Why Preterism Seems Absurd… (part 3)

Preterists routinely assert that the Antichrist or “Beast” already appeared in the first century and that Revelation 13 and its associated texts have been fulfilled. For instance, Kenneth L. Gentry writes,

I understand the beast to portray the Roman empire (kingdom) generally and Emperor Nero Caesar (king) specifically. I do so for several reasons. (1) The events and characters of Revelation are in the time of John’s original audience (1:1, 3; 22:6, 10, 12). Interestingly, the beast arises from the sea (13:1), which reflects the geographical perspective of Rome when considered either from Patmos (from where John writes) or Israel (of which John writes).[1]

This fails on a number of levels the most flagrant being that most scholars date the book of Revelation to after the time of the events in question. GK Beale writes, “The consensus among twentieth-century scholars is that the Apocalypse was written during the reign of Domitian around 95 ad” [2] Furthermore, the ancient witness supports the later dating as well. Irenaeus placed the time of writing “almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.”[3] The church historian Eusebius agreed with Irenaeus’ view.[4]

Also the apostle John, the author of the book of Revelation, in a letter written in the 90s predicts a future antichrist, “Παιδία, ἐσχάτη ὥρα ἐστίν, καὶ καθὼς ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἀντίχριστος ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἀντίχριστοι πολλοὶ γεγόνασιν, ὅθεν γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐσχάτη ὥρα ἐστίν.” (1 Jn 2:18) Here we see “antichrist” as a nominative singular juxtaposed against “antichrists” nominative plural. It also has a chiastic structure:

A. This is the last hour

B. Antichrist is coming

B´. Many antichrists have come

A´. This is the last hour.

The last hour began with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 1:2) and his second coming could occur at any time. But John is arguing in AD 90 that we know it’s the last hour because the “antichrist” (nominative singular) “is coming” – (ἔρχεται – present, middle/passive, indicative, 3rd person, singular). It is abundantly clear that writing well after the destruction of the temple, John means to say that although many false teachers or false messiahs have already appeared, he is still expecting the final one. Given he wrote the book of Revelation, I’ll take his word for it.

Moreover, John stated that he wrote the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, and according to the church Father, Tertullian, John was banished from Rome to Patmos after being miraculously preserved from a plunge into boiling oil.[5] It is said that the entire Coliseum audience were converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle. This event was set during the reign of Domitian supporting the late date of John’s exile.

In fact, I just don’t see any preterists in the early church and shouldn’t they have been in a position to know? When you read their writings it is clear they did not believe that prophecies had been fulfilled. For instance, the Didache (The Teaching of the 12 Apostles) dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century, still anticipates the events predicted by Jesus in the Olivet discourse to occur in the future:

16. Be watchful for your life; let your lamps not be quenched and your loins not ungirded, but be ye ready; for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh. 2And ye shall gather yourselves together frequently, seeking what is fitting for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you, if ye be not perfected at the last season. 3For in the last days the false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate. 4For as lawlessness increaseth, they shall hate one another and shall persecute and betray. And then the world-deceiver shall appear as a son of God; and shall work signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unholy things, which have never been since the world began. 5Then all created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved by the Curse Himself. 6And then shall the signs of the truth appear; first a sign of a rift in the heaven, then a sign of a voice of a trumpet, and thirdly a resurrection of the dead; 7yet not of all, but as it was said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. 8Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.[6]

The Didache was lost for centuries until a Greek manuscript was rediscovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios, a Greek Orthodox Bishop. In this ancient manuscript, we see an overt reference to Mathew 24:12 and that future “world-deceiver shall appear as a son of God; and shall work signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unholy things, which have never been since the world began.” The Apostolic fathers were not preterists. Neither were any of the apostles. Paul firmly connects the end time abomination of desolation and Antichrist to the temple:

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 refers to a literal rebuilt temple because Paul’s readers in Thessalonica would have certainly understood the Jerusalem Temple. This end time event is also predicted in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:11 and finds parallel in Revelation 13:5-8. The early church fathers and several modern scholars accept the literal view. This man is the Antichrist (1 John 2:18) and Paul connected his appearance to the time of Christ’s second coming, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” (2 Th 2:8) Jesus did not return in AD 70, so this is necessarily future. I wrote my exegetical research paper for my Masters on 2 Thessalonians 2, if you are interested in a in depth analysis, you can download it here.

If the preterist view is true, it seems John and Paul were wrong about the final Antichrist. The early Fathers Irenaeus, Tertullian and Eusebius and the majority of modern biblical scholars are all wrong about the dating or, even worse, the book of Revelation does not belong in the cannon because it’s a farce written after the fact. Either conclusion puts preterism on the fringe. Also, if preterism were true it seems like the early church would be celebrating the fulfillment of those prophecies not still expecting them to come to pass. These are just a few more reasons for why preterism seems so absurd to me.



[1]Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “A Preterist View of Revelation” In , in Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. Stanley N. Gundry and C. Marvin Pate, Zondervan Counterpoints Collection (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 68.

[2]G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation : A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 4.

[3] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.30.3.

[4] Eusebius, Church History 3.18.3.

[5] Tertullian, The Prescription of Heretics, ch. 36; http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0311.htm (accessed 7/7/2012).

[6] Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 235.

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. Excellent (and summarized) view of the absurdity of preterism. Again, you are correct concerning the anti-Nicene church fathers, since I too could not find anything of substance that would give preterism a foothold in the early church. Now, subsequent to Constantine, especially after the 1000 year mark of the church, then yes, their outlook changed and subsequently, you can find elements of preterism.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Thanks Jenny! It really seems to me that the second century apologists would be arguing the miraculous fullfillment of prophecy had preterism been true. But to the contrary, they were still expecting and watching for it.

