Victorious Eschatology …An Example of Roots or Results?

I can’t tell if partial preterism – the victorious or optimistic view of the end times- is the starting point of false teaching, the magnet which draws false teachers, or a little bit of both. I am finding eye-opening things concerning the sources and methods of its teachers.

Harold Eberle teaches that God is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. He only takes the Bible “seriously”. He is not a “strict” creationist and examines theistic evolution in his NAR systematic theology. Also, man is not that bad and man is not separated from God due to Adam’s fall.

Jonathan Welton teaches that Jesus did not die in our place as a substitute, He did not pay the penalty for our sin, and did not receive the wrath of God. He believes in “created divinity”.

Both Eberle and Welton lie and distort the historical record throughout their books.

And now we come to the third host of the partial preterism virus…Martin Trench.

Read the following.  Add it to what we know about Harold Eberle’s and Jonathan Welton’s teachings and let me know what you come up with. Feel free to contact me if you need more information on these books or authors.

Here are a few examples of what Martin Trench Teaches. Mr. Trench is the co-author of Victorious Eschatology A Partial Preterist View. Harold Eberle is the other co-author. I don’t know what to say other than…stop listening to these guys. Period.

“In Revelation, as well as the constellations previously mentioned, we see this picture of the “heavenly Jerusalem” and it has “twelve gates” (the twelve gates or houses of the zodiac) and each gate is a pearl (symbolizing the moon, who passes through each gate), there is a river of life (Aquarius), and there are twelve foundation stones – the same twelve stones that were in the High Priests breastplate – the 12 birth stones of the zodiac, and they are listed in reverse order from the usual order – that’s because they are symbolizing the Ages, which happen in reverse order to the monthly/annual order of the zodiac (that’s why its called the “PREcession of the Equinoxes and not the PROcession, because the zodiac go in a cycle one way each year, with each constellation providing one month, but they go through the Ages of the Great Year in exactly the opposite order) – that’s why we know for sure it is speaking of the Ages.

“Genesis speaks of Joseph having a dream of a ladder to heaven in which “the angels were ascending and descending”. To the ancients, each of the stars were represented by an angel (or vice versa). In one if CS Lewis’s Narnia books, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustice meets an angelic-like being who is a “star”; “In our world,” says Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.” Even in your world, my son,’ (says the Star), that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.” – that is an idea from the ancient world. Stars are personified. The angels ascending and descending symbolize (at least in part) the constellations of the Ages ascending and descending. That sheds a bit more light on what Jesus meant when he said “you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51) meaning – “it is with me – in my ministry, life, death, and resurrection – that one Age will descend, and a new Age will ascend – this is the cusp of the Ages, and a new Age is being born”.

Allegories are shown, like Jonah being swallowed by a “great fish” (Pisces) and kept in its belly for three days and nights, before being spat onto the land to bring God’s message to the people of Nineveh (non-Israelites) who then repent and receive his message – this is a foretaste of the Piscean Age, which was birthed in the death and resurrection of Jesus: “No sign will be given to this generation, except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights”, (Matthew 12:40), and which leads to God’s word being preached to all nations, (not just Israel) who will gladly accept the message. (Notice that it is the “sign” of Jonah – the story contains a “sign” a “symbol” an “allegory” in picture form).”

“Another allegory is seen in Jesus telling his disciples to “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters”. (Luke 22:10). It was very unusual to see a man carrying a bucket of water – it was a chore or job that was normally, in that culture, given to women and children. All through the Bible we see stories of women going to a well to fetch water. But they would see a man carrying water (symbolizing Aquarius) and they were to “follow him” and he would take them to a “house” and when they went, they entered an “upper room” where “everything will be prepared”. This allegorically and symbolically speaks of Jesus sending us into the Aquarian Age to be taken to a higher place to enjoy God’s feast which is prepared.”

The last 2,000+ years have been the New Covenant Age, or Age of Pisces. To be honest, the term “New Covenant Age” is the wrong way to put it – because although the Old Covenant came to an end in 70AD, the New Covenant continues on forever, even though this Age will come to an end. The New Covenant lasts forever because it is mediated by Jesus, who lives forever (Hebrews 7:25). But certainly, the current Age, (the Age of Pisces) does come to an end, and the New Covenant continues on in expanded growth into the next Age, because the New Covenant ushered in the “Kingdom of God” or “the reign of God’ or, as one translation puts it, “God’s New World and New Way of Living” (Good as New Translation).

