Why Preterism Seems Absurd…

By Cris Putnam
There are a good deal of sincere well meaning biblical scholars that place the majority of events described in Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation back in the first century. I am going to make this a running series that I will add to as time goes by. Each post will just add another nail in the coffin of what I believe to be an impossible interpretation.  It seems they fail to realize the distinction between Luke 21 and Matthew 24. Those passages are clearly speaking to distinct events and are even set in different locations.

Today’s reason is Jesus’ description of a great tribulation period, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Mt 24:21) Because even partial preterists place the abomination of desolation mentioned just above this passage (Mt 24:15) in the first century, they must put this time back then as well. But was the Jerusalem war of AD 70 the worst tribulation in history? Worse than the two World Wars? Worse than the holocaust? To avoid the clear implications of this text, our preterist friend switches to Luke:

Certainly no one would minimize those later tribulations — but a couple of clues work against such an argument. First of all, note Luke’s “translation” of this verse:

Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Our proponent offers no comment at all on this verse, which clearly shows that Luke anticipated a fulfillment in terms of Jerusalem only — the final Diaspora, and the trodding down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles.


The Olivet Discourse: Preterist Exegesis

But this is not exegesis of the Matthew passage at all. One need not address the Luke passage because Luke 21 and Matthew 24 are clearly not the same teaching by Jesus. This reveals an over reliance on liberal scholarship. I suppose I need to establish this in detail with my next post. But for now, note that if  Matthew 24:15 occurred in AD 70 then the preterist necessarily holds that either the events of AD 70 have been unprecedented or the Bible is in error. The law of excluded middle applies. Matthew records Jesus as saying,  “such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” Seriously folks! They would have us swallow that either the Romans sacking of Jerusalem was worse than World Wars I and II, the holocaust and the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki …or perhaps that Jesus was mistaken? Now that’s absurd… 

It seems to me the preterist is mistaken.

Issues Etc & the Whitewashing of Protestant History

By Cris D. Putnam
I just listened to a “back and forth” on Issues Etc. a Lutheran radio show that I generally like for its discussion of apologetics and theology. They had Dr. Thomas Ice on talking about “Rapture Theology” and then a follow up response by Dr Kim Riddlebarger Responding to Dr Thomas Ice’s Rapture Theology. While I identify as a progressive dispensationalist, I do not really want to debate the timing of the rapture rather the strawman representation of premillennialism and complete white washing of classic Lutheran eschatology displayed by the host of Issues Etc. and Riddlebarger. One of the major objections to dispensationalism was that it was relatively new development of the nineteenth century whereas the Amillennial view was the classic protestant view. This is a drastic oversimplification of the Lutheran and Reformed positions.

In truth, Historicism was a foundational interpretation of Protestantism and it is perplexing that it is so flippantly forgotten. They completely ignore the subversion of Biblical doctrine by the Roman Catholic Church and the fact that many early Fathers were Premillennial. Even worse, the host and Riddlebarger made sport of premillennialists for speculating on current events in Israel as prophetically significant while ignoring the Historicist view (see p1 p2 p3 ) of the reformed tradition’s tendency to do the same. In fact, far from demuring to speak to current events, classic Protestantism has affirmed that the Great Tribulation as an ongoing reality along with the judgements of the book of Revelation. In the recent past Protestants did not speculate about the identity of Antichrist, they claimed sure knowledge. It is in all of the creeds!

Despite political correctness and its nearly forgotten status in modern evangelicalism, almost all of the original protestant confessions affirm that the papacy is antichrist. For example, The Second Scotch Confession of AD 1580 states:

And theirfoir we abhorre and detest all contrare Religion and Doctrine; but chiefly all kynde of Papistrie in generall and particular headis, even as they ar now damned and confuted by the word of God and kirk of Scotland. But in special, we detest and refuse the usurped authoritie of that Romane Antichrist upon the scriptures of God, upon the Kirk, the civill Magistrate, and consciences of men.[1]

Similarly, The Westminster Confession of Faith does not mince words concerning the papacy:

There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ.Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof: but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.[2]

This statement was repeated virtually verbatim in the Baptist Confession of 1688, otherwise known as the Philadelphia Confession. It was the most generally accepted confession of the Regular or Calvinistic Baptists in England and in the American south. The Westminster confession is still widely used today.

