Partial Preterism is a Virus; The Raptureless Strain

Here is an example of partial preterist teaching.  This virus is running rampant in many popular churches.  The following is  from the book Raptureless by Jonathan Welton. Words in bold are Dr. Welton’s. ”

 

“Many Bible verses speak of the early Church’s experience of persecution, but we must be careful to read these verses in their historical context.  We must not apply the historical reality that they faced to all generations, for all time.  Following are some passages that speak of persecution:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt 5:10-12)

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt 5:43)

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do (Luke 12:4)

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.” (John 15:18-25)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”(Acts 5:40-41)

We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22)

“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2  Timothy 3:10-13)

This passage could easily be misinterpreted as applying to all Christians for all time.  However, the context is clearly the last days of Jerusalem (AD30-70), as Second Timothy 3:1, nine verses earlier, makes obvious.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Peter 1:6)

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12)

When considered in their historical context and with the understanding that most of the “endtimes” events prophesied in the Bible happened in AD 70, we can see that these verses were written regarding only the earliest period of Church history (AD 30-70)….

The New Testament was written regarding first-century realities.  It does not teach an expectation that all Christians are to suffer persecution for all time.  Even Jesus wasn’t persecuted as much as some with the persecution mindset say Christians should be…

Jesus was beloved of sinners, and even the government leaders found no fault in Him (see Matt. 27:23-24)…..”

Chapter Points

The New Testament verses about persecution applied to specific people and circumstances historically, and they are not to be read as statements that apply to all people for all time.

In their historical context, these verses tell us about the intense persecution Christians faced leading up to the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem.

Though persecution has always existed, we should not expect it, call it evidence of the radical Christian life, or believe it is the “seed bed” of Christianity.

Much of the persecution that Jesus and the early Church experience happened at the hands of the religious leaders.

When Jesus said to deny yourself, He was talking to potential converts (not believers), telling them about the cost of being His followers and the scorn it would bring upon them in that day.

Taken from pages 177-182 Raptureless Third Edition by Jonathan Welton

Do you see it ?

Does this bother anyone else ?

The more I investigate preterism….the more I see how destructive it is to the very foundations of the faith.  It is a virus that eats away at the Word of God and the Voice of the Holy Spirit.  It minimizes the nature of the Word and exalts the mind of man. We need to start holding these teachers and supporters of preterism accountable for their man-centered philosophies and intellectual exercises. Do you agree ?

 

Preterism and Reality

J. N. D. Kelly, who was Principal of St. Edmund Hall at Oxford and was an authority on the theology and thoughts of the Church fathers, wrote the following.

“Four chief moments dominate the eschatological expectation of early Christian theology – the return of Christ, known as the Parousia, the resurrection, the judgment, and the catastrophic ending of the present world-order.”

Here they are again…..

1.The return of Christ, known as the Parousia

2. The resurrection

3. The judgment

4. The catastrophic ending of the present world-order

If the destruction of the temple in 70AD was so important (Jonathan Welton teaches that it is equivalent to the virgin birth, the cross, and the resurrection) then why was it not a part of the eschatological expectation/fulfillment of the Church fathers? Why didn’t they write about it or explain its significance?

This great major event (again up there with the cross, the virgin birth and the resurrection) is never explained or talked about in New Testament letters or by Polycarp, or Iranaeus, or Justin Martyr or Cyprian or Hyppolytus or Barnabus or Clement or Ignatius or Papias or Tertullian and on and on.

(phew thank you Lord that they remembered to write about redemption, the cross, the antichrist and the 1,000 year reign, upon the earth, of Jesus Christ)

You want to know about redemption? Read just about any letter or gospel in the New Testament or Iranaeus or Polycarp or Tertullian or….

You want to understand the cross? Read just about any letter or gospel in the New Testament or Clement or Justin Martyr or….

The resurrection? You get the point.

You want to read or study about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and how essential it is to the Christian faith or even eschatology?

Oh…..well you can follow modern day teachers who take obscure passages, then allegorize where they need to, and then add man-centered philosophy; or you can join their Supernatural Online Bible Schools…But don’t bother going to the Word of God because you won’t find what you are looking for. Don’t investigate the early church either because they never mentioned it.