God is progressively creating this new world and new way of living, and he is doing it through people. As people change, as people embrace God’s new world and new way of living, and come into greater and greater harmony with how things are truly supposed to be, so they become a positive influence upon their world, and like a small piece of yeast put into some dough, it gradually spreads with a life of its own and “leavens the whole batch” (Luke 13:21) or like a tiny seed planted in the ground, it gradually grows and becomes a fruitful tree and provides shelter for others, (Matthew 13:31-33). Just as the Universe continues to expand at the speed on light, so God’s kingdom continues to expand as his light shines forth more and more in and through the lives, beliefs, behavior, and influence of more and more people. We are collaborators in creation.

“Isaiah 9:7
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end

So, the term “New Covenant Age” is a misnomer, but the Age of Pisces will end, the Age which began with, and will culminate in – a miraculous catch of “fish”. We are living in a time when the Age of Pisces is descending and the Age of Aquarius is dawning. I have already pointed out (here) that Ages overlap for quite some period of time and it is difficult to put an exact time on when one Age has started and when the previous Age has finally, fully passed away, but by circa 2150AD, the Age of Pisces will have fully passed away and the Age of Aquarius will be the only ruling Age – however, Pisces is already “descending” and Aquarius is already “ascending” – changes are underway. So what does this next Age look like? As God’s kingdom continues to advance, and as more and more people are influenced by God’s new world which is emerging in our midst and his new way of living revealed in and through Jesus, what does it blossom into? There is much talk about the coming Aquarian Age both inside the Christian church, and outside of it in alternative spiritualities, in other religions, even in the secular world – everyone has their own take on what the coming Age looks like, and to be honest, some of those ideas have very little to do with Jesus, the scriptures, or the true nature of God. Some ideas are positively occult and superstitious – I’m not talking about those kind of ideas. I don’t see the coming Age as one where the streets will be full of occult bookshops and crystal ball gazers, all claiming to be part of the Aquarian Age.

I see the coming Age as one where all superstition, (including religious traditions which make the true message that Jesus brought of no effect – Mark 7:13) is laid aside and where people start to let God’s new way of living truly work in their lives – transforming, growing spiritually, becoming the people they were created to be – fully alive, fully loving, fully ‘human’, fully living out their true nature as image bearers of God, living by the meaning and spirit of the message of Jesus, and in so doing, changing the way they relate to the world around them so that this “new way of living” truly promotes the emergence of a “new world”. Imagine a world where it is common place, almost normal and taken for granted for people to have faith in an unconditionally loving, omnipresent Papa God, follow the teachings of Jesus regarding loving God and loving others, grow healthily in every way – physically, mentally, and spiritually, discover their gifts, talents and abilities and earn their living and live their life doing the things which make them come alive, where violence is seen as a primitive horror from the past, where all culture and styles of life are valued, (not a one-size-fits-all culture), and where God is honored, Jesus is followed, and people are loved and blessed in multiple ways, where businesses and politics and economics are run honestly and ethically, where ecology is valued, where the Sermon on the Mount is lived out. None of this is done by force, or by law, or certainly not by violence and war – its not one religion or one culture forcing itself on others and seeking to stamp all others out; rather, it is one presence (God) gradually changing lives and working in and through ALL cultures and people. However, I do also admit quite freely that God is the God of all creation. That he is at work in all the world, speaking to people from all backgrounds, beliefs, cultures and understandings and pushing all things towards a desired goal. There are many people and groups outside of the Christian church who do have some very accurate insights into the changing seasons and the coming Aquarian Age, and providing we stay grounded in a proper interpretive framework, we can and should listen to what people are “seeing” and use those insights as bridges to teach or introduce a deeper, more fuller, more Christ-centered understanding of these things. It seems to me that many Biblical prophecies point to what the condition of the world be be (still within time and space, not in some ‘eternal state’) as the kingdom of God continues to advance and expand – it indicates a time of universal fullness of the Spirit, peace, health, longevity, harmony and happiness:”

If our eyes were opened, to quote Elizabeth Barrat Browing – “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes – The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries” – we would see that “ever bush is ablaze ” – Moses eyes were opened. He saw the blazing glory of that other world shining and burning in a non destructive way through the bush. But one day it will be as if heaven and earth merge into one – the whole universe suddenly evolves into an upgrade, as it is visible, tangibly, eternally infused with the life-force of God’s very self – the whole of creation is divinized, it becomes timeless, no longer subject to decay, because that is only a phenomena of time. And what about us? We have had this wonderful “Age-enduring life” in our “spiritual bodies” expressing our individual separateness still, to a certain extent. But now, we all become fully divinized as well. I don’t image that we will “lose ourselves” in God, but I think we will be fully God-realized, for want of a better term. I suppose there is a better term in theology, it called Theosis – the experience of being divinized by being so full in union with God, that the two are one – not just it principle, but in experience. That is when “the end shall come”.

