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What is Full Preterism? A Biblical and Historical Answer

By Michael J. Sullivan

In this article I will provide the reader with a Biblical and historical explanation of what Full Preterism is, give an exposition/interpretation of Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, demonstrate how Reformed eschatology has formed Full Preterism, and provide you with links to other articles and texts that you will have questions on.  Enjoy and pass this on!

Full Preterism is properly defined (and has developed) in three areas: 1) time of fulfillment (NT imminence pointing to AD 70), 2) spiritual nature of fulfillment (kingdom being “in” or “within” and that of apocalyptic/prophetic language being metaphoric/symbolic), and 3) is the organic development or synthesis of the historic Church (classic Amillennial view and Partial Preterist view – “Reformed and always reforming”).

Time of fulfillment.

Full Preterism is the belief that the Bible teaches the Second Coming, judgment and resurrection of the living and dead took place at the end of the Old Covenant age in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem and her Temple in AD 70 (cf. Matt. 3:7-12; Matt. 10:22-23; Matt. 13:39-43, 49; Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:34; Acts 17:31YLT; Acts 24:15YLT; Rom. 8:18-23YLT/AV; Rom. 13:11-12; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor.7:29-31; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Cor. 15:51; Phil. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:15ff–5:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2 Tim. 4:1YLT; Heb. 8:13–10:37; Heb. 13:14YLT; James 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 1:1–22:6-7, 10-12, 20).  Since these imminent time texts point to and determine the nature of fulfillment, this too must be worked into a proper definition of the term.

1).  Matthew 10:22-23:  “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.  You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.  “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

The first century disciples are clearly told that they (not us) would not run out of cities of refuge to flee to (as they preached the Gospel throughout the towns of Israel) – before the Son of man came. In AD 66 when the Christians in Jerusalem saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-22) they fled to Pella (a city of refuge of sorts) and were safe.

Jesus’ teaching here in Matthew 10:17-23 is a snap shot of the same event described more in-depth coming later in Matthew 24 – the persecution, the power of the Holy Spirit for a defense, the preaching (GC – still local – known Roman world), and parousia (or Second Coming of the Son of Man) are all said to be fulfilled in the same first century time period (i.e. their “this generation” vs. 34):

Matthew 10:17-23 Olivet Discourse
1.     Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Matt. 10:17 1.     Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Mark 13:9
2.     Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Matt. 10:18 2.     Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Mark 13:9
3.     Holy Spirit would speak through them – Matt. 10:19-20 3.     Holy Spirit would speak through them –    Mark 13:11
4.     Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be saved – Matt. 10:22 4.     Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” – Mark 13:12-13
5.     The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. Matt. 10:23 5.     The disciples (and later Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place. Matthew 24:14/Mark 13:10

Here are our options on this passage:

a.  The “coming” of the Son of Man here and “the end” is Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 to bring an end to the OC age.  The rest of the NT’s imminence (“soon,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “quickly,” “about to be,” “in a very little while,” “will not tarry”)  concerning Christ’s coming and end of the age follows Jesus’ teaching here and therefore refers to Christ coming in AD 70 (Partial Preterism).

b.  The “coming” of the Son of Man here and “the end” is the one Second Coming event to end the one “end of the age” at the end of world history.  The evangelism to the towns of Israel is spiritualized away for something taking place globally today in the GC (futurism – various authors & views).

c.  Both “a” and “b” (above) are true at the same time – The NT’s one “coming” of the Son of Man and one “end of the age” was fulfilled at Christ’s Second Coming event in AD 70.  The rest of the NT’s imminence concerning Christ’s coming and end of the age follows Jesus’ teaching here and therefore refers to Christ coming in AD 70 (Full Preterism – my view).

d.  The “coming” of the Son of Man here refers to Him coming in His kingdom – cross, resurrection, Pentecost (coming of the Holy Spirit), etc… (various futurist authors & views).

e.  The “coming” of the Son of Man here and “the end” is referring to the one Second Coming event and end of the world.  Jesus failed in this prediction and therefore is not God as He claimed (many liberals and Jews and Muslims that Brown and White have debated).

My Response

 “A” is false because the NT does not teach TWO comings of the Son of Man and TWO “end of the age’s.”

“B” is correct in that this is the Second Coming event, but is wrong to place this beyond AD 70 – in not honoring the context (the first century audience “you” being flogged and brought before synagogues and the Gentiles etc… before this coming – AD 70).

“D” is exegetically unconvincing since the persecutions and deaths mentioned in vss. 17ff. take place prior to the coming of the Son of Man.  No one was persecuted and killed prior to the resurrection of Christ or Pentecost events.  But of course they were prior to Christ coming in AD 70.

“E” is totally false.  Daniel nor Jesus in predicting the “time of the end” or “the end” (not the end of time or the end of the Church age) can be considered false prophets – in that they were not predicting what liberals and futurists assume they were predicting (the end of world history)!

“C” (my view) “Bridges the gap” between the Christian Orthodox views of “a” and “b” and gives a consistent and exegetical answer to the skeptic “e”

2).  Matthew 16:27-28: “For the Son of Man will (or is “about to…” YLT) come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

In Jesus’ teaching the phrase “assuredly I say to you” ALWAYS is a way of emphasizing and bringing home the point of His previous instruction.  Jesus discusses His Second Coming in vs. 27 and then emphasizes in vs. 28 that some of those first century disciples “standing next to Him” would live to witness His Second Coming in power and arrival of His Kingdom (cf. Luke 21:27-32).

As we saw in Matthew 10:17-23, this is the same coming of the Son of Man that will be developed as we approach Matthew 24:

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1. Christ comes in glory (Luke 9:26) 1. Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)
2. Christ comes with angels (Matt. 16:27) 2. Christ comes with angels (Matt. 24:31)
3. Christ comes in judgment (Matt. 16:27) 3. Christ comes in judgment (Matt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
4. Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mark 8:38) 4. Christ and the kingdom come in power (Luke 21:27-32)
5. Some of the disciples would live (Matt. 16:28) 5. Some of the disciples would live (Luke 21:16-18)
6. Some of the disciples would die (Matt. 16:28) 6. Some of the disciples would die (Luke 21:16)
7. Christ would be ashamed of some in His generation (Mark 8:38) 7. All of this would occur in His  generation (Matt. 24:34)

The Greek in Mark’s parallel account reads a bit differently, “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, already come in power.” (Mark 9:1 Rotherham Translation).  According to Mark’s account, Jesus’ teaching is that some of the disciples within the crowd he was addressing would live to actually be able to look back on this historic event, knowing that Christ’s Second Coming and His kingdom had already come in power. Daniel was likewise instructed that when “the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (ie. in AD 70), God’s people could know from this historic event that the judgment and resurrection of the dead took place (Dan. 12:1-7).  The Church post AD 70, can know with certainty – based upon the authority of God’s Word, that the Second Coming event was fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem.

Here are our options on this passage:

a.  The “coming” of the Son of Man here is referring to Christ coming in judgement upon Jerusalem in AD 70.  The rest of the NT’s imminence (“soon,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “quickly,” “about to be,” “in a very little while,” “will not tarry”) concerning Christ’s coming follows Jesus’ teaching here and therefore refers to Him coming in AD 70 (Partial Preterism).

b.  The “coming” of the Son of Man in v. 27 is not Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem, but the one Second Coming event, while v. 28 is addressing “some” being alive to witness Jesus “coming” in the transfiguration event (Dr. Brown and others take this position).

c.  Both “a” and “b” above contain elements of the truth.  The “coming” of the Son of Man here is referring to Christ coming in judgement upon Jerusalem in AD 70 while at the same time being the one Second Coming event.  The rest of the NT’s imminence (“soon,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “quickly,” “about to be,” “in a very little while,” “will not tarry”) concerning Christ’s coming follows Jesus’ teaching here and therefore refers to Him coming in AD 70 (Full Preterism – my view).

d.  The “coming” of the Son of Man in judgment is referring to the one Second Coming event and those standing next to Jesus never lived to witness this event – as promised by Jesus.  Since Jesus failed in this prediction, He cannot be considered as God.  The NT imminence follows Jesus’ teaching here and is likewise a failure – therefore the NT cannot be considered inspired or infallible (liberal and Bible skeptic).

My Response

“A” is incorrect because the NT does not teach TWO comings of the Son of Man in judgment.

“B” is correct that v. 27 is the Second Coming event, but does not honor the wording or context of v. 28:

  1.  No one died prior to the transfiguration event, and Jesus’ words imply that some would while others would not (cf. which is how Peter understood Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 10:17-23, Matt. 16:27-28, Matt. 24 — cf. John 21:20-23 etc…).
  1.  Jesus’ phrase “verily I say unto you” in v. 28 is always a linking phrase (used to “ram home” the teaching in the previous context) connecting v. 27 with v. 28 – not separating them.  However, “And” (Matt. 17:1) is a common word used to introduce a new subject.
  1.  Jesus did not “come” in the transfiguration event and since #2 is valid, He did not come with angels in judgment in the transfiguration event either.

“C” Both “a” and “b” (above) contain the truth.  The one Second Coming (v. 27) was fulfilled within some of the lifetimes of those standing next to Jesus (v. 28) – i.e. by AD 70.

“D” of course is not an option for a Christian.  But “C” offers the antidote to the Bible skeptic and unbelievers objections while the others simply do not.

3).  Matthew 24:34:  “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things [not “some” things] take place.

Everywhere Jesus uses the phrase “this generation” it always means (without exception) the AD 30 – AD 70 contemporary generation He is speaking to.

Jesus is answering the disciples question(s) as to WHEN the Temple would be destroyed in connection with some signs that would precede His coming and end of the (old covenant) age.  These are the “all these things” in this context and Jesus clearly states “all” of these events would be fulfilled in that AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”  See my exposition of Matthew 24-25 elsewhere where I demonstrate that “all these things” in vss. 3-36ff. were fulfilled in that generation.

Pastor MacArthur has strangely rebuked both Partial and Full Preterists for understanding “this generation” (Matt. 24:34) with such a “wooden literalness.”[2]  If John means that we are interpreting “this generation” as it is consistently used by Jesus in the gospels and how genea is used throughout the rest of the NT (i.e. following its literal meaning) – then I guess we are guilty as charged.

Dr. Michael Brown in a debate with a Jewish Rabbi whom claimed Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because he was a false prophet predicting that his return would be in his contemporary “this generation,” actually tried to defend that Jesus was teaching that genea in Matthew 24:34 should be interpreted as “Jewish race.” Therefore, per Brown “the Jewish race” would not cease to exist before Jesus returns.  Of course if that were Jesus’ meaning He would have simply used the Greek word “genos.”

Brown also seems to want to ignore Jewish tradition during the times of Jesus that the “days of Messiah” would be a “transitionary” period of forty years according to a “new exodus” between the OC “this age” and the NC or Messianic “age to come”—which fall in line with Jesus’ and the NT’s teachings on genea and imminence.

Here are our options on this passage:

a.  All of the signs and “coming” of the Son of Man and His parousia took place within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (i.e. by AD 70).  In context, the Temple’s destruction is the epitome to the “end of the [OC not NC] age” in AD 70.  The rest of the NT’s imminence (“soon,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “quickly,” “about to be,” “in a very little while,” “will not tarry”) concerning Christ’s coming follows Jesus’ teaching here and therefore refers to Him coming in AD 70 (Partial Preterism).

b.  The “coming of the Son of Man and “the parousia” is the one [not two] Second Coming event and therefore takes place at the end of the [NC or Church] age.”

c.  Both “a” and “b” (above) are true and can be reconciled.  All of the signs, Christ coming, and end of the [OC] age (“all these things” not some of them – v. 34) were fulfilled in AD 70 (Reformed Partial Preterism) at the ONE or “THE parousia” Second Coming event (classic Amillennial or creedal view).  The rest of the NT’s imminence (“soon,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “quickly,” “about to be,” “in a very little while,” “will not tarry”) concerning Christ’s coming follows Jesus’ teaching here and therefore refers to Him coming in AD 70 (Full Preterism – my view).

d.  Since Jesus did not come and bring an “end to the world/age” in His contemporary “this generation,” Jesus was not God or an accurate prophet (liberal or Bible skeptic view).

 My Response

“A” is not accurate because the NT does not teach TWO comings or “the parousia(s)” of Christ, to close TWO end of the age(s), at which time there are TWO judgments and resurrections for the living and dead, followed by TWO arrivals of the New Creation, etc….

