Why Preterism Seems Absurd… (part 2)

By Cris Putnam
As presented in my previous post, the conflation of Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Luke 21 as a single teaching by Jesus is a popular misconception amongst scholars. Preterists typically presume higher critical source theories which demand that Matthew and Luke copied Mark and another document (never proven to exist) called Q. Classically the church positioned Matthew as the first gospel which is why it appears first in our Bibles. This finds support in the fact that Eusebius quotes the testimony of Papias who wrote that Matthew had collected Jesus oracles in Hebrew. As a tax collector, Matthew would have been trained in shorthand and able to record Jesus words with great accuracy and speed. Preterists seek to diminish the accuracy of Matthew’s Gospel because it strains their position. For instance, in the previous post we saw that JP Holding believes that Matthew is using hyperbole for dramatic effect in Mt. 24:21 and the text does not really mean what it actually says (only because its a huge problem for preterism). This is special pleading of the worst kind. There is no exegetical warrant not to take the text at face value. While asserting hyperbole might work for the apocalyptic genre, Matthew 24 is a teaching discourse. Jesus is answering a question, it is not apocalyptic literature. While Mark and Matthew certainly share material, Luke rather obviously represents a different teaching in response to a different question. First, let’s try to better understand the preterist’s position.

Some scholars believe that Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are the same discourse arranged differently by the evangelist authors Matthew and Luke. This sort of thinking explains why the parables are placed in varying contexts and why the Gospels have chronological differences. It explains what is known as the synoptic problem. Thus, it is appropriate to recoginize that there are layers of context in the Gospels. For instance, scholars explain the various iterations of Jesus’ sayings in this way:

It should not surprise us, therefore, to learn that many such sayings (without contexts) were available to the evangelists, and that it was the evangelists themselves, under their own guidance of the Spirit, who put the sayings in their present contexts. This is one of the reasons we often find the same saying or teaching in different contexts in the four gospels—and also why sayings with similar themes or the same subject matter are often grouped in a topical way.[1]

While acknowledging that this explains some instances of repeated material in the Gospels, it also seems fair to argue that because Jesus was a traveling preacher, he repeated his material in each location he visited. In other words, one would expect certain teachings to be repeated in different contexts. That being the case, one would also expect His sayings to be recorded by eyewitnesses in overlapping ways. The question we need to ask ourselves is, is this simply the authors Matthew and Luke molding the same teaching to his own particular context or are these two different teachings by Jesus. I believe careful exegesis reveals that the similarities between Luke 21 and Matthew 24 are superficial and simply reflect Jesus teaching a few of the same concepts (like the birth pains) in different contexts.

The text of Luke 21 and Matthew 24 are not simply different hearings of the same teaching rather they are answering two different questions using some overlapping material. This is evident from four lines of evidence. First, Matthew’s discourse was private to disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mt 24:3), whereas Luke’s was a public teaching at the temple (Lk 21:1). The two teachings are clearly set at different locations:

Matthew Luke
“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately… ” (Mt 24:3a) “One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel…(Lk 20:1a) “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box,”(Lk 21:1)

 

Second, while the answers are very similar, Jesus is actually answering a different question in Luke and Matthew. In Luke, they are asking him about the destruction of the temple (Lk 21:7) but in Matthew they privately ask him about the end of the age and his return (Mt 24:3). Luke is public teaching concerning the destruction of the temple but Matthew is a private teaching about the end times. This is easily discerned by anyone willing to examine the text:

Matthew Luke
“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”(Mt 24:3) “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”(Lk 21:6–7)

 

Third, Jesus makes them distinct temporally. This is where preterists tend to get confused but it’s really not too hard. In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus lists a series of birth pains (Mt 24:6-8 c.f. Lk 21:10-12). However, Matthew follows the list with “Then (after) they will deliver…” (v.9). Because this distinction is crucial exegetically let’s examine the passages in question in their original Greek and consult the Louw Nida Lexicon:

9 Τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου. (Mt 24:9, NA27)

67.47 τότε; κἀκεῖθενb: a point of time subsequent to another point of time—‘then.’[2]

However, Luke follows the birth pains with “But before all of this…” (v.12).

12 Πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου,”(Lk 21:12, NA27)

67.17 πρόb; πρίν or πρὶν ἤ; ἄχρι οὗa: a point of time prior to another point of time—‘before, previous.’[3]

Accordingly, the instructions in Luke are prior to the birth pains ( e.g. A.D. 70) directed to contemporary Christians in Jerusalem whereas Matthew’s instructions are for after the birth pains, arguably still future. The texts overlap but they are not the same!