While many modern Lutherans seek to distance themselves from it, The Book of Concord still contains the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise on the Primacy of the Pope. Accordingly, many orthodox Lutherans still affirm the veracity of those documents. However, in the 1860s the Iowa Synod refused to grant doctrinal status to the teaching that the Papacy is the Antichrist. They listed this teaching under the category of “open questions.” The Iowa Synod later became part of the American Lutheran Church, and its teaching on the Antichrist persisted in the new union. Since 1930, the ALC taught that it is only a “historical judgment” that the Papacy is the Antichrist. In 1938, this view was officially sanctioned in the ALC “Sandusky Declaration.” It stated:

We accept the historical judgment of Luther in the Smalcald Articles…that the Pope is the Antichrist…because among all the antichristian manifestations in the history of the world and the Church that lie behind us in the past there is none that fits the description given in 2 Thess. 2 better than the Papacy…

The answer to the question whether in the future that is still before us, prior to the return of Christ, a special unfolding and a personal concentration of the antichristian power already present now, and thus a still more comprehensive fulfillment of 2 Thess. 2 may occur, we leave to the Lord and Ruler of Church and world history.[3]

In a sharp rebuttal, the Missouri Synod’s “Brief Statement” of 1932 renounced the teaching that the identification of the papacy as the Antichrist is only a historical judgment. It professed, “The prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist…have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion.” It subscribed, “to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is ‘the very Antichrist.’” It argued that the doctrine of Antichrist is “not to be included in the number of open questions.”[4] However, their position has softened since.

In 1951, the Report of the Advisory Committee on Doctrine and Practice of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod stated:

Scripture does not teach that the Pope is the Antichrist. It teaches that there will be an Antichrist (prophecy). We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy. This is an historical judgment based on Scripture. The early Christians could not have identified the Antichrist as we do. If there were a clearly expressed teaching of Scripture, they must have been able to do so. Therefore the quotation from Lehre und Wehre [in 1904 by Dr. Stoeckhardt which identifies the Papacy as Antichrist] goes too far.[5]

This view was endorsed at the Missouri Synod Convention in Houston in 1953. Even so, many still struggle with their traditions. A Lutheran scholar, Charles Arand, wrote an article to help contemporary Lutheran’s deal with the cognitive dissonance they feel when they want to applaud the pope’s position against abortion and other moral issues. While he never denies the classic Lutheran position, he claims, “The identification of the papacy as the Antichrist in the Confessions takes place in an apocalyptic climate in which the Reformers also considered other candidates for the title of Antichrist, the most prominent of which were the Turks (Ap XV, 18).”[6] The text he refers to is this one: “For the kingdom of the Antichrist is a new kind of worship of God, devised by human authority in opposition to Christ, just as the kingdom of Mohammed has religious rites and works, through which it seeks to be justified before God.”[7]

Indeed, one could infer a Muslim antichrist from this one statement. But, in truth, his use of this reference is obfuscation because the very next sentences in Apology of the Augsburg Confession XV, 18 say:

It does not hold that people are freely justified by faith on account of Christ. So also the papacy will be a part of the kingdom of the Antichrist if it defends human rites as justifying. For they deprive Christ of his honor when they teach that we are not freely justified on account of Christ through faith but through such rites, and especially when they teach that such rites are not only useful for justification but even necessary.[8]

This issue of elevating their rites above the salvific power of the Gospel has never been recanted by the Church of Rome. He goes on to argue that as part of the “already but not yet” paradigm, the papacy was a manifestation of Antichrist during the time of the reformation but not necessarily the ultimate one. Nevertheless, this confession clearly says they will be a part of Antichrist’s kingdom. He maintains to be dogmatic that the papacy is the only antichrist precludes awareness and vigilance toward new manifestations, yet to relativize the confessions as only historical is equally an error.[9] So contrary to views expressed on the recent Issues Etc, dispensationlism did not amend their anemic modernized view rather hard-line Historicism.