“B” is not accurate because Jesus promised that “all” of the events listed in vss. 1-34 would be fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation” (24:34) and the “end of the age” contextually is not the end of the NC or Church age (i.e the end of world history), but rather the end of the OC age in AD 70.

“D” is not accurate either, in that Jesus NEVER was predicting the end of the NC / Church age / or end of world history!  So He could hardly be considered a “false prophet” for making a prediction He never made!

Therefore, how did the inspired NT authors understand Daniel’s and Jesus’ teaching concerning His Second Coming attended by the judgment and resurrection/gathering of the living and dead at the end of the OC age associated with the destruction of the Temple and City?  This leads us to our next set of passages (which believe it or not is a short list – there are over a 100 of them):

4).  Dan. 12:1-7; Acts 2:20, 40; Acts 17:31YLT; Acts 24:15YLT; Rom. 8:18-23YLT/AV; Rom. 13:11-12; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor.7:29-31; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Cor. 15:51; Phil. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:15ff–5:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2 Tim. 4:1YLT; Heb. 8:13–10:37; Heb. 13:14YLT; James 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 1:1–22:6-7, 10-12, 20. 

As the NT is being written towards the end of that AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation,” the disciples and Apostles are being “led into all truth” “concerning things to come” (prophecy), teaching that Jesus’ Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the living and dead were “about to” be fulfilled “shortly,” soon,” “quickly,” “in a very little while,” and would “not be delayed.”

Clearly the NT authors (who were inspired) understood Jesus’ teachings (Matt. 10:22-23; Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:1-34) on when their Lord would return better than the Charismatic TV “prophecy experts,” or “Reformed Scholars” and many Pastors and teachers of our day have. A Full Preterist is willing to “let God be true and every man a liar” if need be. Are you?

My former Pastor  – John MacArthur’s treatment of NT imminence was not only an embarrassment to the Church on an exegetical level, it was an embarrassment in response to liberal skeptics (THE SECOND COMING, pp. 51-68).  He does no Greek study of the various words, and concludes with, “I suppose it is also possible that Christ could delay His coming another 2,000 years or longer.” (Ibid., 57).  This of course is the exact opposite position of the Biblical testimony of Christ coming in “a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Heb. 10:37).

MacArthur chides Charismatics for operating “…on the premise that everything that happened in he early church ought to be expected and experienced in the church today” (Strange Fire, 91).  And yet this is exactly how he interprets NT imminence – if Christ’s coming was “at hand” to the first century audience, it must still be “at hand” today and possibly “at hand” 2,000 years from now to that audience.  Seriously folks, if the NT authors (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) wanted to communicate that Christ was genuinely going to come in some of their lifetimes and in their “this generation,” “soon” and “would not delay,” HOW could they have communicated it any clearer?!?  If language means anything at all, Jesus and the NT authors said what they said and meant what they said!

Interestingly, MacArthur tries to interact with the Post-trib view and that of NT imminence as it pertains to the signs Jesus and Paul give.  John writes,

“So on the one hand, the New Testament is permeated with an eager sense of expectancy and conviction that the blessed hope of Christ’s return is imminent.  On the other hand, we are warned about trouble and affliction that will precede Christ’s return.  How can we reconcile these two threads of prophecy?  How can we cultivate a daily expectation of Christ’s return if these preliminary signs must yet be fulfilled before He returns?”  (The Second Coming, 54).

And in addressing 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 John writes,

“…nothing in the New Testament ever suggests we should defer our expectation of Christ’s appearing until other preliminary events occur.  The one apparent exception is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3…”  (Ibid., 54).

“Indeed, if 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 actually means Christ’s coming for the church cannot occur until after seven years of Tribulation, it nullifies everything the New Testament teaches about the imminence of Christ’s return.” (Ibid., 55)

My Response 

a.  General imminence from the standpoint of Israel awaiting Messiah’s salvation

Christ’s Second Coming and the arrival of the kingdom could be considered genuinely “at hand” or “about to” take place within the context of Israel awaiting her Messiah and kingdom for thousands of years (Matt. 3:7-12GNT; Matt. 16:27-28YLT).  Indeed a generation and within some of their lifetimes was an “at hand” and imminent period of time in contrast to the thousands of years man waited for the one born of the woman that would crush the head of the serpent.

b.  Sign Specific Imminence as that generation was ending

In Matthew 24 there were general signs that were not to be appealed to as evidence of Christ’s “at hand” coming in their generation (vss. 4-12).  However, there were two specific signs that would mark the nearness of Christ’s return – 1. the Great Commission (24:14) and 2. the abomination of desolation (24:15/Lk. 21:20-22).  The first was fulfilled prior to AD 70 (cf. Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26) and the second would be fulfilled as that generation would witness the “great revolt” or the Idumeans or Romans surrounding the City.  As we will see below, Paul refers to both of them.

In regards to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

First, the “gathering” at Christ’s coming in 2:1 is the same “gathering” and coming of Christ that would take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matt. 24:30-34).

Secondly, there were some who believed the Day of the Lord had “already come” (v. 2).  If Paul’s idea of the “rapture” or Second Coming was the same as the futurist (a literal catching up of the living off planet earth, the graves being emptied, the planet being burned up, etc…), then why didn’t Paul say something like, “How can you or anyone believe this, aren’t we all still here?”  But since Paul did have a spiritual or apocalyptic understanding of Christ’s Second Coming (as God had come on the clouds in the OT), he did not argue in this manner.  Instead he appealed to the necessity of a sign being fulfilled first.

Thirdly, MacArthur does not address that the Man of Lawlessness was already at work / present and alive in Paul’s day (v.3ff.).  This is why many “Reformed” theologians have thought him to be Nero, Titus, the High Priest Ananus, and another Preterists – John Levi of Gischala (who led the Jews in their revolt against Rome).

Fourthly, the “that” (v. 6) and “he” (v.7) which was restraining the Man of Lawlessness in Paul’s day, was the work and success of the Great Commission (the “that”), which came through the Apostle Paul (the “he”), that “must” of necessity be fulfilled before Christ could return (cf. the “must” of Mark 13:10).  When Paul was violently “taken out of the way” (v. 7) through being put to death at the hands of the Jews/Romans, just prior to AD 66, then this set the stage for the Man of Lawlessness to begin his work at a rapid rate.

And lastly, in regards to the “Great Tribulation” “distress” and “wrath” that was coming upon the land of Judah in Matthew 24/Luke 21 – it was roughly a 3 1/2 year period between AD 66- AD 70.  The church did experience general persecution and tribulation prior to AD 66, but when they saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem they “fled” to Pella and were saved from that coming Great Tribulation and wrath that engulfed Jerusalem.  It is not that difficult to solve the Charismatic debate or the Pre-trib or Post-trib debate that MacArthur picks with others.  If both sides are willing to submit to the Word of God and sound hermeneutics on the NT’s teaching of the “who” (a first century audience – “audience relevancy”), the “when” (the first century “this generation”), the “how” (non-literal apocalyptic language ushering in a “within” “in you” “not of this world” not seen with physical “eyes” kingdom), the “where” (land of Judah & Roman world) —- they can determine that the “what” (the Second Coming) was fulfilled by AD 70.

Spiritual nature of fulfillment.

Jesus taught that His “kingdom is not of this world” and that when it would come (at His return) it would not be discerned by our physical eyes, because the realm of fulfillment would be “within” (Luke 17:20-21; Luke 21:27-32; John 18:36).  The Father and Son made their home/abode “in” the Church when the heavenly Temple/New Jerusalem descended from heaven and clothed the Church while on and upon the earth (John 14:2-3, 23; 2 Cor. 4:18–5:1-10–6:16; Rev. 21:2ff.).  The believer today has been raised from the dead and “the hope of glory” which is “Christ in you” is now a “hope realized” in the New Covenant age (Cols. 1:27; Prov. 13:12).

*  Apocalyptic/prophetic/symbolic language – When we read that Jesus is coming on the clouds and stars are falling from the heavens in Matthew 24 we should realize this is the language of the OT prophets. In the OT when God came riding upon the clouds in judgment rolling up the heavens like a scroll, this was symbolic language depicting the fall and judgment of nations (not literal genre).  See my exegesis of Matthew 24 below for support.

*  “Heaven and earth” can be referring to the old covenant system. When the old covenant “heaven and earth” passed in AD 70, the new covenant “heaven and earth” was fully established. This is not discussing the the planet earth.  See my exegesis of Matthew 24 below for support. 

*  The judgment and resurrection of the dead involved the raising of souls out from Hades in AD 70 – at which time some went into the presence of God and others went to the Lake of Fire. There was a coventatal change/resurrection that took place for the living at this time as well. Through Christ’s parousia the Church was raised from “the (spiritual) death” that came through Adam and was transformed from the old covenant body of death to the glorified new covenant body of resurrection and eternal life. The Bible is not about a casket/biological casket resurrection at the end of world history or about some literal “rapture” of people flying up in the air. The eschatological goal or doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is not to change and transform man’s biological substance, but rather to change and transform his covenantal standing or status before God.  See my exegesis of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 below for support. 

*  The Old Covenant Kingdom/Temple/Jerusalem were physical serving as types and shadows of Christ’s anti-type or spiritual New Covenant Kingdom/Temple/Jerusalem that arrived in its/there fullness at Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70.

*  Biblical prophecy is not about the “end of time” but rather about the time of the end” – of the old covenant age/world.

*  Unfortunately, most Christian denominations have literalized and “postponed” Jesus’ kingdom (when He never taught such) and literalized prophetic/apocalyptic/symbolic language while at the same time spiritualizing away very clear statements to mean nothing “in a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay,” soon,” “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to” etc…  The Full Preterist is seeking a Reformation in this area to reverse the damage that this faulty hermeneutic has caused.

It is the conviction of this sites administrator (Michael Sullivan) that any view claiming the ultimate fulfillment of these passages happened in a literal rapture in AD 70, is descriptive of a resurrection body given at death, or will have an ultimate fulfillment at the end of time — would be more accurately defined within the school of Partial Preterism.

Full Preterism is the organic/historical development (“Reformed and Always Reforming”)  of the creedal and classic Amillennial view combined with the Partial Preterist view.

a)  Classic Amillennial View:

  • The NT’s use of the “last days” covers the time period between Christ’s first and second comings.
  • There is only ONE “The parousia” or eschatological coming of Christ in the NT – the ONE hope of the Apostle Paul and the Church.
  • This is to take place at the end of the age at which time…
  • The judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the New Creation occurs.

b)  Partial Preterism (Mostly Postmillennial):

  • The NT’s use of the “last days” covers the time period between Christ’s first coming and His return to close the Old Covenant age by AD 70.
  • The imminent time texts in the NT “demands” that “a” parousia of Christ took place in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
  • The NT’s use of “this age” is the Old Covenant age and the “age to come” is the New Covenant age.  A parousia of Christ took place at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 at which time…
  • There was a spiritual judgment and resurrection of the living and dead and arrival of the New Creation that took place.

c) Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”):

  • The NT’s use of the “last days” covers the time period between Christ’s first and second comings which brought an end to the Old Covenant age in AD 70.
  • The imminent time texts and the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation in the NT demands that “THE (ONE) parousia” took place in AD 70.
  • The NT’s use of “this age” is the Old Covenant age and the “age to come” is the New Covenant age.  “THE (ONE) parousia” of Christ took place at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 at which time…
  • There was a spiritual judgment and resurrection of the living and dead and the arrival of the New Creation that took  place.

Full Preterism seeks to take the strengths and common sense approaches of both these “orthodox” views to form its “orthodox” (or straight) view.

For example the strength of the Postmillennial Partial Preterist view is how it correctly seeks to deal with the clear NT imminent time statements such as:  “some standing here shall not taste death till…,” “this generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled,” “shortly,” “quickly” “at hand” soon” “about to be” “in a very little while,” etc…  which all point to Christ’s coming or His parousia being fulfilled in AD 70.

And the strength of the classic Amillennial view is the analogy of Scripture or that such passages as these are describing the SAME event – Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:15–5:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24, 52; Revelation 1:7 ; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 11:15-18; Revelation 22:6-7, 10-12, 20 .

It used to be that reformed eschatology forced you to have to choose between these two competing views .  But this is simply not your only optionA third choice (“Reformed and always reforming”) has emerged which bridges the gap between the two or combines the two common sense approaches together (the time texts and the analogy of Scripture) to form Full Preterism.