Matthew Luke
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.”(Mt 24:9) But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.”(Lk 21:12)

 

Fourth, in Luke, the instruction is to flee Jerusalem when armies surround it (Lk 21:20) Yet, in Matthew and Mark, the instruction is to flee when the abomination of desolation takes place (Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14).

Matthew Luke
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),” (Mt 24:15) ““But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.(Lk 21:20)

 

It seems that careful exegesis leads to the conclusion that Luke is not the private Olivet discourse concerning the Parousia rather a similar yet distinct public warning for first century Christians. It worked because Tertullian recorded that John and others escaped a few years prior to AD 70. Matthew 24, on the other hand, describes future events just prior to Jesus return. This accounts for preterism as well as futurism and reveals why preterist eschatology is ultimately mistaken. This supports my previous post and reveals why I think preterism as an explanation for Matthew 24 is absurd.

 

I will be posting more in this series later…


[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), 132.

[2] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 634.

[3] Ibid, 630.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Well thought out, well written article Chris. I have always been fascinated by the little differences found in each of the four Gospels. But what you have written here helps to explain why some people strongly believe certain ways concerning the issue of whether or not the “Last Days” have or have not already happened. I particularly like the overlapping circles graph you created. It makes it very clear and easy to understand who was saying what, when and to what time period it applied/applies. Thanks for posting this brother!

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Thanks Rob! I believe I understand where the preterists are coming from fairly well. Even so, I strongly object to the cavalier way they handle a verse like Mt 24:21 when it doesn’t support their position.

  2. I have read your study and it is very well thought out and documented. I especially agree and have argued that Jesus spoke the same parables and oracles over and over and over in various locations and that explains the variations between the synoptic gospels. Give me one pastor that has not pulled out the same sermon or passages from a sermon at least once a year and has repeated it? I have heard pastors and bible teachers use the same sermon/teaching and repeat it at various speaking engagements repeatedly. So why would it be any different for Jesus? Would He not want to ensure that everywhere He went, that the same message would be repeated to all present, after all, He was not necessarily addressing the same audience each and every time?

    A simple analysis of the wording between Matthew and Luke clearly demonstrates distinct questions and replies though it may superficially appear to be similar.

    I look forward to the next article in this series.

    Preterism has been and continues to be ABSURD.

  3. John Power says:

    I really enjoyed your article Chris I think this article is very self-explanatory I like the way you make the graphs circles and overlapping explains a lot The mystery behind the three apostles teachings about End times this whole pretrip regulation is nothing but an escape mentality was Christians want to get out of the great tribulation instead of focusing on being overcomers and sober on the sufferings coming our way. Thx

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Thanks John Power and Tracy!

      Another passage which supports the notion that we are looking at two separate teachings is “And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.”(Lk 21:37) The fact that he was going back forth has a lot of explanatory power as to why he gave a private version (Mt 24:3) on the Mt of Olives and a public one at the temple (Lk 20:1).

  4. tracy says:

    I agree with all these points…great research!! amen

  5. john B says:

    Hi Cris; I am no preterist nor futurist or any eschatological camp as such… but i believe that the tribulation of which is spoken “lest these days be shortened no flesh would be saved alive” pertain to The destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of prince Titus son of the Emperor Vespasian who razed The city to the Ground.

    The words spoken by Jesus in Mat24, Lk21 and Mk13 consists of dual prophecy, wherein He speaks of things which his disciples were to witness in their life time and of things pertaining to the end..

    As I see it Lk21:20-24 and Mat24:15-22 are both referring to that AD70 event

    The words of Jesus inferring that escape would not be possible on a sabbath does not correlate within the present secular state of Israel! But with the then ruling Authority of that time who enforced the Law to the letter..

    These things were to take place upon “that generation” Mat 24:34 In that verse Jesus is again reverting back to the destruction of vs 15-22..

    I also see in the 70 Ad event the fulfillment of the prophecy of Moses Deu28:49-57 as it applies to those under the Law of Moses..
    Josephus the historian personally witnessed the atrocious suffering of that generation..
    He recounts the cannibalism, the eating of afterbirths, the mass suicides caused by the siege of the city..
    It can be said that no generation of Jews since have undergone such atrocities by their own hands as was experienced by that generation.

    john b

    • Cris Putnam says:

      John B, you are really not dealing with the textual evidence I presented above… but I realize this is because of your supercessionist presuppostions and I know its not worth arguing with you as you seem immune to correction on that front. Thanks for your post.

  6. JP Holding says:

    “I really wanted to put my views to the test by challenging someone who could put up a vigorous debate”

    That’s obviously false, Cris. If you were challenging me for vigorous debate then I would not have heard about your postings through a third party, I would have heard about it from YOU.

    Keep digging yourself deeper. I’m documenting all this on TWeb where you can’t delete it.