  2. john B says:

    Hi Cris; Please understand that I am not backing pretirism nor futurism, but only Apostolic foundational Truth.. your words (This refers to a literal rebuilt temple because Paul’s readers in Thessalonica would have certainly understood the Jerusalem Temple)

    Where then do the words of Jesus Mat24:1,2 concerning the Temple Fit into the above futurist statement.

    All of the disciples had knowledge that the literal temple would be destroyed in their life time…
    Hence they were to heed the warning to flee beforehand, before the siege of the city and its destruction recognising that “the abomination of desolation spoken by the prophet Daniel” was to be the sign given signalling their departure Mat24:15-20.
    they were to pray that their departure from the city was not to be on the Sabbath as the city gates would be shut.

    There is also the different Greek word used by Jesus and Apostle Paul.. the Mat24 Greek is HIERON signifying the literal Temple then standing prior to it’s destruction.. the other Greek word used by the Apostle is NAOS signifying the inner sanctuary where is the presence of God..
    Taking into consideration that the veil of the literal Temple was rent in two at the death of Christ’s and that all the disciples were aware of it and that God had finished with with the Mosaic sacrificial Law, I am sure that The disciples knew of the reality of the true Temple of their faith and that God was in their midst (The NAOS )of Apostle Paul.. and as such Apostle John says that Antichrist’s are those who departed from the true Foundations of the Faith 1Jn2:19 There is no suggestion either from Paul or John that Antichrist was to be enshrined in Judaism. which it would have to be if such a Temple was to be constructed.
    Furthermore; seeing the escalating trouble with the prospect of War The temple institute will not be able to undertake such a construction

    Blessings in Christ

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Actually naos usually meant the literal temple. 2 Thessalonians was written early – long before Paul used the word a s a metaphor. Paul’s readers would have not understood him to be speaking metaphorically in this case.

      Another important exegetical issue is what Paul intended by “temple of God.” Amillennial supercessionists, like Beale and historicists like Calvin, argue forcefully for a non-literal meaning where Paul is metaphorically referring to the church. Beale argues, “The same phrase, God’s temple, is found nine other times in the New Testament outside of 2 Thessalonians, and it almost always refers either to Christ or the church.” From the same line of reasoning, Calvin views it as the Pope. While some of the Popes are arguably prophetic types of the final antichrist, John wrote in the first century that many antichrists had already come (1 Jn 2:18). Paul is necessarily referring to a final manifestation directly signaling the day of the Lord sitting in the only “temple of God” known to his readers, the one in Jerusalem.

      While Beale can rightly argue from later Pauline theology that the Christian is a temple, he is wrongly imposing developed New Testament theology on to this primitive context. Paul is speaking instructively and pastorally. He is correcting an error. There is nothing in 1 or 2 Thessalonians which would lead Paul’s readers to think what Beale prefers. If anything, the background from Daniel and Antiochus IV would be in their minds and they would most certainly envision the temple in Jerusalem. If theological presuppositions are laid aside, it seems clear that Paul meant for his readers to understand the then extant temple in Jerusalem and not the metaphorical church.

      The word was common and its literal meaning is a shrine or building see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naos_%28shrine%29 Unless the text leads us to see it used metaphorically we should take it at face vaule, it is very hard to see why we would understand the antichrist to take his seat inside a Christian’s body. It butchers the text making it nonsensical – thus it is not a metaphor.

  3. john B says:

    Hi Cris and all.. what is your view on the Temple institute.. do you reckon that their plan for the reconstruction of a Third temple can rightly be called the ‘Temple of God’… I mean looking at it from a Judaic perspective, yes it is their Temple.. However; from a Christian Apostolic perspective can it be the temple of God!.. I think that you all understand What I am saying here.. It cannot be the Temple of God, and I think that I am thinking like Apostle Paul here… only Antichrists who have rejected the appointed Christ would set out for such a building project.. If this is so; then I cannot understand christians referring to the 2Thes temple as a literal Temple, It would have to be the temple of antichrist or of satan.. anyway that is where I am coming from.. furthermore we must not forget that Apostle Paul’s use of the’word’ Temple is in association with “the falling away from the faith”, The Great Apostasy of the endtime

    blessings all in Christ

    • Cris Putnam says:

      John – I do think it will be the temple where the antichrist will fulfill the prophecy. consider that after that Jesus will return and then it really will be a temple of God. The meaning of the biblical text lies in original author’s intentions. To argue the current situation is imposing later circumstances on to the ancient text… the question is not what does it mean to me rather what did Paul intend. When Paul wrote those words in AD 49 then those words clearly meant the Jerusalem temple. My argument centers on what Paul intended his first century readers to understand and the meaning of the text has not changed merely because circumstances have. The authors intention for the original reader is always the best guide to the meaning of a text.

  4. john B says:

    Cris: you say ‘consider that after that Jesus will return and then it really will be a temple of God’.

    This is a futurist statement!…. in as such that futurism teaches that Jesus is returning to rule for 1000 years from a literal temple in a literal geographical location which was pre-occupied by the antichrist… But the Apostle teaches that when Jesus returns it is the “judgement of the living and the dead” 2Tim4:1 Rev22:12

    According to Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy 2Tim4:1 Acts10:42 Jesus comes (((into))) His kingdom for the ‘Last judgement’…. He does not come to set up the kingdom.. please See Mat25:31-46 as Jesus Judges all, rewarding Eternal life and condemns the wicked to Eternal Hell..
    Mat 25 follows from Mat 24 that is imperative is it not?

    blessings to all Amen!