  • I find it interesting in our book debate with seven Reformed theologians (some Amillennialists and some Partial Preterists) that they spent most of their time telling us that Full Preterism can’t be true because of the Reformed Creeds and Church tradition. We reminded them that this was the SAME “argument” the Roman Catholic Church used against Luther and the Reformation concerning forensic justification. We also pointed out that their conflicting views on eschatology actually formed Full Preterism – hardly refuting it. Selah. We have yet to get a response to these arguments and it has been six years.

Let’s review a little bit on where full preterism is in this historic debate over eschatology.  In 1998 partial preterist R.C. Sproul produced the following chart trying to make a definite distinction between partial and full preterism:[1]

Full Preterists

Partial Preterists

A.D. 70

At the end of history

A.D. 70

At the end of history

Coming (parousia) of Christ

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Resurrection and rapture

Yes

No

No

Yes

Day of the Lord

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Judgment

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

The problem with Sproul’s chart is that it demonstrates a lack of knowledge on what some partial preterists have taught (past and present) and is very outdated not showing all of the ground that partial preterism has given to full preterism.  As I document in chapter four of HouseDivided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? — is that there are many more doctrinal agreements between progressive partial preterists and full preterists than they want to share with the public in this debate:

Full Preterists

Partial Preterists

A.D. 70

At the end of history

A.D.   70

At the end of history

NT use of “last days” from old covenant to new AD 30 – AD 70 only – not end of Christian age

Yes

No

Yes[2]

Yes & No

“This age” = old covenant age “age to come” = new covenant age transformed in AD 70

Yes

No

Yes[3]

Yes & No

United Matt. 24-25 one parousia in AD 70

Yes

No

Yes[4]

Yes & No

Daniel 12:2, 7- Resurrection and judgment of living and dead between AD 30 – AD 70

Yes

No

Yes & No[5]

Yes

Glorification in Rom 8:18-23 YLT “about to be revealed”

Yes

No

Yes[6]

Yes & No

2 Peter 3 fulfilled

Yes

No

Yes[7]

Yes & No

“All Israel” in Rom. 11:26 saved

Yes

No

Yes[8]

Yes & No

Acts 1:11

Yes

No

Yes[9]

Yes & No

Hebrews 9:26-28 Second Appearing of Christ at end of the age

Yes

No

Yes[10]

Yes & No

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 “rapture”

Yes

No

Yes & No[11]

Yes

Perhaps the most significant change is that Partial Preterist authors have oddly enough stolen the Full Preterist view of the judgment and resurrection of the living and dead and are now accepting that this was a progressive, corporate, covenantal, process between AD 30 – AD 70 resulting in the souls of the righteous being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit the kingdom and eternal life.[12]

If you are a student or faculty member of any Bible College or Seminary (and or Church) and would like me to come and lecture, debate or answer any questions regarding Full Preterism please feel free to call me – Michael Sullivan (828) 507-1375 and I would love to set up a date and time to do so.

What follows is an exegesis of Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 to actually demonstrate what I have written above on how Christ could have come upon the clouds, all the signs were fulfilled, the OC age ended, in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”  I will also now demonstrate how the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view form Full Preterism when it comes to the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation (basic Christian hermeneutics and exposition).

What Full Preterism is NOT

Just for the record, I do not consider the following groups representing Full Preterism:

1)  Some have tried to marry Postmillennial with Full Preterism and have failed miserably.  This would include Sam Frost and Jason Bradfield.  Thankfully, they have seen the inconsistencies and have left Full Preterism for – Lord knows what else, since their eschatological positions change almost on a daily basis.

2)  Some have tried to claim to be “Full Preterist Charismatics” in the past.  But thankfully men like John Noe do not consider themselves a Full Preterist.  To claim something is for today when the Bible says it “ceased” and fulfilled it’s function and purpose by AD 70 is futurism, not preterism.  They have had to perform exegetical gymnastics around 1 Cor. 13:8-12 in order to support their “experiences.”  They still claim that their gibberish (not miraculously speaking known human languages that they were never taught – cf. Acts 2) is from God and somehow makes them more in-tune with God than the rest of us etc…

3) The literal rapture view & Immortal Body at Death View – The literal rapture view redefines the Bibles teaching on the nature of fulfillment (spiritual – a “gathering” of God’s people in His presence God being “in” “within” His people while upon the earth) which is what the time texts only served to point the Church to.   So in essence, this view denies the heart and soul of the message of fulfillment!

And claiming the resurrection body is future for the believer and Church today, is a form of futurism to me.  At the Parousia of Christ in AD 70, the corporate Body of Christ has been raised and glorified.  When one believes on Christ today in the NC age, he or she enters into and becomes apart of this raised and glorified Body/New Jerusalem.

4) James Stuart Russell – Wrote a great book, The Parousia, but was not technically a Full Preterist either because he believed we are still in the millennium,  and the Biblical view is that the Second Coming/judgment and resurrection of the dead ends the millennium. Because of Russell’s confusion on the millennium and the nature of the “rapture,” (his was that of a literal view) I reject his teaching as Full Preterism.

Other heretical groups have tried to attach themselves to the label of “Full Preterism.”  Some hold to Universalism or deny the Trinity and deity of Christ.  My view of them is that these are non-Christian views or heretics.  Some have tried to muddy the waters by arguing that Full Preterism must be wrong because look at some of these heretics attaching themselves to the movement.  But of course they fail to recognize that such heretical groups are within Futurism as well.  It proves nothing.

Appendix A –A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 24-25

“End of the age” – Were the disciples “confused?” Did they ask about the end of planet earth?

All Dispensational Zionists begin with the disciples question in Matthew 24:3 and simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and end of the age with the destruction of the temple. Since the Zionists theology separates these events by thousands of years, and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and not them or their system. Here are some key hermeneutical steps the Zionist willfully skips:

  • The Jews of Jesus’ day understood the phrase “this age” to be the old covenant age of Moses and the prophets and the “age to come” as the new covenant or Messianic age.
  • In the book of Daniel the consummation of the major eschatological events can be found in chapters 7, 9 and 12. Daniel connected the eschatological time of the end” events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man and the arrival of the kingdom, to take place when the city and temple would be destroyed – or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together (cf. see the consummation scenes in Dan. 12:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; 9:24-27).
  • In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught that the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” eschatological events) would take place at the end of their old covenant “this age.”  Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51).
  • Jesus had previously taught that He would return in some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1).
  • Jesus previously taught them that all the blood from righteous Abel (from Genesis up to those He would send to them) would be avenged when the temple was destroyed in their “this generation” (Matthew 23:30-36, 38). Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (Isiah 24-28) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet, the resurrection, etc…) to take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).

So before we even get to Matthew 24, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah, that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled when the temple was destroyed. The record clearly states that the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on “the end of age” or the end of their “this age.” And lastly, Jesus had already taught them that some of them would live to witness His return and the destruction of the Temple. Therefore, they were NOT mistaken to associate and connect Jesus’ coming (to destroy the Temple [that they were looking at and discussing] in their generation) with His coming and the end of the age.

Just because Matthew (as a responsible narrator) or Jesus have elsewhere shown us where the disciples were confused in Matthew’s gospel, does not mean that they were confused here in Matthew 24:3. In fact, when the disciples are confused or wrong about something they ask, Matthew’s gospel clearly teaches us, that this indeed is the case (ex. Matthew 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).

Milton Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28):

“The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.” Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442. After all the second appearing or coming of Christ to close the old covenant age is further described as Christ coming “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).

Therefore, since Matthew 24-25 is about Christ coming in judgment upon old covenant Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 to bring an end to the old covenant age (not the planet earth or to end the Church age), the futurist is the one confused over Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and not the disciples. Having established that the discourse is about the end of the old covenant age and not world history or planet earth, we can readily see how all these things would be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 24:34).

“This generation

In Matthew 24:34 Jesus clearly identifies that the “this generation” of the “you” (first century Jews not 21st. century ones) of whom He is addressing would not pass away before “all these things” (the signs, end of the age and His coming) would be fulfilled. The Greek word for “generation” here is genea and is used over 30 times in the N.T. and in each context it is never used as anything other than to address a 40 year generation or in particularly, the first century contemporary generation of Jesus, the disciples or their contemporary enemies. However, some of futurist alleged “scholars” have admitted to this but claim Matthew 24:34 is the exception to the rule and thus they feel they have the liberty to make up their own definitions of the word to fit their theology. Let’s go over a couple of them.

The first false view claims that “this generation” is interpreted to mean, “the Jewish race will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.” There is simply no solid exegetical or lexical evidence for this use of genea in the NT. If the race of Jews was intended by Jesus or Matthew, they would have used the Greek word genos.

The second main error popularized by Hal Lindsey, an alleged “prophecy expert” who, based on current events and not the Bible claimed,

“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ”[1]

And then this view was fueled from the pulpit from mega church Pastors such as Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel (one of my former Pastors) movement:

“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[2]

In his bookFuture Survival (1978) Chuck wrote,

“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[3]

Lindsey began by admitting that a generation “was something like forty years.” Since 40 years have passed, instead of throwing in the towel on his theory, Lindsey now claims a generation could be 60-80 years. If this doesn’t sound new, it’s because it isn’t. The “expanding” of a generation is exactly what the Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done with their false predictions concerning “this generation.”

John Hageewrites,

“There are ten prophetic signs in Scripture that describe the world in the last days. When these ten prophetic signs occur in one generation, that generation will see the end of the age.”[ii]

And of course according to Hagee, our generation allegedly has seen all ten of these (how convenient).

Again, genea in the gospels and especially the phrase “this generation” is never used in directing the reader to a future generation but rather always to the contemporary one of Jesus’ and His first century audience. Had this been the intention of Jesus, He could have simply said, “that generation…” instead of “this generation…”  So much for taking “this generation” “literally” and how it is used everywhere else in the Bible! The fact remains that all of the signs Jesus gives here in Matthew 24 were seen and fulfilled before the end of the old-covenant age in AD 70.

“False Messiahs”

Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century disciples and they did:  Theudas Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few.  In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) informs the first century church that they knew it was “the last hour” because the Antichrist’s had arrived (1 John 2:17-18). For those who understand the “Antichrist” and “Man of Sin” to be the same person, we should point out that this individual was alive and “already at work” during the time of Paul (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). Contrary to the popular science fiction writings of Dispensational Zionist Hal Lindsay, this individual is not “alive and well on planet earth” in the form of some political leader of Russia, Iran, Iraq, etc.

The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:

“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

“In AD 40 there was a disturbance at Mesopotamia which (Josephus says) caused the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, a tumult at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover resulted in 10,000 to 20,000 deaths.  At Caesarea, contentions between Jewish people and other inhabitants resulted in over 20,000 Jews being killed.  As Jews moved elsewhere, over 20,000 were destroyed by Syrians.  At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed.  Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed.  At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour’s time.” (John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p. 28)

“The Annals of Tacitus, covering the period from AD 14 to the death of Nero in AD 68, describes the tumult of the period with phrases such as “disturbances in Germany”, “commotions in Africa”, commotions in Thrace”, “insurrections in Gaul”, “intrigues among the Parthians”, “the war in Britain”, and “the war in Armenia”.  Wars were fought from one end of the empire to the other. With this description we can see further fulfillment: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7)[iii]

When Jesus was addressing wars and rumors of wars, He was not referring to what is going on in modern day Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, United States, or Europe today.  To reach into Matthew 24 and back into the OT and twist these passages and prophecies by asserting that they are referring to these modern day countries and to us today is irresponsible exegesis to say the least.

“Famines”

Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic old-covenant age and generation Acts 11:27-29).  In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered.

“Earthquakes”

The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26).  “…just previous to 70 AD there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judea.” (DeMar, Gary, ibid., 64)

“Put to Death” 

The first century Christians were to expect tribulation, to be brought before kings and rulers, imprisonment, beatings, for the sake of Jesus. Please read the book of Acts 4:3,17; Acts 5:40; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 12:1-3; Acts 14:19 to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Luke 21:12.   In fulfillment of our Lord’s words, Paul and Silas were beaten (Acts 26:23) and Paul was brought before rulers and kings – Gallio, (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24), Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25).   Peter and Paul were put to death in the persecution of Nero.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

The reader at this point says, “I got you. How are you going to be able to prove the gospel was preached throughout the entire globe before A.D. 70?!?” Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, this is not difficult to prove at all:

PROPHECY            FULFILLMENT

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (Greek oikumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14) “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Greek oikumene)” (Romans 10:18)
“And the gospel must first be published among all nations (Greek ethnos)”(Mark 13:10) “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations (Greek ethnos)…” (Romans 16:25-26)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world(Greek kosmos) and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world(Greek kosmos), as is bringing forth fruit…,” (Colossians 1:5-6).
And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Greek kitisis) ” (Mark 16:15) “…from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature (Greek kitisis) under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister” (Colossians 1:23)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Greek ge)” (Acts 1:8). “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth (Greek ge), and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18)

 Jesus nor the Apostle Paul meant nor understood these phrases of “into all the world,” “all nations,” “every creature,” or “end of the earth,” to be global terms. These are describing the nations of the Roman Empire or the world as they knew it.

