MY TESTIMONY ON HOW I BECAME A FULL PRETERIST – MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN

Here is the short version:  The Lord providentially guided me and opened my eyes to Full Preterism by allowing me to first experience the frustration, confusion and errors of Dispensationalism and then later seeing that a synthesis between the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view seemed more exegetical and Biblical (ie. Full Preterism – which for a brief season I didn’t know even existed).
Now the slightly longer and more detailed version.
Dispensationalism
As an aspiring young man seeking the ministry shortly after my conversion to Christ, I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College (CCBC – affiliated with Pastor Chuck Smith) and graduated in the late 80’s.  There I was indoctrinated in the confusing Dispensational system with all of its two programs and comings (for the Church & Israel) – 1. a secret “rapture” coming for the Church and 2. The second coming designed to establish an earthly 1000 years millennium for Israel  separated by two resurrection etc… .  And who can forget all of those very confusing colorful charts as well, trying to make sense of it all along with 3.  this alleged “gap theory” between Daniel’s 69th “week/seven” and the 70th etc… .  What a mess!
After I graduated CCBC, I went back to my home Church – Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and I began getting involved in the Jr. H.S. and H.S. programs.  I remember one New Year’s Eve – Pastor Chuck Smith was giving one of his famous “Prophecy Updates.”  His approach just didn’t sit well with me after being trained in hermeneutics and expository preaching – he simply read select passages out of Matthew 24 and assumed that everything that was happening at that time in the Middle East (and other current events “signs”) were for our generation and that he was “convinced” that the “Lord was coming soon to rapture” the Church.
Classic Amillennialism
After a brief stay at my home church I decided to further my theological training and attended another Dispensational Bible College – The Master’s College (affiliated with Pastor John MacArthur).  It was there that I was doing a report on “the kingdom of God” and had read several books – but this time a great deal of Amillennial or Covenant Theology material mixed in with Dispensational sources.  I quickly was converted to Amillennialism in that I saw no Biblical support for these Dispensational doctrinal distinctions such as:
1. Jesus allegedly offered a literal earthly kingdom to Israel.
2.  This kingdom allegedly got “postponed.”
3.  There wasn’t this major distinction between the Church and Israel – in particularly noticing that the Apostles hermeneutic in interpreting the OT was vastly different than Dispensationalism’s – applying OT promises to the Church (the very thing Dispensationalism said couldn’t be done etc…).
4.  The Amillennial hermeneutic and its use of the analogy of Scripture was so much simpler and better in that there was only ONE coming of Christ, attended with one judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of the age.  I thought all of my eschatological wows had ended!  But…
Partial Preterism
On a spring break from The Master’s College I met a former student in Post Falls ID, that was Reformed.  We had so much to talk about and he gave me one of his Pastor’s articles that he had written for a local News Paper.  The article was on how Dispensationalism was false teaching and he simply went through Matthew 24 demonstrating how all of the signs were fulfilled by AD 70 and that exegetically “this generation” was the AD 30 – AD 70 one.  He briefly touched upon NT imminence as well I believe.  Well, this just seemed so “exegetical” and simple too!  I began getting a hold of every Partial Preterist book I could – David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Marcellus Kik, Greg Bahnsen, etc….
It wasn’t too long that the uneasiness I felt about Dispensationalism began coming back.  The “double vision” hermeneutics and confusion that I had left behind in Dispensational came back this time “seven fold” in the form of:  1. two comings of Christ – one in AD 70 to end Israel’s eschaton and the second (third?) coming to end history and end the Churches eschaton.  2.  Two Great Commissions to bring an end to… 3. Two end of the age(s) to… 4. judge the dead (one spiritual in AD 70 and an alleged literal one at the end of world history)… that would 5. Usher in two New Heavens and Earth(s) (one spiritual in AD 70 and an alleged physical one at the end of world history) etc….
Another source of uneasiness was that in all of the Partial Preterist material I had (to that date) gave a lot of exegesis of Matthew 24:1-34, but really none beyond verses 35-36 which were practically assumed to be referring to another coming of Jesus thousands of years removed from the one in the previous verses.  These two issues brought much uneasiness.
I remember giving a “persuasive speech” in my speech class and it was designed to convince the class (virtually all Dispensationalists) that the Great Tribulation is past, all the signs were fulfilled by AD 70, and that “a” parousia/coming of Christ took place at that time as well.  I thought it went well until the Q & A session kicked in.  Virtually every question or comment came out, “Aren’t you saying that the second coming took place then too if these other events were fulfilled in AD 70”?  I of course had to remind them that there were two comings in the NT which was followed by comments such as, “Yeah, but that doesn’t make much sense etc…”  I was thinking to myself that this two coming theory didn’t make much sense to me either – but I couldn’t let them know that!
Synthesis of Classic Amillennialism & Partial Preterism
I remember doing a study on Christ coming as a thief in my dorm room at The Master’s College and looking at the various conflicting views on this subject and the NT texts which developed it.  It was in that study I stumbled upon David Chilton’s comments that he took the coming of Christ as a thief in Matthew 24:43 as being fulfilled in AD 70:
“This interpretation [on the New Heavens and Earth of Rev. 21 and 2 Peter 3 arriving in AD 70] is confirmed by St. Peter’s further information:  In this imminent “Day of the Lord” which is about to come upon the first-century world “like a thief” (cf. Matt. 24:42-43; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 3:3), “the elements will be destroyed with intense heat” (v. 10; cf. v. 12).”  (David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, p. 542, emphasis mine).
I thought to myself, “finally, someone that actually goes beyond verse 34 in Matthew 24, and sees what I’m seeing!”  When it was confirmed to me that there was only ONE coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25, it became clear that the rest of the NT follows that pattern and that the ONE Second Coming event was fulfilled in AD 70.  First let me provide you with a chart that gives you a visual of what I was looking at when it came to the conflicted nature of the Church on Christ coming as a thief, then I will provide another chart that shows once Matthew 24-25 is not divided, the rest of Pauline eschatology follows suit.

Christ comes “as a thief”
Passage
Partial Preterism
D. Chilton
Partial Preterism
K. Gentry
Pre-Trib. Rapture
J. MacArthur
Amill & Hist. Premill.
Matt. 24:43 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future  Rapture Future Second Coming
2 Peter 3:10 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future
Second Coming
Future  Second Coming
1 Thess. 5:2, 4 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future  Rapture Future  Second Coming
Rev. 3:3 AD 70 AD 70 Future  Rapture Future  Second Coming
Rev. 16:15 AD 70 AD 70 Future
Second Coming
Future  Second Coming

This is what was going through my mind at this point:
Premise #1If it is true that the coming of Christ as a thief is both the Second Coming and Rapture event (Matt. 24=1 Thess. 4-5=2 Pet. 3=Rev. 3; 16),…
Premise #2 – …and if it is also true that Christ coming as a thief was imminently and spiritually fulfilled in AD 70,…
Conclusion – …then it necessarily follows that when Christ came as a thief spiritually in AD 70, that is when the Second Coming and Rapture event was fulfilled.
I said to myself, “Really, is this someone [David Chilton] who sees what I’m seeing?  There isn’t this “two sections” or “two comings” of Jesus in Matthew 24?!?”  Well, providentially I was coming up on another break from college and my roommate invited me to stay at his house (in Sacramento, CA) so I tagged along with him.  I noticed that David Chilton didn’t live far away from this area and so I set up a lunch appointment with him.  When we met, I almost immediately brought up what he had written and asked, “If you take Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24 to be AD 70, then you don’t divide Matthew 24 into two sections or comings – do you?  And if you don’t, perhaps you are seeing what I am, in that there is only one second coming of Jesus mentioned in the NT and it happened in AD 70?”  His response was priceless – he simply smiled at me and said, “Mike, there is a book you need to read by James Stuart Russell, The Parousia.  From there he invited me over to his house for a while and he just wanted to have small talk.
It was dawning on me- “What if the Amillennial view is correct in that there is only one second coming being discussed throughout Matthew 24-25 and the Partial Preterist view is correct that the Son of Man coming on the clouds and or “the parousia” happened in AD 70 (ie. that the second coming of Jesus happened in AD 70 and has already been fulfilled)?  This was followed with me doing my own study comparing Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and charting out the parallels and noting that these were one and the same coming of Christ!  It became very obvious to me that the Amillennial view which taught Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4-5 was accurate (ie. a correct use of the Analogy of Scripture hermeneutic), while at the same time the Partial Preterist view was accurate in that the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds – at the sound of a trumpet, happened within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (ie. an exegetical approach to the use of apocalyptic language and NT imminence).  The following chart expresses what was going through my mind at this point.
If A (Matt. 24) was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet 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). And therefore, both B (1 Thess. 4) and C (1 Cor. 15) were also fulfilled in AD 70 just as A (Matt. 24) was.  Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other:

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)

I would latter write David Chilton a private letter expressing that his smile made me feel uncomfortable in that it communicated to me that he knew what the truth was but he was sitting on it or compromising it.  He wrote me a scathing letter back expressing how my view would never amount to anything except to be a footnote in one of his books.  This letter was responded to by my second, in which I told him I would be praying that the Lord would discipline Him for compromising and suppressing the truth and for his pride.  Within a year or two, I had moved to Sacramento, CA (having dropped out of Master’s College – no need to go in debt for a theological education that was bogus) and was living two blocks from the hospital David Chilton ended up staying in (after his heart attack).  I took the church I was attending (a small Sovereign Grace Full Preterist Church) and our worship team and visited David in the hospital where we sang worship songs (I didn’t mention our correspondence).  We would later have lunch again, and David apparently did remember our correspondence and apologized to me for his letter and did say that he knew that the second coming happened in AD 70.  From there he contacted other Full Preterists such as Don Preston and would be more vocal about his convictions.
Then I would begin writing Gary DeMar and realized that he too did not believe Matthew 24 could be divided into two comings of Christ.  He assured me he would be addressing this issue in his next edition of Last Days Madness, which he did.
Let’s first get a bird’s-eye view of where everyone is on 1 and 2 Thessalonians and then I will address Gary’s problems:

Passages Full Preterism Partial Preterism Milton Terry Partial Preterist Gary DeMar Partial Preterist Keith Mathison Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry Amill. &
Hist. Premill. 
 