    • Cris Putnam says:

      That’s because dispensational futurism is the most biblical view:

      “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.(Re 20:4–5)

      The Great White Throne Judgement is after the millennial reign (Rev 20:11).

      I wonder how you explain this Torah passage, directed toward the Israelites:

      “And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.(Dt 4:27–31)

  5. john B says:

    The explanation of the Torah passage is that it is fulfilled in Christ as messiah the deliverer of His people ..

    The writer of Hebrews Quotes Dt4:30 the words of Moses to the converted Jews in Christ as assurance and security to them Heb13:5.. Look it up!
    Any restoration of any Jew is to be in the finished work of their Messiah, because that messianic ministry is fulfilled He, Jesus is the promised Seed of Abraham by which their deliverance was secured.

    This is the problem with futurism it dwells in rabbinical teachings… always depending and quoting OT passages to support their view.
    If as Apostle says that Jesus is coming again to”judge the living and the dead” then the 1000 year of Revelations is symbolical of His present reign. Death awaits as the last enemy to be destroyed 1Cor15:25,26

    I have always said that prophetic figures, symbols and imagery must be understood in the Clear teachings of the NT
    At present Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit and His assault is towards the camp of the saints Rev20:3 (the true church upon the earth) surely this is very visible to those not distracted by the Zionist camp. all manner of Beastly legislations are aligned against us to shut us up!
    It is they, the saints encamped that Jesus comes to rapture then sit upon the great white throne of judgement Rev20:11 That is why the book finishes with the words of Jesus “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with Me to render to every man according to his deeds” Rev22:11

    Blessings Cris.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      How does Hebrews 13:5 have anything to do with it? Heb 13:5 does not quote Dt 4:30. You are avoiding the clear teachings in God’s word by calling them “rabbinical teachings” – oh please! Jesus believed Deuteronomy and so did Paul. It seems clear that these passages are all talking about the Jews repentance during the tribulation:

      “When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice.”(Dt 4:30)

      This passage refers to AFTER they have been spread amongst the nations -read the section- its a prophecy which must be fulfilled post AD 70. So it cannot be referring to the first advent, it is necessarily the second.

      “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”(Zec 12:10)

      “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”;(Ro 11:26)

      Your millennial view is Roman Catholic. The 1000 years is after Jesus’ return in chapter 19 which has not happened yet. It’s absurd to say we are in 1000 years now, Satan is obviously not bound and the nations are obviously still deceived. The sequence is Jesus returns binds Satan and then the millennial reign begins. You are butchering the text, it’s hermeneutical rape.

      “judge the living and the dead” is not specific as to the timing or sequence, Revelation 20 is very clear as to the sequence. Let the clear interpret the vague. See: http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=710

  6. john B says:

    Sorry Cris, that should have been Dt4:31 “for the Lord thy God is a merciful God, and he will not forsake thee

    This portion of scripture is quoted in Heb13:5 “for He hath said, I will never leave Thee or forsake thee”

    That is the Apostle quoting Dt4:31 to the Hebrews Christians assuring them that the covenant of Messiah is ratified. Dt4:31 and it does apply post the 70Ad tribulation where they must look to Jesus for salvation. Jn19:36,37

    I am not butchering the text, I am applying the symbolical context of the passage to the Authoritive teaching of the Apostles.
    As I see it. the problem is “”hermeneutic”” as it adapts to what ever flavour one chooses Preterist, Futurist ect..

    I’ll leave it there Cris… blessings

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Sorry Cris, that should have been Dt4:31 “for the Lord thy God is a merciful God, and he will not forsake thee

      This portion of scripture is quoted in Heb13:5 “for He hath said, I will never leave Thee or forsake thee”

      That is the Apostle quoting Dt4:31 to the Hebrews Christians assuring them that the covenant of Messiah is ratified. Dt4:31 and it does apply post the 70Ad tribulation where they must look to Jesus for salvation. Jn19:36,37

      I agree they need to turn to Christ, that seems to be the purpose of the tribulation judgements. Zechariah 12 predicts that event. There is no “covenant of the Messiah” so Hebrews is not saying it is ratified. The covenants are the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12); The Mosaic covenant (Ex. 19); The Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7); and The new covenant (Jer. 31). These verse in Deuteronomy 4 are very clearly saying that the nation may fail to uphold the covenant; the people may forget their Lord; but when they turn back to him in faith and obedience, he will mercifully accept them. He will not forget the covenant based on his eternal and unconditional promises.

      When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice.(Dt 4:30)

      The latter days tribulation refers is to the time when the Lord Jesus will return to earth to establish His 1,000-year kingdom (Rev. 20:4). At that time a repentant Israel will finally seek the Lord as the scripture says in Zechariah 12 and Romans 11. Yes God will judge the world but that does not preclude repentance during the tribulation. I don’t know why that is so hard for you. Maybe its from all the dubious zionist conspiracy material you read?

      I am not butchering the text, I am applying the symbolical context of the passage to the Authoritive teaching of the Apostles.
      As I see it. the problem is “”hermeneutic”” as it adapts to what ever flavour one chooses Preterist, Futurist ect..

      Yes you are – you impose your preconceived notions on the text. Revelation presents a sequence of events in ch 19 Jesus returns and throws the antichrist and false prophet into the lake of fire then in ch. 20 he binds Satan then the 1000 years begin. You are telling me all of that occurred and the 1000 years are now or that they are already over? Seriously, that’s obviously false. Jesus has not returned and defeated the antichrist and the false prophet and Satan is obviously still at work. You need to start over with your eschatology, unfortunately you seem to be driven more by conspiracy theories about Zionism than the biblical text.