In fact….there is no celebration of 70AD and the erasure of the Old Covenant (finally) by anyone in the early church.  Not one leader of the early church told us how happy they were to be free from the Old Covenant temple leaders and system.  No one expressed their gratitude to Jesus Christ that the priests and the people that remained in Jerusalem were slaughtered and finally removed. No Church father mentioned Jesus Christ returning in the clouds (in judgment) over Jerusalem.  Silence…..

Why ?

Because they were busy writing and teaching about the cross…redemption…judgment…resurrection..the antichrist….the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ…the dark days that would come at the final end of the age….!

The Apostle John, who lived for 30 years after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, never wrote about its importance or earth shattering relevance. He never spoke of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant co-existing for 40 years.  He never cried out in joy over the death and destruction that took place as though it was some amazing, wonderful, event that Christians had been waiting for.

Did we need to wait 1900 years…

to finally have teachers smart enough to take obscure passages

and mix in a bunch of allegory

and philosophical fluff to see the light?

Come on.

Preterism is a philosophy.

A worldview that removes judgment and tells the church that the world is getting better all the time.

Hip Hip Hooray !

Listening to a teacher of preterism is like going to a football game

and only watching the cheerleaders

and then claiming that it was the greatest game you have ever seen

but you don’t know what the final score was or who won.

OH WAIT.

Sorry.

The Apostle John does have something to say about preterism.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

1 John 5:21

Harold Eberle and Jonathan Welton or Pride and Poor Martin Luther…Two Book Reviews

Father-Son Theology review (from amazon.com)

If you have been waiting for a systematic theology tome (maybe tomb), which is based upon open theism, preterism, theistic evolution and humanism then this is for you. If you want to learn that people aren’t that bad and we may have come from apes then here is your foundational manual. The author tries so hard to prove how outside of the box his magnum opus is, that he forgets to actually focus on the Scriptures themselves. I wanted to return the book out of anger but am now using it to teach others what to avoid. One endorser of the book compared the author to Martin Luther and John Calvin. Parts of the charismatic church (and I am a charismatic) are in deep trouble. This is not a systematic theology. It’s a guidebook for false teachers. Endorsers of this book and those who further it’s influence are worshipping the mind of man over the revelation of God. Here is a quote from page 17, so you understand where the author is coming from.


“Instead of identifying my use of the Bible with either inerrancy or infallibility, I will use terminology that has recently become popular among Bible teachers who hold to the validity of Scriptures. I take the Bible seriously.”      

Beware.

Raptureless review (from amazon.com)

Here is a quote from the book Raptureless……

“The destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the priesthood is a major part of understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. To not understand the significance of the AD 70 destruction is to miss a major component of the redemption story. The destruction of Jerusalem is akin to the virgin birth, the cross, and the resurrection. I know that is a huge statement, but I believe it is absolutely true. Even though many Christians have not been taught about this event, it is still an essential component.”

Another statement that shows the root (pride) of the book is when the author compares Darby and Dispensationialism to Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, Joseph Smith and Mormonism, Charles Taze Russell and Jehovah Witnesses, and Swedenborg and Unitarianism. Very, very, sad.

The events of 70AD were an amazing fulfillment of a prophecy of our Lord. Amazingly accurate. It had nothing to do with the New Covenant or the Gospel. To say that it did borders on heresy. Just like Nebuchadnezzar destroying Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC during the time of bondage, Rome destroyed the Temple. God has always dealt with Israel based upon their connection to His centralized presence (whether it’s a tent of meeting or a temple). There was no need for a Temple anymore (yay) and His spirit had been poured out on all flesh. So what had happened before (at the hands of Babylon) happened again at the hands of Rome. That’s it. What does that have to do with the Gospel ? Nothing. My salvation is complete in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period. If the Temple in Jerusalem STILL existed and sacrifices were STILL being offered, my salvation would STILL be complete. If anyone hints of adding anything to the Gospel (even if they do it ignorantly) it borders on heresy. Herod’s Temple did not contain the Ark of the Covenant, the Urim and Thummim, the holy fire, or the holy oil. Judgment fell on the Temple during the Babylonian captivity. The Matthew 24 prophecy about the destruction of the temple was an amazing  sign to Israel at that time, and proof of our Lord’s Office for future believers.

