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You are here: Home / Michael Sullivan / A Full Preterist Response To Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon’s Article “The Passing of Away of Heaven and Earth in Revelation 20:11 and 20:1” Part 2 – Joel “Fled” From Pheugo in Revelation 16:20

A Full Preterist Response To Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon’s Article “The Passing of Away of Heaven and Earth in Revelation 20:11 and 20:1” Part 2 – Joel “Fled” From Pheugo in Revelation 16:20

Since Joel McDurmon appealed to his articles on 2 Peter 3 for further study and to support his distinctions of two different de-creation events – one alleged direct and literal fulfillment in Revelation 20:11 of the planet earth, and another covenantal and spiritual of the Old Covenant (OC) system passing and yielding to the NC creation by AD 70 in Revelation 21:1 — I examined and critiqued that article for Part 1of this two part response.  In Part 1 we saw how American Vision Partial Preterists are all over the map.  On one hand Matthew 24:29, 35=2 Pet. 3 (with other parallels being made) and was fulfilled in AD 70.  John Lightfoot (one of DeMar and Gentry’s favorite PP to quote) claimed that the elements here were  “only” referring to the OC creation passing away.  I quoted DeMar’s sources as informing us that Matthew 24 material should not have any other double/mutiple kinds of futuristic fulfillments.  And then there was Gentry whom would claim that Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 can have “typological” or fuller fulfillments to come.

In “hand” one we have American Vision’s presentation given to Dispensationalists, and in second, is their presentation they give to Full Preterists.  If Partial Preterists can approach Matthew 24-25/2 Peter 3/Rev. 20-22 (and other NT crucial texts such as contained in the book of Hebrews, 1 Cor. 15 and John 5:28-29) and give them double/multiple, recapitulation of patterns, manifestations of future fulfillment, then so can Dispensationalists give these same kind of meanings of futuristic fulfillments to Israel, Jerusalem, the Temple, the signs and even “this generation” etc…  Since Partial Preterists are now coming to crucial NT eschatological texts and claiming their direct imminent eschatological “not yet” anti-type AD 70 fulfillments are only further types of another “fuller-fulfillment,” then their debate with Dispensationalism is over!  And when reading McDurmon and Gentry when it comes to a NT writer using Gen. 1-3 material and what can or cannot be referring to AD 70 and a more literal fulfillment to come, the confusion and contradictions mount even higher.

In this article I want to primarily address Joel McDurmon’s exegetical “fleeing” from mentioning the Greek word pheugo in (Revelation 16:20) when he was trying to make a distinction between two different eschatological de-creations being under discussion due to two different Greek words being used in Revelation 20:11 “fled away” (pheugo) and 21:1 “passed away” (parechomai).

Joel McDurmon’s eisegetical distinctions between Revelation 20:11 – “fled away” (Greek pheugo) and Revelation 21:1 – “passed away” (Greek parechomai)

McDurmon writes,

Revelation 20:11 says earth and heaven “fled away” (ESV) from the face of the enthroned One. The verb here is ephugen (from pheugo). It means “run away” in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat. We get our word “fugitive” from pheugo.

Pheugo is a common word used some 279 times throughout the New Testament and Old Testament LXX, but almost always has the distinct meaning of running away out of fear or self-protection. For example, Genesis 39:12, 13 and 15 (LXX) use the word to describe Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife who had him by the garment. The Exodus is described with this word (Ex. 14:5). So is David fleeing Saul who wants to murder him (1 Sam. 19:18), Ahaziah fleeing Jehu (2 Ki. 9:27), God’s enemies in general (Ps. 68:1; Prov. 28:1), Jonah fleeing God’s presence (Jon. 1:3), Baby Jesus’ family fleeing Herod (Matt. 2:13), persecuted disciples leaving town (Matt. 10:23; 24:16), fearful disciples scattering after Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt. 26:56). The list is long, and the word is consistent in this meaning.

Revelation 21:1, on the other hand, says “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” The verb here is apelthan (an aorist of aperchomai).”[1]

As one can clearly see McDurmon didn’t go through the proper hermeneutical/exegetical steps of pointing out how pheugo was used earlier and within the book of Revelation itself when it comes to a de-creation text/event:

“And every island fled (Greek pheugo) away, and the mountains were not found.” (Rev. 16:20).

Obviously Joel McDurmon “fled” from this text as in, “Run away in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat [Full Preterism]” because he and other Partial Preterists take this de-creation text as the fleeing/passing of the OC creation – not the literal creation.  So much for his “argument” that two different events are referred to because two different Greek words are used!

American Vision new-comer Sam Frost has been claiming that his and McDurmon’s view of fulfillment is that of such scholars as G.K. Beale and yet Beale identifies the de-creation and judgment of Revelation 6:14, 16:20, 20:11 and 21:1 as the same eschatological end time or “not yet” event/judgment,

“Almost identical language has already been used of the last judgment in 6:14 and 16:20 (see there, esp. for OT background). That this signifies the end-time cosmic destruction is apparent further from 21:1, which affirms that “a new heaven and a new earth” replaced the vanishing “first heaven and first earth,” which had fled away. “A place was not found for them” is from Dan. 2:35 Theod., where it is used of the destruction of the wicked kingdoms at the end time.”[2]

And again,

“The absolute nature of the judgment is continued by a picture of the further breakup of the cosmos: “every island fled, and the mountains were not found” (see on 6:14). Virtually identical descriptions in 6:14 and 20:11 also indicate the conclusive, universal destruction of the earth at the judgment day. That parts of the world “were not found” (οὐχ εὑρέθησαν) anticipates the same portrayal of Babylon’s final, definitive destruction repeated three times in ch. 18 (οὐ μὴ εὑρεθῇ in 18:21, 22, and similarly in 18:14).