      As far a hermeneutic it is a theory of interpretation, not an eschatology i.e. the historical-grammatical method. Used properly you will avoid many theological errors.

  7. john B says:

    Cris; I do not see the book of Revelations as futurists see it ‘seven year span from beginning to end’
    I see repetitive visions expressing the same truths over and over For Example Rev11:15-18 is further expressed by Rev20:11-15… this cannot be denied that both passages refers to the Last judgement .
    There are many more symbolic parallels in the book.. Compare The seven letters to the seven trumps and the seven bowls they are all expressing by amplification the same judgements compare Rev6:14 with Rev16:20 and Rev20:11

    Apollyon comes out of the bottomless pit, satan is released from the bottomless pit… The repetitive symbolism with it’s figures reveal that the visions are parallels of the same thing see Rev16:8-10 with Rev9:2-6
    The colouring of Attire of the Whore of Babylon, the beast and the dragon are also relative to each other..
    Look; I can go on, but I have given enough to cause serious investigation..

    You nee to seriously consider what I am showing you here it all falls into place..

    john B

    • Cris Putnam says:

      So what?, there could be some recapitulation going on, BUT that does not address the sequence in Rev 19 – 20 at all, you are avoiding the clear sequence presented right before the 1000 years. Christ returns in 19 – “The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty.”(Re 19:14–15) –(so on you view the above already happened? please tell when that was) — Christ defeats the AC and False prophet and then He binds Satan before the 1000 years! When did that happen? The 1000 years – the millennium – is the net result of Satan’s binding. Your reacp view does not account for this logical sequence of events, that tells me it is in error.

  8. john B says:

    Cris: please do a study on ‘Judgement of the living an the dead’ look up also the early church fathers and what they said about it..

    Jesus is not coming to set up an earthly kingdom in a natural locality with a sacrificial temple service! as is professed By the head of your theological school…… This would be opossing Himself as the Final sacrifice for all………………………………………………….. common now!
    He presently seats at the right hand of the Father from’ whence he cometh to judge the living and the dead’ Acts 10 :42 Look up some early creeds..

    John b

  9. Laura says:

    John,

    First of all, the book is called Revelation; not Revelations. Second of all, please do a study of Scripture especially pertaining to the Millennial Kingdom. The sacrificial system will be a reminder of what Christ did for us (looking back to the cross) while it was a promise in the OT of what was to come. How can you ignore the following information? What is “replacement theology”?
    Replacement theology (a.k.a. supersessionism or covenant theology) basically teaches that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. In short, adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s Chosen People, and that God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. On the other hand, “Covenant theologians deny that God has abandoned his promises to Israel, but say that they see the fulfillment of the promises to Israel in the person and the work of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who established the church in organic continuity with Israel, not a separate replacement entity” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covenant_theology).* Thus, they claim that the Jewish believers are now a part of the Church. In other words, the Jews have been grafted into the “Church-vine,” if you will, (the complete opposite of what scripture teaches in Romans 11 that we Gentiles have been grafted into the Vine (Jesus Christ) due to the blindness and hardening of the Jews).
    It is important to know that there are fundamentally four different views/interpretations of eschatology as listed below:
    • Preterism: Teaches that the there was a past, first-century fulfillment of the literary text and that the events were real although not literal.
    • Idealism (Amillennialism): Teaches that there is a present continual fulfillment of symbolical or literary text; all events are to be interpreted spiritually.
    • Historicism (Historic Premillennialism): Teaches that the text is fulfilled during the span of Christian History. The text is taken as symbolic of real events, rather than literally true.
    • Futurism (Dispensationalism): Teaches that the end-time events are Future, and in some cases there will be an imminent fulfillment of the literal text in which events are literal and real.
    Replacement Theology, then, is not a view of eschatology but it is a framework for biblical interpretation from which preterists, idealists, and historicists use to view Israel.

    Thus, one will notice that in spite of the various eschatological views, in regard to the relationship between the Church and Israel there are only two divisions which puts believers into just one of two camps: 1) either the Church is a continuation of Israel, or 2) the Church is completely different and distinct from Israel. (Interestingly, there is only one view of eschatology which camps here—the view of premillennial dispensationalists. This, by the way, was the deciding factor for me in settling on which was the correct view of eschatology for I view Israel as a separate entity from the Church as I understand it as explained by Paul in Romans 9-11).

    In essence, replacement theology/covenant theology/supersessionism teaches that the Church is the replacement for Israel and that the numerous promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian Church regardless of how some in this group wish to rephrase their belief system.* Moreover, adherents to this theology believe that the prophecies in scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” or “allegorized” into promises of God’s blessing for the Church. In short, the adherents of replacement theology do not recognize the modern State of Israel and simply deny its rebirth as something of “man’s doing” because it was the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which formalized British policy preferring the establishment of a Jewish state in the beginning. Furthermore, since the United Nations was the one who voted in favor of the partition of Palestine, proposing the creation of a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a UN-administered Jerusalem in November 1947 and it wasn’t until May 14th , 1948 that Israel declared her independence that, according to Pastor Vernon J. Sandbek of Open Bible Broadcast, Baltimore, MD, “This was not God’s doing, but man’s doing and the modern State of Israel is therefore null and void in regards to the Word of God.”