“Abomination that causes desolation”

In Luke’s account of the abomination that causes desolation, the fulfillment of this prophecy is identified with the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and laying it waste in the years of AD 66 – AD 70, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Luke 21:20-22). History records for us that the early Christians were not deceived by the Jewish false prophets and fled to Pella and were safe.

“Great Tribulation”

Any Bible College or seminary class on hermeneutics would tell us that we need to follow a grammatical historical hermeneutic. One of the steps involved in interpreting how language and terms are used is to honor the way language is used during the time it was written in. Josephus who was a close contemporary of Jesus’ time describes the destruction of Jerusalem in practically the identical language:

“Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world;”[vi]

The words “For then shall be great tribulation…” are words linking the tribulation period with the preceding fleeing of the disciples from Jerusalem in the previous context (vs.17-20, cf. also Lk.21:20-23). The great “wrath” and “distress” upon “this people” in the “land” in (Lk. 21:23) is parallel to Matthew’s tribulation period described for us in Matthew 24:21.  The Tribulation period is not a global event as the Dispensational Zionists have tried to portray it, but a local event that took place in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

“The stars shall fall from heaven” and “the Son of Man coming on the clouds”

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven, as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such O.T. passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Psalm 18; Psalm 104; Hab. 1:2ff.).  Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?  Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in the OT: “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment” (Isa. 34:4-5)? In Matthew 24, the context is the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple.  The sun, moon, and stars represented the universe of Israel and her rulers which would fall from her covenantal significance by  A.D. 70 for rejecting Christ and His Apostles and prophets (cf. Matthew 23:31-36). Reformed and Puritan theologian John Owen had this to say of this text,

“And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world.  So Isa. 34:4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom.  And our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24, he sets it out by expressions of the same importance.  It is evident then, that, in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood” (John Owen, Works, Banner of Truth Pub., Vol. 9, 134).

John L. Bray correctly writes of the stars falling from the heavens of Matthew 24:29:

“Jewish writers understood the light to mean the law; the moon, the Sanhedrin; and the stars, the Rabbis.” (John Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p.125).

“Heaven and earth will pass away”

So far we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the old covenant age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from the places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple was destroyed in AD 70, but what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away? Surely that is referring to the end of planet earth? Once again there is contextual and a historical hermeneutic within the Christian church to also understand this to be referring to the old covenant heavens and earth and it’s temple.

G.K. Beale’s research indicates,

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.” (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.

Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:

“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.” (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170).

Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the old covenant system and not the planet earth. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth have not passed away, then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the old covenant law.

And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:

“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).

Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70. (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002).

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when Full Preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views. The Full Preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:

  1. CLASSIC AMILLENNIAL VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event as is the de-creation spoken of here.
  2. PARTIAL PRETERIST VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the old covenant creation/age and establishing the new by AD 70.
  3. FULL PRETERIST VIEW (Synthesis of 1-2 “Reformed and always reforming”): The coming of the Son of Man is the ONE second coming event (as is the de-creation spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35) whereby Christ came spiritually to the old covenant creation/age in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and establish the new.

Division Theories Refuted

The “those days” (plural) vs. “that day” (singular)”argument”

Some Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry argue that since Jesus uses the plural “days” in Matthew 24:1-34 this refers to the days leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and when Jesus uses “day” in Matthew 24:36ff. this refers to another future event or literal Second Coming of Jesus to end world history. Probably the best way to refute orthodox Partial Preterism is with orthodox Partial Preterism. Gary DeMar appeals to John Gill, Adam Clarke, and Gentry’s favorite Partial Preterist John Lightfoot – as taking the “day and hour” (Matt. 24:36) as Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem (as do Full Preterists).[11] Others that see the “Day and hour” along with the parables in Matthew 24 being fulfilled in AD 70 would be Keith A. Mathison and N.T. Wright.[12]

Jesus in His exhortation to the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3 tells them (a church that no longer exists – not us) to watch” for He would come upon them as a “thief” and at an “hour” they were not expecting if they did not repent.  This is consistent with what we have seen here in Matthew 24 -25 — Jesus would come in their “this generation” or as in the book of Revelation, He would come “shortly” to that first century audience.

The “last day” or “that day” (singular), is simply the last day of the “days” (plural) in question or in the context. Peter uses the terms “last time” (singular) and “last times” (plural) to be saying the same thing Jesus was – ALL the prophecies in the OT concerning the Messiah’s judgment and salvation would be accomplished in an “at hand” “last time” “last days” or “this generation” time period (1 Pet. 1:5-20, 4:5, 7, 17; Acts 2:40/Lk.21:22-32). One does not have to be a rocket scientist or have a PhD in theology to see this. This is an odd position for Gentry to have since he understands the de-creation and “last hour” (singular) of the Anti-Christ’s in 1 Jn. 2:17-18 to be the fulfillment of the “signs” section and Christ’s coming in an AD 70 found in Matthew 24:23-34.

In the OD and in Luke 17 Jesus uses the judgment of the days (plural) and day (singular) of Noah as a type and illustration of what was going to take place in His generation.

In Luke 17’s account of the Second Coming, both “days” and “day” are used interchangeably together describing the same event:

a). “For the Son of Man in His DAY will be like the lightening,…” (vs. 24).

b). “…so also will it be in the DAYS of the Son of Man” (vs. 26).

c). “It will be just like this on the DAY the Son of Man is revealed” (vs. 30).

d). “On that DAY…” (vs. 31).

Again, Jesus uses “days” (plural) and “day” (singular) in referring to the judgments of Noah and the destruction of Sodom as an example of His Second Coming in the fall of Jerusalem.

To further lay waist this eschatological schizophrenia of two second comings proposed by Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry all we need to do is further harmonizing Matthew 24’s alleged two sections or comings of Christ with Luke 17. Please note that someone forgot to tell Luke to organize his material in a Partial Preterist section A” coming and a section B” coming chronology.

Matthew 24

Alleged section “A” (“a” coming of Christ in AD 70 before vs. 34) 

1) vss. 17,18 – “Let him which is on the housetop not come down…”

2) vs. 26-27 – “For just as the lightning comes from the east…”

3) vs. 28 – “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

Section B (“The” Alleged Second (third?) Coming of Christ vs. 36ff.)

4) vss. 37-39 – “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.”

5) vss. 40.41 – “Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.”

Luke 17 

One section describing one Second Coming (events mixed and nonsensical if Gentry’s division theory of Mt.24 is correct)

2) vss. 23, 24 – “For just as the lightning, when it flashes…”

4) vss. 26,27 – “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also i the days of the Son of Man” 1) vs. 31- “On that day, let not the one who is on the housetop…”

1) vss. 31 – “On that day, let not the one who is on the housetop…”

5) vss. 35,36 – “There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken, and the other will be left.

3) vs. 37 – “…Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered.”

The Matthew 24 and Luke 17 parallels present problems for all futurist eschatologies, but they effectively destroy some Postmillennial Partial Preterist positions such as Gentry’s. If Matthew 24 deals with two different parousias of Christ with events leading up to two different time periods, then Luke’s account is incorrect. Either Luke was wrong in mixing up these events or preterists such as Gentry are wrong in dividing up Matthew 24 into two sections with two comings of Christ. Both Matthew 24 and Luke 17 speak of the same “days” time period that were leading up to Christ’s revelation “DAY” in AD 70.

Two comings?  

Gary DeMar correctly points out:

“Similarly, there is little evidence that the “coming of the Son of Man” in Matthew 24:27, 30, 39, and 42 is different from the “coming of the Son of Man” in 25:31.”[13]

Signs vs. no signs  

Some Partial Preterists such as Gentry try and reason that since there are specific signs that are mentioned before verse 34 and there are none mentioned after this verse, that this somehow proves there are two sections with two different comings of Christ involved. Hmm. I think a more “common sense” approach might be that Jesus has finished answering the disciple’s questions as far as what specific signs to look for and not to look for in indicating His imminent return and is now going to give some further teaching and exhortations on being ready and watchful for these events! But doesn’t the fact Jesus exhorts the disciples after verse 34 to “watch,” “pray,” and “be ready” have some connection with being discerning of the signs He had just mentioned? Jesus has just finished answering the disciples question regarding the signs of His return and is now going to illustrate through the use of various parables the necessity of being ready and watching for the same events the disciples asked about and that He had just answered in verses 4-34. This is not difficult folks.

“This generation” vs. “a long time

Some Partial Preterists such as Gentry argue that since before verse 34, there is a short time frame of forty years.  And after verse 34, the time frame is long (24:48; 25:5, 19) – thus a justification in two comings separated by thousands of years.

To be thorough, I will also cover Luke 19 since many appeal to this text as well. In Luke 19:11 many having listened to John the Baptist and Jesus’ declarations of the “kingdom being at hand” thought they were teaching the kingdom would come “immediately” or “at once” (Greek eggus). In response to that “immediate” mindset, Jesus gives the parable of the “Ten Minas” where He describes Himself as one going away into a far country to receive the rights to be King over Israel and then traveling back, as going into a “distant country” or taking a long journey (Lk. 19:12ff.). Jesus’ listeners would not gather from Jesus’ parable of the man going to a “distant country” as taking thousands of years! Jesus also understood that many false prophets would arise making premature statements that the kingdom was again “immediately” (Greek eutheos) going to appear when in fact it was not (Lk. 21:19). Jesus’ teaching of His coming and kingdom arriving in “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32) was some 40 years removed from the false concept that He was teaching an “immediate” arrival or that general wars and earthquakes marked the nearness of His parousia and kingdom. There were certain events that needed to transpire first such as the great commission throughout the Jewish and Roman world.

Now let’s look at the first “long time” text in Matthew 24. The first appeal is to the wicked servant who interprets His master being gone as a “long time” and beats his fellow servants and drinks with other drunkards Matt. 24:48-49.   Obviously the servant was punished within his own lifetime so where is the thousands of years delay of Christ taught here?

Another appeal of some Partial Preterists for a 2,000+ years “delay” of Christ’s return is found in Jesus’ teaching of the ten virgins in Matt. 25:5 where He says, “the bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” Jesus’ first century audience were aware of the Jewish wedding scene of a man being betrothed to a woman up to a year while he prepared a home for them. He could come at any time to “snatch” (1Thess. 4:17) her from her life and existence under her father to himself. Because of this she needed to be excited and ready not sluggish and doubtful of his love. The foolish virgins considered this a “long time” and were not ready and fell asleep. Because they viewed this as taking too long and were “foolish,” they did not make preparations of buying oil for His surprise arrival. No one listening to Jesus’ words here would consider this parable as teaching a 2,000 + years “long time” as some Partial Preterists have interpreted it to mean. They would interpret “long time” in the context of a person’s lifetime along with the other parables and would consider it being consistent with Jesus’ 30 – 40 year “this generation” teaching and time frame.

The last reference is to the parable of the talents in Matt. 25:19. Again all the points I made above apply here as well. The servant was not “alert” but “lazy” and “worthless”! What he had was given to the faithful servants in verses 28-29 as the kingdom would be taken from the faithless apostates and given to the Church – the true Israel/Nation of God (cf. Matt. 21:33-45).

It’s not exactly accurate for some Partial Preterists to assume that that 40 years is a “short time.” Relatively speaking in the world and Israel waiting thousands of years for salvation of the Messiah – this could be true. But if one is 20-30 years old or older during the time Jesus utters His “this generation” statement, 40 years is making one nearing the end of his life 60 – 70 or older. Therefore, viewing it from Israel’s redemptive history, fulfillment within 40 years could easily be considered “at hand,” but in the context of a person’s lifetime, 40 years was enough time to be tempted to think it may not occur (as we see in Peter has to deal with in regards to the “mockers” and false teachers in His letters).