  7. JP…

    I find myself blown away by the irony that you would be so passionate and convicted about interpreting the words of Jesus, and yet the manner in which you engage in discussing these topics bears absolutely no resemblence the attitudes which Jesus calls us to have…

    If you and Chris happened to be living back in Jesus own time, and were sitting there on a hillside, debating this very issue, and Jesus walked up and overheard the way you were speaking to Chris, what do you think the Lord would say?

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Truth,

      I am afraid he’s incorrigible. I really had no idea he was like this with Christians, it’s really unfortunate. I think I might use Dr. Sproul for my next post on this subject (I have Sproul’s Last Days Accoring to Jesus book). I respect Dr Sproul a lot (have worked through several of his resources on Philosophy etc.) but I think he is wrong about preterism, I can’t say the former concerning JP anymore.

      “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”(1 Co 13:2)

  8. JP Holding says:

    >>>If you and Chris happened to be living back in Jesus own time, and were sitting there on a hillside, debating this very issue, and Jesus walked up and overheard the way you were speaking to Chris, what do you think the Lord would say?

    “You hypocrite! You whitewashed tomb! How can you escape judgment?”

    That you avoid the issue of the transparent fiction I noted above speaks for itself.

    I’m done here too. Any more comments I make will be on the [link erased by moderator]

  9. john B says:

    Cris; I am not unteachable as you suggest.. You come from a theologically trained mind.. I do not !
    I use to cross every T and dot every i but no longer so…
    There is a spirit revealed application to the Holy Writ and most the time it cuts across theological concepts..

    My mind has been washed from theological dung accumulated by the multi-faceted denominational nett-works which you serve and I do not..

    However I enjoy a good debate and I assure you that I dare not post vain supersessionist presuppositions Lest I be judged!

    I have raised some valid points about Mat24 and Lk21.. I think that you cannot reconcile them to your ‘Analyzed theological concepts’ and therefore you choose to brush me aside as unteachable..

    I have had plenty of dealing with men who profess themselves to be Authoritative to know who the unteachable are..

    one thing i will not do, is come across as JP

    john B

  10. Personally, I don’t see why it’s even necessarily to underscore the contextual differences between say, Luke 21 and Matthew 24, because even though they may not be accounts of the exact same instance of Jesus speaking, I think even when you look at Luke 21 by itself, it seems pretty clear that the bulk of what Jesus says there can’t be confined to the events of 70 AD…

    The warning in vs. 8,9: ““Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” (To me that sure sounds like a description of a span of history much longer than a single generation…)

    vs. 25-28: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Did any of THAT happen by 70 AD?)

    vs. 34,35: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.” (Did the desctruction of Jerusalem affect all those who live on the face of the earth?)

    I think the reason that we see certain elements that seem to indicate an “overlap” between the fall of Jerusalem, and the “End with a capitol E”, is because Jesus says, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” So sure, maybe the “times of gentiles” officially started in 70 AD, but there’s just no way you find a way to truly say that everything Jesus talks about was fulfilled by that time (regardless of whether or not Matthew 24 and Luke 21 were accounts of the same telling, or different ones…)

    John B… If you yourself are claiming to not be confining yourself to hardline preterism, then what exactly are you pushing back against? If you think that Chris’s assessment of you coming from a “supercessionist” standpoint is inaccurate, then just say so. You don’t have to get all personally offended…

  11. john B says:

    Strangerthan fiction: The Lk 21 discourse pertains of things that would soon transpire which that generation of Jesus’ day was to witness Lk 21:32 and also of things that would transpire in the last days prior to His return.

    Jesus in the discourse goes back and forth between the two events.. The fact that In Vs 32 he says “This generation” brings that to light.. But Futurist keep telling us that (((THIS)))) generation means (That) last generation of Jews……. Grammatically (((THIS))) means the very generation in existence in the days of the 70 AD desolation LK21:20

    It was that very generation “This people” that experienced the coming Wrath and it was a “Woe to them with child and nursed babes in those days” LK21:32 The ref to Moses prophecy is in the thoughts of Jesus at this point… It was that generation which was lead captive into all nations Lk21:24.. surely this can be reconciled with Mat 24 and MK13

    PS I do not take offence.

    john B

    • Cris Putnam says:

      john B,

      I do appreciate the fact that you are respectful and polite – even when we disagree. We have been back and forth over the Romans 11 issue so many times that I don’t see how it would be profitable to do it again. I strongly think God is going to turn his attention back to Israel (Rom 11:25) and keep his covenant promises for a Davidic King (Psalm 89:20–37) and fulfill Zechariah 12-14 and restore the nation (Ezekiel 37:21–25; Amos 9:14-15). You don’t, so your presuppositions filter your reading of Matthew 24. I’m tired of going around the same circle with you over replacement theology which I think disparages the character of God. Romans 11 is crystal clear to me but you seem to fight the transparent meaning of the text.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Luke 21:24 clearly predicts that after the “times of the Gentiles” -the church age- that God will turn back his attention to Israel. If not, then the term “times of the Gentiles” would be semantically meaningless, it is obviously implying antithesis to the Jewish nation.