    Of course, there are major problems which exist with replacement theology. Obviously, the first of which is that Scripture itself completely disagrees with it (read Romans 9, 10, and 11 for a clearer picture of this). Other problems include, but are not limited to issues surrounding the fact that if Israel had been cut-off by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how would one explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2,000 years despite the numerous attempts to destroy them? Furthermore, how could one logically explain why and how Israel simply “reappeared” (as a nation, no less!), in the 20th century after not existing for 1,900 years?

    So, is God finished with Israel? In short, no; God is not done with Israel. Biblically speaking, the church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two are never to be confused or used interchangeably. We are taught from scripture that the Church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the day of Pentecost and will continue until it is taken to heaven at the rapture (Ephesians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). Thus, the Church has no relationship to the curses or blessings meant for Israel and the covenants, promises, and warnings are valid only for Israel. Israel has only been temporarily set aside in God’s program during these past 2,000 years. However, after the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God will restore Israel as the primary focus of His plan at the onset of the tribulation (Revelation chapters 6-19). This time the world will be judged for rejecting Christ, while Israel is prepared through the trials of the great tribulation for the second coming of the Messiah. Then, when Christ does return to the earth, at the end of the tribulation, Israel will be ready to receive Him. The remnant of Israel which survives the tribulation will be saved, and the Lord will establish His kingdom on this earth with Jerusalem as its capital. With Christ reigning as King, Israel will be the leading nation, and representatives from all nations will come to Jerusalem to honor and worship the King—Jesus Christ. The Church (the Bride of Christ) will return with Jesus and will reign with Him for a literal thousand years (Revelation 20:1-5).

    What is their destiny? Revelation 20:1-7 says six times that Christ’s kingdom will last 1,000 years! After the tribulation the Lord will return and establish His kingdom with the nation of Israel, Christ will reign over the whole earth, and Israel will be the leader of the nations. The Church will reign with Him for a literal thousand years and then His reign will continue into eternity (Hebrews 1:8; Psalm 45:6).

    In conclusion, the Church has not replaced Israel in God’s plan. While God may be focusing His attention primarily on the church in this dispensation of grace, God has not forgotten Israel and will one day restore Israel to His intended role as the nation He has chosen just as He has clearly promised He would do in Romans 11.

    Furthermore, how can you ignore the following:

    A dictionary definition of hermeneutic: “1) relating to or consisting in the interpretation of texts, especially the books of the Bible; 2) serving to interpret or explain something.”
    My hermeneutic of the Bible is to take it at face value. Because of this, my view of eschatology is to take it at face value, too.
    For example, when Revelation 20 tells us that Satan will be bound for a thousand years in verse 2, and then in verses 4-6 that we shall “[live and reign] with Christ a thousand years” and “shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years”—well, it seems pretty clear to me. I take these verses at face value for the same reason I take the verses about the virgin birth, the resurrection of Jesus, and the ascension of Jesus all literally.
    Additionally, if God’s prophecies to Abraham were precise in the O.T. regarding the 400 year Egyptian slavery (Genesis 15:13), why should I think anything less of the prophecies in the N.T. regarding the 1,000 year earthly reign of Jesus from Jerusalem?
    By the way, this does not mean that I necessarily think that a physical creature as described in Revelation will come up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1); rather, I pay attention to the writer’s usage of figures of speech (i.e., metaphors, analogies, similes, etc.). For example, if we are told that something looked like something else, well this is a simile—comparing one thing to another to give the reader a sense of something that cannot otherwise be described adequately in plain words. So while I believe that these events and characters will be literal (factual), I do not necessarily believe they will be exactly as described. Nevertheless, my view of eschatology is not altered by this awareness. In other words, there is no need to allegorize away part or all of the text simply because the text is describing something that I’ve never before encountered.
    Another example of this where figurative language is used is in the Psalms. In fact, Psalm 91:4a says, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.” Although this statement is factual, it is not anthropomorphic. Rather, it is plain to nearly everyone that the Psalmist is making an analogy in order to convey that God is like a mother hen in the sense that He is loving, protective, and nurturing. This is because many of us regularly use these and other such analogies to explain unseen things by comparing them with things that are seen as a way of helping us communicate ideas with one another.
    I once heard that a good rule of thumb [when reading Scripture] is the following: “Unless figurative language is clearly intended, seek no other sense but the plain sense, otherwise you may end up with nonsense.”
    Therefore, since I believe in a literal interpretation of scripture, I also believe that Jesus will return in bodily form (based on Acts 1:9-11); that just as God is in this age is focusing His attention on the Church, He will again in the future focus His attention on Israel (based on Romans 9-11); and I believe in an actual, physical millennial kingdom (based on Revelation 20:4-6).
    References:
    Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. (http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861617585/hermeneutic.html).

    And finally, how can you ignore this:
    Some of the dangers of “Amillennialism” include:

    • Negating the value of the book of Revelation.

    • Negating the 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ and His Bride.

    • Holding that there is no doctrinal reason to expect the arrival of the man of sin (antichrist) which could easily leave its adherents in chaos (ill-prepared) for when he does arrive (unless they, of course, have been raptured—and I’m not sure how all of that will work out—will all believers be raptured despite their eschatological views? I would think so, but I’m not an expert in this area. I invite any intelligent comments on this if anyone has any to offer—thanks).

    • Leaving the Church ill-prepared and lifeless in regard to Hitler’s Holocaust.

    • Causing many Jews today to distrust Christians and leaves them generally believing that Christians hate them.

    • Allegorizing many of the scriptures that mention Messiah ruling over the nations from Israel and spiritualizing Christ’s reign as only spiritual (neither literal or earthly)

    • Holding that the church is currently living in the millennium.

