (Luke 1:31-33; Rev. 22:3). So, Jesus is our KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

    James Stuart Russell sheds even better light on this passage:

    This view of ‘the end,’ as having reference to the close of the Jewish economy or age, seems to furnish a satisfactory solution of a problem which has greatly perplexed the commentators, viz. Christ’s delivering up of the kingdom. It is stated twice over by the apostle, as one of the great events attending the Parousia, that the Son, having then put down all rule and all authority and power, ‘shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father’ (1Co 15:24,28). What kingdom? No doubt the kingdom which the Christ, the Anointed King, undertook to administer as the representative and vicegerent of His Father: that is to say, the Theocratic kingdom, with the sovereignty of which He was solemnly invested, according to the statement in the second Psalm, ‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee’. (Ps 2:6,7) This Messianic sovereignty, or Theocracy, necessarily came to its termination when the people who were its subjects ceased to be the covenant nation; when the covenant was in fact dissolved, and the whole framework and apparatus of the Theocratic administration were abolished. What more reasonable than that the Son should then ‘deliver up the kingdom,’ the purposes of its institution having been answered, and its limited, local, and national character being superseded by a larger and universal system, the ‘aiwn o hellwn’ or new order of a ‘better covenant.’

    This surrender of the kingdom to the Father at the Parousia—at the end of the age—is represented as consequent on the subjugation of all things to Christ, the Theocratic King. This cannot refer to the gentle and peaceful conquests of the Gospel, the reconciliation of all things to Him: the language implies a violent and victorious conquest affected over hostile powers, —‘He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.’ Who those enemies are may be inferred from the closing history of the Theocracy. Unquestionably the most formidable opposition to the King and the kingdom was found in the heart of the Theocratic nation itself, the chief priests and rulers of the people. The highest authorities and powers of the nation were the bitterest enemies of the Messiah. It was a domestic, and not a foreign, antagonism—a Jewish, and not a Gentile, enmity—that rejected and crucified the King of Israel. The Roman procurator was only the reluctant instrument in the hands of the Sanhedrin. It was the Jewish rule, the Jewish authority, the Jewish power that incessantly and systematically pursued the sect of the Nazarenes with the persistent malignity, and this was ‘the rule and authority and power’ which, by the destruction of Jerusalem and the extinction of the Jewish State, was ‘put down’ and annihilated. The terrible scenes of the final war, and especially of the siege and capture of Jerusalem, show us what this subjugation of the enemies of Christ implies. ‘But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me’. (Lu 19:27)


    Here we see that the understanding is the Old Covenant Kingdom. That kingdom would finally and forever be removed and the New Covenant Kingdom would be fully established.

    Also, Bryan and Nixon state that the Preterist view ‘must maintain the preposterous notion that death has been completely conquered, since Paul correlates the “coming” of Christ with the eradication of death (1Cor 15:26)’. Here, their view of ‘death’ is very telling. They see ‘death’ as being physical death. But, when has physical death ever been a problem for God’s people? Physical death has never been the problem for God’s people. The only time physical death becomes a problem is if one is spiritually or covenantally dead at physical death. Bryan and Nixon automatically assume that ‘death’ here means physical death. If that was the case, then, obviously, Preterism is completely and utterly false. Moreover, if the resurrection (which is Paul’s main point in this section) was to be physical, then, obviously, Preterism is completely and utterly false. And this is what Bryan and Nixon contend. However, even they have shown, ‘death’ has different meanings. What Preterism is asking us to do is question the term death in this passage. Does it mean physical death or does it mean spiritual/covenantal death or both?

    It almost goes without stating that the ‘death’ that came from Adam was not physical death but covenantal death. We come to this conclusion because God said, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’ (Gen 2.16-17). According to Young and Green, the literal translation of the last part is, ‘dying you shall die’ or ‘dying thou dost die’. The Geneva study notes of this verse state, ‘By death he means the separation of man from God, who is our life and chief happiness: and also that our disobedience is the cause of it’. Therefore, the ‘death’ that Adam brought because of his transgression of the law was of a much deeper significance than just the expiration of physical life. It removed from people the true life—life with God.

