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Thread: A Question For Preterist's

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    A Question For Preterist's

    I have a question for Preterist's, but before I ask it, I want to set it up.

    A couple of months before Christmas, my wife and I decided to visit a Christian book store (known as our Christian book store date).While we were perusing the book shelves, I came across a book that taught basic Biblical Greek. As I began to leaf through the pages, I became more and more convinced that learning Biblical Greek was something that I should seriously consider. So I made some strong hints to my wife that this would be a great Christmas gift and left it at that.

    Well, on Christmas morning, I received that book! It's called "Basic Biblical Greek" by William D. Mounce. As I began to look through the book, I noticed that each chapter began with a short "Exegetical Insight". I found them so interesting, that I started to read all the exegetical insights from all the chapters. But there was one "Exegetical Insight" in particular that caught my attention. I found myself wondering how a preterist would respond to it. Since there are many Preterist's on 5 Solas, I'm going to type out the "Exegetical Insight" and then ask my question.

    Okay, here's the "Exegetical Insight" of Chapter 22 from the book "Basic Biblical Greek" by William D. Mounce:


    "The aorist (aoristos) is the indefinite tense that states only the fact of the action without specifying its duration. When the aorist describes an action as a unit event it may accentuate one of three posibilities, as, imagine, a ball that has been thrown: 1) let fly (inceptive or ingressive); 2) flew (constative or durative); 3) hit (culminative or telic).

    These aspects of the indefinite aorist may shed some light on a perplexing saying of Jesus in his Olivet discourse (Mark 13:30 and parallels). "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things 'genetai'." The difficulty lies in the fact that Jesus has already described the end of the world in vv. 24f. in vivid terms of the sun and moon not giving their light, the stars falling from the sky, and the heavenly bodies being shaken. Unless the expression "this generation" (he genea haute) is stretched to include the entire age from Jesus' first to his second coming (a less likely option), the aorist 'genetai' must provide the clue. If we view the verb as an ingressive aorist and translate it from the perspective of initiated action, the saying may be rendered, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things BEGIN to come to pass."

    This nuance of the same aorist form may also be seen in the angel Gabriel's words to Zechariah (Luke 1:20): "And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day 'genetai tauta'." Not only the birth but the adult ministry of John the Baptist is prophesied by Gabriel in vv. 13-17, yet Zechariah recovers his speech as soon as he writes the name of his infant son John on a tablet (vv.62-64). Accordingly, v. 20 should be translated, "And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day these things BEGIN to happen."

    The student is well advised, then, to pay careful attention to the contextual meaning of the larger sense unit and interpret the aorist as the pericope or paragraph would suggest."


    Okay, that's the "Exegetical Insight". Now here's my question to the Preterist's!

    Would you be willing to admit that it's linguistically possible to interpret Mark 13:30 as, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things BEGIN to come to pass"?

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    Sure it's possible. However, the entire context must also be taken into account when determining the correct translation/interpretation. But that is not the question. The question was not when will all of those things begin to take place, but when would all of those things TAKE PLACE. This would include the return of Christ, the judgement, and the resurrection. Did those things BEGIN to take place before that generation ended? Was that the question of the disciples? Or were they concerded about when those things would 'end'?

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    Originally posted by Odyssey
    The question was not when will all of those things begin to take place, but when would all of those things TAKE PLACE. This would include the return of Christ, the judgement [sic], and the resurrection.
    well to frame the discussion, the disciples asked:

    Mt 24:3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, (1) when will these things happen, and (2) what will be the sign of Your coming [Or, presence], and (3) of the end [Or, consummation, completion] of the age [Or, world]?"

    in response to Jesus' statement:

    Mt 24:2..."Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."

    so they were asking about three things (which they all understood as happening at the same time or referring to the same time-frame or event). they wanted to know (1) when the temple would be destroyed AND what would be the sign that they might look for that would signal (2) His presence and (3) the end of the age (probably the end of the earthly/physical/corporeal Jewish age that would trigger the beginning of the Messianic era or age as referred to in the prophets and understood by some to be the millenium or the age of peace and restoration of all things, etc., ie., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezek, Daniel, Joel, Hosea, Zech...therefore the destruction of the temple, His presence, and the end of the age would be the same thing in their mind).

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    You are correct. My bad.