1 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future
1 Thess. 3 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 4 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future Future
1 Thess. 5 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future

But here are the problems with Gary’s current position which he has held to for way too long without progressing or “continuing in doctrine.”
Gary DeMar believes 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled in AD 70.  One of the reasons he does so is because Paul uses the same phrases Jesus uses concerning the coming “birth pains” and Christ coming as a “thief” in Matthew 24.  Look at numbers 7 and 9 below:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 5 – Fulfilled in AD 70
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 9.  Birth pains (5:3 – fulfilled in future?)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

But why wouldn’t DeMar address the remaining 6 parallels or phrases Paul is getting from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 and import them into 1 Thessalonians 5? Because to do so, would bring to much attention to this parallel hermeneutic and have people asking and demanding why he doesn’t follow this same approach in paralleling Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (see #’s 1-5 in chart)?!?
This begs another question for DeMar to answer – since he publishes James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel 12 – which supports Daniel (his soul) was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit eternal life, then why isn’t 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 descriptive of this spiritual AD 70 fulfillment?!?
Partial Preterist Keith Mathison in his book on Postmillennialism  took 1 Thessalonians 5 as fulfilled in AD 70.  One of his reasons for this was because of Paul’s use of “birth pains” (again see #9 below) and paralleled this phrase with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Still Future? 1 Thessalonians 5 – Fulfilled in AD 70
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8) 9.  Birth pains (5:3)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

But what about the other 7 phrases and parallels Paul uses in the rest of 1 Thessalonians 5 that He is getting from Jesus in Matthew 24? If Mathison is consistent in his use of parallelism and in using an identical phraseology heremeutic, then this disproves his first theory (he too no longer divides Matthew 24 – see his new book, From Age to Age) that Matthew 24:36ff. contains eschatological material that needs to be fulfilled in our future.
If parallels and similar phrases from Matthew 24 prove that 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled by AD 70, then why wouldn’t the same hermeneutic of parallels and similar phrases prove that 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was also fulfilled in AD 70 (again #’s 1-5)?
Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry cites authors to support Paul is following Matthew 24 when he parallels and makes his Preterist case  that 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70.  But those same sources he uses, produce these parallels as well which Gentry arbitrarily ignores, because he knows if he was consistent in this use of the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation, it would lead him to Full Preterism.  Here is how Gentry understands Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Still Future? 1 Thessalonians 5 – Still Future?
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 9.  Birth pains (5:3 – fulfilled in future?)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

So why wouldn’t Gentry parallel Matthew 24:36-49 with 1 Thessalonains 5:1-8 to prove that both of these sections are to be fulfilled in the future?To do so would have Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 use the “birth pains” (an alleged future fulfillment) parallel to Matthew 24:8 – which he says was fulfilled in AD 70. This is a similar problem Gentry has if he compares Matthew 24 with Luke 17, in that Luke 17 makes it clear there are not two comings of Christ in view.  Luke mixes up AD 70 events to alleged future events, and allegedly future events, he places to be fulfilled in AD 70.
To make all of the 7 parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 would end up “proving to much” – in that everyone would be asking why not make the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 then?!? If Paul is following Jesus’ material in 1 Thessalonians 5, why isn’t he following it in 1 Thessalonians 4?!? (again #’s 1-5).
Another problem Gentry has created for himself is that he now teaches the resurrection of Dan. 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s parouisa in AD 70. Therefore, this begs another question for Gentry to answer – WHY isn’t 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 descriptive of the spiritual coming and spiritual resurrection of Daniel 7:13/Daniel 12:2 — that he says was fulfilled in AD 70?!?
It should be abundantly clear that Paul is following Jesus’ teaching Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4-5.  As G.K. Beale points out in his commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians – Paul practically follows the exact same chronology of Jesus in Matthew 24!  This is why the Classic Amillennial view and the Full Preterist view either have all of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 as fulfilled in the future or fulfilled in AD 70.  The analogy of Scripture demands one or the other.  But the first century imminent expectation demands the Full Preterist interpretation.
Full Preterism
At this point I was a Full Preterist (in the broad sense of the definition) and didn’t know it.  After I got back to The Master’s College and received Russell’s book (from Walt Hibbard’s GCB’s) and read his exegesis of Matthew 24 – I remember jumping up and down in my dorm room shouting, “YES!  I found someone that believes what I do (the NT only teaches one Second Coming and it was fulfilled in AD 70)!”  But then the depression and lonely feelings came back as I noticed that this author wrote the book in the 1800’s and was dead.  But I was determined to find out if there was anyone (alive that is) that believed and saw what I did.  I got onto the Internet and began debating my position on Matthew 24 with others online to see what would happen.  It wasn’t long before I got into contact with Ken Davies and David Green.  I was finally at peace and have been a Full Preterist now for 26 years and have never even thought of looking back.
Although the Lord (at least up to this point) never called me to be a Pastor, He did open the doors up for me to be a Full Preterist theologian, apologist, and author.  I enjoy writing Full Preterist articles on my two web sites:  www.fullpreterism.com and www.treeoflifeministries.info.  I  have also been blessed to be a co-author in House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  In the book I wanted to have as our guiding foundation and apologetic to be the one that actually led me into the Full Preterist movement – that is a synthesis between the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view (or simply put – one of the Reformation’s cries, “Reformed and always reforming”).  The Full Preterist movement is nothing other than the “organic development” between these two Reformed eschatological views.  As I wrote in HD:
“1)  Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment are accepted.  Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age.  There was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 (Dan. 12:1-4; Matt. 5:17-18; 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Rom. 8:18; 13:11-12; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 1-22).
2)  Classic Amillennialism – The New Testament teaches only one future coming of Christ, general judgment, and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.”
“…The choice is simple. Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or one accepts the organic development of full preterism which unites them.” (HD Second Edition, 139).
My exhortation to the reader studying Full Preterism
And again, here is a small portion of our conclusion in HD that I made a contribution towards and want to pass on to you as you study the Full Preterist position:
“As a Reformed believer, dear reader, you know that there is no middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism.  You may have tried at one time to say that you were neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.  Or you may have acknowledged that the Bible teaches Calvinism, but you rejected the teaching because you were troubled by its implications.  Or you may have even been a closet Calvinist for years.  Though the road was perhaps difficult, you eventually embraced the doctrines of grace, and now you know there is no compromise position between the two doctrines.
Many Reformed believers today are having the same experience with the doctrine of preterism.  They are learning that it is also a hard pill to swallow and that it is nevertheless the doctrine of Scripture.  They are learning that it represents “the whole counsel of God” in the area of eschatology.  After we are confronted with biblical preterism, we may try to straddle the fence, but there is truly no middle ground.  Just as R.C. Sproul (Sr.) would consider a four-point Calvinist to be in reality a “confused Arminian,” more and more futurists, on their way to biblical preterism, are beginning to see that partial preterism is just “confused futurism.”  There is no biblical basis for “partial preterism” even as there is no biblical basis for “partial Calvinism.”  This is why partial preterism invariably leads to full preterism.  This is why Keith Mathison and Ken Gentry have both come closer to “hyper-preterism” since they wrote WSTTB.  Mathison now believes that the prophecy of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry now believes that the resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This is why partial preterist theologian David Chilton became a full preterist before he passed away, even though he knew he would be creedally anathematized by partial preterists such as his publisher Gary North.
Though we consider futurists who condemn us to be our brothers in Christ, we must acknowledge that they have been confronted with the truth, and rejected it, and declared us to be accursed.  They would have done well to heed the wisdom of Gamaliel:  “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39). But instead, they are persecuting us and suppressing the truth, though ultimately to no avail.
The biblical record from cover to cover teaches us that taking a stand against traditions and authorities which nullify Scripture is not easy.  When leaders take their stand against the teachings of Scripture for the sake of tradition, that is when God raises up “the things which are not” (1 Cor. 1:28)—fishermen, shepherds, janitors, waiters, drivers, etc.,— to stand in the gap.  The rise of Reformed preterists within the history of the church can be likened to the conflict between David the shepherd and Saul the king, and between Luther and the One, Holy, Roman Catholic Church—small and humble beginnings, with powerful and profound results to be looked for in the future.
Preterists have been forced into the wilderness and caves by those who have felt threatened by our stand for the Word of God; and God continues to add to the number of men and women who are shunned by creedal futurists.  These believers have been driven out by Saul-ish spear throwers, but they find their purpose in defending the truth at all costs.  And as a result, they become God’s valiant warriors.
It took only a handful of committed Christians with a passion for God’s word to turn the Jewish and Roman world completely upside down with the gospel. God is not calling closet Calvinists or closet preterists, but faithful men to boldly proclaim His truth to His flock.  Be assured that persecution and tears will come, but if you faithfully proclaim and trust in God’s Word, He will keep your tears in His bottle and turn back your enemies, and in one way or another, He will vindicate you and the truth together in Him (Jer. 1; Josh. 1; Ps. 56).” (HD, 235-236).
This is why every HD book I sign and mail off, I list Jer. 1; Josh. 1 and Psalm 56 – because this has been my experience and exhortation I want to pass on to you.  That is, tears of pain and tears of joy will enter your heart when you see this truth and rejoice in God’s Word – and yet at the same time you will always have to be “strong and very courageous” never being “discouraged” to “fear the faces of men” or seek to compromise, for He will fight your battles, turn back your enemies, and His Word will not return to Him void!  This is your calling, your duty and your privilege.  Peace – Selah.