Note the striking parallel language in 6:14; 20:11; and 16:20:

6:14

16:20

πᾶν ὄρος καὶ νῆσος ἐκ τῶν τόπων αὐτῶν ἐκινήθησαν (“every mountain and island were moved from their places”)  πᾶσα νῆσος ἔφυγεν καὶ ὄρη οὐχ εὑρέθησαν (“every island fled, and the mountains were not found”) 

20:11

 
ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανός καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς (“the earth and the heaven fled, and a place was not found for them”)   

 

Destruction of mountains was a sign of the end of the cosmos in Jewish apocalyptic (1 En.1:6; Assumption of Moses10:4; Sib. Or. 8.234–35).”[3]

McDurmon basically tried to mock Preston’s charts of parallels in his various books in the debate as too simple, and yet the FACTS are that Don isn’t coming up with anything new when it comes to these parallels!  It is called the “analogy of Scripture” and the vast majority of reformed exegesis upholds these kinds of parallels and recapitulation within the book of Revelation.  As usual McDurmon was just blowing smoke!

Beale is correct in that the phrase “a place was not found for them” in Revelation 12:8, 16:20 and 20:11 is taken from Daniel 2:35 but it is not discussing the inaugural defeat of Satan, but the final defeat of him as the immediate context demonstrates in 20:10 and how the rest of the NT describes his imminent defeat (Rom. 16:20/Gen. 3:15).

Sam Frost / Joel McDurmon and Hermeneutics in Revelation 20 

Joel was pleased at the debate to hand out free copies of Sam Frost’s (non-exegetical) little thin book on why he is now a Partial Preterist.  But Frost continues to believe that the thousand years millennium in Revelation 20 was roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 – combining what Amilennialists teach on the recapitulation structure of the book (Rev. 20 with chapters 1-19, 21-22) and what Partial Preterists teach on AD 70 fulfillments of chapters 1-19, 21-22.  But Frost fails to follow this same historical/grammatical and “organic development” approach in Revelation 20:5-15!  Sam has told us before that Partial Preterist exegetes harden their hearts on what the plain meaning of the text is in order to seek “the validation of men.” And that is what I believe McDurmon, DeMar and Frost have done in Revelation 20:5-15.  I have been saying in for years and agree with Frost in that this arbitrary hermeneutic of Partial Preterism is just a symptom of a greater problem. And while we are on that note of arbitrary hermeneutics…

Where Is the Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:10-13 Partial Preterist Parallel Hermeneutic?!?

American Vision’s Gary DeMar is on record as teaching:

  • John’s version of the Olivet discourse can be found in the book of Revelation.
  • Matthew 25:31-46 is descriptive of Christ coming in the judgment of AD 70.
  • That Matthew 24-25 can be paralleled to the vast majority of eschatological passages in the NT to prove AD 70 fulfillments and thus disprove Dispensationalism.

Therefore, it is pure eisegesis and a creedal bias which causes Partial Preterism and American Vision writers to avoid making these parallels here!  Does not orthodox Christianity and reformed creedal theology claim that Matthew 25:31-46 is a description of the Second Coming and final judgment — connecting it to the same judgment of Revelation 20:10-13?!? As I pointed out in “Part 1” of my response to Joel’s article, these parallels should have been developed but because it would continue to lead American Vision readers into Full Preterism or upset creedal supporters, these parallels were not:

1)  Matthew 25:31=Revelation 20:11 — Christ/God on the Throne to Judge.
2)  Matthew 24:29, 35=Revelation 20:11 — Heaven and Earth pass/flee.
3)  Matthew 25:31/Matthew 16:27=Revelation 20:12 — “all men” “each person” “all Nations” “the rest of the dead” “small and great “according to what they have done.”
4)  Matthew 25:41-46=Revelation 20:10, 14-15 — Wicked along with the Devil thrown into Lake of Fire for eternal punishment.    

Daniel 12:1-7 and Revelation 20:5-13

Beale also points out that there is no greater influence upon the book of Revelation than that of the book of Daniel.  Well, again this is no small problem for Joel McDurmon and American Vision who are now in print as informing their readers that the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-7 took place in AD 70.  We are told by Partial Preterists that John picks up where Daniel leaves off – and we couldn’t agree more!

Conclusion:

I don’t think it is a huge mystery as to why McDurmon “fled” from mentioning Revelation 16:20 and these other texts and issues in his article on Revelation 20:11 and 21:1.  Personally, I tend to believe it was more than sloppy or non-existent exegesis, it was borderline dishonesty or as Frost once wrote “seeking the validation of men” – but I will leave it for the readers to decide.  McDurmon has failed on an exegetical level to prove his case that Revelation 20:11 is a text which directly points to a literal de-creation event at the end of history while others such as Revelation 21:1 have a dual/double meaning of fulfillment– 1) AD 70 covenant de-creation and 2) an alleged literal/global de-creation referent.



[1] Joel McDurmon, The “passing” away of heaven and earth in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 http://americanvision.org/5738/the-passing-away-of-heaven-and-earth-in-revelation-2011-and-211-4/#.UCkxAaOJr3A

[2] G.K. Beale, (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1032). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

[3] G. K. Beal, Ibid., (844).

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