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    just to note also, at this point the disciples were probably still not expecting a suffering Messiah who would be killed and resurrected. the redemption mentioned here (cf. Lk 21:28) is probably not the technical sense that we might understand when we talk about the redemption in Christ (i.e., in a spiritual sense from our sins) but a rescue from the tribulations mentioned. just a bit of "food for thought" to add to the discussion.

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    In Mark's gospel, the questions were: 1) When will these things be? And 2) What will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?

    In Lukes account, the questions were: 1) When will these things be? And 2) What sign will there be when these things are about to take place?

    So, as you correctly stated disciple, to the disciples, the events were to happen at the same time.

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    I concur.

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    Here's my own paraphrase of the Mark 13:30 verse:

    "I tell you the truth, that these things that I have just told you about, will begin to happen before this generation passes away."

    I think this paraphrase fits both linguistically (will begin to happen - indefinite aorist) and contextually (when will these things be? Mark 13:4).

    What do you think?

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    Originally posted by Kings Kid
    Here's my own paraphrase of the Mark 13:30 verse:

    "I tell you the truth, that these things that I have just told you about, will begin to happen before this generation passes away."

    I think this paraphrase fits both linguistically (will begin to happen - indefinite aorist) and contextually (when will these things be? Mark 13:4).

    What do you think?
    the aorist being ingressive is obviously a grammatical possibility but looking at the context and the parallel accounts in Mt and Lk make it highly unlikely.

    Mt 24:34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things [PANTA TAUTA] take place [AORIST].

    Lk 21:32 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things [PANTA] take place [AORIST].


    the aorist is a very unique tense. it is best to think of it as a snapshot tense which doesn't address duration or any such thing (aorist = undefined). also aorist has many different nuances:

    [list=1][*] Constative (Punctiliar, Global) Aorist - The aorist normally views the action as a whole, taking no interest in the internal workings of the action[*] Ingressive (Inceptive, Inchoative) Aorist - The aorist tense is often used to stress the beginning of an action or the entrance into a state [*] Consummative (Effective) Aorist - The aorist is often used to stress the cessation of an act or state.[*] Gnomic Aorist - The aorist indicative is occasionally used to present a timeless, general fact.[*] Epistolary Aorist - This is the use of the aorist in the espistles in which the author self-consciously describes his letter from the time frame of the audience.[*] Proleptic (Futuristic) Aorist - The aorist indicative can be used to describe an event that is not yet past as though it were already completed in order to stress the certainty of the event.[*] Immediate Pas (Dramatic) Aorist - The aorist tense can be used of an event that happened rather recently.[/list=1]

    there is no need to pick ingressive unless the context specifically demands it (cf. Matt 22:7 Now the king became angry.). we must understand the nuance of the aorist here based on context not on the basis of our theology. the context makes #6 the most likely candidate.

    just a note: i am not a preterist (i'm an amil or historic premil futurist) but i do think that Mt 24 et al refer primarily (if not totally) to 70AD.

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    Also, like disciple stated, the context must be looked at before you can think that the paraphrase is accurate.

    Mk 13.24-30. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. 28 Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near——at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.


    Notice that there are several things that were to take place here: (1)Tribulation; (2)the darkening of the sun and moon; (3)the stars of heaven will fall; (4) the powers in the heavens shaken; (5) the coming of the Son of Man; (6) the sending forth of angels to gather the elect. In your understanding of things, how do those six things begin to take place?

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    Hi

    i hope you will let me have a little thought on your discussions.

    I have always viewed mark 13 as a passage as a whole. To me the important phrase is "This Generation". Which can have a variety of meanings:

    1. It is the actual 'physical' generation of those who were living then. If this is the case there is good case for the Pretetist view.

    2. It could mean "This Generation that SEES these things happen."
    This would mean that the signs would be fulfilled within a generational span, so to speak. They would be a actual generation, but, it may mean a 'future' generation, as against the actual generation who heard the words. This puts it either within the Pretetsit or futurist timeframe.

    3. It could be a figure of speach. In the Gospels we read of a 'adulterous' / 'evil' / 'evil and perverse' / 'evil and adulterous/ generations. It could mean the rebelious, apoaste, unbelieving jewish people, as they have revealed themselves in the past, are revealing themselves in the present and will continue to reveal themselves in the future. This too would give rise to a pretetist view or a futurist view.

    It has to be said that although i am Amil this passage literally read does give rise to good reason to start to look objectively at pretetism (sorry i can't spell).