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 5 Daniel 12:1-3

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 5 Daniel 12:1-3
 
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article)may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #5: Daniel 12:1-3 says that “many of those who
sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to
shame and everlasting contempt.” This is obviously referring to a physical
resurrection of the dead. Additionally, God tells us that this prophecy
is to be fulfilled in “the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4), which is the end
of human history (295).
 
Answer: Daniel’s prediction of the resurrection of the dead begins
with these words: “And at that time . . . ” “That time” refers back to the
end of chapter 11. Philip Mauro in his book, The Seventy Weeks and
the Great Tribulation, argues convincingly that Daniel 11 ends with a
prophecy of Herod the Great.[1]
 
Herod, the first enemy of the incarnate Christ, died very shortly
after Christ was born. It was “at that time” that Christ (“Michael,” “the
Chief Messenger”) stood up for the saints. It was at that time that Christ
came into the world for His people and took on the body of sacrifice
that the Father had prepared for Him (Dan. 12:1; Heb. 10:5-7; Ps. 40:6;
cf. Rev. 12:7).
 
It was the “stand” for the elect that Christ made in His Incarnation
that led to the “war in heaven” (Matt. 11:12; Rev. 12:7), which in turn
led to fleshly Israel being overtaken in the death-throes of the Great
Tribulation (Dan. 12:1). Jesus promised that that time of distress was
going to take place within His own generation, and that it would be consummated
in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary (Dan. 9:26;
12:1; Matt. 24:1-2, 21, 34). That event took place in August-September
of AD 70.
 
According to the angel who spoke to Daniel, it was at that time that
the power of the holy people would be shattered (Dan. 12:7), that the
church would be delivered (Dan. 12:1), that the resurrection of the dead
would take place, and that the righteous would inherit the kingdom
(Dan. 12:2). Jesus, in harmony with Daniel, promised that the kingdom
would be taken from the wicked and given to the righteous in the lifetime
of the chief priests and Pharisees (Mat. 21:43-45). Therefore, “the
time of the end” (not “the end of time,” as it is sometimes mistranslated)
in Daniel 12:4, 9 was not the end of human history; it was the end of
redemptive history in Christ’s generation.
 
It was in AD 70, therefore, that many who slept in “the earth’s dust
awoke. To “sleep in dust” is a figure of speech. The dead were not literally
sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust. They were “in dust
only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence
in Christ. In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were
earth-bound. From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the
abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they were
raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).
Futurist James Jordan writes regarding Daniel 12:13:
 
What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom,
he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on
a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that
came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.[2]
 
Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used
in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in
Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred
to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be
made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only
a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the
many” in Daniel 12:2 referred whole company of all the dead
from Adam to the Last Day.



[1] Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation (Swengel,
PA: Reiner Publications [now Grace Abounding Ministries]), 135-162.
[2] James B. Jordan, The Handwriting on the Wall: A Commentary on the
Book of Daniel (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Inc., 2007), 628. (Emphases
added)
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Conclusion

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
Conclusion
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this
book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.  

Conclusion 
Mathison says that interpreting New Testament eschatological timetexts is a “difficult problem” that has “perplexed commentators forcenturies,” and that it is therefore a subject upon which he and his coauthors do not agree (155, 178, 204). Consequently, Mathison’s treatment of the time texts is ambiguous and he casts a fog over the whole matter. Here are some examples of Mathison’s pervasive uncertainty as he wrestles against God’s eschatological time-statements.
“You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.”
 Commentators have interpreted [Matthew 10:23] in a number of different ways. (175–176) Mathison presents five competing futurist and partial preterist interpretations.
He eventually lands on an interpretation but he does not express unequivocal confidence in it.
“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standinghere who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” 
. . . [W]hat does it mean for Jesus [in Matthew 16:27–28] to suggest that [the coming of the Son of Man] will happen within the lifetime of his hearers? (176)
But of course, Jesus did more than merely “suggest” that His coming would happen within the lifetime of His hearers, as Mathison weakens the words of the Lord.
• The Coming of the Son of Man
 Each of the texts we have looked at (Matt. 10:23; Matt. 16:27–28; 24–25) seems to portray the coming of the Son of Man as something that would occur soon after the words were spoken.
This has perplexed commentators for centuries. (178)
Mathison then makes reference to “all of the difficulties surrounding these [time] texts” and adds that “several” interpretations have been “suggested” (178–179).
But as preterists know, these texts are unequivocal and non perplexing. Note that Mathison admits that all of the biblical texts he cited in Matthew (including the prophecy of the sheep and goats) “seem” to say what preterists say they say. When Mathison says that the texts are surrounded by “difficulties” and that they have “perplexed commentators,” the reason is—obviously—because the texts, if left to interpret themselves, teach “hyper-preterism.” Yet five pages later Mathison says, “There is nothing in any of these texts that demands or even strongly suggests a hyper-preterist interpretation” (183).
“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” 
. . . [S]everal possible interpretations [of Matthew 24:34] have been offered.
Mathison presents nine competing futurist and partial preterist interpretations (179–181). All of the “possible interpretations” of the word “generation” proposed by Mathison are puzzling though, since he tells readers in his book, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope, while refuting Dispensationalism, that they can “know” the preterist interpretation of “this generation” in Matthew 24:34 is the true interpretation:
We know that the phrase “this generation” refers to the generation of Jews to whom Jesus was speaking for these reasons. . . .[1]
Treading water in a great sea of uncertainty and contradiction, Mathison flounders among the “many possible interpretations” of these and other passages, and then miraculously arrives at the shore and concludes with curious confidence: “Just as there is nothing in the Gospels that even remotely suggests hyper-preterism, so there is also nothing in the book of Acts or in the New Testament epistles that suggests hyper-preterism” (205, emphases added). “The New Testament . . . does not even suggest hyper-preterism” (213, emphases added).
Let’s see now. Mathison admits that Jesus said (or suggested or seemed to teach) many times and in many places that His coming would happen within the lifetime of His hearers. Mathison admits that this fact has perplexed futurist commentators for centuries (176–179). Mathison admits that Paul and other New Testament writers seemed to teach that Christ was coming soon and that the end of the age was near (201–202). Then Mathison says that there is nothing in the New Testament “that even remotely suggests hyper-preterism” (205, 213). Our question to Mathison is not when, but how can these things be?
Mathison undertakes to evaluate and dismiss the preterist position while he himself is uncertain as to how to interpret the verses that “seem” to support preterism (but at the same time do not even “remotely suggest” preterism). Mathison’s particular beliefs are a matter of opinion and debate, because according to Mathison, who can know with any certainty what such terms as “near” and “soon” and “this generation” and “some of you standing here” really mean? There are many possible interpretations.
Mathison should consider that his eschatological particulars (the time texts) are vague and uncertain because his eschatological universals (the physical and yet-future second coming, resurrection, and judgment) are askew. If we all were to agree and stand “shoulder to shoulder” (155) on the universal that eschatology is all about the fall of the Soviet Union, the result would be that our interpretation of a myriad of verses would become a “difficult problem” (Mathison’s term).  Mathison’s quandary vividly illustrates the centuries-old problem with futurism. Two or three flawed universals have made a vast multitude of particulars unfathomable.
. . . [O]rthodox Christianity was characterized by two eschatological doctrines: the future return of Christ to judge mankind and the future bodily resurrection of all men for judgment. . . . [A]part from these two doctrines, there was nothing approaching consensus for the first four centuries [of church history].[2]
This problem is alive and well today, as Mathison’s multi-authored book demonstrates. Mathison uses wild understatement when he says of the authors of WSTTB: “ . . . [T]he contributors to this volume do not completely agree in their interpretation of every eschatological text” (155).  The fact is that all seven of the contributors to Mathison’s volume do not agree at all on any (or at least virtually any) eschatological doctrine except the doctrine “that the second coming of Jesus Christ, the general resurrection, and the Last Judgment are yet to come” (155). Mathison can call that “shoulder-to-shoulder” agreement, but it is not impressive. Agreement on only a few points out of a myriad merely indicates that those few points are wrong.
It is more than difficult to understand how these authors can portray their historical positions as unified on these points when between their two systems (partial preterism and amillennialism) two contradictory propositions emerge when you examine the particulars – that is the  passages that are used to arrive at a futurist position for these three events:
1)      Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment is accepted, Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age, there was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 in such passages as these: Daniel 12:1-4; Matthew 5:17-18, 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:18, 13:11-12; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 1-22; Hebrews 8:13, 9:26-28,[3] 10:37.
And yet we are also told that this proposition is true –
2)       Classic Amillennialism – The NT only teaches one coming of Christ, general judgment and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.
How can these things be indeed?  Obviously both of these propositions cannot be true at the same time unless full preterism is true and accepted. Allow me to use two particular passages in connection with my testimony on how I became a full preterist which illustrates the problem the authors of WSTTB have with their so called “shoulder to shoulder” unity.  One day I was reading Reformed amillennial and partial preterist books while also studying Matthew 24-25 and comparing it with 1 Thessalonians 4-5 in my dorm room at the Master’s College.  I concluded that the partial preterist was accurate in teaching that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 spiritually using apocalyptic language and that the amillennialist was also accurate in that Paul was drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and that there is only one “the parousia” of Christ in the NT.  Therefore “orthodoxy” was teaching me that 1  Thessalonians 4-5 was the same coming of Christ described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25.  But since the futurist errs on the nature of the resurrection assuming it is biological and at the end of time, the readers of WSTTB are forced into a contradictory “either or” situation on passages such as these when the truth is a “both and.”  I think one can see the problem the authors of WSTTB are trying to sweep under the rug when it comes to how they can “unify” in teaching that the Second Coming is still future when the particulars of what they are each saying on the given texts and how they relate to each other teach otherwise.
The choice is simple.  Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or accept the organic development of full preterism which unites them in seeing that these events were fulfilled in AD 70 when Christ came (once a “second time”) invisibly to close the old covenant age dissolving the elements of that world while establishing the new.
It is ironic that the title of Mathison’s book is When Shall These Things Be?  Not only is there no consensus among the authors as to the answer to that very question, but Mathison himself (the only author who attempts to answer the question) fails to arrive at an unequivocal and decisive answer. Within a span of six pages (177–182), Mathison tacitly admits that the question is a problem for futurism, and offers seven or eight possible “solutions.”[4]
If we were to apply Mathison’s method in eschatological matters to all other areas of life, we would be certain of nothing; we would all be postmodernists. The truth would become unknowable. Mathison himself, in his book The Shape of Sola Scriptura, teaches that “clear” and “firm scriptural proof for every article of faith” is a “necessity.”[5]
Yet in WSTTB, Mathison demonstrates with his plethora of “possible interpretations” that he lacks “clear” and “firm” scriptural proof either for futurism or against preterism. Nevertheless, he feels at liberty to anathematize us for our preterist challenge to futurism (213).
Mathison claims that Christ died to leave the church, for 2,000 years and counting, in an “evil age.” As my editor has said, “Joy to the world!” Postmillennialists such as Marcellus Kik and Keith Mathison have produced not so much an Eschatology of Victory or An Eschatology of Hope, as a “sick” eschatology, because, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12). Preterism will stand the test of time; and as godly men embrace it and teach it, it will bring healing to the “eschatological schizophrenia” of Mathison et al, and to the eschatological division within the church as a whole.
Interestingly, Gentry and Mathison in their books pit old school dispensationalism against modern day progressives as a “House Divided” that “cannot stand” unless they move more toward covenant theology.  And yet we have documented their “House Divided” approach which equally “cannot stand” unless full Preterism is embraced to “bridge the gap.”  And since they also exhort progressives such as Pastor John MacArthur in his/their changes which are moving closer and closer to covenant theology, we too applaud Gentry and Mathison for coming closer and closer to full Preterism in what they have written since WSTTB.  If a five point Calvinist and progressive dispensationalist such as MacArthur can be seen as “inconsistent,” holding to a “compromised” position, or being content in being a stepping stone for others to come into covenant theology, then full preterists can view Gentry and Mathison’s writings as such in their moves towards full preterism.
If not why not? As a Reformed believer, dear reader, you know that there is no middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism. You may have tried at one time to say that you were neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. Or you may have acknowledged that the Bible teaches Calvinism, but you rejected the teaching because you were troubled by its implications. Or you may have even been a closet Calvinist for years. Though the road was perhaps difficult, you eventually embraced the doctrines of grace, and now you know there is no compromise position between the two doctrines.
Many Reformed believers today are having the same experience
with the doctrine of preterism. They are learning that it is also a hard
pill to swallow and that it is nevertheless the doctrine of Scripture. They
are learning that it represents “the whole counsel of God” in the area of
eschatology. After we are confronted with biblical preterism, we may
try to straddle the fence, but there is truly no middle ground. Just as
R.C. Sproul (Sr.) would consider a four-point Calvinist to be in reality a
“confused Arminian,” more and more futurists, on their way to biblical
preterism, are beginning to see that partial preterism is just “confused
futurism.” There is no biblical basis for “partial preterism” even as there
is no biblical basis for “partial Calvinism.” This is why partial preterism
invariably leads to full preterism. This is why Keith Mathison and Ken
Gentry have both come closer to “hyper-preterism” since they wrote
WSTTB. Mathison now believes that the prophecy of the sheep and
the goats in Matthew 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry now believes
that the resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70.
 