  12. Weird… I would probably be considered guilty of “replacement theology” myself, and yet that doesn’t seem to jade my understanding of Luke 21 or Matthew 24 in such a way that I do not await a future fulfillment of many of Jesus’ words…

    • Cris Putnam says:

      @Truth, It seems to me that Jesus is warning future Jews about a future “abomination of desolation.” (seems to require a rebuilt temple) If one were to discount the involvement of the Jewish people and a future temple in the scenario, as replacement theologians do, then Matthew 24:15-16 is unintelligible in a modern context. Here’s a commentary from a dispensational scholar as an example:

      24:15-26 (Mark 13:14-23; Luke 21:20-26). Having given a brief overview of the entire Tribulation period prior to His return, Jesus then spoke of the greatest observable sign within that period, the abomination that causes desolation. This abomination was spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 9:27). It referred to the disruption of the Jewish worship which will be reinstituted in the Tribulation temple (Dan. 12:11) and the establishment of the worship of the world dictator, the Antichrist, in the temple. He will make the temple abominable (and therefore desolate) by setting up in the temple an image of himself to be worshiped (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15). Such an event will be clearly recognizable by everyone.

      John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), Mt 24:15–26.

  13. john B says:

    Listen you all; I ain’t replacing nothing.. God has displaced the natural and super-seated it with the spiritual… God has moved forward… and He ain’t going backward.. The term futurist is a contradictory term in itself! it testifies of going back to an earthly temple with sacrifices and all.. such Blasphemy!
    People like Walvoord are engineering a train off track bound for a earthy Jerusalem millennial depot with Rabbinic baggage on board…It’s been side track now for near 2000 years..
    Jesus on the other hand is the legal engineer and His train is right on track Eternity bound with all the baggage left at Calvary.. all on board are circumcised of heart…

    john B

    • Cris Putnam says:

      john B – Actually Walvoord is taking into account the eternal and irrevocable promises God made to the decedents of Jacob in the OT that have never been fulfilled, something you just ignore or attempt to spiritualize and explain away. It makes God into someone who does not keep his promises. I have a big problem with supercessionism because I believe God will make good on every promise. I stongly believe God will keep his word and prophecies like Zechariah 12 tell me he will.

  14. Chad says:

    JP uses verses like that where Jesus is attacking the Pharisees as an excuse to attack and belittle other professing Christians. Ya think that’s what Jesus was really getting at there?

    • Cris Putnam says:

      @Chad that’s obviously not what Jesus was getting at. In my discussions with nonbelievers, name calling and insults are indicative of a lack of maturity and a concession on the item in question. Luke 21 is clearly delivered at the temple and not the Mount of Olives. There’s marked difference between studying the Bible itself and studying the opinions of scholars. You need to do both but I think the former bears more fruit. I don’t think many preterists have ever compared the texts carefully at face value. When I told my pastor many people thought Luke 21 and Matthew 24 were the same teaching he replied, “You’re kidding right?”

  15. I don’t discount the possibility that we could see rebuilt temple in Jerusalem at some point, along with a reinstatement of the sacrifices and all that… (There certainly are people in Israel righ now who have that very goal, arent there?)

    But…

    The assumption that always seems to be made in such a case is that it is GOD who is actually CALLING the Jewish people back to making sacrifices. Who ended them in the first place? Who ripped the curtain in two? Who allowed the Romans to destroy the temple? Was it the Jewish people themselves, in their rebellion against God? No, it was God!

    You don’t find anything in the entire New Testament (written by Jews…) that ever hints at a time when GOD would actually call the Israelites back to another stone and mortar temple, and back to the sacrifices. Now, that doesn’t mean that maybe God doesn’t know that they’re going to want to do it anyway, but that’s something different, isn’t it? (and as such, we could still see it enter into prophecy) But this shouldn’t make us assume that everything that happens in the name of “Israel” has happened because it was God’s will and God’s doing. Of course we understand that nothing happens that is outside of His ability to incorporate it into His broader purpose, but that is not the same as having a simplistic notion that “God still has a plan for Israel”, and letting that prompt us to assume that everything we see Israel doing, or trying to do, is a part of that plan…