    At present i side with the second meaning, but, this passage is not as clear cut as all would want it to be.

    Just some thoughts

    Cheers
    'As soon as we are incorporated in Christ, we have the certitude that in the end we shall achieve victory in the fight.' John Calvin - Romans 6v6.

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    Actually, the phrase is 'this generation', not 'the generation'. This is significant. Every time Jesus (and John the baptist) uttered that phrase, it meant His generation. Look it up and see. Check out the contexts. Therefore, for Him to automatically mean something else is highly unlikely.

    Also, and disciple correct me if I'm wrong, the greek word used for 'generation' is 'genea' and, according to Strong's, it means 'a generation; by implication, an age (the period or the persons)'. If Jesus meant 'race' He would have used the term 'genos' which means 'kin (abstractly or concretely, literally or figuratively, individually or collectively)'.

    This passage, Dr. Gill commented,

    Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass,.... Not the generation of men, in general, or Jews in particular, nor of Christians; but that present generation of men, they should not all go off the stage of life,

    till all these things be done; which were now predicted by Christ, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, the signs of it, and what, should immediately follow upon it.

    Grace to you,

    jak

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    Originally posted by Odyssey
    Also, and disciple correct me if I'm wrong, the greek word used for 'generation' is 'genea' and, according to Strong's, it means 'a generation; by implication, an age (the period or the persons)'. If Jesus meant 'race' He would have used the term 'genos' which means 'kin (abstractly or concretely, literally or figuratively, individually or collectively)'.
    that is correct. but i don't think Alan was saying that generation here would mean "race" (as if to refer to the Jewish race or nation) but i think he was suggesting that it may refer to a future generation (using generation the same way you are sans "this" or that "this generation" would refer to the generation He's talking about, i.e., a future generation).

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    Oh, I know. I was just stating that if option 3 was correct, Jesus would have used a different Greek term.

    Grace to you all,

    jak

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    Originally posted by Odyssey
    Oh, I know. I was just stating that if option 3 was correct, Jesus would have used a different Greek term.

    Grace to you all,

    jak
    that's what i was saying. #3 says it would be taken as a figure of speech (figuratively or metaphorically) and not in the sense of race (e.g., Jewish nation or race). so i don't think that Alan was saying that 'genea' could be taken (translated) as "race" at all (as you are understanding) but that it's possibly a metaphor for "the rebellious, apostate, unbelieving Jewish people (not race)." this would be a perfectly acceptable figure of speech (or idiom) and in fact may be understood that way in some places (cf. Mt 12:39; Acts 2:40; Phil 2:15).

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    Here is Gill's commentary on Mat 24:34... This is for those interested...

    http://bible.5solas.org/bible.php?vi...&createchaps=1

    Mt 24:34, (GILL), Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass,.... Not the generation of men in general; as if the sense was, that mankind should not cease, until the accomplishment of these things; nor the generation, or people of the Jews, who should continue to be a people, until all were fulfilled; nor the generation of Christians; as if the meaning was, that there should be always a set of Christians, or believers in Christ in the world, until all these events came to pass; but it respects that present age, or generation of men then living in it; and the sense is, that all the men of that age should not die, but some should live

    till all these things were fulfilled; see Mt 16:28 as many did, and as there is reason to believe they might, and must, since all these things had their accomplishment, in and about forty years after this: and certain it is, that John, one of the disciples of Christ, outlived the time by many years; and, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, many of the Jewish doctors now living, when Christ spoke these words, lived until the city was destroyed; as Rabban Simeon, who perished with it, R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, who outlived it, R. Zadoch, R. Ishmael, and others: this is a full and clear proof, that not anything that is said before, relates to the second coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and end of the world; but that all belong to the coming of the son of man, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the end of the Jewish state.
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    disciple,

    You said:

    "the aorist being ingressive is obviously a grammatical possibility but looking at the context and the parallel accounts in Mt and Lk make it highly unlikely."

    Here's a quote from Stanley D. Toussaint on these passages:

    "Probably the best explanation is to take the verb 'geneta' as an ingressive aorist. The same verb is found in all three Synoptics and is translated 'take place' (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32). It would then emphasize the beginning of the action and take the meaning 'begin to take place.' All those things would begin in that generation and find their ultimate completion at the Second Advent."