    Scripture tells us, then, that spiritual/covenantal death is tied in some way to the Old Covenant age. Paul wrote, ‘The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law’ (1Cor 15.56). He also wrote:

    2Cor 3.7-11. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

    What Bryan and Nixon must do is prove that every mention of ‘death’ in 1Corinthians 15 means physical death. They have not done this. They, apparently, assume it to be the case. Moreover, they assert that ‘all’ Christianity understands ‘death’ in this way. Again, they have not proved this either.

    Concerning the ‘Contradictions of Cardinal Christian Convictions:
    Bryan and Nixon state that Preterists deny ‘the future, final coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to raise all men simultaneously from the dead for judgment’. In this they are correct. Why do Preterists hold that there in no ‘future, final coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’? Because the Bible simply does not teach such a thing. Again, they maintain that there are different comings of Jesus mentioned in the New Testament, but fail to exegete one reference to this assertion.

    They also state that Preterism robs creation ‘of its meaning and entailing the perpetuity of sin and rebellion’ and point to Romans 8 and states that ‘Paul likened the earth in its futile state to a woman in childbirth, groaning under contractions. To be consistent, [Preterism] must maintain that in AD 70 the baby was born and the earth is no longer subjected to futility. If this were true, however, then why do we continue to see natural disasters, cursed ground, famine, and pestilence? Futility is all around us; the earth groans for redemption to this day. [Preterism] supplies no solution to this agony since it rejects the final, future coming of Christ to set all things aright.’ Did you notice how Bryan and Nixon substituted ‘the earth’ for ‘creation’? Let’ look at what Paul wrote in Romans 8.

    Rom 8.16-25. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

    Here we see that Paul states that ‘the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God’. Furthermore, he stated that ‘the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs’ with the first century church. Again, Bryan and Nixon insert their understanding into the passage when the make ‘the earth’ the meaning of the terms ‘the creation’. But, how can it be anything else? Does ‘the creation’ have different meanings? Some scholars believe it does. In fact, some translations have ‘the creature’ instead of ‘the creation’. With that, Dr. John Gill stated:

    [continued…]

  19. #19
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    It is best of all by “the creature” to understand the Gentile world. “The creature” here, and “the whole creation”, Rom 8:22, must be the same; now the phrase πασα κτισις, “the whole creation”, or “every creature”, as it may be rendered, signifies the nations of the world, in distinction to the Jews; see Mar 16:15; compared with Mat 28:19 and answers to בריות, “the creatures”; by which name the Jews often in their writings call the Gentiles, to distinguish them from the Israelites.

    Albert Barnes, after giving differing views of interpretation, wrote:

    After all the attention which I can give to this passage, I regard this (The Christian, the new creation, regarded individually; the work of the Holy Spirit on the renewed heart; the new man) to be the meaning here, for the following reasons, namely.
    1. Because this alone seems to me to suit the connection, and to make sense in the argument. If the word refers, as has been supposed by different interpreters; either to angels, or to the bodies of people, or to the material creation, or to the rational creation—to people (mankind); it is difficult to see what connection either would have with the argument. The apostle is discoursing of the benefits of the gospel to Christians in time of trial; and the bearing of the argument requires us to understand this illustration of them, unless we are compelled not to understand it thus by the proper laws of interpreting words.
    2. The word “creature” is used in a similar sense by the same apostle. Thus, 2Co 5:17, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” καινὴ κτίσις kainē ktisis. Gal 6:15, “for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
    3. The verb create is thus used. Thus, Eph 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Eph 2:15, “having abolished in his flesh the enmity…for to make in himself of twain one new man:” Greek, “That he might create κτίσῃ ktisē the two into one newman.” Eph 4:24, “the new man, which is created in righteousness,” etc.
    4. Nothing was more natural than for the sacred writers thus to speak of a Christian as a new creation, a new creature. The great power of God involved in his conversion, and the strong resemblance between the creation and imparting spiritual life, led naturally to this use of the language.
    5. Language similar to this occurs in the Old Testament, and it was natural to transfer it to the New. The Jewish people were represented as made or created by God for his service, and the phrase, therefore, might come to designate those who were thus formed by him to his service. Deu 32:6, “hath he not made thee, and established thee?” Isa 43:7, “…Everyone that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isa 43:21, “this people have I formed for myself.” From all which reasons, it seems to me that the expression here is used to denote Christians, renewed people. Its meaning, however, is varied in Rom 8:22.