Remember “the beginning, God”? Well, that was the start of time and the Ages. Now we are at “the end” and what will happen is that “God shall be All in All”. I just think that is absolutely mind boggling and fantastic. It’s like the ultimate happy ending. All is well that “ends” well – and all shall be well, because it will end well. Everything and everyone in all of creation will be alive and fully animated with the very presence of an unconditionally loving, joyfully peaceful, blissful Father God. For “then comes the End, when God shall be All, and in All”.


And so, in the Bible we see a plan – that All things originate in the One Eternal Original Source – God himself. And All things shall return to that Source, when God shall be All in All. And in between “Eternity Past” and “Eternity to Come” we see the creation of mater & time (and the Ages), God gradually and progressive working out his “Plan of the Ages”, God’s ever-advancing Kingdom growing and spreading until it culminates in the return of Jesus and the final judgment (final, because there is no more judgment, thereafter), or for those of us who die before that “End”, we immediately face out final judgment (Hebrews 9:27) bringing “Age-enduring life or Age-enduring punishment”, however that final “End” ushers in the Conclusion of the Ages, when time is no more, when the “eternal now” infuses and is experienced by all creation, and “then God shall be All in All”.”

The end.

 

 

Jonathan Welton and Preterism… Making the Bible Great Again ?

The  following is from Understanding The Whole Bible by Dr. Jonathan Welton (from pages 431-434)

What do you think ?

What spirit is behind this ?

Is he truly making the Bible great again ?

 

“Heaven certainly exists as the abode of God and believers after death (and after the future final return of Christ). Yet this passage does not describe only something in eternity but something we can experience right now. It is the “age to come” the Jews believed would replace the present evil age. Following are nine evidences that Revelation 21-22 is not a description of heaven but a description of the new covenant world:

  1. The water of life (see Rev. 22:1). This represents God’s offer of salvation.  Jesus spoke about it in John 4 with the woman at the well.  He also spoke about it at the feast in John 7.  We are invited to come to Him and drink.
  2. The twelve foundations with the apostles’ name written on them (see Rev. 21:14).  Paul also wrote of the Church being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets in Ephesians 2:20.  That is not just for the future but for the present.
  3. The heavenly Jerusalem as a cube (see Rev. 21:16).  The city is described as a cube, with each side measuring 1,200 stadia, which in modern terms is approximately 1,400 miles.  If we were to measure from Rome to Jerusalem from the East to the West and from the northern edge to the southern edge of the Roman Empire of that day, it would add up to 1,400 miles by 1,400 miles, with the Isle of Patmos exactly at the center of that measurement. 99 So the world of the new covenant at the time was 1,400 miles by 1,400 (or 1,200 stadia), with John on the isle right in the center of the whole thing.  Is also stretches out toward heaven, which makes it a cube.
  4. The absence of the temple in the New Jerusalem (see Rev. 21:22). The temple does not exist in the New Jerusalem because the work of the cross has removed the need for the previous temple.   We are now temples, according to First Corinthians 3 and 6.
  5. The nations will walk by its light (see Rev. 21:24). This suggests that nations still exist as separate national entities, which leads us to conclude that this is a present condition, not the eternal, heavenly condition.  Jesus also referred to the Church as “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).
  6. The gates never close (see Rev. 21:25).  This illustrates the present ongoing work of evangelism.
  7. The unclean practice abomination and lying (see Rev. 21:27). Here again we see evidence of pre-final judgment setting.  Heaven will not include people of this sort.
  8. The tree of life has leaves for the leading of the nations (see Rev. 22:1-2).  This statement indicates the nations have not yet been healed.
  9. Sorcerers, immoral people, murderers, idolaters, and those who love and practice lying are outside the gates (see Rev. 22:15).  These people are right outside the open gates and may come in at any time.  This shows our present reality, not life after the final judgement.  Following the final judgement, these people will be sent to the lake of fire.  But that is not the picture we see here.  Instead, right outside our open gates live all kinds of scoundrels, and the doors remain open so they can come in at any time.

What we see described in Revelation 21-22 is the new covenant world, with the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ, the new heaven, and the new earth, and the new temple.  All of these describe the new covenant world we live in right now.

The fact that Revelation describes events that happened in the past does not make it less relevant for us. After all, the other historical stories of the Bible-such as Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection- still have relevance for us these many years later. The Bible is full of relevant information for us, even if most of it is not in our future. The relevance does not change just because Jesus’ prophecies have already been fulfilled. The opposite is true. We get to live in the wonderful result of those fulfilled prophecies-the new covenant world with an open door to salvation that all may enter.”

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

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 ?