    I also personally don’t think Matthew 24:15,16 is completely “unintelligable” unless we set it in the context of a rebuilt temple. Maybe it will be rebuilt, but who knows. The important point for us, as believers in JESUS, (the one who the temple and the sacrifices were all pointing TO), is that we don’t get turned around, and allow ourselves to actually lean against the very core message of the gospel, simply because we don’t want to feel as though we are defending a God who “doesn’t keep his promises”. God didn’t just promise the physical “land” merely to some future generation of Jews, He promised it to Abraham himself! So, either God already DID break His promise (because Abraham was dead and buried without receiving what was promised him), or…. maybe that promise was never about receiving a temporal Jewish kingdom in the first place…

    I mean, what do YOU think God is ultiamtely more interested in…? Seeing people who are Jews come to believe in Him, and receive ETERNAL LIFE? Or seeing them getting to claim a little piece of dirt as “theirs”, before they die and spend eternity apart from Him…?

    To understand things in light of the Resurrection is not to “spiritualize” them away. The Resurrection is really the only thing that gives anything meaning in the long run. The Resurrection is absolutely and undeniably “tangible”. It is the only “rest” worth entering….

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Actually we believe that the temple they are building now will likely be the seat of Antichrist. The reason why the abomination of desolation needs a temple to be intelligible is that’s what the term means by definition. The first one happened when Antiochus IV slaughtered a pig on the altar and set up a statue of Zeus. But Jesus applies it to the time prior to His second coming in Matthew 24 and Paul connects as well:

      Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.(2 Th 2:3-4)

      This connection firmly seats the event in the end times just prior to Jesus return – not AD 70. I think you misunderstand the argument about the promises… I think a quick read through of Romans 11 should make my position clear.

      Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.(Ro 11:25-29)

  16. john B says:

    “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.(Ro 11:25-29)

    Cris; in that passage of Romans Apostle Paul is here quoting the prophecy of ISAIAH59:20-21 referring to the new covenant and how it HAS been ratified by the taking away ungodliness (SIns) from Jacob.. by the atoning sacrifice of Messiah

    Nowhere is Messiah prophesied to come twice to take away sins.. Jews wait in vain for the deliverer has come and he will come again to judge the living and the dead Acts10:42

    The cornerstone laid in Zion has been rejected unto judgment 1Pet2:6-8 Here as well Apostle Peter is quoting ISAIAH28:16
    This stone (Jesus) is the foundational stone of the true temple of God God’s household..

    you see Messiah has come.. His next appearance is the wrath of the Lamb in judgment Rev11:18 from which all the tribes of the earth seek to hide themselves this is the appointed Judgment spoken by The Apostle in
    Acts10;42
    Strangerthan fiction very good point ! I mean, what do YOU think God is ultimately more interested in…? Seeing people who are Jews come to believe in Him, and receive ETERNAL LIFE? Or seeing them getting to claim a little piece of dirt as “theirs”, before they die and spend eternity apart from Him…? seeing that Abraham was “looking to the eternal city whose Architect and builder is God” Heb11:10

    • Cris Putnam says:

      John, Paul is making a linear argument and you are moving to the middle and taking it out of context you have to read it in light of the sentence above.

      25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:4 ia partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

      It occurs after the fullness of the gentiles come in.

      26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

      “will be” means its yet future.

      Then the passage you are discussing obviously cannot be about a past event. It’s a logical sequential argument Paul is making, the verse numbers are arbitrary and were imposed centuries later, you don’t take a a letter from your mom and start in the middle of paragraph and impose an external meaning – you follow the logical flow of the thought. When you do that it clearly implies God is going to turn his attention back to the Jews when the time is right.

  17. Hee hee, I sort of feel like now I’m ping-ponging all over the place…

    Chris, totally… I do agree that if a new temple is built, then it almost undoubtedly is gonna be where the antichrist is going to something pretty darn heinous… (I guess I just don’t see where the position that is so often perjoratively refered to as “replacement theology” would necessarily have to negate that…)

    I often feel frustrated in the sense that it feels like there are these predetermined little theological “camps”, and there is this weird pressure to squeeze yourself into one, when in reality I read through the NT, and feel like so much of the time each little camp has true aspects, but is also somewhat limited… Yes, of course I believe that God is interested in seeing the Jewish people come to faith in Him “en masse”. But the part that gets confusing to me is, why does it feel like a lot of people have this perspective that the rebuilt temple will be a seat for the anti-christ, but at the same time feel this duty to support the current political nation of “Israel” in everything it wants, (when knowing that such a path will eventually lead to some bad connections with the Man of Lawlessness)…?