    Adam Clarke, in his commentary of the whole bible, wrote:

    There is considerable difficulty in this and the four following verses: and the difficulty lies chiefly in the meaning of the word ἡ κτισις, which we translate the creature, and creation. Some think that by it the brute creation is meant; others apply it to the Jewish people; others to the godly; others to the Gentiles; others to the good angels; and others to the fallen spirits, both angelic and human. Dissertations without end have been written on it; and it does not appear that the Christian world are come to any general agreement on the subject (emphasis added—jak). Dr. Lightfoot’s mode of explanation appears to me to be the best, on the whole. “There is,” says he, “a twofold key hanging at this place, which may unlock the whole, and make the sense plain and easy.
    1. The first is the phrase, πασα ἡ κτισις, which we render the whole creation, Rom 8:22, and with which we meet twice elsewhere in the New Testament. Mar 16:15 : Preach the Gospel, πασῃ τῃ κτισει, to every creature; and Col 1:23 : The Gospel was preached, εν πασῃ τῃ κτισει, to every creature. Now it is sufficiently apparent what is meant by πασα κτισις in both these places, viz. all nations, or the heathen world. For that which in St. Mark is, preach the Gospel to every creature, is, in St. Matthew, go and teach, παντα τα εθνη, all nations. And this very phrase in this place lays claim to that very interpretation. And the Hebrew כל הבריות col habberioth, which answers to the Greek πασα ἡ κτισις, every creature, is applied by the Jews to the Gentiles, and that by way of opposition to Israel.
    2. The second key is the word ματαιοτητι, Rom 8:20, which is not unfitly rendered vanity; but then this vanity is improperly applied to the vanishing, dying, changing state of the creation. For ματαιοτης, vanity, does not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it does the inward vanity or emptiness of the mind. So the apostle, speaking of the Gentiles concerning whom he speaks here, tells us εματαιωθησαν, They became vain in their imaginations, Rom 1:21; and again, The Gentiles walk εν ματαιοτητι, in the vanity of their mind, Eph 4:17; so also, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, ὁτι εισι ματαιοι, that they are vain, 1Co 3:20. To all which let me add this farther observation, that throughout this whole place the apostle seems to allude to the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, and their deliverance from it; with a comparison made betwixt the Jewish and the Gentile Church. When God would deliver Israel from his bondage, he challenges him for his Son, and his first-born, Exo 4:22. And in like manner the Gentiles earnestly expect and wait for such a kind of manifestation of the sons of God, within and among themselves. The Romans, to whom the apostle writes, knew well how many predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles; the manifestation of which sons the whole Gentile world with a neck as it were stretched out, as the word αποκαραδοκια implies, (απο, from, and καρα, the head, and δοκαω, to expect), doth now wait for.”


    We see, therefore, that while ‘the creation’ may be interpreted by some as ‘the earth’, others see it as referring to the Christian. Which, is the way Preterist take this passage to mean.

    Next, we have the tired argument from the Creeds. I have written an entire article regarding that issue (Reformation Revisited) so I will not spend a lot of time on it here. I will just state that the creeds are not, I repeat, not, Scripture. Some of the creeds claim that Jesus went to hell, while others do not. Furthermore, to base your convictions on the completely erroneous concept that the Church has been ‘uniform’ and ‘unanimous’ in its beliefs is naive to state that least. Simply put, the eschatology of the church has never (to my knowledge) been addressed the way the other issues raised in the creeds were. That is, when the doctrine of the Trinity was challenged, many of the creeds were formed. However, none has written a clear and concise response to the attacks of scoffer regarding the supposed delay of Christ’s coming. Even C.S. Lewis stated:

    Say what you like, the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the second coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, “this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.” And He was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else. It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the bible (Sadly, emphasis added).

    These are some of the saddest words I have ever read. However, for futurists, they must ring true. They, like Lewis, must conclude that Jesus was wrong. Bryan and Nixon offer no other explanation for these remarks—except the creeds. Tradition, if it lines up with the Bible, should be kept. However, once that tradition contradicts the Scriptures, they should be changed. Period.

    Bryan and Nixon go on to write, ‘Granted, the church builds and refines its understanding of the Word of God. But this building and refining occurs on top of a doctrinal foundation that has been laid by the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20).’ This is exactly what Preterism is doing. It is not ‘building and refining’ on the interpretations of the Church, the way Bryan and Nixon are doing. But Preterism is looking at what the apostles and prophets wrote concerning the Second Coming and their expectation that it would be within their generation. As I have stated before, Bryan and Nixon do not exegete one passage in support of their belief concerning the supposed ‘different comings’ of Christ. Instead, they give the creeds.