It is a demonstrable historical fact that every notable protestant theologian of the 16 -19th century, regardless of denomination, believed and taught that the papacy was antichrist.

For a cogent Defense of premillennialism I recommend John MacArthur’s series here.

[1] The Second Scotch Confession in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Volume III (Joseph Kreifels), 349.

[2] Morton H. Smith, Westminster Confession of Faith (Greenville SC: Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Press, 1996), 2.

[3] “Statement on the Antichrist,” Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, last accessed January 18, 2011, http://www.wels.net/about-wels/doctrinal-statements/antichrist?page=0,1.

[4] Ibid.


[6] Charles P. Arand, “Antichrist: The Lutheran Confessions on the Papacy,” Concordia Journal (October 2003), 402.

[7] Philip Melanchthon, Apology of the Augsburg Confession XV,18 in Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord : The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 225.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Charles P. Arand “Antichrist: The Lutheran Confessions on the Papacy,” 403.

Petrus Romanus – Historicism Back to the Future Part 3

By Cris D. Putnam
It seems fair to ask, “what if the past failures of the historical interpretation picked the wrong starting place?” It is for that reason that in Petrus Romanus we survey the rise of papacy up until the reformation and explain in detail the reformers unanimous charge that the papacy fulfilled the Antichrist prophecies. We also discuss the leader of the first Great Awakening in America,[i] Jonathan Edwards, who was open to two possible dates for the rise of the papal Antichrist, 606 and 756. In our book, Petrus Romanus, we show how in AD 756, Pope Stephen used the fraudulent document, The Donation of Constantine, to convince King Pepin to go to war for the Vatican to take various lands which became the Papal States. According to contemporary historians: “In 756 a Frankish army forced the Lombard king to surrender his conquests, and Pepin officially conferred the Ravenna territory upon the pope. Known as the ‘Donation of Pepin,’ the gift made the pope a temporal ruler over the Papal States, a strip of territory that extended diagonally across Italy from coast to coast. Peter recovered his sword.”[ii]

We first learned that Edwards was open to this date in a Church History journal article which stated, “Edwards considered that the most likely time for the end of the reign of Antichrist was 1260 years after either A.D. 606 (the recognition of the universal authority of the bishop of Rome), or A.D. 756 (the acceding of temporal power to the pope).”[iii] We sought to verify this by examining a collection of Jonathan Edward’s voluminous writings and in the book we publish examples from Edward’s works. The suggestions we offer are right in line with what Mr. Edwards taught, so we rest secure being in agreement with such a seminal figure in Christian theology. As a sample for what the book reveals, we also found this letter by Edwards which addresses the starting date for the 1260 days:

The rise of Antichrist was gradual. The Christian church corrupted itself in many things presently after Constantine’s time; growing more and more superstitious in its worship and by degrees bringing in many ceremonies into the worship of God, till at length they brought in the worship of saints, and set up images in their churches. The clergy in general, and especially the bishop of Rome, assumed more and more authority to himself. In the primitive times, he was only a minister of a congregation; then a standing moderator of a presbytery; then a diocesan bishop; then a metropolitan, which is equivalent to an archbishop; then a patriarch. Afterwards he claimed the power of universal bishop over the whole Christian church; wherein he was opposed for a while, but afterwards was confirmed in it by the civil power of the emperor in the year six hundred and six. After that he claimed the power of a temporal prince, and so was wont to carry two swords, to signify that both the temporal and spiritual sword was his. He claimed more and more authority, till at length, as Christ’s vice-regent on earth, he claimed the very same power that Christ would have done, if he was present on earth reigning on his throne; or the same power that belongs to God, and was used to be called God on earth; to be submitted to by all the princes of Christendom.