If you noticed, the common complaint against the book seems to be connected to the authors pride. If you go to his website, you will see that he refers to himself as an “iconoclast” and states that his teachings are as important to the modern Church as Martin Luthers were to the Church of the 16th Century.

One tool that preterists use is what I call “forcing the half truth”. When someone has the office of a teacher, claims to be a prophet, or writes a book and they are Christian – I don’t want them to “force the half truth”. It is lying. It is deceptive. This book is full of such lies and deceptions. Some people do it by ignorance. Some do it on purpose to sell books or found a ministry. Let me give you a few examples having to do with the book Raptureless.

The events of 70 AD are historical fact. The fulfillment of our Lords words are historically verified. Just because someone (whether a historian or preacher) states that Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled does not mean that they are a preterist. They may still believe in a millennial reign on earth of our Lord, or a coming Antichrist, or an apostasy. What Mr. Welton does is quote partially to prove his “optimistic or victorious” view.


Eusebius was a historian. Quoting him on the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy proves nothing.
Josephus was a historian. Quoting him on the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy proves nothing.


John Chrysostom. He quotes him about the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy but he’s not a preterist. Here is a quote from him which shows he didn’t share the “optimistic or victorious” viewpoint. He believed in an apostasy and an antichrist etc.., This is from his commentary on 2 Thessalonians.

Ver. 3, 4. “Let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sits in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God.”

Here he discourses concerning the Antichrist, and reveals great mysteries. What is “the falling away?” He calls him Apostasy, as being about to destroy many, and make them fall away. So that if it were possible, He says, the very Elect should be offended. From Matthew 24:24 And he calls him “the man of sin.” For he shall do numberless mischiefs, and shall cause others to do them. But he calls him “the son of perdition,” because he is also to be destroyed. But who is he? Is it then Satan? By no means; but some man, that admits his fully working in him. For he is a man. “And exalts himself against all that is called God or is worshipped.” For he will not introduce idolatry, but will be a kind of opponent to God; he will abolish all the gods, and will order men to worship him instead of God, and he will be seated in the temple of God, not that in Jerusalem only, but also in every Church. “Setting himself forth,” he says; he does not say, saying it, but endeavoring to show it. For he will perform great works, and will show wonderful signs.


Welton says John Wesley believed in the “optimistic or victorious” eschatology. Wesley, in his notes on Matthew 24, speaks of the amazing fulfillment of our Lord’s words. Then he tells of what is still future. Wesley was not a preterist. Here is what he said about Matthew 24:29-

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days – Here our Lord begins to speak of his last coming. But he speaks not so much in the language of man as of God, with whom a thousand years are as one day, one moment. Many of the primitive Christians not observing this, thought he would come immediately, in the common sense of the word: a mistake which St. Paul labours to remove, in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.”

Charles Spurgeon ? Again not a preterist.  Here is what he actually thought concerning preterism in a book review of one of the important preterist works. Capitalization is mine.

“The second coming of Christ according to this volume had its fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem and the establishment of the gospel dispensation. That the parables and predictions of our Lord had a more direct and exclusive reference to that period than is generally supposed, we readily admit; but we were NOT PREPARED for the assignment of all references to a second coming in the New Testament, and even in the Apocalypse itself, to SO EARLY a fulfilment. All that could be said has been said in support of this theory, and much more than ought to have been said. In this the REASONING FAILS. In order to concentrate the whole prophecies of the Book of Revelation upon the period of the destruction of Jerusalem it was needful to assume this book to have been written prior to that event, although the earliest ecclesiastical historians agree that John was banished to the isle of Patmos, where the book was written, by Domitian, who reigned after Titus, by whom Jerusalem was destroyed. Apart from this consideration, the compression of all the Apocalyptic visions and prophecies into so narrow a space REQUIRES more INGENUITY and STRENGTH than that of MEN and ANGELS COMBINED. Too much stress is laid upon such phrases as ‘The time is at hand,’ ‘Behold I come quickly,’ whereas many prophecies of Scripture are delivered as present or past, as ‘unto us a child IS born,’ &c., and ‘Surely he HATH borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.’ Amidst the many comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament that which is spoken of as a second, must, we think, be personal, and thus similar to the first; and such too must be the meaning of ‘his appearing.’ Though the author’s theory is carried too far, it has so much of truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all.”