Gary DeMar responds to Partial Preterists who assume “long time” means thousands of years to justify two different comings in Matthew 24,

“In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:27; 23:8; John 5:6; Acts 8:11; 14:3, 28; 26:5, 29; 27:21; 28:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations.”[14]

Having spent some time critiquing and refuting the Partial Preterist division theories of Kenneth Gentry by using the exegesis of another  Partial Preterist (Gary DeMar), I will turn some attention to Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison, and those Partial Preterists that see the coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 as being fulfilled in AD 70 – yet still claim the NT speaks of a future coming.

Not only does DeMar believe the coming of Christ in both Matthew 24-25 took place in AD 70, but he affirms that “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation.”  Apart of DeMar’s “exegetical” work is to compare and parallel Matthew 24 with the rest of the NT and find AD 70 fulfillments where amillennialists and dispensationalists don’t.  However, DeMar’s hermeneutic and exegetical method is more than arbitrary and inconsistent.  For example here is one that DeMar neglects:

MATTHEW 24-25 REVELATION 20:5-15
Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf.   Matt. 16:27-28) Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18) De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31 God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46 Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15

Gary DeMar publishes James Jordan whom claims Daniel himself was raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2, 13 and Revelation 20.  The partial preterists are also on record for saying things such as, “The Apostle John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off.”  So here is something that DeMar needs to address as well:

DANIEL   12:1-2 REVELATION   20:5-15
Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2 Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the   lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15
This is the time for the resurrection and judgment   of the dead Dan. 12:1-2 This is the time for the resurrection and judgment   of the dead Rev. 20:5-15

The analogy of Scripture and these charts demonstrate that DeMar’s view that we are still in the millennium and that the end of the millennium resurrection is still unfulfilled (while believing that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70) is creedally arbitrary.  Daniel is told to seal up the content of this prophecy because the time of fulfillment is “far off” and John the opposite – don’t seal up the content of this prophecy because the time of fulfillment was “at hand.”  There is no exegetical evidence whatsoever that Revelation 20 is future while chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled by AD 70 – per Partial Preterism and Gary DeMar.  Since there is NO exegetical support for Gary’s view, one has to wonder if he is affraid of losing creedal financial support?

Oddly Gary claims Postmillennial Partial Preterism is winning the eschatological battle.  Apparently it did not win the eschatological debate for Luther, Calvin and the WCF which have taught the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 is indeed the Second Coming (as Full Preterism teaches).  And what about today?  Mathison and DeMar didn’t win the battle over Matthew 24-25 in the Reformation Study Bible, which is in perfect harmony with Full Preterism in interpreting the parallel’s in Matthew 24:30-31 as being the same eschatological event with the following passages:

“But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31, as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14–17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.” (see HD, 112).

Here are some of those exegetical “parallels” that Full Preterists and Classic Amillennialists agree upon:

Matthew 24-25/Luke 21, Matthew 13, and Daniel 12 Parallels

The Transitive Property of Equality Principle (Since A=B & B=C, then A=C) As It Relates to Dan. 12:1-13 (A), Mat. 13:38-43 (B), and Mat. 24:3-36 & 25:31-41 (C)

                                                   Since A (Daniel 12)  = B (Matthew 13)
Tribulation on National Israel as Never Before Verse 1b Verses 40-42
Time-of-the-End / End-of-‘this’-Age Separation Verses 1c, 4a, 9b, 13b Verses 39b-41
Saints Rise and Shine in the Eternal Kingdom Verses 2a, 2b, 3 Verse 43
Wicked Rise to Shame in Eternal Condemnation Verses 2a, 2c Verses 39-42
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 Verse 43
                                                          And  B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)
Pre-Kingdom Evangelism by Jesus’ Disciples Verses 37-38 24:14
Tribulation on National Israel as Never Before Verses 40-42 24:21-22
End-of-‘this’-Age / End-of-the-Age Separation Verses 39b-43 24:3, 30-31; 25:31-41
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son Verse 43a 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and Entrance into the Kingdom Verse 43a 25:34
                                                      Then      A (Daniel 12)  =    C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and Sanctification / Great Tribulation Verses 1b, 10 24:21-22
Time / Day / Hour of the Judgment (aka Separation) Verses 1-2, 4 (OG/LXX) 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfilled at the Time-of-the-End / the End-of-the-Age / the End à viz. The Shattering of National Israel’s World—Her Heaven and Earth (i.e. the Temple, etc.) Verses 4a, 9b, 13b

Verse 7

24:3b, 13-14

24:1-8, 14, 28-29, 34-35

Inheritance of and Entrance into Eternal Kingdom-Life Verses 2b, 3a, 13b 25:34, 46
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son Verse 3a 24:27, 36; 25:34
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 25:29a

Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other: 

Daniel 12 (A)          = Matthew 13 (B)    =      Matthew 24-25 (C)
Kingdom-Age Evangelism = Kingdom-Age Evangelism = Kingdom-Age Evangelism
Tribulation Like Never Before = Tribulation Meted Out = Great Tribulation Unlike Before
Time of the End of Daniel’s People; End of the Age of National Israel = Time of the End of that Age To Befall Jesus’ Generation = Age of National Israel to End in the Fall of Its Temple & City
The Chosen Ones to Rise & Shine; The Wicked to Rise to Shame = The Righteous Ones to Rise & Shine; Tares Reaped to Burn = Sheep to Inherit Kingdom; Goats to Inherit Punishment

Matthew 24-25/Luke 21, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, and 1 Corinthians 15 Parallels:

If A (Matt. 24) is = to B (1 Thess. 4-5) and B (1 Thess. 4) is = to C (1 Cor. 15) Then A (Matt. 24) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)

Since A (Mat. 24) = B (1 Thess. 4)
Christ Returns from Heaven 24:30 4:16
With Voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With Trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/Gathered Together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the Clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact Time Unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ Comes as a Thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers Caught Off Guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of Birth Pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers Not Deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to Be Watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to Sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/Sunlight Shinning From E. to W. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And B (1 Thess. 4) =  C (1 Cor. 15)
The Sleeping to Be Raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The Living to Be aught/Changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s Coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the Sound of the Trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to Stand Firm 4:18 15:58
Same Contemporary “We” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matt. 24)  =  C (1 Cor. 15)
Christ to Come (Greek: Parousia) 24:27 15:23
His People to Be Gathered/Changed 24:31 15:52
To Come with the Sound of a Trumpet 24:31 15:52
To Be “The End” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom Consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All Prophecy Fulfilled at This Point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Law/Temple Mat. 24:1 15:55-56
Same Contemporary “We” Mat. 24:2ff 15:51-52

Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other.

Matthew 24                     1 Thessalonians 4          1 Corinthians 15 

At His Coming (24:27-31) = At His Coming (4:16) = At His Coming (15:23)
At the Trumpet (24:31) = At the Trumpet (4:16) = At the Trumpet (15:52)
Dead Raised, All Gathered (24:31) = Dead Raised (4:16) = Dead Raised (15:35-44)
All Living Gathered
(24:31)
= Living Caught Together to Him (4:17) = Status of Living Changed (15:51)

As I pointed out in HD, it is more than arbitrary for men like Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison to make AD 70 parallels and fulfillments in Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 5 or Matthew 24=2 Thessalonians 1-2, but avoid where most of the parallels are in Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 because the resurrection is in view (see HD, 112-115).  It is amazingly arrogant for DeMar and AV to claim they are performing “exegesis” when comparing Matthew 24 with the eschatology of the NT in order to develop AD 70 fulfillments, but if Full Preterists do, AV wants to refer to us as “heretical.”  We are making the same “parallel’s” and appealing to the same “analogy of scripture” argument that the creedal Amillennialists are.

Appendix B – An Exegesis of 1 Thessalonians4:15-17

Before beginning our exegesis of this passage, let’s first get a bird’s-eye view of where everyone stands in the overall context and eschatology of 1 and 2 Thessalonians:

Passages Full Preterism Partial Preterism Milton Terry Partial Preterism Gary DeMar Partial Preterism Kenneth Gentry Classic Amillennialism 
1 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
1 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future
1 Thess. 3 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
1 Thess. 4 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 5 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future  

I placed in bold the various exegetical and logical inconsistencies within the various Partial Preterist views that either will not stand the test of the analogy of Scripture – within 1 and 2 Thessalonians itself, or comparing the eschatology of 1 and 2 Thessalonians with the rest of the NT.

Full Preterist Hermeneutics

Full Preterism makes consistent parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 and 2 Thessalonians and therefore is also consistent in harmonizing Jesus’ eschatology with Pauline eschatology.

Full Preterism is consistent in its literal understanding of imminence in Pauline eschatology along with honoring a first century audience relevancy to whom it was written.

Full Preterism is consistent on the spiritual nature of fulfillment of the parousia and kingdom being “within” and that of apocalyptic language (unless one adds Ed S. unbiblical view to the mix).

Classic Amillennialist Hermeneutics

Amillennialism for the most part makes consistent parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 and 2 Thessalonians – harmonizing Jesus’ eschatology with Pauline eschatology.

Amillennialism is wrong but at least consistent in spiritualizing away the meaning of imminence and in its failure to honor a first century audience relevancy in Pauline eschatology.

Amillennialism is wrong on a literal and futuristic fulfillment for these events, but is at least accurate and consistent in seeing them being fulfilled at Christ’s ONE Second Coming.

Partial Preterist Hermeneutics

Partial Preterism makes inconsistent parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 and 2 Thessalonians and therefore is also inconsistent in harmonizing Jesus’ eschatology with Pauline eschatology.

Partial Preterism is inconsistent in its appeals to imminence and a first century audience relevancy throughout Pauline eschatology.

Partial Preterism is inconsistent on the spiritual & or literal nature of fulfillment on what was spiritually or literally fulfilled in AD 70 (when it comes to the “rapture” and Resurrection promises).

Therefore, Partial Preterism has been forced to teach the inconsistent and unbiblical view that the NT supports that there are TWO Great Commissions, TWO vindications of the martyrs, TWO approaching wraths, TWO end of the ages, TWO parousia’s or comings of Christ, TWO judgments and resurrection for the living and dead, and TWO arrivals of the New Creation.  And because of this confusion and inconsistent hermeneutic, Partial Preterism is a failure in its debates with Bible skeptics and other Christian eschatological positions.  All other views correctly see it as a “stepping stone” leading to Full Preterism.

And now let’s take a look at the Dispensational Premillennial Pre-Trib. “secret” Rapture view:

“Rapture” (seven years before Second Coming) allegedly because Christ comes “for” the saints in these passages: Second [third?] Coming allegedly separate from “secret” Rapture because Christ comes “with” the saints in these passages:
1 Thess. 1:10 1 Thess. 3:13
1 Thess. 2:19 2 Thess. 1:6-10
1 Thess. 4:13-18 2 Thess. 2:8
1 Thess. 5:9, 23

Mark Hitchcock imagines Paul is teaching two comings of Christ and makes these distinctions because,

“The rapture is an imminent, signless event, which, from the human perspective, could occur at any moment.  But contrast, the Second Coming will be preceded by many signs (see Matthew 24:1-29).

The same event cannot logically be both signless and yet portended by numerous signs.  This is flatly contradictory.” (Mark Hitchcock, COULD THE RAPTURE HAPPEN TODAY?, 80-81).

And Hitchcock quoting and looking to MacArthur for support,

“Scripture suggests that the Second Coming occurs in two stages—first the Rapture, when He comes for His saints and they are caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and second, His return to earth, when He comes with His saints (Jude 14) to execute judgment on His enemies.  Daniel’s seventieth week must fall between those two events.  That is the only scenario that reconciles the immanency of Christ’s coming for His saints with the yet unfulfilled signs that signal His final glorious return with the saints.” (Ibid., 81).

My Response 

First, how could the “rapture” be truly imminent for the first century Christians within the Dispensational system, since the Temple had not been destroyed in AD 70 yet, the gospel had not been preached throughout the entire globe, the Jews had not been scattered throughout the world let alone had they been re-gathered (in unbelief – which is also an unbiblical tenant of this system) and become a nation again (ex. 1948 – another abuse of Scripture) with another Temple (that still hasn’t even been re-built so it can be destroyed)?!?  Since all of these events are necessary to take place before the “rapture” or Second Coming could be fulfilled, how can MacArthur even pretend to say that the “rapture” was “imminent” and could have taken place during the lifetime of Paul?   Perhaps MacArthur’s explanation of NT imminence should be equivalent to what he has to say of the Charismatics speaking in “tongues” today — just plain unbiblical “gibberish.”  Selah.