    Do christians feel a need to help the “End times” come to a head by politically supporting Israel, and hastening the arrival of the A.C.? I don’t know, it just seems a tad “schizophrenic” at times…

    John B… You already know I agree with you on plenty of points, but why are you talking about Jesus “coming twice to take away sins”…? I sure don’t hear Chris saying that. From what I can gather of most people who believe in a future “mass repentance” of the Jewish people, it is believed to be simply another example of people coming to faith by their own volition. If someone sees the future “salvation of Israel” as anything that goes beyond that, then yeah, I’d say that’s a bogus idea, because you can’t violate the core message of the gospel in order to try and defend some theory about the role of Abraham’s physical descendents…

    The true significance of what it means to be “Jewish” always has been, and always will be, centered on the person of Christ. If Jesus is taken out of the picture, then there is really no benefit left, either culturally, ethnically, or religiously, of being a Jew. For me, that’s where I “draw my line” as it were. I can entertain all sorts of various ideas or theories about the Last Days, or the role of the political nation of Israel, so long we don’t veer into the mistake of thinking that being Jewish has any value apart from Christ.

    I think that phrase “But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers” gets you into some serious hot water if “election” is taken to mean that they have some kind of special treatment in the salvific sense, or even in the sense that God is really concerned with giving them their day in the socio-political sun, more than seeing them come to recognize his Son….

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Truth, My point of view on this is unrelated to politics. I think they have a right to be in the land but my concern here is purely scriptural. I’m actually not completely satisfied by any of the theological systems either… but I think a careful study of the eternal covenants reveals that Israel being back in their land is hugely significant. God is making a point about his faithfulness, that’s all.

      The confederation of nations in Ezekiel 38 seems virtually in place… the thing that amazes me is to read the commentaries of dispensationalists from 100 years ago, people were making fun of them for claiming Israel would be a nation again and now here we are with the whole world watching the middle east. The Iraq, Iran, the Arab spring, Libya, Syria, it seems to me things are falling place as predicted.

  18. john B says:

    Strangerthanfiction: I am not saying that Messiah is coming to save twice.. to the contrary all prophecy points to messiah coming at the appointed time to remove ungodliness from Jacob when Jesus comes again it is to judge all who have rejected his divine mercy..
    Therefore; to say that the Jews await their Messiah is a contradiction in term for the word Messiah enshrines the once and for all time atonement for sins He has already done that it is past tense So; Jews wait in vain for something that has already been provided for them By the god of Israel.. In that light I cannot say that Messiah is coming again because the messianic ministry is complete.

    Cris; for the way that you apply that verse 25 “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:4 ia partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in”
    would entail that every Jew upon the earth will be saved once the last gentile has been saved.. for the Jews in the US, UK, and indeed scattered world wide are all descendants of Abraham’s race.. and this is the folly of futurism !
    Some say it is only those in the present state of Israel which will be saved… which is it? None! Because salvation is a matter of Grace and not race.. It is by the spiritual seed of Abraham (Jesus) in which the promise is fulfilled..Gal3:16
    “for not all Israel is Israel”..Rom9:6
    “Therefore; be sure that it is those who are of the Faith that are Sons of Abraham” Gal3:7

    One cannot have this understanding as to who “the Israel of God” is and still maintain that the natural Jews in the modern state of Israel are his people It does not gel! One cannot be a nation of antichrist Jews and say that they are God’s people.. but that is what many futurists are exactly saying are they Not? That is a satanic deception of great proportion.. and this third temple thing is tied in with it.. how can that be the temple of God written in 2Thes2:4.. it is obvious that Paul is referring to a Spiritual temple wherein apostates abound..
    God’s people are those whom He foreknew Rom11:2….”that which natural Israel seeketh for it ((HAS NOT)) obtained Rom11:7
    I do not denie that God will show jews mercy unto the very end before the second coming wherein he will come in his Kingdom and judge the living and the dead 2Tim4:1

  19. marty says:

    Percentages wise… AD 70 was way worse for the Jews that WWII… now throw in the fact that it completely destroyed their civilization… that didn’t happen during WWII

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Marty the verse in question is speaking of the world. “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.” and it seems to infer the danger of exterminating the entire human race, ” And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:22 ESV) I just don’t see how that was a live possibility in AD 70 with bows and arrows and swords, today however there are competing technologies than can all do the trick.

  20. marty says:

    Cris,

    It could still be in the context of the flesh within that regional area. Even if your view is strong, that doesn’t change the verse around that verse that are regional and specific to the Jewish customs of that time period. After all, if this wasn’t for AD 70, a lot of first century Xtians got it wrong, because they didn’t stick around to die, but rather they all fled the city to Pella.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Even if it is regional, Matthew 24 is answering a different question than Luke 21, it is specific to what would happen before 2nd coming. “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”(Mt 24:3) Thus, I believe Mat 24 is directed to Jews who are present in Jerusalem shortly before the 2nd coming, after all, that is the context of the passage.