    • Making God out to be a liar, because the Scripture clearly teaches that the calling of God [is] irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

    • Negating God’s promise to Abraham that he and his descendants (through Isaac) should inherit the land (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:19-21) precluding any notion of this promise being fulfilled in heaven.

    • Stealing one’s crown of righteousness, for the scriptures say that “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:8).

    • Condemning Premillennialists (Chiliasts) as those “who now scatter Jewish opinions that, before the resurrection of the dead, the godly shall occupy the kingdom of the world, the wicked being everywhere suppressed.” (The Augsburg Confession of 1530).

    When did this view take shape?
    Origen (A.D. 185-283) is the earliest proponent of Amillennialism. He not only popularized the allegorical approach to interpreting Scripture, but in so doing, laid a hermeneutical basis for the Amillennial view that the promised kingdom of Christ was spiritual and not earthly in nature.
    Tyconius, an African Donatist of the fourth century, was another of the earliest theologians to challenge Premillennialism. He rejected the eschatological and futuristic view of Revelation 20. Instead, he said that the millennium was being fulfilled in the present age and that the 1000 years mentioned was not a literal 1,000 years. Tyconius also viewed the first resurrection of Revelation 20:4 as a “spiritual resurrection” which was the new birth.
    Eusebius (A.D. 270-340), an associate of the Roman Emperor Constantine, promoted this view even further with Constantine’s reign as the “Messianic banquet.” Thus when Constantine legalized Christianity, Amillennialism finally gained ground and took off as an interpretive view of eschatology.
    It was later systematized by Augustine (A.D. 354-430—who is often referred to as the Father of Amillennialism), and this systematization carried Amillennialism over as the dominant eschatology of the Medieval period. He also interpreted Mark 3:27 to be the present binding of Satan. Augustine was the first to identify the Catholic Church in its visible form with the kingdom of God. For him, the millennial rule of Christ was taking place in and through the Church, including its sacraments and offices. His book, City of God, was significant in the promotion and acceptance of Amillennialism. On the other hand, Premillennialism was considered to be a carnal doctrine and the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) finally condemned it as superstition.
    Because there were those who alleged the Catholic Church was the Great Whore, John’s Revelation was despised by the Catholic Church. As a result, Rome refused to Canonize the book of Revelation. Although they were fearful not to include it among the accepted writings because of the threats within it, it was not until the Council of Trent (A.D. 1545) that the book of Revelation was finally Canonized.
    Interestingly, when Martin Luther (A.D.1483-1546) broke away from the Catholic Church (starting the Protestant Reformation), he did not alter the doctrine of Augustinian Amillennialism, but rather taught, defended, and preserved it among his followers. As a result, Amillennialism became the dominant view also of the Protestant Reformers. Moreover, John Calvin (1509-1564) wrote in his book Institutes that Chiliasm (Premillennialism) is a “fiction” which is “too puerile to need or to deserve refutation.” He, too, interpreted the 1,000 year period of Revelation 20 as non-literal, and applied it to “the various troubles which await the Church militant in this world.” Furthermore, the Swiss Reformer Heinrich Bullinger wrote the Second Helvetic Confession of 1566, which reads: “We also reject the Jewish dream of a millennium, or golden age on earth, before the last judgment.”
    Interestingly, I thought I might add that to this day and according to Reformed Theology.org, “There are [only] three basic eschatological views which are held by those calling themselves ‘Reformed.’ These are: postmillennialism, amillennialism, and historic premillennialism. Absent from the list is dispensational premillennialism….”
    So, how does an Amillennial view impact one’s view of Israel?
    • One’s view of Israel is skewed when one accepts the teaching of Amillennialism.

    • Thus, the physical promised land of Israel (Abrahamic Covenant) is thought to be unimportant, or simply null and void.

    • Furthermore, Amillennialism has led many (as in the case of Martin Luther) and can still lead its adherents into anti-Semitism. (It is claimed that Martin Luther’s view of the Jews dulled the Church in aiding them, but rather aided Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews during the Holocaust).

    • The adopted “view” of Amillennial adherents then becomes one of Replacement Theology which argues that Israel forfeited her promises to the church, and that these promises are now being fulfilled spiritually (i.e., He rules in our hearts…) in the Church.

    References:
    Bertram, Martin H. (translator). On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543. “Luther’s Works, Volume 47.”(by Martin Luther). Augsburg Fortress, 1971. (http://www.humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/documents/luther-jews.htm).
    Prat, Ferdinand. “Origen and Origenism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11306b.htm).
    Clouse, Robert G. (editor). The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views. “Amillennialism” pp. 155-187. (written by Anthony A. Hoekema). Intervarsity Press. Downers Grove: 1977.
    New World Encyclopedia. “Amillennialism.” (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Amillennialism).
    The Eschatology Index at Reformed .org-Mozilla Firefox. (http://www.reformed.org/eschaton/index.html).
    Vlach, Michael J., Ph.D. What is Amillennialism? (http://www.theologicalstudies.org/amillennialism.html).
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. “Dietrich Bonheoffer.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer).

    D.Q. 8 The Refuge in Edom.
    The following is from Margaret
    The topic of the refuge in Edom is something new to me. Although I was raised in a pre-mill, pre-trib environment, and sat under some good teaching, this topic was never explained at all. I am grateful to have encountered it here. So many prophetic passages are tied to understanding this.
    Daniel recorded this prophecy concerning the Antichrist’s activity during the tribulation. He will not gain control in Edom.
    Dan 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
    In Revelation we’re told that the woman, Israel, escapes for the second half of Daniel’s 70th week into the wilderness.
    Rev 12:14 And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

    In the Olivet discourse Jesus gave instructions to flee to the mountains for refuge in that time: Mat 24:15, 16 When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand), then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:
    Micah identifies Bozrah, (Petra) in Edom as the particular city of refuge. Bozrah means sheep fold.
    John 10:7 Jesus therefore said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
    An Eastern sheepfold had a narrow entrance, guarded by the Shepherd’s own body blocking any attack.
    Mic 2:12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.