Secondly, there is no “contradiction” of Christ coming “with” the dead saints that He just raised out of Hades (and coming with the angels) “for” the living, whereby they would both reside in the kingdom and God’s presence.  The exegetical support for there being a seven year gap between these two comings of Christ is no less of a heretical and unbiblical view than the Partial Preterist who sees thousands of years between two comings of Christ (one in AD 70 & another at the end of world history) or the JW’s for that matter!  The idea that Paul in 1 and 2 Thessalonians or the NT in general teaches two different comings of Christ separated by several years, is nothing but pure eisegesis.

Having given a birds-eye view of the various positions and a brief critique of their strengths and weaknesses, lets begin an exegesis of our passage.

Vs. 15 – “According to the Lord’s own word,…”

Having just looked at the analogy of Scripture or the parallels between Matthew 24-25 with 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (see chart above in previous section on Matt. 24), it should be extremely obvious that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse for his instruction on the Second Coming in his epistles to the Thessalonians.  And virtually all commentators agree that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD to a large extent.

Vss. 15-17 – Audience Relevancy Jesus’ “you” and Paul’s “we”:

If I were to say, “We who live long enough to see the year 2030,” there is no reason to think that I would be assuming that I myself would be among the living in 2030. My only assumption would be that some of us today would be alive in 2030.  In the same way, Paul’s words imply only that he knew that some of his contemporaries would still be alive when Christ returned, as Christ Himself promised would be the case in Matthew 16:27–28; 24:34.

Spiritual nature of fulfillment

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver first century believers in the Thessalonian Church from their first century Jewish persecutors by giving them the same kind of trouble they were giving them (1Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7).  Are members of the first century church and their Jewish persecutors alive today?  Uh, no they are not.

When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

We can know that Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17 are not to be interpreted literally (a literal trumpet, etc.) because the Scriptures tell us elsewhere not to interpret them literally. In Exodus 19 and 20, the Lord came down in a cloud over Mount Sinai. He spoke with a loud voice. There was the sound of a loud trumpet. And Moses met the Lord on Mount Sinai. Then God established His covenant with His people.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that though the trumpet and the voice of the old covenant were literal, the “trumpet” and the “voice” of the new covenant are not literal (Heb. 12:18–19). Neither is the mountain (Mount Zion) literal in the new covenant (Heb. 12:18, 22). Therefore, neither is the cloud (which descended to cover the ountain) literal in the new covenant.

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

The “rapture” passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14. In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.  As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, His spiritual Body, the New Man, the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor.

Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “ . . . whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Vs. 17 – “Gathered up”

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving a theological connection to the eschatological gathering of (Mt.13:39-43; Mt.24:30-31 & 2 Thess. 2:1). Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.” The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament renders a good definition of harazo as, “of an ecstatic vision or experience catch up or away (2C 12.2).” (Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 75, emphasis added).

Thus one could be “caught up” with visions or “caught up” in having a joyful “experience” associated with Christ’s return that did not necessitate a physical removal from the planet! The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament gives the meaning to a word related to harpazo–harpagmos, “…c. “to take up an attitude to something as one does to what presents itself as a prey to be grasped, a chance discovery, or a gift of fate, i.e., appropriating and using it, treating it as something desired and won.” “The figurative element in the expression still remains, and a οἷον or ὥσπερ is often put before it.” (Kittel, Gerhard (Hrsg.) ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (Hrsg.) ; Friedrich, Gerhard (Hrsg.): Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans, 1964-c1976, S. 1:473).  The Liddell and Scott Lexicon render harpazo as “…5. grasp with the senses, 6. captivate, ravish.”

As I pointed out earlier, Jesus said when the kingdom would come at His return, that it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—Luke 17:20-37; Mark 9:1. The realm of the “snatching away” was an “experience” and “attitude” “within” Christians. They “grasped” and were “captivated” and had “seen” and “perceived” in their hearts and minds what Christ had done for them physically and most importantly “in” them in purifying their conscience and taking away their sins. The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

Vs. 17 – “…in the clouds…”

In Revelation one of the descriptions of the Churches “rapture” or “resurrection” is described by the two witnesses (described as Moses–the law & Elijah–the prophets) being received up into a cloud Rev.11:12. This is the consummation and the Church being raised and caught up into the presence of God is the fulfillment and climax of everything taught in the Law and the Prophets. Those that did not heed her message, were assured of imminent destruction. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament gives the concept of the cloud as referring to a Theological “revelation,” “Mark 9:7a, b par. Matt 17:5a, b / Luke 9:34a, b, 35 contain the idea of the cloud of revelation, or the theophany motif, in the account of the transfiguration.  (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 2:464).

The transformation was a “vision.”  The transfiguration event is what we are to “see/understand” the parousia being all about – the passing glory and fulfilling of the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) with Christ’s words of the new covenant age continuing. For Peter to want to desire Moses and Elijah to abide with Christ is to get a rebuke from the Father, because the age of the law and prophets would soon pass away and their was no need for new wine to be contained in old wineskins.  The only other two place in the NT where this Greek word is used (metamorphosis or transformation) is in 2 Corinthians 3 and Romans 12  and it had to do with a spiritual transformation of the mind and heart from old covenant glory to new covenant glory and its application. Unlike the Judaizers whom were “waterless clouds” (Jude 12) and could not give doctrine or revelation resulting in the salvation of the soul, the Christians were and remain a heavenly people full of living water ready to rain down the righteousness of Christ upon thirsty souls through the preaching of the gospel (Isa. 45:8/Jn. 7:38/Ezk. 47/Rev. 22:17).  A “cloud” can include the revelation or testimony of people such as the OT saints (Heb. 12:1).

Vs. 17 – To “meet” the Lord in “the air”

To “meet” the Lord, is wedding language and since Partial Preterists are now teaching that the coming of the Lord in both Matthew 24 and 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 (and that of Revelation 19-22), then the wedding/meeting of Matthew 25:10ff. and Revelation 21 was fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment. Since the wedding banquet follows the wedding in Jewish culture, AND the resurrection takes place at this time (cf. Isaiah 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54-55), then Partial Preterism is now FORCED to concede that the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70.

This Greek word for “meet” was also often used of a King or dignitary coming to make his home in a city in which his Empire or Kingdom had conquered. On the news of the imminent coming of the King, the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” the King/dignitary and escort him back to their home. The King’s presence is established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)? This word is defined as, “space inhabited and controlled by powers (Eph 2:2; 1Th 4:17; Rev 16:17). (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. GGK113).  Another reference works says of Ephesians 2 – “This ruler appears as the aeon of this world, or, one might say, his atmosphere (air) allows the world to appear as Aeon, the god of eternity, whose false claim brings death to humankind (H. Schlier, Der Brief an der Epheser [1958] 102f.). From the perspective of the history of religion this represents a combination of the Empedoclean and Pythagorean worldview, according to which the air is full of souls which cannot yet rise to the ethereal world (E. Schweizer, The Letter to the Colossians [1982] 128–34), and Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons (Billerbeck IV, 516). (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 1:34).

Prior to A.D. 70, demon’s “possessed” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. This is consistent with the word harpazo as meaning “seizing” or “possessing” one inwardly. Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind the hearts and minds of people in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds in producing an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms.7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs.2:1-10. Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind, when He said, “It is finished” Rev.16:17/Heb.9-10/1Cor.15! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in A.D.70. The early church did ecstatically experience the joys of this event while on earth, and as Mathison admits, our numbers keep growing!”

“The Day of the Lord has ‘already come.’” (2 Thess. 2:2)

Before leaving 1 Thessalonians 4-5, let’s take a quick look at some of the reasoning that Partial Preterists use against a futurist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5 and then apply it to the “rapture” and or resurrection texts of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Timothy 2.

1. “As in the case of 1 Thessalonians 5, no commentator who approaches this text under the assumption that it refers to the events surrounding the Second Coming has ever been able to offer an even remotely plausible explanation for the belief of the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord had already come. If we grant the assumptions of these commentators, then Paul has already told them in his first epistle that this event would involve the bodily resurrection of the dead and the “catching up” in the air of those who would still be alive to be with the Lord forever. Unless one concludes that the Thessalonians were profoundly oblivious to reality, there is no explanation for why they would have believed that this had already taken place.

2. Futurists interpreters have also failed to offer a plausible explanation of Paul’s argumentation in 2 Thessalonians 2. If the “coming” of Christ, our “gathering” to Him, and the day of the Lord in this chapter refer to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, then it is necessary to explain Paul’s method of proving that these things had not yet occurred. Why would Paul have tried to convince a group of believers that the Rapture and the bodily resurrection of all believers had not yet occurred by arguing that the apostasy and revelation of the man of lawlessness must coming first? If this chapter is referring to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, the proof that these things had not yet happened would have been far more simple and obvious. The entire argument of 2 Thessalonians 2 could have been reduced to the single question, “Are you still here?” (Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism, 229).

Since I have already demonstrated that the coming of Christ in BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4-5 took place in AD 70, the question needs to include 1 Thessalonian 4 and 2 Timothy 2 and ask concerning all of these texts:

–  “If Paul’s doctrine among the churches was a literal “rapture” of the bodies of the living and a literal resurrection of dead corpses, then why wouldn’t his apologetic against these false teachers be something as simple as this, “How can you believe the coming of the Lord, our gathering to Him and resurrection of the dead has ‘already’ taken place, we are obviously still here and the graves still contain rotten corpses do they not?””

Some Partial Preterists have now come around to admit that the coming of Christ in BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4 – 5 are the same coming and therefore have proposed the idea that there was a literal rapture of the Church by AD 70.  This position as well does not address the exegesis I have provided here let alone the question I have proposed above.  Nor does it account for Jesus’ teaching that the first century Christians would witness the destruction of the city and Temple and God’s kingdom come in power while remaining on the earth post AD 70:

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”  And he said to them, “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, already come in power” (Mark8:38- 9:1 Rotherham).  

Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry quoting Alexander, correctly points out of Mark 9:1, “Here the root word erchomai, which is translated “come” is “not, as the English words may seems to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or ALREADY COME, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect participle here employed.” (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion A Postmillennial Eschatology, Third Edition, 219-220).  Jesus clearly taught that some of His first century audience would live to witness His second coming and experience His kingdom and discern from the events of AD 66 AD 70 that He and His kingdom had “already come” spiritually “within” them (Luke 17:20-21/21:30-32).

We have examined the “gathering up” or “catching away” “rapture” passages and have proven exegetically the following:

1. Analogy of Scripture:   Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are addressing the same coming of Christ and resurrection/rapture event.

2.  Audience Relevancy & Timing:  Jesus taught that Matthew 24:30-31, 34 would be fulfilled in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” while further addressing His contemporary “you” audience.  The Apostle Paul’s doctrine is consistent with Jesus’ in that towards the end of that generation he taught an imminent second coming event and resurrection/catching away of his first century audience “we…”

3.  Spiritual Nature of Fulfillment:  Jesus taught that His new covenant Kingdom would not come with physical observation but would be realized “within” His people at His return (Luke 17:20-21ff., 21:30-32).  We examined the terms “snatch,” “clouds,” and “air” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and found that there is exegetical evidence that this passage would be fulfilled within the person without taking him or her off planet earth.

4.  Powerful Argument From Silence:  If Jesus’ second coming event attended with the resurrection and rapture of the living was to be a physical event whereby rotting corpses were raised and the living would disappear off of planet earth, then why didn’t Paul in Thessalonians and 2 Timothy argue against those that believed these events had “already” happened – “How can you believe this?  You are still here and the dead are still in their graves right?”

5.  Jesus’ teaching in John 17 and Mark 8:38-9:1 teach us that it was/is not God’s will to take the Church off of planet earth (through a secret “rapture”) and even goes as far to teach that some living in the first century would live to witness Christ’s coming and kingdom and know that it had “already come” in and post AD 70.

Appendix C – Further ABC or IF/SINCE, AND, THEN Logical arguments and links to articles on these subjects:

Reformed and Sovereign Grace Partial Preterists and Classic Amillennialists claim they “stand shoulder to shoulder” on the essentials of eschatology and in refuting Full Preterism.  As you will see below this is a pure MYTH.  Not only do they NOT stand in unity on the essentials of eschatology and the key texts, they actually formed Full Preterism!  Isn’t this the real reason why the authors of WSTTB? haven’t been able to respond to our book in six years and counting?  Selah.