  21. marty says:

    sorry, “verses around that verse…”

  22. marty says:

    End of what age? It could be the age of the old covenant. Also, the sign of his coming could be the judgment on Israel. Tell me, aren’t there multiple places in the Minor and Major Prophets that describe God coming in judgment against His people or their neighbors?

  23. marty says:

    No, I’m implying that the statement in Matthew 24 was typical of many different instances of judgment in the OT. I think you can look to other passages in the Bible in order to describe the events surrounding His second, bodily arrival.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      But Marty, The text has a context and it is the signs of His coming. In Matthew 24 Jesus is answering a question. “As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”(Mt 24:3)

  24. Marty says:

    But why do you insist on a physical coming?

    • Cris Putnam says:

      At the ascension from the Mt of Olives (which was physical) two angels appeared:

      “And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”(Ac 1:10-11)

      This event is prophesied in the OT:

      “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east… “(Zec 14:4)

      And mainly because Jesus made it very clear that no one will miss it:

      “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”(Mt 24:29-30)

      I think the seals in revelation and the signs Jesus mentions very well might fit into a historicist framework see this post http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=335

  25. Marty says:

    I must add, those signs are very relevant in the first century (pre-70 AD timeframe). I mean seriously, people these days say that those signs are very general and nebulous, but in the days He mentioned those signs, there weren’t a lot of wars (i.e. Pax Romana), or earthquakes, etc. Back then, those signs meant something, and especially to the audience he was talking to… There is an unbroken chain here; Christ is talking about the destruction of the temple and then there is no obvious break. His audience would seem to gain nothing from talking about something two thousand or plus years in the future. Look, Cris, I’m a historicist. I don’t mind putting some things in AD 70, some things in the Romish-church age and some things in the future yet. I believe that Matthew 24 is AD 70, Daniel 8 is antiochus epiphanes, and that there are some things in the gospels, the epistles, the prophets and revelation that are still to come.

  26. Marty says:

    Cris,

    I think that the bold portion of the verse you supplied does produce a rebuttable presumption in favor of your argument. However, it isn’t irrebuttable. Many reformers have demonstrated in their commentaries that the earth mentioned in this passage doesn’t need to refer to the whole planet earth. Words like “earth” or “world” are bridled by the context in which they are placed. Any good concordance/lexicon will supply the multiple definitions:

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1093&t=KJV

    Obviously your idea of the whole planet earth is possible and reasonable, but it isn’t exclusive. I just suppose it’s possible that the reference to the clouds is meant for those who would be aware of Daniel 7 and its implications. Frankly, it doesn’t say where the Son of Man is coming to while on the clouds of heaven. There is nothing being stated here that he will drop down to the earth.

    see this page:

    http://mikeblume.com/clouds70.htm

    I don’t endorse anything else on this page, but I do endorse much of the article and its ultimate conclusions. I’ve posted it because I don’t want to rewrite that material needlessly.

    Sidenote, it is possible that the people slain in Israel by the Romans did have visions of Christ ascending to the Ancient of Days (see Matthew 26:64). In this passage he was speaking directly to someone, rather than some group far in the future.

    Thanks for your time,

    Marty

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Marty,

      You really have to force your view on the passage and it seems very unlikely. It seems to me you are isolating one term and not accepting the overall context of the sentence. You are disputing the term γῆ rendered earth but ignoring the fact that just above the sun is darkened and the moon does not give its light (events that no one on the planet earth could possibly miss). The context of the passage make’s your argument over the meaning of one term seem rather picayune and improbable. Why not simply accept the passage at face value? The only possible reason not to is to force it into a presupposed agenda (something like this can’t be future because it calls my system into question) that’s not biblical exegesis.

  27. marty says:

    Cris,

    Another link (I don’t endorse the site, but I only want to post the cross-references rather than reproduce them myself):

    http://www.bible.ca/pre-mt24-prophetic-language.htm

    That language about the sun and moon is prophetic and was used in the old testament times too (stars falling too). I strongly disagree with your final assertion for two reasons: (1) it supposes that many reformers, who had no reason not to apply some things into the future with historicism, were somehow needing to make this an 70AD passage for reasons unknown; (2) you’re giving away one of the very best proofs of Christ’s deity. A passage like this and a few in Daniel (e.g. chapter 8) are so accurate in describing past events, that liberal theologians just assume that they were written after-the-fact. I’m not forcing anything. The whole narrative starts out taking about the destruction of the temple and what the audience would witness in the upcoming years. It employs prophetic language, that was meaningful to the first century listener. Christ’s audience would have immediately understood that this was similar to the first destruction of the temple by the Babylonians. It’s strange to move this to some distant place and time. Again, I have no presupposed agenda, but only to avoid giving away a great authenticator of our faith.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      The language in the OT is describing the “day of the Lord” – some have past – but many are still future. I have written on the OT background to the battle of Armageddon in detail here. 1) I don’t understand your point about the reformers. 2)I don’t see how this affects Christ’s deity – all dispensationalists believe the 70 weeks predicts Jesus. If you put the 70th week in the past it creates big problems as well. I recognize and have studied Daniel in detail, it has prophecy concerning the wars of the Greeks and Antiochus in the second century BC and also a future end time figure, the text itself gives us clues to which is which. It is definitely a force to put the events of Matthew 24 in the past, its about his return. Jesus is answering a question concerning his second coming and then describes that it will occur in such a way that everyone will know. That has not occurred.