Half truths pushed as truth. I will stop because it gets embarrassing.

In the book, Mr. Welton states that the “optimistic or victorious” viewpoint has been the view of the Church since it’s beginning. He says that the belief in an antichrist, an apostasy, and the 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ are modern inventions. I challenge you and anyone else to see if that is true.
Check out—–
Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho
Polycarp on the antichrist
Didache 16
Epistle of Barnabas 4:1-5
The Ascension of Isaiah
Iranaeus of Lyons
Cyprian
Valentinus
Nepos
Papias
Methodius
Hyppolytus
Lactantius and on and on.

None of them believed in an “optimistic or victorious” viewpoint. They all believed that the events of 70 AD happened. Some of them lived at that time. But they also all believed in a coming antichrist or an end times apostasy or the earthly 1,000 year reign of Christ.

The “optimistic or victorious” eschatological viewpoint sounds great. In fact it sounds so great that it couldn’t be wrong. Plus, Christian teachers or writers should be trusted right ? Many don’t investigate.

90% of people who defend books like Raptureless are just parroting.

All victory and optimism is found in the Cross. That’s what we glory in !!

Defending Dead Men Or Raptureless….Oops He Did It Again

Why does the author of Raptureless misrepresent the beliefs of others to validate his own ?
Why is it necessary to manipulate the writings of other men to seduce your readers to believe what you want them to believe ?

Well….if the philosophical filter presented in Raptureless and in preterism in general… were true….you wouldn’t need to. Period. End of story.

All of the men who are considered Heroes For An Optimistic Future commented on Matthew 24. They all wrote on what took place in 70AD. They all believed that our Lord prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. They all believed that it was one of the greatest signs to that generation and to future generations as to our Lord’s office of Prophet. But they were NOT preterists. They WERE NOT believers in an “optimistic future.” Though the Raptureless book and it’s author wants you to believe that they were.

Here are three more Heroes For An Optimistic Future and what they really believed.

Here is a quote from chapter 3 of Raptureless from John Calvin….

“Christ informs them, that before a single generation shall have been completed, they will learn by experience the truth of what he has said. For within fifty years the city was destroyed and the temple was razed, the whole country was reduced to a hideous desert. —John Calvin”

BUThere is what Calvin said concerning Nero as the antichrist etc….Remember – preterists need everything to be fulfilled in the events of 70AD etc for their philosophy of an Optimistic Future to hold water.

It was no better than an old wife’s fable that was contrived respecting Nero, that he was carried up from the world, destined to return again to harass the Church 5 by his tyranny; and yet the minds of the ancients were so bewitched, that they imagined that Nero would be Antichrist. 6 Paul, however, does not speak of one individual, but of a kingdom, that was to be taken possession of by Satan, that he might set up a seat of abomination in the midst of God’s temple–which we see accomplished in Popery.

Here is a quote from chapter 3 of Raptureless from John Wesley….

“This was most punctually fulfilled: for after the temple was burned, Titus the Roman general, ordered the very foundations of it to be dug up; after which the ground on which it stood was ploughed by Turnus Rufus…this generation of men living shall not pass till all these things be done—The expression implies that a great part of that generation would be passed away, but not the whole. Just so it was; for the city and temple were destroyed thirty-nine or forty years after.” —John Wesley

BUT here are some quotes from Wesley taken directly from his notes on Matthew 24….
Verse 2

[29] Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days — Here our Lord begins to speak of his last coming. But he speaks not so much in the language of man as of God, with whom a thousand years are as one day, one moment. Many of the primitive Christians not observing this, thought he would come immediately, in the common sense of the word: a mistake which St. Paul labours to remove, in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
(In Wesley’s comments on 2 Thessalonians 2:3 he says
[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Unless the falling away — From the pure faith of the gospel, come first. This began even in the apostolic age. But the man of sin, the son of perdition – Eminently so called, is not come yet.)