[edited for blog posting]

Your Affectionate Brother and Servant,

In Our Common Lord,

Jonathan Edwards


As we demonstrate decisively in the book, the pope’s rise to temporal power began when the pope Stephen began courting Pepin around 751 and then became a reality in 756 with the expulsion of the Lombards. We quickly broke out our calculators and saw that 756 placed the target sometime in 2016 which can also be thought of as in the range of three and a half years from 2012. Perhaps it seems we are mixing up our eschatological systems? It may seem a bit odd as the futurist view gets seven years from Daniels seventieth week, but usually bifurcates it into two, three-and-a-half-year periods with the latter representing the Great tribulation (the part with the severe trumpet and vial judgments). Of course, the three and a half years is the same as the 1260 days (Rev. 11:3; 12:6) or “times time and half a time” (Dan 7:25; 12:7) that the historicist view uses to span 756 to 2016. Is it possible that the year/day theory and the literal three and half years could both be true? We make a compelling case in the book.

We offer another startling find by a friend Trey Clark who emailed Tom Horn after doing some of his own digging. This is from a collection titled “Lectures on the Revelation” by the Reverend William J. Reid, former pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA, which were given over a period of time ending in March of 1876. Where there seems to be a little disagreement in the nineteenth-century historical scholarship concerning the date of the Donation of Pepin, his lecture is still astounding. He reached the same conclusions we did, but we only became aware of this document near the end of writing this book. Here is a scan of the document published in 1878:


 Keep in mind this was published in 1878! What is it about this period of time we have entered? What is it about this period of time inaugurated in 2012 that has caught the attention of so many divergent traditions? What are we to make of Jesuit Rene’ Thibaut deriving 2012 from the Prophecy of the Popes along with the above? Is it a mere coincidence?

This is merely the tip of the iceberg… You will read even more startling connections in Petrus Romanus.

Next week we look at Isaac Newton’s beliefs.

[ii]Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, Updated 2nd ed. (Dallas, TX: Word Pub., 1995), 175.

[iii] Clarence Goen, “Jonathan Edwards: A New Departure in Eschatology” (Church History 28, 1 Mr 1959), 29.

[iv] Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, 594. Included FREE on Petrus Romanus library DVD.

[v] William J. Reid, Lectures on the Revelation (Stevenson, Foster, 1878), 306. Included FREE on Petrus Romanus library DVD.

Petrus Romanus – Historicism Back to the Future Part 2

By Cris D. Putnam
While we lean strongly toward the futurist school, we acknowledge that there is merit to the historicist approach. It seems like a mistake to just dismiss centuries of scholarship with a hand wave. However, there are many criticisms. Biblical scholar, G.K. Beale, characterizes historicism in this way,

“Typically this view identifies parts of the Apocalypse as prophecies of the invasions of the Christianized Roman Empire by the Goths and the Muslims. Further, the corruptions of the medieval papacy, the reign of Charlemagne, the Protestant Reformation, and the destruction wrought by Napoleon and Hitler have been seen as predicted by John.”[i]

Another characteristic weakness is that it tends to be myopic by limiting symbols to the expositors own contemporary situation. Accordingly, when one compares historicist commentaries from different eras, they seldom agree with one another. While their speculations on the identity of the Antichrist have run the gamut from Nero through Muhammad to Napoleon, arguably, until very recently, the dominant opinion since the reformation has been the pope, albeit not a single pope rather the office of the papacy.

However, it seems to us that some of this criticism is not valid. We agree that it is a weakness that a historicist commentator will usually believe his own period is the final one. But that is a very real part of the tension, which is inherent for Christians living in the already/not yet paradigm. Though it is also a weakness that historicists seldom agree, the fact that these interpretations are divergent on many details makes the areas where they do converge even more compelling. It is inescapable that they all converge on Rome and the papacy.