    Next, finally, they give passages that supposedly support the idea of ‘last day’ at the end of history:

    The Scriptures go on to teach that, while the judgment on Israel in AD 70 was not the culmination of judgment, there will come a day, the “last day,” when God will judge the world and angelic beings through Jesus Christ our Lord (Mt 10:15; 11:24; 12:36, 41f; Acts 17:31; 1Cor 6:2, 3; Jude 6). This will be the culmination of God’s historical judgments and will bring an end to history as we know it.

    Here, Bryan and Nixon site about seven passages that supposedly support the idea of the ‘end to history as we know it’. Nothing could be further from the point. What is extremely telling are the passages sited from Matthew:

    Matt 10.15. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

    In this passage, Jesus told his disciples to preach the ‘kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (not thousands of years in the future) to the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (v. 6). The judgment under discussion here is clearly related to that of the apostate nation of natural Israel, which Bryan and Nixon agree took place in AD 70. Therefore, this passage does not support their ‘end to history as we know it’ ideal.

    Matt 11.24. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.

    This passage is also directed to the nation of Israel. It is about their rejection of their Messiah. Jesus clearly stated such in verse 16, ‘But to what shall I liken this generation?’ Every time Matthew used this phrase, without fail, he was referring to Christ’s own generation. He went on to say concerning them:

    [This generation] is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 "and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’ 18 "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children." 20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.

    We see that Jesus was clearly rebuking the cities of Israel in this passage. He noted the preaching of John the Baptist in verse 18 and His own ministry in verse 19. Neither of them preached to any other nation. They were sent to Israel. In verse 20, Matthew wrote that Jesus began rebuking ‘the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done’. Again, clearly a reference to first century Israel. Over and again, Jesus spoke directly to those cities when He said to them, ‘Woe to you…’ Again, this passage is directed to the judgment of apostate Israel, which Bryan and Nixon agree took place in AD 70. It does not support their theory.

    Matt 12.36, 41-42. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment…The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 "The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

    Again, Bryan and Nixon cite this passage as proof of the ‘end to history as we know it’. But the context will not allow that interpretation. The context of this great rebuke is the ‘blasphemy against the Spirit’ (v. 30). Jesus clearly was referring to His own generation for the passage starts with these words, ‘Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (vv. 22-24). Jesus then went on to say to them, ‘Brood of vipers’ (v. 34), which is always laid against the religious people of His day (see Matt 3.7; 12.34; 23.33; Lk 3.7).

    The context of verse 41ff, is the same as above. Jesus was still speaking to ‘the scribes and Pharisees’ (v. 38). They asked him for a sign and Jesus told them that the only sign that ‘evil and adulterous generation’ would be given was ‘the sign of the prophet Jonah’, i.e., He will be ‘three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (v. 40). The generation that saw that sign was Christ’s own generation. To no other generation can that sign be attributed. Then Jesus clearly stated that the judgment coming would be upon ‘this generation’. Again, showing that this passage supports the Preterist view of the AD 70 fulfillment and not Bryan and Nixon’s view.

    Acts 17.31. because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

    Bryan and Nixon claim that this teaches the ‘end to history’. Again, it is hardly the case. Paul stated, ‘because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead’ (YLT). Jay P. Green translates this verse as ‘because He set a day in which “He is going to judge the habitable world in righteousness,” by a Man whom He appointed; having given proof to all [by] raising Him from [the] dead’. When we see the context of this verse more clearly, we see that God, through Jesus Christ, whom He rose from the dead, was ‘about to’ ‘judge the habitable world’. This was not some judgment thousands of years in the unknowable future. Paul clearly taught those around him, including the Gentiles, that God was ‘about to’ bring judgment to ‘the habitable world’. So, again, this does not support an ‘end to history’ but clearly the judgment came within a few years of this pronouncement, i.e., AD 70.