[30] And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven — It seems a little before he himself descends. The sun, moon, and stars being extinguished, (probably not those of our system only,) the sign of the Son of man (perhaps the cross) will appear in the glory of the Lord

[32] Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

Learn a parable — Our Lord having spoke of the signs preceding the two grand events, concerning which the apostles had inquired, begins here to speak of the time of them. And to the question proposed, Matthew 24:3, concerning the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, he answers Matthew 24:34. Concerning the time of the end of the world, he answers Matthew 24:36. Mark 13:28; Luke 21:29.

Mark 13:24
[24] But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

But in those days — Which immediately precede the end of the world: after that tribulation – Above described.

Here is a quote from chapter 3 of Raptureless from Charles Spurgeon….

“The destruction of Jerusalem was more terrible than anything that the world has ever witnessed, either before or since. Even Titus seemed to see in his cruel work the hand of an avenging God. Truly, the blood of the martyrs slain in Jerusalem was amply avenged when the whole city became a veritable Aceldama, or field of blood.” —Charles Spurgeon

BUT here are a few quotes from Charles Spurgeon. The first two are directly from his comments on Matthew 24.

There are here two distinct questions, perhaps three. The disciples enquired first about the time of the destruction of the temple, and then about the sign of Christ’s coming, and of “the consummation of the age”, as it is in the margin of the Revised Version. The answers of Jesus contained much that was mysterious, and that could only be fully understood as that which he foretold actually occurred. He told his disciples some things which related to the siege of Jerusalem, some which concerned his Second Advent, and some which would immediately precede “the end of the world.” When we have clearer light, we may possibly perceive that all our Saviour’s predictions on this memorable occasion had some connection with all three of these great events.

The destruction of Jerusalem was the beginning of the end, the great type and anticipation of all that will take place when Christ shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. It was an end; but not the end: “the end is not yet.”

“Paul does not paint the future with rose-colour: he is no smooth-tongued prophet of a golden age, into which this dull earth may be imagined to be glowing. There are sanguine brethren who are looking forward to everything growing better and better and better, until, at the last this present age ripens into a millennium. They will not be able to sustain their hopes, for Scripture give them no solid basis to rest upon. We who believe that there will be no millennial reign without the King, and who expect no rule of righteousness except from the appearing of the righteous Lord, are nearer the mark. Apart from the second Advent of our Lord, the world is more likely to sink into pandemonium than to rise into a millennium. A divine interposition seems to me the hope set before us in Scripture, and, indeed, to be the only hope adequate to the situation. We look to the darkening down of things; the state of mankind, however improved politically, may yet grow worse and worse spiritually.

There are some men who have not seen Elias yet; they do not understand the prophecies. They think they perceive in the future a great progress of civilization, and they expect to see the spread of the gospel; they expect to hear of great agencies employed, of multitudes of ministers going forth to preach the Word, and a gradual conversion of the world to the religion of Christ; but he who understands the prophets, and has seen Elias, believes not in the immediate conversion of the world, nor in universal peace; he believes in “Jesus Only;” he expects that Jesus will first come; and, to him, the great hope of the future is the coming of the Son of man

Raptureless Again ?

In the book Raptureless by Jonathan Welton and on the Raptureless website, Bishop Thomas Newton (1704 – 1782) is touted as a Hero For An Optimistic Future.  In chapter 3 of Raptureless, the author has the following quote…

“It is to me a wonder how any man can refer part of the foregoing discourse [Matt. 24] to the destruction of Jerusalem, and part to the end of the world, or any other distant event, when it is said so positively here in the conclusion, All these things shall be fulfilled in this generation.” Thomas Newton (1755)

Remember, preterists believe that Matthew 24 and all but two chapters (maybe) of the Book of Revelation were completed and fulfilled in 70AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem.  They say that there is no future antichrist (that was Nero). They teach that there is no tribulation and even that the Lord is done with the Jewish people.