An often-heard criticism from historicists is that modern evangelicals who hold a futurist or preterist view have been influenced by the Jesuit Counter Reformation effort to discredit the historicist view of the reformers. We believe there is some truth to this conspiracy because the Romanists have vested interest in protecting the papacy.  But a lot of the criticism we have read coming from historicists seems unfair. Truth be told, one could argue that historicism is also a Catholic invention. The dominant Catholic interpretation after Augustine’s City of God in the fifth century was allegorical. It was only after a mystic monk, Joachim of Fiore (1130–1202), introduced a chronological division based on three ages corresponding to the Trinity that the historical interpretation gained traction. So it really is not fair for historicists to charge everyone who disagrees with them as being influenced by Rome. Furthermore, it is a logical fallacy known as the genetic fallacy to deny the truth of a proposition based solely on its origin.[ii] The futurist interpretation is judged unfairly due to a few influential Jesuit advocates.

A Jesuit named Francisco Ribera published a Revelation commentary, In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij, advocating the futurist view in 1590. Another Jesuit, Laconza, wrote under the name Ben-Ezra teaching the premillennial advent and literal restoration of Israel. As a means of criticism, strict historicists trace this through to John Nelson Darby, the Moody Bible Institute, and the Scofield Reference Bible. In other words, they argue that nineteenth-century dispensationalists fell for a counter-reformation propaganda campaign. They claim that the teachings of the reformers have been suppressed, drowned in a sea of Jesuit propaganda, i.e., futurism. Yet, it seems that even for a Jesuit, the imagery of Revelation 17 is too persuasive to deny. In fact, the Jesuit, Lacunza, actually wrote:

Rome, not idolatrous but Christian, not the head of the Roman empire but the head of Christendom, and centre of unity of the true church of the living God, may very well, without ceasing from this dignity, at some time or other incur the guilt, and before God be held guilty of fornication with the kings of the earth, and amenable to all its consequences. And in this there is not any inconsistency, however much her defenders may shake the head. And this same Rome, in that same state, may receive upon herself the horrible chastisement spoken of in the prophecy.[iii]

We do find it very interesting that even these Jesuits identified papal Rome as the woman who rides the beast. Although acknowledging that Rome certainly has an interest in obfuscating the classic historicist view, we are not under Rome’s spell in holding futurist views. The futurist interpretation is based on sound exegesis and the historical grammatical hermeneutic.

For instance, the reason we do not agree that the papacy is the ultimate realization of 2 Thessalonians’ “man of Sin” is purely exegetical. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Th 2:3). Paul was instructing his first-century readers that the judgment of God had not arrived because “the man” had not yet appeared. The Greek language is much more precise that English and the second declension noun, anthropos (man), is in the singular form. Paul’s teaching would be meaningless if he was referring to an institution lasting hundreds of years that had not yet appeared. For it to be helpful in identifying the day of the Lord he necessarily meant one man. Paul’s readers would have never understood it to mean the institution of the papacy. For them, it was very clearly an individual of whom it says the Lord “shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Th 2:8). This clearly speaks of one man who is present when Jesus returns. Thus, if one accurately accounts for grammar and context, this is necessarily an individual on the scene when Jesus returns. One should allow Paul’s intent be the guiding factor.

Another reason the historicist approach is not as widely known today is that it requires a great deal of study and knowledge of history. Take the massive eschatological study written by Edward Elliott in the nineteenth century called Horae Apocalypticae (“Hour of the Apocalypse”).[iv] At over 2,500 pages split into four volumes with copious footnotes, charts, and illustrations, Spurgeon called it “the standard work on the subject.”[v] Elliot argued Revelation was both the unrolling of a sealed scroll and the continuing drama of salvation history. He saw the first six seals as broken with the empire, decline, and fall of pagan Rome around AD 395. The six trumpets were various attacks by the Goths, Saracens, and Muslims with the Protestant Reformation ensuing at trumpet six. Because Daniel describes the Roman Empire, in terms of legs of iron (Dan 2:33), the split of Rome into Eastern and Western legs is evident in prophecy. He explained the two beasts of Revelation 17 in this way:

At the same time that in the particular symbolizations contained in this subsidiary Part of the Prophecy, viz. those of the ten-horned Beast itself, its chief minister the two-horned Beast, and the Image of the Beast—explained respectively of the Papal Empire, Papal Priesthood, and Papal Councils[vi]

A major component in Horae Apocalypticae and most historicist readings is that the 1260 days in Revelation 12 are years in which the Church is subjected to persecution by papal Rome. This is an area where nearly all historicists find agreement, but where they disagree is when the 1260 year-long period began. In fact, the death knell of Elliot’s gargantuan work of scholarship was that it set a date which came and went.  Unfortunately, Elliot placed the beginning of the 1260 years in AD 606 when the emperor Phocas rubberstamped Pope Boniface III’s claim for the primacy of Rome. We discuss this papal milestone in chapter 9 of Petrus Romanus, “Donation of Constantine and the Road to Hell.” Concerning this, Elliot wrote:

“At the same time that the fall and complete commencement of the period appeared on strong and peculiar historic evidence (especially that of the then risen ten diademed Romano-Gothic Papal horns) to have about synchronized with the epoch of Phocas’ decree A.D. 606; and the corresponding epoch of end with the year I866.”[vii]

Of course, 1866 came and went and the papacy under Pius IX even got bolder by claiming infallibility in 1870. However it is interesting in the same year, Napoleon’s advance led the Italian government to raid the Vatican and take the Papal States from the pope. However, the loss of temporal power was brief as Pius XI signed a pact with the fascist dictator Mussolini on February 11, 1929, restoring papal governing power to Vatican City. Even so, Elliot’s grand historical scheme was undone when 1866 passed with no second advent. This is another characteristic weakness of the historicist approach. It has this track record of failed date-setting.

Another famous failure was when a Baptist preacher, William Miller, predicted the imminent return of Jesus Christ. On the basis of Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Miller became convinced that the twenty-three-hundred-day period started in 457 BC with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem by Artaxerxes I of Persia. Then using the day/year principle favored by historicists he calculated Christ’s return to occur in 1843. It is now famously called the Great Disappointment of 1844. Many folks had sold everything they owned because of this belief. Other groups resorted to rather pitiable lengths to preserve the date. Reaching for straws, they speculated that Miller’s assumption — that the sanctuary to be cleansed was the earth– was the problem and that it represented the sanctuary in heaven.

Accordingly, the October 22, 1844 date was modified to denote when Christ entered the Holy of Holies in the heavenly sanctuary, not the Second Coming. This group became the Seventh-day Adventist Church of today and this modification is called the doctrine of the pre-Advent Divine Investigative Judgment.[viii] Frankly, it seems like an excuse to us. Miller was simply wrong. The lesson to be learned here is that it is perfectly fine and even commendable to be fascinated by prophecy and to study various interpretations, but always follow Paul’s teaching in 2 Thessalonians. The purpose of that letter leads many interpreters to infer that some of the Thessalonians were so sure that the day of the Lord was upon them that they had quit their jobs. Paul admonished them in chapter 3 to remain steadfast maintaining their lives and testimonies. We encourage you to do the same. We want to be upfront that the ideas in this book concerning the Malachy prophecy with dates and times are speculative. We are only pointing out what others have written. It is always wise to be prepared, but we certainly do not recommend selling all of your possessions like the Millerites!

Here is an elaborate chart which was popular prior to 1844 showing many historical events in the Millerite historical framework:

Next week we will examine the historicist views of Jonathan Edwards and a prominent Presbyterian who predicted the year 2012 back in 1876!



[i] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 46.