    While I must admit that the next passage I come to does present it’s own difficulties (I don’t know it all), I don’t think that it supports Bryan and Nixon’s idea of an ‘end to history’. Paul wrote:

    1Cor 6.2-3. Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

    Bryan and Nixon conclude that this ‘judgment’, I am assuming, has to be at some supposed ‘end to history’ because Paul stated that ‘the saints’ (and, I am also assuming, they interpret this to be Christians in general), ‘will judge the world’ and that ‘we’ (again, Christians in general) ‘shall judge angels’. However, if we look at this in the context of the passages mentioned above, i.e., the judgment coming upon the ‘world’ of Old Covenant Israel, and that the ‘creation’, or Christian, was going to judge the apostate nation of Israel, then it makes sense within the limited time frame of Paul’s exhortation. I conclude this from Paul’s use of the first person pronouns used throughout this section. For example, in verse 9 of the previous chapter, Paul wrote, ‘I wrote to you…’ This is not explicitly written for the Church in general (albeit, the principle instruction here can be, and should be used, throughout the Church), but to the Corinthians. Paul was addressing specific circumstances through which the Corinthian church was going. He goes on to indicate that they were not to judge those outside of the church, but those inside the church (vv. 10, 11). He clearly wrote that ‘God judges’ ‘those who are outside’, i.e., outside of the covenant family—non-Christians.

    Next, in chapter 6, Paul refers to the judgment of the ‘world’ and here, it is asserted that he means the entire planet, I assume. But, as we saw above, God judges those ‘who are outside’ through Christ.

    The term ‘angels’ also helps us understand this reference to Old Covenant Israel when we consider that the Old Covenant was given by ‘angels’ (Acts 7.53; Heb 2.2, 5). The New Covenant, however, was given by ‘the Lord Jesus’ and was confirmed by ‘God’ and the ‘Holy Spirit’. Therefore, the judgment of the world here, I conclude, was the judgment that came upon Old Covenant Israel as it pertained to who were the real, i.e., true, people of God. At AD 70, that distinction would be clearly seen.

    [continued…]

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    Jude 6. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

    In Jude, we have clear reference to people who were already present and ready for judgment when Jude penned this epistle (vv. 4, 10-12; 16-19). Especially worth noting are the last few verses:

    Jude 17-20. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

    Notice here that Jude was stating that those people the Lord, through his apostles, warned them about, were in those fellowships ‘causing divisions’. They were ‘worldly minded’ and ‘devoid of the Spirit’. Those people were already a reality. Those people are what prompted Jude to change the message of his letter (vv. 1-4). This was not something that was to take place eons of time in the future. Here, in this one epistle, we have very clear teaching as to whom those warning of the apostles were given: ‘But, you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “in the last time there will be mockers…” ’ The context is clearly a reference to 2Peter 3. Jude stated very forthrightly that the apostles were talking to the Christians of the first century and not to some future generation of believers.

    Furthermore, and I was going to mention this in the previous paragraphs, but I thought it would be better to refer to it here, Jude made reference to Enoch (v. 14-15). In Enoch’s writings (I know that there is a lot of controversy over this book, but since Jude mentioned it, I thought it best to at least reference it), within the context of the judgment of the fallen angels, Enoch wrote:

    And the Lord said unto Michael: ‘Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgment and of their consummation, till the judgment that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations. And destroy all the spirits of the reprobate and the children of the Watchers, because they have wronged mankind. Destroy all wrong from the face of the earth and let every evil work come to an end: and let the plant of righteousness and truth appear: and it shall prove a blessing; the works of righteousness and truth’ shall be planted in truth and joy for evermore.

    I emphasized the duration of the binding of those beings, ‘seventy generations’. At the end of that time, there would be ‘their judgment and of their consummation, till the judgment that if for ever and ever is consummated’. Now, when would this be? Bryan and Nixon would have us believe that we are still waiting for this event to take place. But Scripture teaches us something completely different.

    In the gospel of Luke we find the genealogy of Jesus. There are seventy generation from Jesus to Enoch (Lk 3.23ff). Again, this clearly shows that the judgment was to be in Christ’s own generation. To which, according to Jude, all of the apostles plainly taught the first century believers.

    Also in this section, and in the next, Bryan and Nixon refer to the ‘the bodily resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked’. That the resurrection is ‘physical’ in nature. They conclude that this is ‘the clear teaching of Scripture, the unanimous testimony of the Church’. Again, this is hardly the case. Concerning the doctrine of the resurrection, I now turn to the work of Milton Terry.