 


[1] Mathison, Postmillennialism, 111 (emphasis added)
[2] Postmillennialism, 33
[3] Milton Terry wrote of 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 [to the Hebrews] 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, 441-442.
[4] Ken Gentry, in another book, gave a decisive interpretation of Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question: “Christ’s teaching here is extremely important to redemptive history. He is responding to the question of His disciples regarding when the end of the age (Gk., aion) will occur (24:3). In essence, His full answer is: when the Romans lay waste the temple (vv. 6 and 15 anticipate this) and pick apart Jerusalem (v. 28).” Thomans Ice, Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation Past or Future? Two Evangelicals Debate the Question (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1999), 58.
[5] Keith Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001), 32
 
 
 

 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 13 What About Hymenaeus and Philetus 2 Timothy 2:17-18?

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be?
Part 13 – What About Hymenaeus and Philetus 2 Timothy 2:17-18?

Michael J. Sullivan

Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this  book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission  in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing  or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical  articles or reviews.  

2 Timothy 2:17–18

I recently received an email and phone call from an elder in a church who was secretly placed under church discipline and then excommunicated for studying the preterist view of Bible prophecy. He and his family were told that their salvation was in question unless they repented of studying (let alone holding to) this position. The source material that was used against them was When Shall These Things Be?, and the Bible text that was used to anathematize them was 2 Timothy 2:17–18. Apparently the eldership of the church did not see the irony. The editor of When Shall These Things Be? concedes that 2 Timothy 2:18 “cannot” be used even to “criticize” preterists, much less anathematize them, because according to Mathison, it may very well be that “the resurrection” of 2 Timothy 2:18 truly did take place in AD 70:

. . . [2 Timothy 2:1–18] cannot be used to criticize hyper-preterism until . . . [it can be] demonstrated from other texts that nothing of the sort occurred in A.D. 70. (194)

This is quite an admission from a man who says that hyper-preterism is “a much different religion” than Christianity (213). What Bible verses can Mathison use, other than 2 Timothy 2:17–18, to brand preterism as a different religion? Answer: There are no other verses. Without 2 Timothy 2:17–18, Mathison doesn’t have a biblical leg to stand on in his condemnation of preterists. All he has are the baseless words of those, like himself, who have set themselves up to condemn us based solely on the assumption that our rejection of futurism is a damnable error.

We agree with Mathison that 2 Timothy 2:17–18 cannot be used to criticize us. But we must go further than this. Far from being an anti-preterist passage, 2 Timothy 2:17–18 is actually a condemnation of the implications of futurism. Allow me to explain. First of all, Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers. They were of a class of deceivers who taught Jewish “myths” and “genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 1:4), and were self-appointed “teachers of the Law” (1 Tim. 1:7). They taught believers to abstain from foods (1 Tim. 4:3), no doubt using the Levitical dietary laws as a basis of their teaching.

It is because Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers that Paul compared them to “Jannes and Jambres” (2 Tim. 3:8). According to ancient historians, Jannes and Jambres were Egyptian magicians who challenged Moses’ authority in Egypt. Like Jannes and Jambres, Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching the strange doctrines of “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), and were challenging Paul’s gospel-authority, attempting to deceive Christians into believing that God’s new wine (the new covenant land of promise) could be contained within the old, “Egyptian” wineskins of the old covenant world.

Likewise in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul connects Hymenaeus and Philetus to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:5, 26.[1] Korah had led hundreds of the sons of Israel to challenge Moses’ authority. As God had destroyed Korah and his followers in the wilderness, so God was “about to judge” (2 Timothy 4:1) and destroy the Judaizers Hymenaeus and Philetus and others like them (cf. Heb. 3:16–19).

According to the teaching of Hymenaeus and Philetus, because Jerusalem and the temple still stood (in about AD 67) after the resurrection had allegedly already taken place, it irresistibly followed that “the sons according to the flesh” were now the heirs of the eternal kingdom and that Paul’s Jew-Gentile gospel of grace was a lie. The blasphemous error of Hymenaeus and Philetus was that the world of the Mosaic covenant would remain forever established after the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets had taken place and the new heavens and new earth (“the resurrection”) had arrived.

This “Hymenaean” heresy is the diametric opposite of preterism.  According to preterism, the old covenant came to an eternal and irrevocable termination in “the resurrection,” when all things were fulfilled in AD 70. There is absolutely no theological connection between preterism and Hymenaeus’ blasphemous lie of an everlasting “ministration of death.”

However, there is a clear connection between the heresy of Hymenaeus and the implications of futurism: If “the Law and the Prophets” are not fulfilled today, and “heaven and earth” have not passed away, and the jots and tittles of the Law have not passed away, and all things are not yet fulfilled, as futurism says, then logically and scripturally, the Law of Moses remains unfulfilled and “imposed” to this day (Matt. 5:17–19; Heb. 8:13; 9:10). This implication of futurism is exactly what the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, taught when they said the resurrection was already past in AD 67.

As we have seen on virtually every page of WSTTB, Mathison and his co-authors are in conflict over a multitude of eschatological passages.  It comes as no surprise that they are in conflict even in regard to how or even if the Bible anathematizes preterists. And it is more than ironic that the one passage in all of Scripture that can conceivably be perceived as decisively anathematizing preterists is in reality applicable to the implications of futurism.[2] Selah.

Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase).   He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears.  Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.).  In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350).  Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him?  And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.

Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response.  If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.

 


[1] William Hendriksen; Simon J. Kistemaker: New Testament Commentary:  Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 268.
[2] For more on 2 Timothy 2:17–18, see David Green’s response to “Strimple Argument #1” in chapter seven of this book.