1. The Last Days

Premise #1 IF the last days is a NT phrase describing the last days of the Old Covenant age (not the end of the New Covenant Church age) which ended in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree)

Premise #2 AND the last days is a NT is a phrase describing the time frame between Jesus’ first coming and (ONE) Second Coming events (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE Second Coming event was fulfilled at the end of the “last days” of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.

The Last Days http://fullpreterism.com/reformed-partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-looses-debate-to-sovereign-grace-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-2-the-latterlast-days/

  •  Does it look like the two Reformed views of Partial Preterism and Classic Amillennialism stand “shoulder to shoulder” in “unity” on the “essentials” concerning the “last days”?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

2.  Double Fulfillments 

Premise #1 IF the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled at the close of the Old Covenant age in AD 70, and “…does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion” (Gary DeMar/Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #2  …AND the ONE Second Coming of Christ event found in Matthew 24 is fulfilled at the end of the age (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN…the ONE Second Coming of Christ event in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 and “…does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion” (Full Preterism)

  • Does it look like the two Reformed views of Partial Preterism and Classic Amillennialism stand “shoulder to shoulder” in “unity” on the “essentials” concerning double or multiple fulfillments in Matthew 24-25?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

3. “All Things Written” “All These Things” (Luke 21:22/Daniel 12:1-7) = All OT Prophecy and Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled in AD 70

Premise #1 IF all OT prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterism/Gentry and Full Preterism agree), and…

Premise #2IF the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Partial Preterism now agrees with Full Preterism), and…

Premise #3 …IF Jesus is saying the resurrection/glorification of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of His present “this age” (all agree), and…

Premise #4IF Jesus’ “this age” is the Old Covenant age ending in AD 70, at which time the harvest/judgment/and resurrection would take place (Partial Preterism now agrees with Full Preterism), and…

Premise #5 …IF the resurrection and glorification of Daniel 12:23/Matthew 13:39-43 is the final and ONE resurrection event (that cannot have multiple or double fulfillments) to take place at the end of the age (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE resurrection and judgment harvest of Daniel 12:2-3/Matthew 13:39-43 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

The Transitive Property of Equality Principle (Since A=B & B=C, then A=C) As It Relates to Dan. 12:1-13 (A), Mat. 13:38-43 (B), and Mat. 24:3-36 & 25:31-41 (C)

                                                   Since A (Daniel 12)  = B (Matthew 13)
Tribulation on National Israel as Never Before Verse 1b Verses 40-42
Time-of-the-End / End-of-‘this’-Age Separation Verses 1c, 4a, 9b, 13b Verses 39b-41
Saints Rise and Shine in the Eternal Kingdom Verses 2a, 2b, 3 Verse 43
Wicked Rise to Shame in Eternal Condemnation Verses 2a, 2c Verses 39-42
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 Verse 43
                                                          And  B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)
Pre-Kingdom Evangelism by Jesus’ Disciples Verses 37-38 24:14
Tribulation on National Israel as Never Before Verses 40-42 24:21-22
End-of-‘this’-Age / End-of-the-Age Separation Verses 39b-43 24:3, 30-31; 25:31-41
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son Verse 43a 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and Entrance into the Kingdom Verse 43a 25:34
                                                      Then      A (Daniel 12)  =    C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and Sanctification / Great Tribulation Verses 1b, 10 24:21-22
Time / Day / Hour of the Judgment (aka Separation) Verses 1-2, 4 (OG/LXX) 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfilled at the Time-of-the-End / the End-of-the-Age / the End à viz. The Shattering of National Israel’s World—Her Heaven and Earth (i.e. the Temple, etc.) Verses 4a, 9b, 13b

Verse 7

24:3b, 13-14

24:1-8, 14, 28-29, 34-35

Inheritance of and Entrance into Eternal Kingdom-Life Verses 2b, 3a, 13b 25:34, 46
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son Verse 3a 24:27, 36; 25:34
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 25:29a

Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other: 

Daniel 12 (A)          = Matthew 13 (B)    =      Matthew 24-25 (C)
Kingdom-Age Evangelism = Kingdom-Age Evangelism = Kingdom-Age Evangelism
Tribulation Like Never Before = Tribulation Meted Out = Great Tribulation Unlike Before
Time of the End of Daniel’s People; End of the Age of National Israel = Time of the End of that Age To Befall Jesus’ Generation = Age of National Israel to End in the Fall of Its Temple & City
The Chosen Ones to Rise & Shine; The Wicked to Rise to Shame = The Righteous Ones to Rise & Shine; Tares Reaped to Burn = Sheep to Inherit Kingdom; Goats to Inherit Punishment

Premise #1 SINCE “all things written” would be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (ie. in AD 70 Luke 21:22, 32), and He was referring to all OT prophecy being fulfilled at this time (Kenneth Gentry/Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #2 AND if the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree)

Premise #3 AND if the OT prophecy of the resurrection described for us in Daniel 12:2, Hosea 13:14, and Isaiah 25:8 (ie. Paul’s sources for his resurrection doctrine in 1 Cor. 15:54-55) is the ONE and same OT predicted resurrection (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Daniel 12

1 Corinthians 15

1. Resurrection unto “eternal life”(v. 2) 1. Resurrection unto incorruptibility or immortality (vss. 52–53)
2. Time of the end (v. 4) 2. Then cometh the end (v. 24)
3. When the power of the holy people [Mosaic OC law] is completely shattered (v. 7) 3. When victory over “the [Mosaic OC] law” comes (v. 56)

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming THEN the ONE OT resurrection of Daniel 12:2, Hosea 13:14, and Isaiah 25:8 (i.e.. 1 Corinthians 15 “all things written”) was fulfilled in Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

Premise #1 IF all OT prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #2 IF the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #3 IF the Greek word mello in the NT should be predominately translated and understood as communicating imminence (ie. “about to be” or “soon” with Young’s Literal Translation usually being correct in its translation) and pointing to the AD 70 fulfillment (Partial and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #4 IF Daniel 12:2 is the OT source for Paul’s resurrection doctrine in Acts 24:15YLT (all agree).

Premise #5 IF Paul uses mello in Acts 24:15YLT (all agree).

Premise #6 IF the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 and Acts 24:15YLT is the ONE and final resurrection event at the end of the age (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming THEN the ONE resurrection of the dead event in Daniel 12:2/Acts 24:15YLT was “about to be” fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.  Selah.

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” as to how and when OT prophecy concerning the resurrection of Daniel 12:2, Hosea 13:14, and Isaiah 25:8 would be fulfilled in the NT?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

An Exegesis of Luke 21:22 and Daniel 12:1-7 – “All Things Written” Fulfilled by AD 70:  http://fullpreterism.com/partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-vs-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-4-all-things-fulfilled-luke-2120-22

When James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, Partial Preterism will never be the same when we “connect the dots” and allow Scripture to interpret itself.

IF A (Daniel 12) Was Fulfilled in AD 70 and is = to B (Revelation 20)

A (Daniel 12:1-4)

Books are Opened – Book of Life

“Already & Not Yet” Judgment and Resurrection

B (Revelation 20:4-15)

Book of Life.

“Already & Not Yet” Judgment and Resurrection

AND B (Revelation 20) was Fulfilled in AD 70 and is = to C (John 5)

B (Revelation 20:4-15)

First/Fruits v. 4 (cf. chapters. 7, 14) Resurrection.

Second/Harvest Resurrection vss. 12-15.

C (John 5:24-29)

First Fruits Resurrection vss. 24-25.

Second/Harvest (cf. John 4) “ALL” vss. 28-29.

THEN A (Daniel 12) is = Equal to C (John 5)

A (Daniel 12)

The “Already and Not Yet” “Hour” of Judgment & Resurrection (OG) LXX vss. 1, 4.

Resurrection of BOTH Unbelievers and Believers Unto Eternal Condemnation or Life.

C (John 5)

 The “Already and Not Yet” “Hour” of Judgment & Resurrection.

Resurrection of BOTH Unbelievers and Believers Unto Eternal Condemnation or Life.

THEREFORE, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another”

CONCLUSION ALL FULFILLED IN AD 70 A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Revelation 20) is = C (John 5)

A (Daniel 12)

“Already and Not Yet” Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled By AD 30 – AD 70.

B (Revelation 20)

“Already and Not Yet” Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled By AD 30 – AD 70.

C (John 5)

“Already and Not Yet” Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled By AD 30 – AD 70.

Premise #1 IF it is true that the judgment and resurrection of the dead in A (Daniel 12) was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism now agrees with Full Preterism).

Premise #2 AND IF it is true that the “not yet” judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12 is ONE event to take place at the end of “the age,” (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree) and…

Premise #3 AND IF it is true that the judgment and resurrection of (Daniel 12), (Revelation 20), and (John 5) are the SAME ONE end of the age event (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #4 THEN the ONE “not yet” judgment and resurrection of the dead in (Daniel 12), (Revelation 20), and (John 5) was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.

 

4.  The Coming of the Son of Man

Premise #1 IF the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:27-30ff.; 26:64 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #2 …AND the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:27-30ff.; 26:64 is the ONE Second Coming event (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE Second Coming event [ie. the coming of the Son of Man] was fulfilled in AD 70.

5.  The Great Commission and Coming of Christ in Matt. 24:14, 27-31ff.

Premise #1:  IF The coming of Christ and Great Commission in Matthew 24:14, 27-31 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise#2:  …AND the ONE coming of Christ and Great Commission in Matthew 24:14, 27-31 is the same Great Commission and coming of Christ in Acts 1:8-11 (Classic Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN the ONE coming of Christ and Great Commission in Acts 1:8-11 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Full Preterism – note Partial Preterist Milton Terry believed that Acts 1:11 was also fulfilled in AD 70).

An Exegesis of Acts 1:8-11 – The Second Coming Fulfilled by AD 70:  http://fullpreterism.com/partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-vs-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-7-in-like-manner-acts-19-11/

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” concerning when the Great Commission and coming of the Lord in Acts 1:8-11 and Matthew 24:14, 27-31 would be fulfilled?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

6.  Rapture 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 

Premise #1 IF the trumpet call, gathering into the kingdom, and parousia/coming of Christ event throughout Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #2 …AND the trumpet call, gathering/catching away/change, and ONE THE parousia/coming of Christ event in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 is the same and ONE THE parousia/coming of Christ event as Matthew 24-25 (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Since A (Mat. 24) = B (1 Thess. 4)
Christ Returns from Heaven 24:30 4:16
With Voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With Trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/Gathered Together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the Clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact Time Unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ Comes as a Thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers Caught Off Guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of Birth Pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers Not Deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to Be Watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to Sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/Sunlight Shinning From E. to W. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And B (1 Thess. 4) =  C (1 Cor. 15)
The Sleeping to Be Raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The Living to Be aught/Changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s Coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the Sound of the Trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to Stand Firm 4:18 15:58
Same Contemporary “We” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matt. 24)  =  C (1 Cor. 15)
Christ to Come (Greek: Parousia) 24:27 15:23
His People to Be Gathered/Changed 24:31 15:52
To Come with the Sound of a Trumpet 24:31 15:52
To Be “The End” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom Consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All Prophecy Fulfilled at This Point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Law/Temple Mat. 24:1 15:55-56
Same Contemporary “We” Mat. 24:2ff 15:51-52

Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other.

Matthew 24                     1 Thessalonians 4          1 Corinthians 15 

At His Coming (24:27-31) = At His Coming (4:16) = At His Coming (15:23)
At the Trumpet (24:31) = At the Trumpet (4:16) = At the Trumpet (15:52)
Dead Raised, All Gathered (24:31) = Dead Raised (4:16) = Dead Raised (15:35-44)
All Living Gathered
(24:31)
= Living Caught Together to Him (4:17) = Status of Living Changed (15:51)

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE trumpet call, ONE gathering/catching away/change, and ONE THE parousia/coming of Christ event of Matthew 24—25/1 Thessalonians 4-5/1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” of eschatology when it comes to when and how Matthew 24-25/1 Thessalonians 4-5/1 Corinthians 15 will be fulfilled?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

7. The Groaning and Liberation of the Creation Romans 8:18-23YLT

Premise #1 IF the Greek word mello is used with the aorist infinitive or present infinitive (as in Rev. 1:19 and 3:10) its preferred meaning is to “be on the point of,” “be about to,” or point to a “soon” AD 70 fulfillment of the prophetic event in question (Partial Preterism Kenneth Gentry/Keith Mathison and Full Preterism agree), and…

Premise #2 IF Romans 8:18-23YLT uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive along with two other imminent time words apokaradokia and apekdekomai “eagerly waiting” (all agree),…

Conclusion THEN Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison need to explain HOW the glorification/liberation of creation/adoption/and redemption of the body was fulfilled in an AD 70 “about to be” or “soon” time frame.