[ii] “Genetic Fallacy,” Fallacy Files, http://www.fallacyfiles.org/genefall.html

[iii] Manuel Lacunza, Edward Irving, The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, Volume 1 (Seeley, 1827) pg. 252.

[iv] The entire set is available for free on the Pertrus Romanus Giveaway Disc.

[v] Charles Spurgeon, Commentating on Commenataries (London: Passmore and Alabaster; 1876) p. 199

[vi] Edward Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae vol 4, (London: Seeley, Burnside, and Seely, 1847), 233

[vii] Edward Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae vol 4, 237..

[viii] Roy Adams, “The Pre-Advent Judgment” Adventist World, last accessed January 27, 2012, http://www.adventistworld.org/article.php?id=136.

Personal Update & Exegetical Research on 2 Thessalonians 2 :1-12

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! My own is is ongoing as my wife and I are boarding a plane to spend a week with her parents in Iowa.  I really appreciate those of you who read my posts here on a regular basis and I have some exciting news. First, I finished my Masters of Arts degree in Theological Studies at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary last Fall semester. While now I have some credentials to serve in this capacity, I have hopes of perhaps teaching at the college or seminary level, so I will be pursing further study at Southeastern Baptist Theological seminary this Spring. I will be concentrating on Greek intensives, with the goal of entering the PhD program in the near future. Second, I have signed a contract to co-author a book with Tom Horn on the Malachy Prophecy of the Popes. The reason I have not posted here much lately is that I have been working 14 hour days on that project. I assure you the subject is much deeper than I ever imagined. The research for this book has taken me places I never imagined possible. Look for some jaw dropping revelations this Spring.

My last research project  for my Master’s Degree was an exegetical paper on Paul’s most definitive statement concerning the Antichrist and end-times, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. It is a notoriously difficult pericope for exegesis but I chose it due to my deep interest in things eschatological.  Fee and Stuart even use it as an example of “problem passages:”

In many cases the reason the texts are so difficult for us is that, frankly, they were not written to us. That is, the original author and his readers are on a similar wavelength that allows the inspired author to assume a great deal on the part of his readers. Thus, for example, when Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are to recall that he “used to tell [them] these things,” and therefore “you know what is holding him back” (2 Thess 2:5–6), we may need to learn to be content with our lack of knowledge. [1]

Even so, I think this passage has a very important word for us today. In lieu of cutting an pasting the entire paper, I am going to post the introduction and a link to down load the pdf if yu want to read the whole thing. I derive several important implications for the modern church which I may post later as a separate post but  I wanted to make it available to you now as 2012 promises to be a big year.


No one likes waiting. Patience, persistence and perseverance are not popular words. They convey capricious craving, laborious longing and unrequited love. How intense is the longing when waiting for one of infinite worth? Christians live in the tension of what is called the “already but not yet” paradigm. This refers to the idea that Christ inaugurated the kingdom at the first advent but it will not be fully realized until the second at the eschaton. Gordon Fee writes, “The theological framework of the entire New Testament is eschatological.”[2] Thus, there is a tension inherent in the Christian worldview that eclipses all the yearnings of adolescence. It is the groaning of creation itself (Rom 8:22).

The purpose of this paper is to interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 using sound exegetical methodology. This presentation will first give a survey of the historical and literary context, and then it will offer exegesis of the text. Difficulties arise because Paul assumes knowledge on the part of the original recipients that subsequent generations do not have. Allusions to the Old Testament will be discussed based on Paul’s background. Each issue will be handled sequentially. The paper will attempt to show that because we still live in the apocalyptic tension of the already/not yet, the eschatological content still has great value for the contemporary church. Paul taught the Thessalonian church that they would recognize the “day of the Lord” by two harbingers: the apostasy and the appearance of the man of lawlessness.

Download: 2 Thessalonians 2 Exegetical Research – Cris D. Putnam


[1]Gordon D. Fee and Douglas K. Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), 69.

[2]Ibid, 145.