  28. Marty says:

    Cris,

    I suppose this is as good a place as any to conclude the matter. I’m not convinced that anything in Matthew 24 suggests a physical advent or additional events that didn’t happen in the first century. You on the other hand take the opposite stance. I hope you can appreciate why I take the view that I take, and at least give some of us the benefit of the doubt when we disagree on rather difficult passages.

    Thanks,

    Marty

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Marty, I appreciate your tone but I disagree strongly. I think you should always allow the context to dictate the interpretation and Jesus is answering a specific question in Matthew 24, ” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Mt 24:3) It really seems absurd to me that anyone could think that Jesus returned in glory and close of the age occurred in AD 70, hence the title of my post.

  29. David says:

    I agree that the 2nd coming of Jesus has not happened and we wait his return back to the earth. God has fulfilled His promise and restored the nation of Israel, but as I see things, Israel/Jerusalem has to be overturned for a third and final time.

    The Jews expected the Messiah to come and deliver them; not from their sins but from the Roman occupation. That is why they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The Jews still hold to the OT and expect at some time their Messiah to come. This is why as I see events unfolding, Jerusalem will come under seige again and the Jews will be put in a position of; “No way out”. This is when they will cry to God and God will save them and Jesus will return. The Jews will then recognize their Messiah to save them from sure annihilation and then they will realize that the Messiah is the one who they crucified 2,000 years ago.

    God’s purpose is with this earth. I think in spiritual terms and think about spiritual Israel, but God’s plan if for this earth and this is where God’s kingdom will be established. We have yet to see the Glory of God filling the whole earth.

    There are some prophecies that I am waiting to see fulfilled and am not completely sure how they will come about, but I am sure that there is a lot of prophecy that was not fulfilled by the time of AD70. Israel is important because of its strategic position and it is God’s land and does not belong to anyone else at this time.

    I am not sure of all the events that must take place, but I am convinced that the resurrection will take place on earth and that time is future and we might only be a year or two away. We know how quickly change can come about with what we taking place in the world. Jesus said he will come as a “thief in the night” and whatever we are watching and waiting to see happen, we are all likely to be taken by surprise, but when it happens, the whole world will know about it in the same way we all know about Jesus after his first appearing amongst the Jews.

    One final thought. We still await “The Day Of The Lord” in which God will pour out His wrath on the nations. This is still future and for those who remain alive after the great destruction and death that will take place, they will then liken that to like a “time that never was”.

    That is my take on what I have come to learn from studying the Bible so far.

    David

  30. Da Xin says:

    THANKS for this important series.

    I’ve often been mystified by the preterist’s irrational blather.

    One of them mentioned “cognitive dissonance.”

    Well, this psychologist considers their position to be one of the most brazenly outrageous examples of cognitive dissonance I’ve experienced in my 7 decades of life.

    There’s just no amount of mental gymnastics and contortions that will shoehorn the Biblical record and prophecies into any form of rational structure justifying preterism in the least. It is irrational from the foundation up.

    What has further fascinated me about a huge proportion of the preterists that I’ve known–they are fierce in their position. They get outrageously haughty and indignant in a flash. Amazing. The degree of that has been mystifying . . . .

    It’s even hard for me to explain their harsh outrage at the Biblical position on the basis of their obvious significant degrees of attachment disorder. Attachment disorder is epidemic in our era. Yet the preterists seem to be the main folks so afflicted with such a screamingly absurd degree of outrage married to their preterism.

    I don’t have a psychological explanation for that.

    Lots of folks have insecurity based arrogance. Why is that of the preterists so extreme? I don’t know.

    It is almost like they have such an extreme death-grip on their position because some part of them knows how ephemeral and unfounded such nonsense is.

    When I first came across preterism on the mission field, I was astounded. I couldn’t believe anyone with sufficient mental horse power to graduate from high school or college could seriously hold such nonsensical perspectives. When I studied it a bit, I was even more incredulous.

    Mystifying.

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