House Divided Chapter Four NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan – The Millennium Revelation 20

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be?

The Millennium Revelation 20
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. 
Millennium
Mathison writes: “ . . . [T]he hyper-preterist interpretations of the millennium fail to take seriously the long-term time text involved. . . . When the word thousand is used in Scripture, it refers either to a literal thousand or to an indefinite, but very large, number” (209).
Response:  
Psalm 50:10 is often cited, usually by postmillennialists, to teach that “a thousand” symbolizes literally “many thousands or millions.” For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. (Ps. 50:10)
Postmillennialists reason that God owns the cattle on every hill; therefore “a thousand hills” symbolizes or represents “many thousands or millions of hills.” Thus, they reason, we are led by Scripture to interpret the “thousand years” in Revelation 20 to mean “many thousands or millions of years.”
That reasoning sounds solid at first glance. However, the context of Psalm 50:10 does not lead us to a principle that a symbolic “thousand” always signifies “many thousands.” It leads us to the principle that a symbolic “thousand” signifies “fullness.” The “thousand” of Psalm 50:10 is interpreted for us two verses later:
The world is Mine, and the fullness thereof. (Ps. 50:12b)
In Psalm 90:4, a “thousand years” is as “yesterday” and as “a watch in the night.” In 2 Peter 3:8, a “thousand years” is as one “day.” In those verses, a “thousand” (and “yesterday” and “a watch” and a “day”) is used to teach us that to God, a small piece of time is no different than a fullness of time. (Compare Job 7:7; Ps. 39:5; 90:2; 144:4; Heb. 13:8; Jms. 4:14.) Thus in Psalm 105:8, a “thousand” corresponds with “forever”: He has remembered His covenant forever, the word that he commanded to a thousand generations. (Ps. 105:8)
In scriptural usage, a symbolic “thousand” can be likened to “one” (day / yesterday / a watch in the night), or used in reference to millions of hills, or to eternity (“forever”). A “thousand” can be likened unto or used to represent a number lesser or greater than a literal thousand. Only its context can determine its literal numerical meaning, but the basic idea that is communicated by the number is “fullness.” As G. K. Beale wrote, “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time . . .”[1]
How one interprets the thousand years in Revelation 20 depends on one’s eschatological framework. The passage does not interpret itself, but must be interpreted by the overall eschatology of Scripture. Within the preterist interpretive framework, the biblical-eschatological context of Revelation 20 should lead us to interpret the “thousand years” to signify the time of the Christological filling up of all things (Eph. 1:10; 4:10). That time was from the Cross of Christ to the Parousia of Christ in AD 70. That was the time during which “the [spiritual] death” which came through Adam and was magnified through “the law” was in process of being destroyed. The literal timeframe of the “thousand years” was roughly forty years.
Mathison admits that he does not know if there were any rabbis who used the number 1,000 to symbolize forty years (210). Reformed theologian G. K. Beale tells us that some Jews considered the length of the intermediate messianic reign to be forty years. He also states that one Jewish tradition made an anti-type connection between Adam’s lifespan (almost 1,000 years) and a reign of Messiah for a (possibly symbolic) thousand years.[2] Many Christians have attempted to make this connection and have also paralleled the thousand years of 2 Peter 3:8 with John’s thousand years in Revelation 20:2–6.
Adam falling short of the 1,000-year lifespan by 70 years (Gen. 5:5) may represent his being created a mortal being and perishing in sin outside of God’s presence. If this is the case, then it is more than reasonable that the number 1,000 took on the symbolism and representation of Christ’s and the church’s victory over Death in contrast to Adamic man’s vain existence apart from God’s salvation (Eccl. 6:6).
Some Evangelicals and Reformed theologians along with some preterists such as Milton Terry do not understand the long lifespans in the early chapters of Genesis to be literal.[3] They believe that the lifespans were symbolic and contained numerological elements. But even if Adam’s lifespan was a literal 930 years, this does not exclude an anti-typical, symbolic 1,000 years in Revelation 20.
When Messiah came as “the last Adam,” His reign in and through the church for a symbolic thousand years brought the church not to the dust of the earth separated from God’s presence, but to the Tree of Life and into the very presence of God (Rev. 20–22:12). Through faith in and union with Christ as the Last Adam (the Tree of Life and New Creation), Christians have achieved what Adam could not. The church was clothed with “immortality”; it attained unto the “fullness” of life in AD 70; and it will never die for the aeons of the aeons (2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:45–53; Rev. 21–22; Jn. 11:26–27).
All of the authors of WSTTB understand that the Second Coming is the event that brings the millennium to its consummation. However, the only future coming of Jesus discussed in the book of Revelation is the one that would take place shortly (Rev. 3:11; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20). Both Mathison and Gentry concede that this imminent coming of Christ took place in AD 70. But then they err in assuming that the imminent coming of Jesus in Revelation was not His “actual second coming” (182).
To conclude my section on the millennium of Revelation 20, please consider the following exegetical, orthodox, and historical points:

  1. Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT). There is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.
  2. As G.K. Beale has said, the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands of years).
  3. It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/ world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land. This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT). And as we have noted from Reformed partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).
  4. Reformed partial preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation. And amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22. Full preterists hold to both of these Reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the bookof Revelation.
  5. In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, amillennialists and many postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25. But as we have seen, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the old covenant age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.
  6. If it is true that a) the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25 is referring to the AD 70 judgment, as Mathison and other partial preterists are now proposing, and if it is true that b) John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation, and if it is true that c) Matthew 24:27-31 — 25:31ff. is descriptive of the one end-of-the-age Second Coming, judgment, and resurrection event (the creedal position), then d) the authors of WSTTB have some explaining to do, because these orthodox doctrines form the “this-generation” fortyyear millennial view of full preterism.
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

7. If it is true that a) the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 were fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry), and if it is true that b) Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is parallel to Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view), then c) once again the authors of WSTTB have some explaining to do, in that these orthodox views form the “this-generation” forty-year millennial view of full preterism.

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:

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the full preterist view of the millennium is: 1) consistent with the teaching of Revelation, 2) falls within the “orthodox” views the Reformed church, 3) is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture, and 4) has historical support from Rabbis who saw a forty-year transition period between the two ages. Our view on the millennium is exegetically sound and orthodox. It is not as “difficult” as Mathison attempts to portray it.
[1] . G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 1018.
[2] . Ibid., 1018–1019.
[3] . Carol A. Hill, Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis (http://www. asa3.org/aSA/PSCF/2003/PSCF12–03Hill pdf); Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 62.
 
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan – All Israel Will Be Saved Romans 11:26

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Four:  The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
All Israel Will be Saved Romans 11:26
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. 

All Israel will be Saved
Mathison argues: In Romans 11:25–26, Paul seems to be saying that ethnic Israel as a people will be saved. This has not happened yet (199–200).
Response:
There is a great debate between Amillennialists and Postmillennialists on the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25–26, as can be seen in the opposing views of Gentry and Strimple.[1] Postmillennialists such as Gentry and Mathison argue that “all Israel” being saved refers to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before Christ comes in our future. Amillennialists understand “all Israel” being saved to refer to the salvation of the church as the new Israel of God.
As for the view that “all Israel” refers to ethnic Jews in our future, we can immediately know that this view is incorrect. With the passing of the old covenant in AD 70, there is no covenantal Israel other than the united Jew-Gentile church. The things of the old order passed away. So the covenant promises in Romans 11 cannot refer to the modern nation of Israel or to the modern Jewish race or community. The only “Israel” in the New Testament that was to be cleansed from sin is the Jew-Gentile church, the body of Israel’s Messiah. This is the “Israel” (“all” of it) that entered into the Holiest of Holies in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8). Let us briefly summarize Paul’s argument in Romans 11.
Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1– 2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel”—fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”—partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here’s how:

  1. By means of old covenant Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the gospel) were coming to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18). As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes.” (Rom. 11:28)
  2. The salvation of the Gentiles was making last days Israel “jealous,” so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness and being saved. (Rom. 11:2–10,11,13,14)
  3. The hardening, or reprobation, of old covenant Israel in her last generation was to continue until the fullness of the Gentiles came in, i.e., came into Israel. (Rom. 11:25)
  4. In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic, old covenant Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along with the last days remnant, and with the believing Gentiles who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in AD 70, according to the promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 11:26) That is when Israel died, and was raised up a new, transformed Israel. That is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last days Jewish remnant, and the believing Gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was thus that all Israel was saved.

Mathison neglects to interact with other partial preterists such as DeMar and Jordan who teach that “all Israel” was saved by AD 70 and that covenantally, there no longer remain “ethnic” Jews after AD 70.[2] Why was not the view of DeMar and Jordan one of the many “possible interpretations” within Mathison’s eschatology of uncertainty?
It has now been 4 years since I have responded to Keith A. Mathison’s chapter The Eschatological Time Texts in the NT” in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  For me Mathison’s excuse for not responding (“I have been too busy”) has expired.
Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase).   He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears.  Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.).  In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350).  Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him?  And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.
Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response.  If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.
[1] . Kenneth Gentry, Robert Strimple, Ed. Craig Blaising, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999), 112–118, 133–142.
[2] . Gary DeMar, All Israel will be saved: Notes on Romans 11:26, American Vision http://americanvision.org/1234/all-israel-will-be-saved-notes-onromans/#.UG3auVGJr3A. James B. Jordan, The Future of Israel Re-examined, July 1991. Biblical Horizons, No. 27 July, 1991
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 10 No More Death, Tears and Pain Revelation 21

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
No More Death, Tears and Pain Revelation 21
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. 