    If the same verb is found in all three Synoptics and if all three verbs are taken as an ingressive aorist, then there's no problem. Are these three passages not saying the same thing? Why would you say that this grammatical possibility is highly unlikely? What in the context makes it highly unlikely?

    You said:

    "the aorist is a very unique tense. it is best to think of it as a snapshot tense which doesn't address duration or any such thing (aorist = undefined)."

    Here's another small quote from the book "Basics of Biblical Greek" by William D. Mounce. In chapter 23, under 'Exegetical Insight', it says:

    "The aorist tense has often been mishandled by both scholars and preachers. Aorist verbs too frequently are said to denote once-for-all action when the text has no such intention...Having been warned of this error, we should not go to the other extreme and fail to see that in some contexts the aorist does denote once-for-all action, not merely because the verb is aorist but because of the context."

    It appears that the aorist tense is very difficult to interpret (even for the scholars). With this in mind, I wonder how dogmatic one can be with these passages? Can we build a theological system around them? I don't think so!

    Having said that, IF we are dealing with an ingressive aorist in these passages, then we need to realize that an ingressive aorist emphasizes the beginning of the action. If Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32 have verbs that are taken as ingressive aorists, then it makes perfect sense to interpret those passages as saying, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things BEGIN to come to pass."

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    Odyssey,

    Of those 'several things' which are to take place, it seems to me that the tribulation (of Isreal) will begin to happen before that generation passes away. The other things will happen somewhere between that and the return of Christ. But what will happen and how it will happen are really secondary issues to me right now. My primary interest is to figure out whether 'these things' WILL BEGIN TO HAPPEN or WILL BE FULFILLED before that generation passes away. How we interpret the 'WHEN' has a big influence on how we interpret the 'WHAT' and the 'HOW' of Jesus' words. We just have to look at the Eschatology of this forum to prove that!

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    Alan,

    You said:

    "To me the important phrase is 'This Generation'."

    If you view 'this generation' as being the generation of Jesus, then you have two options.

    First - You can say that 'these things' will be fulfilled during that generation.

    OR

    Second - You can say that 'these things' will begin to happen during that generation.

    Both are possible interpretations!

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    Originally posted by Kings Kid
    If the same verb is found in all three Synoptics and if all three verbs are taken as an ingressive aorist, then there's no problem. Are these three passages not saying the same thing? Why would you say that this grammatical possibility is highly unlikely? What in the context makes it highly unlikely?
    the reason i think it is unlikely is because of the term "all" (PANTA). and that was the question OD asked, "In your understanding of things, how do those six things begin to take place?" i just think that contextually it seems unlikely although i'm not ruling it out.

    <Doug>
    "the aorist is a very unique tense. it is best to think of it as a snapshot tense which doesn't address duration or any such thing (aorist = undefined)."

    <Kings Kid>
    ..."The aorist tense has often been mishandled by both scholars and preachers. Aorist verbs too frequently are said to denote once-for-all action when the text has no such intention...Having been warned of this error, we should not go to the other extreme and fail to see that in some contexts the aorist does denote once-for-all action, not merely because the verb is aorist but because of the context."

    It appears that the aorist tense is very difficult to interpret (even for the scholars). With this in mind, I wonder how dogmatic one can be with these passages? Can we build a theological system around them? I don't think so!
    i hope you didn't think i was saying it was a once-for-all action. actually the tense doesn't address duration but is merely a snapshot of an event that may have been once-for-all or may have continued for some time (aorist means undefined). we just don't know by the mere presence of the aorist. many have indeed abused the aorist and that's why i was trying to be careful and provide balance to the assertion that it should be taken as ingressive because there are many other options to consider (see above). an important thing to note with the Greek is that a text rarely rides on one grammatical pointer (tense, mood, voice, preposition, etc.) but must be interpreted based on the entire context where it occurs. if someone is saying that the meaning/interpretation of the entire text is decided by one grammatical pointer, it's a good bet that it's probably a misinterpretation.

    Having said that, IF we are dealing with an ingressive aorist in these passages, then we need to realize that an ingressive aorist emphasizes the beginning of the action. If Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32 have verbs that are taken as ingressive aorists, then it makes perfect sense to interpret those passages as saying, "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things BEGIN to come to pass."
    just a quick question. what would the reason be to take it as ingressive if not because of theology? what other markers in the text indicate that it should be taken as ingressive aorist?

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