    In the coming Holocaust one third of Israel will perish at the hands of the Antichrist and his armies. The remaining third must include those that flee to safety in Edom.
    Zec 13:8 & 9 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God.
    Again in Matthew, Jesus expanded on that thought of calling on His Name.
    Mat 23:37-39 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
    The forces of the Antichrist will pursue the remnant to Bozrah, and when they are prepared to recognize Him as Messiah and call for help, He will come to their rescue.
    Jer 49:13, 14 For I have sworn by myself, saith Jehovah, that Bozrah shall become an astonishment, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes. I have heard tidings from Jehovah, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, Gather yourselves together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle.
    Hos 5:15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly.
    The battle at Bozrah takes a sudden turn when the Messiah arrives to interrupt it and single handedly rout the enemy forces. His clothing is spattered with blood, this time not His own.
    Isa 63:1-6. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winevat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with me: yea, I trod them in mine anger, and trampled them in my wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my raiment. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my wrath, it upheld me. And I trod down the peoples in mine anger, and made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.
    Rev 19:13-15 And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and pure. And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty.
    The conquering Christ leads the battle the 1600 furlongs from Bozrah back to Megiddo. Blood flows to the horses’ bridles over that distance.
    Mic 2:13 The breaker is gone up before them: they have broken forth and passed on to the gate, and are gone out thereat; and their king is passed on before them, and Jehovah at the head of them.
    Rev 14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and there came out blood from the winepress, even unto the bridles of the horses, as far as a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
    Jesus will ultimately return to the Mount of Olives, and set up His Millenial Kingdom.
    Zech 14:3 & 4 Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall be cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
    In beginning to understand these things taking place in Jordan, prophecy is becoming so much more real to me. And to think that we as the Bride of Christ will accompany His return and be right there rejoicing in His victory is just so amazing!
    References:
    http://www.tribulation.com/prtpetra.htm
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2006/675/

    Do you believe the Bible as it speaks or must you have someone “interpret” it for you? I’ll leave that question for you to mull over.

  10. john B says:

    Laura;I have walked the theological treadmill in my youth… There came a point when I had to renounce them all and ask The Lord to even forgive me for teaching that which is false… The whole problem is that which you highlight very well THEOLOGY (replacement,preterist, dispensation, covenant ect…)

    I will cling to the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles… No man knows it all and i certainly do not advocate that I do.. all theologies have inconsistencies and formulated speculations… and it is usually based on the method of interpretation and there is the problem! Intellectual analysis of the sciptures rather than seeking the living word of revelation..
    I’ll ask you a question using the words of Apostle Paul “for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”Rom9:6
    who then is Israel if all be not Israel? you see; there can only be One answer only One as there is only one Israel of God…

    • Cris Putnam says:

      john B – Sorry but I don’t see you clinging to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, I see you explaining them away to support antisemitic conspiracy theories.

  11. john B says:

    It always comes back to the anti-Semitic finger pointing when one does not agree with men’s theological views about Israel.
    i have said it before I ain’t anti nothing.. why don’t you answer the Question Cris

    According to Apostle Paul’s words in Rom9:6 “If they are not all of israel which are of Israel”..I’ll even paraphrase it for you (Not all israel Is Israel) Then, who is Israel Please answer it.. I think once you all answer that Question.. and there can only be one answer.. then so many other scriptures concerning the last days and the return of Jesus that have been twisted by theologies will ring true.

    Laura: The Lord’s supper was instituted and commanded to be observed as a remembrance of His Atonement unto His return… So Now; in the millennium we have Mosaic Animal sacrifices to look back to Jesus atonement… it is obvious that you do not understand Garce.. I would not be surprised if you currently observe the Jewish passover.

    John b

    • Cris Putnam says:

      JohnB unfortunately it’s not just finger pointing as your comments on this site are loaded with remarks about zionism as some sort of world domination conspiracy. Even though it has been pointed out to you time and time again that the word zionism is defined contrary to way you use it, you don’t care. You use the word zionism in a bigoted way – that makes you a bigot. You have also demonstrated an utter lack of very basic bible knowledge, for example, you did not even know what the OT covenants actually were called, much less what they entailed. You can’t understand Paul’s argument in Romans 9,10, 11 because you don’t know the Bible. Then you baptize your ignorance by claiming that it comes from the spirit. If you demonstrated that you had done the work of understanding the OT and then come to these conclusions it would be different. You haven’t and you seem pridefully uninformed (2 Pe 3:15–16).

  12. john B says:

    Laura; concerning the premisses that you mention above concerning the people of Israel, especially the promises of the re-possession by them of the land God gave to their fathers..

    The answer can be given in a few words… Most of the promises (if not all) were spoken before the return of the jews from the Babylonian captivity, and many of them, including all such as were to have a literal accomplishment, were fulfilled in that event.

    The promises concerning the land of Canaan were conditional upon faithfulness and obedience on the part of the people of Israel, who were repeatedly warned that if their hearts turned away from the Lord they should be plucked from off the land Deut4:26; 8:19,20; 30:17,18; Josh23:13-16..