Death, Tears, and Pain
Mathison and Kistemaker and all other futurists reason that because death, tears, mourning, crying, and pain still exist today, Revelation 21:4 must not be fulfilled (196–197, 203, 250–251).
Response:
In Revelation 21:4 (YLT) we read that “the death shall not be any more.” Every Reformed commentator agrees that this verse, along with 1 Corinthians 15:54–55, is describing a future-to-us end of “the death,” and that “the death” refers to the death that came through Adam in Genesis 2:17. The Douay-Rheims translation renders that verse: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day so ever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” The Good News Translation makes it clear when “the death” would take place: “. . . except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit
of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.
The death” that came through Adam the very day he sinned was spiritual and not biological. (See David Green’s discussion of this verse in his response to Strimple.) The abolition of biological death was never the purpose of Christ’s redemptive work.   In 1 Corinthians 15:55–57 (YLT) we read, “Where, O Death, thy sting? Where, O Hades, thy victory?’ And the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin the law; and to God—thanks, to Him who is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Whenever Paul uses the definite article “the” in front of “law,” he is referring to Israel’s old covenant Torah. As 1 Corinthians 15:57 indicates, the Law was not abolished at the cross; but it was “soon” to disappear, through the power of the Cross, at Christ’s Parousia in the end of the old covenant age (Heb. 8:13–10:37).
Because “the death” is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.
God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.
Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”
Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).
Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.
It is again noteworthy that Mathison avoids any mention of Paul’s declaration that Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” (Rom. 16:20) in his work on Postmillennialism and in his chapter addressing the time texts in WSTTB. The reason for this is that the majority consensus among all brands of commentators is that the “crushing” of Satan in Romans 16:20 is a direct reference to the final “crushing” of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 20. Manifestly, the judgment and wrath that came in AD 70 was not merely “a” “minor” judgment. It was “the” judgment. It was the crushing of Satan.
But Kistemaker and Mathison would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?
There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church (Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).
*** It has now been 4 years since I have responded to Keith A. Mathison’s chapter The Eschatological Time Texts in the NT” in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  For me Mathison’s excuse for not responding (“I have been too busy”) has expired.
Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase).   He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears.  Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.).  In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350).  Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him?  And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.
Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response.  If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan The Imminent Liberation of Creation Romans 8:18-23

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
The Imminent Liberation of Creation Romans 8:18-23

Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. 


The Creation Groaning

On pages 196–197, Mathison makes the following argument: The epistles of the New Testament speak of the restoration of creation both as something that has already begun and as something that will be completed only in the future. Paul, for example, explains that “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31; cf. 1 Jn. 2:17). Yet, according to Paul, the creation awaits its full deliverance from the effects of sin. . . (Rom. 8:19–25). The full restoration of creation is still future (see Heb. 2:8; 2 Pet. 3:7–13). . . . [R]edemption has to do with more than the spiritual side of creation. God will fully redeem the physical creation as well. Response:  

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Rom. 8:19–22)

John Lightfoot associated the “earnest expectation of the creature”and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet Earth— not even poetically.

. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.[1]

And again,

The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time,) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase. But in the sense which we have pitched upon, the very literal construction may be admitted.[2]

Lightfoot is on solid ground here citing 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 11:3; and 1 Corinthians 15:33. Not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity,” “corruption,” and “decay” as ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen or squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.

John Lightfoot not only interpreted the “creation” of Romans 8 to be the creation of men and NOT the physical planet, but he understood the “redemption of the body” to not be a resurrection of physical bodies, but rather, the “mystical body” of the Church.  In his sermon on “Many Mansions” Lightfoot states,

“And of the same body, is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, thatn ‘the Gentile or heathen world;’ “not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God,–but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption,–to wit, the adoption of our body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our mystical body.” (cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323).

Clearly Lightfoot understood the “creation” to mean the creation of men and not the planet earth and “redemption of the body” to be the mystical body of the Jew/Gentile Church and not an individual physical body.

“The sufferings of this present time.” As much as I can relate to R.C. Sproul Jr. losing his hair and gaining some weight around his midsection (WSTTB, ix), Paul’s mention of the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” have nothing to do with those kinds of issues. The context of the “groaning” of the first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter. The sufferings Paul has in mind here were eschatological —the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Matt. 24:8; Rom. 8:22). They had to do with the last days persecutions and with the saints of the universal church groaning under the tyranny of Sin and Condemnation under the Law.

For Paul, Sin had produced “death,” but not physical death. Contrary to Mathison’s assertions, “the body,” “death,” and “the flesh” in Romans 5–8 have nothing to do with the idea of men biologically dying as a result of Adam’s sin. Paul’s concern is with corporate-covenantal Death, as even some Reformed theologians teach.[3]   “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).

The “redemption” associated with the coming of the Son of Man in AD 70 entailed much more than a physical flight to the wilderness of Pella, as some commentators have proposed. Appealing to the principle of the analogy of Scripture, John Murray and other Reformed theologians understand Paul in Romans 8 to be speaking of the same “redemption” that Jesus discussed in the Olivet Discourse:
Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:14; 4:30). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.[4]

The following chart confirms that the “redemption” of Christ’s disciples in the first century in Luke 21:28 was the redemption of “the body” in Romans 8:18–23:

Romans 8 Olivet Discourse & Luke 17
Present sufferings (Rom. 8:17–18) Suffering to come (Matt. 24:9)
Receive and share in Christ’s glory (Rom. 8:17–18) Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)
Glory will be “in” them (Rom. 8:18) Kingdom will be realized “within”at Christ’s return (Lk.17:21–37; 21:27–32)
Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Rom. 8:23–24; cf. 11:15–27; 13:11–12) Redemption and salvation – resurrection(Lk. 21:27–28; Matt. 24:13, 30–31/Matt. 13:39-43)
Birth pains together (Rom. 8:22) Birth pains of the tribulation (Matt. 24:8)
This was “about to” take place (Rom. 8:18) This would all happen in “this generation”(Matt. 24:34)

On page 200 of WSTTB, Mathison expresses willingness to concede that the imminence in Romans 13:11–12 was fulfilled in AD 70. The passage reads:

. . . it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. . . .

But The Reformation Study Bible, of which Mathison is an editor, harmonizes Romans 13:11 with Romans 8:23, correctly teaching that “salvation” in that verse is not merely deliverance from persecution (as Mathison theorizes in WSTTB): “salvation. Here in the sense of future, final redemption (8:23).”[1] The connection between these two passages is made even stronger when we allow the Greek word mello in

Romans 8 to be translated the way it is predominately used in the New Testament: For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:18, YLT)

It is more than arbitrary for partial preterists such as Gentry to honor Young’s literal translation of mello in Revelation 1:19 when debating Dispensationalists and Amimmennialists, but then not honor it in Romans 8:18 when debating full preterists. Mello is used in the aorist infinitive in both verses. Gentry writes of mello in Revelation 1:19:

…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” …According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come [mello] after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse.[2]   …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is:
“be on the point of, be about to. The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10.[3] Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion.[4]

Where is Gentry’s disappointment when it comes to translators not translating Romans 8:18 by the same grammatical standard? It is nowhere to be found, even though there are two other Greek words of imminence (apokaradokia and apekdekomai — “eagerly waiting”) within the immediate context.

At least partial preterist Gary DeMar has tried to be more consistent with a proper translation of mello in Romans 8:18. Citing Robert Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible he writes:
“Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed’…”[5]

We appreciate the honesty on properly translating mello here as “about to be revealed,” but contextually there is no ambiguity as to what the imminent manifestation of this “glory” was — the liberation of creation from its groaning and bondage, the full adoption of the sons of God, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 18-23).

Interestingly enough though, according to Gentry and Mathison one of the things that was “about to come after” John wrote Revelation 1:19 was the arrival of the New Jerusalem and New Creation of Revelation 21:1ff. Mathison and Gentry tell us in their other works that the time texts in Revelation point to a near fulfillment of the passing of “the first heaven and earth.” They point out that Revelation 21:1 is referring to the passing of the old covenant “creation” in AD 70 and is a fulfillment of Isaiah 65–66. Gentry even says:

The absence of the sea (Rev. 21:1) speaks of harmony and peace within. In Scripture the sea often symbolizes discord and sin (13:1–2; cf. Isa. 8:7–8; 23:10; 57:20; Jer. 6:23; 46:7; Ezek. 9:10). Christianity offers the opposite: peace with God and among humankind (Luke 2:14; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:12–18; Phil. 4:7, 9).

But then Mathison and Gentry assign an “expanded” meaning to 2 Peter 3, which discusses the same promises in Isaiah 65–66. They suggest that Peter is addressing the geological “elements” of the planet while the Apostle John, referencing the same Old Testament passage, is not.

This is not only arbitrary, it is amazing. If Gentry and Mathison can give prophetic New Testament passages “expanded” meanings to fit their eschatology, then they have surrendered their debate with Dispensationalists, who constantly employ this strategy to force their eschatology upon New Testament passages.

In Mathison’s section on the “Restoration of Creation” (195–197), he appeals to the literal and global beginnings of Genesis 1–3 to point out that preterists have interpreted “the end” in Romans 8 and in the rest of the New Testament in an inaccurate way. But Mathison should be open to considering the interpretations of Genesis 1–3 that are presented by some within the Reformed tradition and by other futurists.

Combined, authors such as Augustine, Milton Terry, David Snoke, Meredith Kline, and dispensationalist John Sailhamer teach the following:

  • Man was created a physical dying creature like all the plant and animal life around him.
  • The physics of the creation did not change after Adam.
  • Genesis 1–2 uses the Hebrew word eretz, which should be translated as “land” or “ground” and not [planet] “earth.”
  • God’s emphases in the early chapters of Genesis are not scientific but theological, emphasizing the origins of sin in the heart and man’s need for the Seed of the woman to redeem him from Sin.