And again….partial quotes prove only that the one using the partial quote is manipulative…at the very least.  So here we go…….

A few pages after his comments on Matthew 24 ( that are quoted in Raptureless) Bishop Thomas Newton said this….

“Hitherto we have explained this 24th chapter of St. Matthew, as relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, and without doubt as relating to the destruction of Jerusalem it is primarily to be understood.  But though it is to be understood of this primarily, yet it is not to be understood of this only; for there is no question that our Saviour had a further view and meaning in it.  It is usual with the prophets to frame and express their prophecies so as that they shall comprehend more than one event, and have their several periods of completion  This every one must have observed, who hath been ever so little conversant in the writings of the ancient prophets; and this I conceive to be the case here, and the destruction of Jerusalem to be typical of the end of the world.  The destruction of a great city is a lively type and image of the end of the world; and we may observe, that our Saviour no sooner begins to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem, than his figures are raised, his language is swelled, and he expresseth himself in such terms, as in a lower sense indeed are applicable to the destruction of Jerusalem, but describe something higher in their proper and genuine signification. The sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, the Son of man shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. These passages, in a figurative sense, as we have seen, may be understood of  the destruction of Jerusalem, but in their literal sense can be meant only of the end of the world.  In like manner that text, Of that day and season knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven but my Father only ; the consistence and connexion of the discourse oblige us to understand it as spoken of the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; but in a higher sense it may be true also of the time of the end of the world and the general judgment.  All the subsequent discourse too, we may observe doth not relate so properly to the destruction of Jerusalem, as to the end of the world and the general judgment.  Our Saviour loseth sight, as it were, of his former subject and adapts his discourse more to the latter. And the end of the Jewish state was in a manner the end of the world to many of the Jews.  The remaining part of the chapter is so clear and easy as to need no comment or explanation.”

So another of the Heroes For An Optimistic Faith believed that Matthew 24 was an amazing fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, AND was a picture of what would happen at the end of the age.

I want to give you a few more quotes from Bishop Thomas Newton which are directly related to preterism.

Professor Westein, a comtemporary of Bishop Newton, wrote an article concerning the role of Nero and Titus as fulfilling the prophecies of “the man of sin and the wicked one.” In response to the article Bishop Newton wrote numerous questions for Professor Westein and then wrote …

One is really ashamed and grieved to see a scholar and critic fall into such absurdities……..It surpasses all comprehension, how this learned professor could think of such an application, without asking himself such questions; or how he could ask himself any such questions, without clearly perceiving the impossibility of answering them.”

I think you can “sense” in this quote that this Hero For An Optimistic Faith was not seduced by the fantasy that Nero or Titus or Vespasian was the antichrist.  The antichrist was still future.

A few pages after his comments on Matthew 24, and while still addressing the Flavian dynasty as antichrist/man of sin/the wicked one,  Bishop Newton wrote…..

“If this prophecy was fulfilled, as these critics conceive, before the destruction of Jerusalem, it is surprising that none of the fathers should agree with any of them in the same application, and that the discovery should first be made sixteen or seventeen hundred years after the completion. The fathers might differ and be mistaken in the circumstnaces of a prophecy which was yet to be fulfilled; but that a prophecy should be remarkedly accomplished before their time, and they be totally ignorant of it, and speak of the accomplishment as still future, is not very credible, and will always be a strong presumptive argument against any such interpretation.  The foundation of all the mistakes of these learned men is their interpreting the coming of Christ, of the destruction of Jerusalem; whereas the context, as it has been shown, plainly envinces, and they themselves, at other times acknowledge, that it is to be understood of his coming to judge the world.  They, therefore, bid fairer for the true interpretation, who apply this prophecy to events after the destruction of Jerusalem.”

There was a book published in 1829.  The book contained the views of the participants of the Albury Park Prophetic Conference.  These learned men gathered over the years to talk and study and publish their results.  The writings of Bishop Thomas Newton were studied and were greatly influential in their conclusions.  Here are five of the six points that they were unanimous on.