    Such of the promises of that sort as were Unconditional are the heritage of the “Israel of God” the True Israel, the spiritual children of Abraham Gal3:7,29 and that they have their fulfilment in the true Land of promise which the fathers of Israel had in view; For they were desiring Not the Land of Canaan, or any other earthly territory, but “a better country, that is an heavenly” Heb11:16

    That is what the Apostles of the lord taught!

    john B

  13. D Hunter Sanchez says:

    Any argument founded upon human deduction rather than scripture is bound to fail. Hence to argue that the Parousia did not occur in the 1st century because the post-apostolic fathers were “still looking for it” is absurd. Humans, yes, even Christians get things wrong. Further, DeMar has shown that many church fathers understood that the “end of the world” occurred in the 1st century.
    You quote Beale, “Most 20th century scholars support the late date.” So what? American scholar Moses Stuart wrote in 1835 that most scholars prefer the early date. (Gentry highlights those scholars who opted for the early date. What evidence has arisen that swayed 20th scholars away from the scholarly views in the 19th century? It was not manuscript evidence. I can play the majority of scholarship game as well. Since most scholars understand the term generation to refer to those who heard and saw the words and acts of our lord, we must locate his second coming “Before that generation passed away.” Or else Jesus was mistaken.
    The issue is interpretative method and it appears that you employ a literal view while at the same time disregard the non-universal uses of terms. e.g., the term “world.” In Isaiah 13 it reads, “I will punish the world for its evil.” Is God talking about each and every person? NO. The context is the Medes destroying Babylon. Words are often used in a limited sense in scripture. I would recommend Milton Terry’s Biblical Hermeneutics to you.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      What evidence has arisen that swayed 20th scholars away from the scholarly views in the 19th century? It was not manuscript evidence

      Yes, it was and ancient near eastern archeology. Preterism was not a scholarly view of the 19th century but was mainly a Jesuit effort to take heat off the Pope who most scholars labeled the antichrist. The other thing you ignore is that its not just NT manuscripts but ancient literature in general that provides the context for the biblical authors. Today’s scholars are in a far far better position than those in the 19th century when historical archeology was in its infancy. Regardless, if you really think the parousia occurred in the first century, you have left the fold of orthodox Christianity.

      • Dion says:

        Sorry, but respected 20th century scholars Bill Weddington and R.Backham have shown that 666 in Greek as well as 616 in the Latin manuscripts refer to Nero. An important point is that the Revelation was written to 1st century Christians, we living here in this time can glean application from it, but it was not written to us. It was written to comfort 1st century Christians in the tribulation. A simple question is why should we look for a man whose number is 666, if you do not have the tools to discern the number? We no longer use the gematria? Interesting that it was used in John’s time.

      • Dion says:

        So far you have not pointed to any recent evidence for why scholars adopt the late date? Please don’t just make an assertion. In 1976 AT Robertson published a book that changed a lot of minds about the dating of the NT. Have your read it? He dated the books between 20 -70 CE. Other 20th century scholars including WF Albright, dated it between 20-80 CE.

        So Gentry is outside the church? I am an ordained Elder and agreed to abide by the precepts of the Book of Order. I believe in the second coming of Christ. The question I have is the timing of the second coming a test for orthodoxy if so, what is your authority? Don’t present the Creed because the Greek Orthodox reject another statement of the creed, namely, the Spirit has proceeding from the Father and the Son.

        • Cris Putnam says:

          So far you have not pointed to any recent evidence for why scholars adopt the late date?

          Actually I cited GK Beale’s massive commentary on the Greek text. The scholarly consensus is AD 90 or so, that is not even controversial. Why? Irenaeus reports, on the basis of earlier sources, that “John received the Revelation almost in our own time, toward the end of the reign of Domitian” (Against Heresies 5.30.3). Since Domitian’s reign ended in A.D. 96, most scholars date Revelation in the mid-90s. It seems no one in the early church believed the prophecies in Revelation were fulfilled. Polycarp was discipled by the author of the book, John, but he was still looking for a future antichrist! Why didn’t John tell him? Why didn’t a single church Father use the fulfillment of those prophecies in his apologetic? It just doesn’t wash.

          So Gentry is outside the church? I am an ordained Elder and agreed to abide by the precepts of the Book of Order. I believe in the second coming of Christ.

          Then you are not a full preterist – they believe the all of the book is done including chapter 19. Partial preterists are still within orthodoxy albeit a fringe group for the reasons cited.

  14. Dion says:

    Your argument about the Beast as future seems to depend on the late date. The problem you have is that in 1835 American scholar Moses Stuart said the majority of scholars in his time hold to the early date!

    ”A majority of the older critics have been inclined to adopt the opinion of Irenaeus, viz., that it was written during the reign of Domitian, i.e., during the last part of the first century, or in A.D.95 or 96. Most of the recent commentators and critics have called this opinion in question, and placed the composition of the book at an earlier period, viz., before the destruction of Jerusalem.” (A Commentary on the Apocalypse, 2 vols; Andover, MD: Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell, 1845; p. 1:263)

  15. I enjoy looking through a post that can make men and women think.

    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

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  17. Gerard says:

    I really don’t understand how some of the scholars come up with the dates that they present as authoritative. For instance, Dion lists A.T. Robertson giving a date of 20-70 c.e. for the writing of the new testament, and W.F. Albright
    dating the N.T. at 20-80 c.e. If Christ was born in 3 or 4 b.c.e. and began his public ministry at about the age of thirty, shouldn’t the correct range be about 26-70/80. How can they think any of the N.T. was possibly written before Jesus began His public ministry. Were the writers of the N.T. clairvoyant? I understand the points that Cris has made in these articles. When reading the scriptures i pretty much take them at face value. That’s why i believe Cris is on the right track. Keep up the good work brother.

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