    The Doctrine of the Resurrection:
    In his fantastic work ‘Biblical Dogmatics’, Milton Terry wrote, ‘The biblical doctrine of immortality and eternal life cannot be fully presented without a careful study of those scriptures which speak of the “resurrection of the dead.” The fact or reality of resurrection, in some sense, is conceded to be a positive doctrine of the Scriptures, and Paul’s argument, in 1st Cor. 15:1-19, makes this doctrine fundamental to Christian faith and hope. But centuries of experience, observation, and controversy, since Paul wrote, have shown that a great doctrine may be generally and even universally accepted, while the modes of conceiving and stating it may vary to extremes which are quite irreconcilable. It may also be found upon careful investigation that the different biblical writers who deal with this subject are not in exact accord with one another’.

    Notice the last sentence, ‘the different biblical writers…are not in exact accord with one another.’ But, according to Bryan and Dixon, the church has ‘always’ held the ‘unanimous testimony’ concerning the resurrection. Terry goes on to observe:

    In like manner the Hebrew scriptures contain no very certain indications of this doctrine before the time of the Babylonian exile, and all that is found is of a vague and general character, and usually expressed in the poetic and apocalyptic style.

    After making this assertion, and going through just about every reference regarding the resurrection, Terry concludes:

    Recapitulating now, we may briefly sum up the results of the foregoing discussion in the following statements:

    1. Jewish and Christian interpreters have read into certain poetical passages of the Old Testament a crass conception of a resurrection of fleshly bodies, and these notions have taken on various materialistic forms in popular thought. It is natural for the popular imagination to clothe all concepts of a future life in materialistic forms.

    2. There was no uniformity of opinion on this subject among the Jewish people. Some of the Jews denied the resurrection altogether, and rejected the doctrine of angels and spirits. Those who affirmed the doctrine of a future resurrection differed among themselves as to its nature and extent: some believing in the resurrection both of the just and unjust, others only of the just.

    3. The teaching of Jesus in the synoptic gospels does not favor any theory of the resurrection of the natural body. In his reply to the Sadducees he declared that in the resurrection they are not fleshly but spiritual beings like the angels in heaven.

    4. In the fourth gospel Jesus affirms in one passage the resurrection of “all that are in the tombs,” both the good and the evil; but in the same connection he outlines three kinds of resurrection, and in other parts of this gospel teaches that they who partake of his life and spirit shall never taste of death.

    5. The Apocalypse accords with the fourth gospel in presenting the idea of a “first resurrection” and a “second death,” but the doctrinal content is uncertain by reason of its setting in a composition so mystical and visional that interpreters differ widely among themselves as to its meaning.

    6. Paul is much more explicit and detailed in his treatment of the subject, and his teaching involves the following propositions: (1) The resurrection of the dead is a fundamental article of the Christian faith. (2) It is conceived as in some sense a quickening of the mortal body and making it alive with immortal vigor. This thought attaches especially to the mystery of a sudden change which those experience who remain alive unto the coming of the Lord from heaven. (3) The apostle gives no place for the doctrine of an intermediate state of long duration between death and the resurrection. The heavenly body is given immediately after the dissolution of the earthly house, and is as truly an organism as is the earthly body. (4) The body of the resurrection is not the body that is sown during the earthly existence; it is not a body of flesh and blood, but is to exist in striking contrast to the corruptible, dishonored, and weak conditions of this mortal life, and to abide in incorruption, glory, and power. (5) The dead are not all raised simultaneously, but each in his own order and in his own time. (6) Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, the mortal body must be put off by death, or by some transmutation and transfiguration, and be so changed as to be adapted to the conditions of heavenly life with our glorified Lord . There must be a new spiritual organism for each risen and glorified human personality.


    It is therefore, quite clear from the overall teaching of Scripture, that Bryan and Nixon’s idea of the ‘physical nature of the resurrection body’ is not based in Biblical exegesis. In fact, Paul clearly wrote that ‘you do not sow that body that shall be’. He went on to state that it ‘is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body’ (1Cor 15.42-44; emphasis added). It does not matter how passionately one wants to believe in the ‘physical nature of the resurrection body’, Paul clearly taught otherwise.

    Well, that about does it. I will not even address the charges of the spiritual condition of the Preterist peoples. God, and God alone, judges the hearts of men.

    Grace to you all,

    jak

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