  1. The present Christian dispensation is not to pass insensibly into the millennial state by a gradual increase of the preaching of the gospel; but that it is to be terminated by judgments, ending in the destruction of this visible church and polity.
  2. That during the time these judgments are faling upon Christendom the Jews will be restored to their own land
  3. The judgments will fall principally upon Christendom
  4. The termination of these judgments will be succeeded by the millennium.
  5. The second coming precedes or takes place at the commencement of the millennium

Two more quotes from Bishop Newton concerning the Jewish people.  Remember….preterists believe that the Jewish people have no future.  70 AD took care of that.

“‘You see the Jews ‘led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem trodden down of the Gentiles’ and likely to continue so ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’, as the Jews are by a constant miracle preserved a distinct people for the completion of the other prophecies relating to them.’
‘The preservation of the Jews is really one of the most signal and illustrious acts of divine Providence.’

All of this from a “Hero For An Optimistic Future”.

If their own heroes deny their “Optimistic Future” then  what historical support do they actually have ?

Preterism is false.  It’s not an eschatology.  It’s a philosophy.  It’s man made.

It’s too bad we live in a day and age where buzzwords and philosophies carry more weight than the Word and history.

Not That Raptureless Book Again Part Six

In the book Raptureless by Jonathan Welton and on the Raptureless website, John Chrysostom is touted as a Hero For An Optimistic Future. In fact, in chapter 3 of Raptureless, which is on The Great Tribulation, the author quotes John Chrysostom after making the following statement….

However, as I studied Matthew 24, I discovered that, throughout church history, most Christians believed that the whole chapter of Matthew 24 occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. In fact, many of the well-known Church leaders have taught this. Here are quotations from a few:”

First let me comment on what I just quoted. Partial quotes prove only that the one using the partial quote is manipulative. They prove nothing else.  A truer statement would be that throughout church history pretty much all Christians believed that Jesus’ words on the destruction of Jerusalem took place just as He prophesied AND one day the rest of Matthew 24 would happen.  Now back to John Chrysostom. Here is the quote from the Raptureless book.

“You will preach everywhere …. Then he added, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and the end will come.” The sign of this final end time will be the downfall of Jerusalem. —John Chrysostom”’

Now….if we are to believe the author of Raptureless, this proves that John Chrysostom was saying that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in 70AD and that nothing in that chapter would take place in the future.   The fact is that John Chrysostom did believe that Jesus’ prophecy on the destruction of the Temple was amazingly fulfilled.  But he also had much more to say if you just keep reading.  Here is a portion of what he says…..

“But mark how here He says nothing of war (for He is interpreting the doctrine concerning His advent), but of them that attempt to deceive. For some in the days of the apostles deceived the multitude, for they shall come, says He, and shall deceive many; Matthew 24:11 and others shall do so before His second coming, who shall also be more grievous than the former. For they shall show, He says, signs and wonders, so as to deceive if possible the very elect: Matthew 24:24 here He is speaking of Antichrist, and indicates that some also shall minister to him. Of him Paul too speaks on this wise. Having called him man of sin, and son of perdition, He added, Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

There is more on his comments on Matthew 24 that shows his belief in a future Antichrist and a time of great distress but this is enough. And… no… I am not giving a partial quote to manipulate you. I just believe that sometimes enough is enough. John Chrysostom actually connects Matthew 24 (after explaining how Jesus’ prophecy on the destruction of the Temple was fulfilled) with the time right before the Second Coming, AND includes the Antichrist, AND connects it to the writings of Paul ! A quick side note….remember to the preterist there is no Antichrist because it’s the spirit of Gnosticism. Well….one of the Heroes For An Optimistic Future disagrees.

Guess what ? I could write the same type of article on John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Newton and……enough is enough.  The danger with this type of book or even the type of writer or teacher that propagates this line of teaching is that they are teaching a philosophy NOT an eschatology. They throw in buzzwords like “optimistic” and “victorious” and make their hearers feel faithless or religious if they don’t agree or have questions concerning certain claims.  Their followers parrot what they are taught ( or tell you to read Raptureless) without checking the facts (biblical or historical) because of how the “philosophy” makes them feel.

Let me ask you a question….

If you can’t trust a teacher or writer on such an easily verified claim or quote as this (and many more)….

then how can you trust them on the shaping of your eschatological beliefs or Biblical view ?