As the theological emphasis in Genesis 1–2 is on the local land of Eden, which is both theologically and geographically tied to Israel’s Promised Land, so too is the emphasis of the New Testament on a Great Commission preached to the nations of Israel and to the Roman Empire with a judgment that would affect the nations of that world.

Both the localized and covenantal judgment in Eden and the one in AD 70 affected and continue to affect all humankind. The introduction of spiritual death (condemnation and alienation from God within the heart and conscience of man through Adam) was overcome by Christ’s death, resurrection, and indwelling presence in AD 70. All men and nations of the world are either inside the new Israel and New Jerusalem or outside her gates — as the gospel continues to bring healing and judgment to the nations today and forever (cf. Rev. 21–22:17).

When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of 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 70.63

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed eschatology, anti-preterists such as the authors of WSTTB unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views.

*** It has now been 4 years since I have responded to Keith A. Mathison’s chapter The Eschatological Time Texts in the NT” in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  For me Mathison’s excuse for not responding (“I have been too busy”) has expired.

Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase).   He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears.  Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.).  In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350).  Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him?  And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.

Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response.  If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.

 


[1] John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul, Volume 2 (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1987), 789.
[2] Ibid., 158–159 (emphases added).
[3] Tom Holland, Contours In Pauline Theology (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 85–110. Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of Sin in contrast to the corporate Body of Christ—the church. He counters Gundry’s individualistic views of soma in Paul’s writings.  He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms. I recommendthis book to any serious student of Reformed theology.
[4] John Murray, Collected Writings of John Murray 2: Systematic Theology (Banner of Truth Publications, 1977), 389
[5] The Reformation Study Bible, R.C. Sproul General Editor, Keith Mathison Associate Editor (Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2005), 1, 636.
[6] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Beast of Revelation, (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 23–24.
[7] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell, (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 141–142.
[8] Ibid., 141.
[9] Gary DeMar, LastDays MADNESS OBSESSION OF THE MODERN CHURCH, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 1999), 225.
[10] 61. John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Bannerof Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the NewTestament 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).

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 8 The Rapture 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
Part 8 – The Rapture 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this
book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing
or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
articles or reviews.
 
 
The Rapture
 
Mathison argues: Some have said that since Paul used the word “we” in
1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 17, Paul expected the events of 1 Thessalonians
4 to occur within his own lifetime. “The problem with this interpretation
is that in several other epistles Paul talks as though he could die soon.”
Therefore “Paul [was] simply using the pronoun ‘we’ in a general way to
mean ‘we Christians.’ As far as Paul knew, Christ could have returned in
his lifetime, but there was nothing that demanded He do so” (194).
 
Response:
 
To my knowledge, no preterist thinks that Paul assumed that he himself
would be included in the group of believers who would remain
alive to the coming of the Lord. 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.
According to Mathison, all of Paul’s “we,” “you,” and “our” statements
in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refer to Paul’s own first-century audience and
address Christ’s coming in AD 70—except for the statements in 1 Thessalonians
4 (“the rapture”).[1] Mathison decides that “we” in 1 Thessalonians
4 means something other than what it means everywhere else in
1 and 2 Thessalonians. Suddenly in chapter 4, “we” includes Christians
who potentially will not be alive for a million years from today. Now let
us move on from arbitrary Mathisonian constructs to a biblical look at
“the rapture” passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17.
 
A day was approaching when Christ would deliver believers from
their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1
Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). 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 mountain) 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.”
 
1 Thessalonians 4–5 & Matthew 24
 
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord . . . .
(1 Thess. 4:15)
 
Virtually every commentator and cross reference system parallels 1
Thessalonians 4:15–16 with Matthew 24:30–31 and 1 Corinthians 15:51–
52, and agrees that Paul is using Christ’s Olivet Discourse as the foundation
for his teaching concerning Christ’s Parousia throughout the Thessalonian
epistles. For example the Reformation Study Bible, of which
Mathison is Associate Editor, states of Matthew 24:31:
 
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.
 
Ironically, the parallels between Paul and the Olivet Discourse become
the clearest in the one chapter in 1 Thessalonians that Mathison
severs from the Olivet Discourse. Mathison admits the parallels between
1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 (193), but he avoids the obvious
parallels between 1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24.
 
Reformed and Evangelical commentators such as G.K. Beale see
that in 1 Thessalonians 4–5, Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in
Matthew 24.
 
That both [1 Thessalonians] 4:15–18 and 5:1–11 explain the
same events is discernible from observing that both passages
actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative
in Matthew 24. . . . [2]
 
Here are some of the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians
4–5:
 
• Christ returns from heaven 1 Thess. 4:16 = Matt. 24:30
• with archangelic voice 1 Thess. 4:16 = Matt. 24:31
• with God’s trumpet 1 Thess. 4:16 = Matt. 24:31
• Believers caught up to be with Christ 1 Thess. 4:17 = Matt. 24:31
• Believers meet Christ in “clouds” 1 Thess. 4:17 = Matt. 24:30
• Exact time unknown 1 Thess. 5:1–2 = Matt. 24:36
• Christ comes like a thief 1 Thess. 5:2 = Matt. 24:43
• Unbelievers caught unaware 1 Thess. 5:3 = Matt. 24:37–39
• Birth pains 1 Thess. 5:3 = Matt. 24:8
• Believers are not deceived 1 Thess. 5:4–5 = Matt. 24:43
• Believers told to be watchful 1 Thess. 5:6 = Matt. 24:42
• Exhortation against drunkenness 1 Thess. 5:7 = Matt. 24:49
• Τhe Day, sons of light, sons of the day[3] 1 Thess. 5:4–8 = Matt. 24:27,
36–38
 
Beale goes on to write:
 
Other significant parallels include: the use of the word parousia
for Christ’s coming; reference to Christ’s advent as “that day”
(Mt. 24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2); and a description
of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou,
virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt. 25:6; eis
apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1 Thess.
4:17; see further Waterman 1975).[4]
 
In a more recent work Beale now seems to lean in the direction that
the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:30 was fulfilled in AD 70
and not at the end of history:
 
“The clearest reference to Jesus as the Son of Man from Daniel 7:13 come
in the third category (which he identifies as “those that refer to Jesus’ future
coming in glory”), where there are quotations of Dan. 7:13 (Matt. 24:30,
Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27).  However, it is likely better to see most of these
third-category references fulfilled not at the very end of history but
rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of
Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment,
using the Roman armies as his agent.  The reference in Matt. 25:31 to
“the Son of Man” who will “come in His glory” and “sit on His glorious
throne” is not a quotation of but rather an allusion to Dan. 7:13-14, which
clearly is applied to the very end of the age at Christ’s final coming
If this view is correct, it may be that the AD 70 coming of Christ in
judgment as portrayed by the Synoptics is a typological foreshadowing of
his final coming in judgment.  However, the traditional view that the coming
of the Son of Man in the Synoptic eschatological discourse refers to Christ’s
final coming certainly is plausible.  This issue is a thorny one that still
deserves much more study.”[5]
 
This indeed is a “thorny” problem for Mr. Beale to affirm in one work that the
coming and implied resurrection gathering at the end of the age in Matthew 24:30-31
is the same Second Coming of Christ and resurrection event as described
by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and now try and affirm that the coming
and resurrection gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 was fulfilled in AD  70.  Why?
Because both of these are full preterist or “hyper-preterist” interpretations to
take on these texts.  Beale due to creedal commitments will not accept that full
preterism has done the “more study” necessary in order to reconcile
the exegetical problems he and his “orthodox” colleagues have created.
 
But is Beale then saving himself from this “thorny” problem by citing
Matthew 25:31 as “clearly” the end of time or end of the age coming of
Christ?  Not when you consider that partial preterists combined such as Mathison,
DeMar and McDurmon have deemed it orthodox to believe that the coming
of the Son of Man in Matthew 25:31 was not Christ’s “actual” Second Coming,
but was Christ’s going/coming in AD 30–70 and that the “end of the age” here is the
old covenant age ending in AD 70. But this then creates more thorny problems
for these men such as the marriage that follows Matthew 25:10.  How many times
does Christ in His Parousia consummate His marriage with the church in
Mathison’s view?
 
Mathison attempts to avoid the unified parallels between Matthew 24–25 and
1 Thessalonians 4–5 by claiming that his Reformed brothers and “hyper-preterists”
merely assume that “Jesus is speaking of his second advent when he speaks of
‘the coming of the Son of Man’ in Matthew 24 and that Paul is speaking of the
same thing in 1 Thessalonians 4.”[6]  The self-evident fact of the matter however
is that Mathison turns a blind eye to overwhelming evidence because
Mathison assumes that partial Preterism is right. It is more than inconsistent to
claim preterist parallels between Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2[7] and
between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5,[8] and then deny the obvious parallels
between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4. But this is what partial preterists
such as Mathison do.
 
Gentry, to support his argument that 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled
in AD 70, says that “Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse
is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.[9] Unfortunately
Gentry’s sources of authority end up proving too much. For example,
both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman make virtually the same parallels
between Matthew 24–25 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do.
 