Premise #1:  IF the groaning of the creation in Romans 8 is not referring to the planet earth (not even poetically, but is rather referring to the creation of people (ex. Cols. 1:23) (Partial Preterist John Lightfoot and Full Preterism agree), and…

Premise #2 …IF the “glory” was “about to be” revealed in the Church spiritually in AD 70 (Partial Preterist Gary DeMar and Full Preterism agree and Gentry and Mathison need to explain why they don’t),…

Premise#3:  …AND yet the groaning/liberation/adoption/redemption of the body in Romans 8:18-23YLT is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled together “(Classic Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN the ONE eschatological event of the groaning/liberation/adoption/redemption of the body was fulfilled in the “about to be” AD 70 time frame and has nothing to do with the transformation of planet earth (Full Preterism).

Premise #1 IF the coming of Christ and “redemption” in Luke 21:27-28 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree), and…

Premise #2 IF the coming of Christ and “redemption” in Luke 21:27-28 is the ONE Second Coming event and resurrection / the same “redemption of the body” as in Romans 8:18-23YLT (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

 

Olivet Discourse &

Luke 17

Romans 8
Suffering to come (Matt 24:9) Present sufferings (vv. 17-18)
Christ comes in glory (Matt 24:30) Were “about to” receive & share in Christ’s glory (vv. 17-18)
Kingdom will be realized “within” at Christ’s return

(Luke 17:21-37; 21:27-32)

Glory will be “in” them (v. 18)
Redemption & salvation—resurrection

(Luke 21:27-28; Matt 24:13, 30-31)

Redemption & salvation—resurrection

(vv. 23-24; cf. 11:15-27; 13:11-12)

Birth pains of the tribulation (Matt 24:8) Pains of childbirth (v. 22)
This would all happen in their “this generation”

(Matt 24:34)

This was “about to” take place (v. 18)

 

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming THEN…the ONE Second Coming and redemption / redemption of the body in Luke 21:27-28, 32 and Romans 8:18-23YLT was fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or in an AD 70 “about to be” time frame.   

8.  De-creation and New Creation – No Death, Tears, and Pain

Premise #1:  IF the de-creation and or arrival of the new creation in such passages as Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 24:29, 35; 1 John 2:17-18 2 Peter 3; and Revelation of 21 refer to the passing of the Old Covenant creation and the arrival of the New Covenant Creation at the coming or parousia of Christ in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise#2:  …AND the de-creation and or arrival of the new creation in such passages as Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 24:29, 35; 1 John 2:17-18 2 Peter 3; and Revelation 20-21 are fulfilled at the ONE coming or parousia of Christ (Classic Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN the ONE de-creation and or arrival of the new creation in such passages as Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 24:29, 35; 1 John 2:17-18 2 Peter 3; and Revelation of 20-21 refer to the passing of the Old Covenant creation and the arrival of the New Covenant Creation and were fulfilled at the ONE coming or parousia of Christ in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

An Exegesis of Revelation 21 – The New Creation Fulfilled by AD 70: http://fullpreterism.com/partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-vs-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-10-no-more-death-tears-and-pain-revelation-21/

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” concerning when and how the de-creation and arrival of the new creation is to be fulfilled on the key passages?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?
  1. 9.  Romans 11

Premise #1 If all Israel was saved and the resurrection of Romans 11 was fulfilled spiritually, corporately, and covenantally in AD 70 (Partial Preterism/Gary DeMar/James Jordan and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #2 …AND if the ONE resurrection of the dead takes place when all Israel is saved in Romans 11 (Classic Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE spiritual, corporate, and covenantal resurrection of Romans 11 was fulfilled when “all Israel” was saved in AD 70 (Full Preterism).
An Exegesis of Romans 11 – “All Israel Saved” and Fulfilled by AD 70: http://fullpreterism.com/partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-vs-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-11-all-israel-will-be-saved-romans-1126/

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” of eschatology in Romans 11 and when and how all Israel was/is to be saved and raised from the dead?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

10.  The Millennium of Revelation 20 – Judgment & Resurrection of the Dead

Premise #1:  IF Revelation chapters 1-19, 21-22 were fulfilled in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” time frame (Partial and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #2:  …AND Revelation chapters 1-19, 21-22 recapitulates the same consummation scenes of Revelation 20 (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN Revelation 20 was fulfilled in in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” time frame (Full Preterism).

Premise #1:  SINCE the imminent time statements at the beginning (Rev. 1:1) and close (Rev. 22:6-10, 20) of Revelation tell us that chapters 1-19, 21-22 were fulfilled in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” time frame (Partial and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise#2:  …AND if the imminent time texts of Revelation refer to AD 70, then it is only consistent and logical that the entire (including Rev. 20) book was fulfilled by AD 70 since the time texts and references to Christ’s coming in chapters 1 and 22 function as bookends encapsulating the entire book (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN the imminent time texts and coming of Christ mentioned in Revelation 1 and 22 function as bookends telling us that the prophecy/book (including Rev. 20) would be fulfilled in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” time frame (Full Preterism).

Premise #1:  IF the Second Coming ends the millennium of Revelation 20 (all agree Partial Preterism, Full Preterism, and Classic Amillennium),…

Premise #2:  …AND IF the coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #3  …AND IF the coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation is the ONE Second Coming event (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN the ONE imminent Second Coming event ended the millennium of Revelation 20.  (Full Preterism).

Premise #1:  IF Revelation chapters 1-19, 21-22 were fulfilled in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” time frame (Partial and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise#2:  …AND the 1,ooo year millennium of Revelation is not communicating a long period of time (ie. thousands of years), but rather a “fullness” of time (Amillennial G.K. Beale and Full Preterism agree),…

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming:  …THEN the 1,000 year millennium period was the “fullness” of time leading up to the entire book being fulfilled in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to be,” time frame (Full Preterism).

Premise #1 IF the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #2 IF all OT prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree)

Premise #3 IF Daniel 12 is the OT source and the ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Revelation 20:5-15 (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

 

DANIEL   12:1-2 REVELATION   20:5-15
Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2 Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15
This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Dan. 12:1-2 This is the time for the resurrection and judgment   of the dead Rev. 20:5-15

 

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12 and Revelation 20 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.

Premise #1 IF the book of Revelation is John’s version of Matthew 24-25 (all agree), and…

Premise #2 …IF the coming of Christ in both Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterism agree), and…

Premise #3 IF the ONE Second Coming, judgment, and resurrection of the dead of Matthew 24-25 is the SAME ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead described for us in Revelation 20,…

 

MATTHEW 24-25 REVELATION 20:5-15
Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf.   Matt. 16:27-28) Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18) De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31 God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46 Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead in Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 20 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Revelation 20 – The Millennium Fulfilled by AD 70:  http://fullpreterism.com/partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-vs-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-12-the-millennium-revelation-20/

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” concerning when the millennium of Revelation 20 would be fulfilled?!?  Do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?

11.  The Resurrection and the Heresy of Hymenaeus and Philetus

Premise #1 SINCE there were three aspects to the resurrection that took place in AD 70 – corporate, covenantal, and involved a resurrection that included souls (Daniel’s Dan. 12:13/Rev. 20) being emptied out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades at the end of the Old Covenant age/harvest in AD 70 (Partial/James Jordan and Full Preterism agrees),…

Premise #2 AND if the NT only teaches ONE resurrection of the dead time period to be fulfilled at the end of the age (Classic Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree),…

Premise #3 AND if Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching a spiritual resurrection was PAST PRIOR to AD 70 (all agree)…,

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming THEN two things are true:  1.  The ONE time frame for the resurrection of the dead was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism), and 2. Since there was a spiritual resurrection coming imminently AFTER a resurrection Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying was PAST, then logically one cannot condemn Full Preterism as “heretical” using 2 Tim. 2:17-18 (Partial Preterist Keith Mathison and Full Preterism agree).

An Exegesis of 2 Timothy 2:17-18 – Is Full Preterism the Modern Day Heresy of Hymenaeus and Philetus?  http://fullpreterism.com/partial-preterist-keith-a-mathison-in-wsttb-vs-full-preterist-michael-j-sullivan-in-hd-part-13-2-timothy-217-18/

  • Does it look like Partial Preterism and the Classic Amillennial view stand “shoulder to shoulder” in unity on the “essentials” of eschatology concerning when the resurrection would take place and or if they even have one passage in the NT to condemn Full Preterism as “heresy”?!?  Again on the issue of the timing and nature of the resurrection, do the two systems refute Full Preterism or form it?  If 2 Timothy 2:17-18 can’t be used to condemn Full Preterism as “heresy,” then why do they refer to us as “heretics” teaching the very thing as Hymenaues and Philetus were teaching?
12. Daniel’s Seventy Sevens Daniel 9:24-27
Premise #1 IF Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled by AD 70 at the end of the Old Covenant age (some Partial Preterists and Full Preterists agree), and…
Premise #2 …IF Daniel 9:24-27 predicts the ONE final consummation at the end of the age (Futurists and Full Preterists agree),…
Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and always reforming …THEN the ONE final consummation of Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.
For an Exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27 – Daniel’s Seventy Sevens Fulfilled by AD 70: http://fullpreterism.com/the-sevent…

 

Conclusion

Full Preterism is seeking a Reformation in the area of eschatology today.  As I have demonstrated, Full Preterism has always been with the historic Church when we consider the propositions contained within the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view (a group of Christians just needed to be bold enough to combine and show the synthesis between the two).  The futurist has produced a “sick” “hope deferred” “delayed” view of the Second Coming of Jesus, while the Full Preterist has the good news that Christ (“the desire” or “tree of life”) did come in a “very little while” and did “not delay” (Prov. 13:12; Heb. 10:37).  Join this Biblical Reformation today – pass this article on to others.

If you are a student or faculty member of any Bible College or Seminary (and or Church) and would like me to come and lecture, debate or answer any questions regarding Full Preterism please feel free to call me – Michael Sullivan – (828) 507-1375 and I would love to set up a date and time to do so.

This web site is dedicated to the development and defense of the Full Preterist view.  It’s articles, radio teachings and videos are primarily exegetical and apologetic in nature.

[1] R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Books, 1998), 157.

[2] David Green, Edward Hassertt, Michael Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Ramona, CA:  Vision Publishing 2014, Second Edition), 80-84.

[3] Ibid., 91.

[4] Ibid., 97

[5] Ibid., 87-95.  See also Michael Sullivan, A Full Preterist Response to Kenneth Gentry’s Articles:DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION, AND RESURRECTION and ACTS 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-kenneth-gentrys-articles-daniel-12-tribulation-and-resurrection-and-acts-2415-and-the-alleged-nearness-of-the-resurrection/

[6] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided, 116-123.  This begs the question that DeMar has not answered in that if the “glory” was “about to be revealed” in Romans 8:18 YLT, then contextually so was the liberation of creation from its bondage, the full adoption of the sons of God, and the redemption of the body.  I also quote one of DeMar and Gentry’s favorite partial preterists (John Lightfoot) where he admits that the “creation” groaning in this passage has nothing to do with the planet earth (not even poetically) but rather men under sin (which is the full preterist view of the creation here).  I have been asking Gary to comment on this for many years now, but he is always “too busy” to comment.

[7] Ibid., 122-123.

[8] Ibid., 126-128.

[9] Ibid., 102-109.

[10] This should have been footnoted on page 139 of my chapter in reference to Hebrews 9:26-28 but it got deleted for some reason in the editing process.  The admission here is from Milton Terry, “The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.” Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.

[11] Michael Sullivan, HouseDivided, Ibid., 112, footnote 45.

[12] Ibid., 89-95, 178.   See also Michael Sullivan, A Full Preterist Response to Kenneth Gentry’s Articles:DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION, AND RESURRECTION and ACTS 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-kenneth-gentrys-articles-daniel-12-tribulation-and-resurrection-and-acts-2415-and-the-alleged-nearness-of-the-resurrection/

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