Optimistic Eschatoloy….Fantasy or Reality ?

1.  If the Book of Revelation was written after 70AD, then Optimistic Eschatology loses its foundation. History points to a 90AD to 95AD authorship. The majority of scholars agree. If your whole house loses its foundation based upon the dating of one book, then maybe you have built upon a faulty foundation ?

2.The optimistic eschatologist “leads” you to believe that the Greek word “ge” is only used to refer to a local inhabited civilization or to the land of a particular nation. They need this definition to be accepted so they can “prove” that the Book of Revelation and 2 Peter 3:10 refer to Jerusalem and Israel in 70AD.

Here are two of at least 150 clear examples that “ge” refers to much more than a local civilization.

1 Corinthians 10:26 “ For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.”

Hebrews 1:10  “ Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:”

The Greek word “ge” can refer to a specific location.  For example

Matthew 2:21  “And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.”

But do you see the difference ? The context determines how to determine what “ge” is referring to. In the Matthew passage they are leaving Egypt and entering the land of Israel.  “Ge” is obviously referring to one local inhabited civilization to another.

Now look at 2 Peter 3.  The whole chapter speaks of creation and the judgment of the flood.  Neither of those were local events.  Only someone practicing eisegesis could come to the conclusion that Peter was writing about 70AD.  Eisegesis  is the transferring of one’s own opinion, bias, or filter upon a passage of Scripture.  It is actually a form of control and manipulation. Apply the same principle to the usage of the Greek word “ge” to the Book of Revelation and you will understand that it is written for the whole church, throughout the whole earth, for all of our days, until the consummation of all things.

3.  Optimistic eshcatologists need you to believe that Nero was the antichrist so that the events of the Book of Revelaton fit into their 70AD timeline.  Nero died on June the 9th in 68AD.  Vespasian was the actually Emperor who lived during the events of 70AD.   His son Titus oversaw the sacking and destroying of Jerusalem.  So why do they claim Nero was the Antichrist ? Because they need him to be.  Optomistic eschatologists  use a form of historical eisegesis to get this one to work.  They force their filter upon history combined with bits of the Bible.  Some in the early church expected Nero to come back from the dead and reign as the antichrist.  Nero was a shadow of the antichrist.  Just like Antiochus Epiphanes was.  Or Hitler.  He was definitely evil but did not come near to fulfilling anything expected of the antichrist.

4.  Mathew 24:34 “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”  Optimistic eschatologists need a generation to be 40 years so that this verse and all of the Olivet discourse and the Book of Revelation applies to the people living in the days preceding 70AD. A generation is never defined as 40 years.  It could be 70 or 38.  Or 116 or 52.  The point is that deciding a generation is 40 years is another form of eisegesis. Forcing your filter, view or bias on a passage.  Did the generation that was alive in 70 AD experience Mattew 24:30,31 ?

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

If they did then there is no return of the Lord for this generation or even the next.  The Second Coming already took place.

5.  Optimistic eschatologists distort the historical record.  The belief in the antichrist (future and personal) was in the early church.  There is no reference to 70AD in any way other than as a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy. There is no “chatter” among the church fathers of all the amazing things that happened and were fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem.  Chiliasm (the belief in a future 1,000 year reign of the returned Lord upon the actual earth) was the predominant view.  The Roman Catholic Church began killing chiliasts systematically in later years. The Roman Church needed to eradicate those who believed in the return and rule of Christ, because it conflicted with its elevation of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church to a place of dominion over the earth.

The oldest known complete commentary that we have from the early church is Hippolytus’ Commentary on the Book of Daniel (210 A.D.) In that commentary, the future reign of Christ on earth is discussed.  Hippolytus also wrote of a future desolation by a coming antichrist and compared it to the desecration committed by Anitochus Epiphanes. He also referred to “the final week of the world”.

Tertullian (160AD to 220) even commented on the two witnesses in Revelation 11 and said,

“Enoch was translated and so was Elijah. They did not experience death because it was postponed.  They have been reserved for the suffering of death, so that by their blood they may extinguish the Antichrist.