To make matters worse, Gentry also now concedes that Matthew
24–25 does not necessarily need to be divided and that all of Matthew 24
could be addressing one coming of Christ in AD 70:
 
“Orthodox preterists see no doctrinal problems arising if we apply all of
Matthew 24 to A.D. 70. We generally do not do so because of certain
exegetical markers in the text. But if these are not sufficient to distinguish
the latter part of Matthew 24 from the earlier part, it would not matter.”[10]
 
But virtually all scholars and commentators tell us that Matthew
24–25 forms the foundation to and contains parallel prophetic material to
Matthew 13; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4–5; 2 Peter 3 and Revelation
20–21. Yet Mathison claims Matthew 24–25 was fulfilled in AD 70
and Gentry doesn’t see a problem with it? How can these things be, indeed?
This is why partial preterism gains a following for a short period, and
then its students end up coming to “hyper-preterism” for a more consistent
and exegetical approach that is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture.
 
Another problem for Mathison and Gentry is that in their other writings
they admit that the last trumpet of Revelation 11 was fulfilled in AD
70, but they do not discuss the fact that the time of the last trumpet was
the time for “the dead” to be judged (Rev. 11:18). This is the same problem
they face in the immediate context of 1 Peter 4:7. How were the dead
judged in AD 70 without the resurrection of the dead taking place? And
how is this time for the dead being judged different from the time in which
the dead are judged in Revelation 20? And how is this trumpet judgment
in Revelation 11 different from the one in Matthew 24:30–31, 1 Thessalonians
4, and 1 Corinthians 15? The analogy of Scripture nullifies with
finality the arbitrary Scripture-dichotomizations of partial preterism.
 



[1] Mathison, Postmillennialism, 224–225.
[2] 45. G.K. Beale, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series 1–2 Thessalonians
(Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2003), 136. Copyright 2003 by
G.K. Beale. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press. PO Box 1400, Downers
Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com. Some Partial Preterists are now agreeing
that 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 took place in AD 70. One is admitting that
Gentry and Mathison are forced to “dodge and weave to put this passage into
our future.” Mike Bull, The Last Trumpet, http://www.bullartistry.com.au/
wp/2011/06/05/the-last-trumpet/
[3] If we translate astrape in Matthew 24:27 as the sun (instead of lightning)
coming from the east and shining to the west, then these parallels are
possible.
[4]  Beale, Ibid, 136–137.
[5] G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2011), 396 n. 27—397.  (emphases added).
[6] Mathison, From Age to Age, 515.
[7] Mathison, Postmillenialism, 230.
[8] Ibid, 226.
[9] Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana,
AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 100, n. 19. Here Gentry cites D.A.
Carson, “Matthew,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary,
12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 8:489; and G. Henry
Waterman, “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1
and 2 Thessalonians,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 18:2 (June
1975); 105–113.
[10] 52. Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Draper, VA: Apologetics
Group Media, 2009), 540
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 6 The Coming of the Son of Man

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
Part 6 – The Coming of the Son of Man  
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this
book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing
or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
articles or reviews.
 
 
The Coming of the Son of Man
 
On pages 181–182, Mathison offers this argument: Whenever Jesus referred
to “the coming of the Son of Man,” He “seems to have been alluding to
Daniel 7:13–14,” which refers not to the Second Coming but to His ascension
to the heavenly throne of God to receive His kingdom. “ . . . [T]he possibility
must be kept open that Jesus wasn’t referring to his Second Advent
at all when he used this language. He may have been referring instead to
his ascension to the throne of God, his receiving of his kingdom, and the
judgment on Jerusalem that would prove he had received the kingdom
and was who he claimed to be. . . . ” It may be that “Jesus had very little to
say about his actual second coming.”
 
Response:
 
Let us assume for the moment that the premises of Mathison’s argument
above are true. Let us grant for the sake of argument that Daniel 7:13–14
refers to the Ascension of Christ, and that Christ was somehow alluding
to Daniel’s reference to His Ascension whenever He spoke of His future
coming in AD 70. Even if these premises are true, they in no way prove
that the coming of Christ in AD 70 was not “His actual second coming.”
Whenever Jesus spoke of the future coming of “the Son of Man,”
He could have been referring, as Mathison said, “to his ascension to the
throne of God [in Daniel 7:13–14], his receiving of his kingdom, and the
judgment on Jerusalem that would prove he had received the kingdom
and was who he claimed to be”; and at the same time, it could be that
His coming in AD 70 was also “His actual second coming.”
 
Mathison’s interpretation does not create an either/or choice. It
does not conflict with the “hyper-preterist” framework. “Hyper-preterists”
can embrace Mathison’s interpretation, wrong though it is, and
remain “hyper-preterists.” Mathison’s argument therefore is moot.
Though there is no need to refute Mathison’s explanation of Daniel 7:13,
I will briefly offer three other possibilities:
 
The presentation of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days in Daniel
7:13 is perhaps a reference to Christ in His Parousia delivering up the
kingdom (“the saints”) to the Father (“the Ancient of Days”) in AD 70.
 
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom
to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all
rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:24)
 
Or, as David Green has suggested, perhaps “the Son of Man” in Daniel
7:13 signifies the Body of Christ (the saints, “the fullness of Christ”)
in His Parousia (Eph. 4:13). In this view, the universal church (“the New
Man,” “the Son of Man”) was presented to Christ (“the Ancient of Days”)
and united with Him in the end of the age, in His Parousia in AD 70 (2
Cor. 4:14; 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22, 28; Jude 1:24).
 
My preferred interpretation is similar to that of F.F. Bruce. According
to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of
Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the
Ancient of Days.” This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which
says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and
gave the saints the kingdom.
 
Also, the New Testament does not give the slightest hint that “the coming
of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the
Ascension. And as Keil and Delitzch commented regarding Daniel 7:13-14,
 
…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth.
If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been
so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in
opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly
indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are
the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to
execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4;
104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation
for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming,
which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of
man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark
18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.[1]
 
I would agree with Keil and Delitzch that the context of Dan. 7:13 and
how the NT develops it, forms the foundation for the Second Coming
event with Him coming down from heaven in judgment upon His enemies
(who are upon the earth rising in opposition to Him) and not Him
going “up” at the ascension event.
 
It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation
alludes to Dan. 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as being both the Son
of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those whom had pierced Him
(first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Rev. 1:7, 13-17.
Again the context is developing Christ’s future “soon” (Rev. 1:1) Second
Coming not His ascension.
 
Matthew 16:27–28
 
For the Son of Man is about to 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.
 
Not surprisingly, Mathison is the only author in WSTTB who
touched upon this key prophecy, and he offered no exegesis of it. Instead,
he threw it to the wind of the various speculative, futuristic in-
terpretations. Let us now demonstrate that Matthew 16:27–28 (and its
parallels, Mark 8:38–9:1; Luke 9:26–27) cannot be divided into two different
events, according to the typical futurist approach. As we can see
from the chart below, Matthew 16:27 is united to Matthew 16:28. Both
verses speak of the same timeframe and event that Jesus spoke of in His
undivided Olivet Discourse.
 

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) 

 
For the Son of Man is about to Come
 
Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), the Darby Bible, Wuest’s Expanded
Translation of the New Testament, and Weymouth’s New Testament in
Modern Speech all translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to
come.” These translations reflect the consistent usage of the Greek word mello
in Matthew’s gospel, and its predominant usage in the New Testament.
Christ’s imminent coming in verse 27 is consistent with Christ’s coming in
the lifetime of “some” in the crowd who were listening to him in verse 28.
After having waited thousands of years for the coming of the Messiah and
His kingdom, the span of forty years (AD 30–70) was a relatively short time.
 
Verily I say unto you
 
Jesus uses the term “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly” 99 times
in the gospels. The Greek word is “amen,” and it means “absolutely,”

really,” “may it be fulfilled.” It is never used to introduce a new subject.
Dispensational author and editor of another multi-authored book
seeking to refute preterism, Thomas Ice, says of Matthew 16:27 and 28
that these “are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly
I say to you.’”[2] But Mr. Ice fails to produce a single passage in which
Jesus’ phrase, “Verily I say unto you,” separates one subject from another.
To the contrary, the phrase always signals an amplification of the
previous thought.
 
Some standing here shall not taste of death until
 
Thomas Ice says of this verse: “A further problem with the preterist
view is that our Lord said, ‘some of those standing here . . . .’ It is clear
that the term ‘some’ would have to include at least two or more individuals.
. . . Peter notes that John only survived among the 12 disciples
till the destruction of Jerusalem” (Ice, Controversy, 88).
 
In other words, according to Ice, Jesus said that “some” would survive,
but the reality is that among His twelve disciples only John survived.
Ice’s argument would possibly have some validity if Jesus had
been speaking only to His twelve apostles; but He was not. According
to Mark’s account, “ . . . He called the crowd to him along with his disciples
and said . . . ” (Mk. 8:34–9:1). So much for Ice’s arguments.
 
Until they see the kingdom of God already come in power
 
According to Mark’s account, some of the disciples would not die until
they looked back on this event, knowing that the Lord and His kingdom
had come in power. (Literally, “until they see the kingdom of God having
come in power.”) According to Jesus, some of those who were listening to
Him that day would see His Parousia, look back on the event, and afterwards
die. Gentry concedes this point citing J.A. Alexander:
 
Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem 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 parti-ciple here
employed.”[3]
 
The Greek word here for “see” is eido. As with the English word,
eido not only refers to physical sight, it can also mean “perceive.”
Through observing with the physical senses, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary
audience would be able to look back on the destruction of the old covenant
kingdom’s temple and city in AD 70 and “perceive” that Christ’s kingdom
had arrived among and within them (Lk. 17:20–37; Col. 1:27; Jn. 14:2–3, 23, 29).



[1] Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F., Commentary on the Old Testament.
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), (Daniel 7:13-14), bold emphasis MJS.
[2] Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy: The Second
Coming Under Attack (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87.
[3] Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler, TX: Institute
for Christian Economics, 1992), 215–216 (emphasis added).