AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY JOHNSON & BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE DVD: THE LATE GREAT PLANET CHURCH THE RISE OF DISPENSATIONALISM

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY JOHNSON & BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE DVD:

THE LATE GREAT PLANET CHURCH

THE RISE OF DISPENSATIONALISM

BY MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN

Dear Mr. Jerry Johnson (President of NiceneCouncil.com) June 28, 2009

This is not intended to be an in-depth review of your 2008 Reformed DVD that is a critique of Dispensationalism. However, I did want to simply offer some brief observations and thoughts that went through my mind as I watched your first DVD in this series as one coming out of Dispensationalism, Amillennialism, partial preterism, and now having hung my hat for the last 20 years on Biblical Preterism.

Church history, the creeds and new eschatological teachings

You (and I would presume those you interviewed) agreed with Charles Ryrie that just because Dispensational teaching is relatively new, does not make it wrong and that only the authority of God’s word can be appealed to in order to validate or disprove a theological and eschatological position.

Indeed Reformed theologians should say this, since the Roman Catholic Church charged Luther as being a heretic because his teachings on justification were innovative and new. He was charged with coming up with his own “private interpretations” that were supplanting the long held written and oral traditions of the church at that time. This is interesting since Gentry describes Biblical Preterists as just a “small group” of “theological innovators,” and yet at one time his Reformed theologians and theology was considered as thus.

Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison and Kenneth Gentry: Are used as authorities in this critique of Dispensationalism which you have produced, and yet DeMar and Mathison teach that Matthew 24-25 is not divided into two separate comings of Jesus, with the coming of the Son of Man in both Mathew 24 and 25 as referring to Christ’s ascension and coming in judgment between the years AD 30-70 (with an ongoing application today). Gentry, although not holding to their exegesis, now concedes their positions are indeed exegetically plausible and yet at the same time his exegesis of Matthew 24:27-31 and their exegesis of Matthew 24-25 somehow does not give ground to exegetical preterism. We and many within the Reformed community totally disagree with Gentry’s assessment here. I shouldn’t have to tell you that virtually all scholars from a wide range of eschatological positions understand that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24 and 25 lays the foundation to parallel material found in Matthew 13; 2 Peter 3; 1 Thessalonians 4-5; 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20-22. Anyone remotely familiar with the hermeneutical principle of the analogy of Scripture or even has a Bible Concordance can see this.   Therefore, according to three of your sources of authority (DeMar & Mathison on a united Mt. 24-25 or Gentry on Mt. 24:27-31), if the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 took place in AD 70, and yet the majority of the historic church identifies these passages with the above NT passages, then one of three things are true: 1) Your sources are wrong in your DVD, 2) The oldest view and majority is correct, or 3) Biblical Preterism unites them together and is the true and exegetical view honoring both a)  the imminent time texts and b)  the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation.    

In Gary DeMar’s debate with Thomas Ice (a Dispensationalist), Ice asked Gary what early church father taught that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 25:31ff. had to do with the ascension or Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70? Gary had no answer for him (see the debate: THE GREAT TRIBULATION PAST OR FUTURE? www.AmericanVision.org).

These men have no problem taking passages that the church has always held to as referring to the Second Coming and the eternal state/age, and coming up with their own “private [partial preterist] interpretations.” The early creeds affirmed that the church was not in the “age [about] to come,” but rather, that the coming age was future and descriptive of the eternal state brought about at Christ’s [future] Second Coming. The exegesis that Babylon or the Great City of Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem didn’t surface until the 1600’s. The same could be said of Puritan exegesis coming from John Owen and men like John Lightfoot who took 2 Peter 3 as only discussing Christ’s return in AD 70 to dissolve the elements of the Old Covenant cosmos and establish the New at Christ’s return in AD 70.

On these points, Reformed theologians either admit that the exegesis of partial and full preterism is not orthodox because this is “new” and thus “heretical” (some Amillennialists are moving in this direction), or they simply accept that the church is an organic body and that She is just now beginning to study eschatology with the same kind of intensity that we had studied the deity of Christ and justification in previous centuries. The later group have more of a concept of what “Sola Scriptura” and “Semper Reformanda” really mean than the former.

Clearly though, if “orthodox” partial preterism can come up with their own “private [eschatological] interpretations,” then exegetical preterism can build upon theirs and the classic Amillennial position as well.

Kenneth Gentry & knowing when and when not to “count noses” argument: I found it interesting as I listened to Dr. Gentry explain how we cannot discern if Dipsensationalism is of God or not merely by the mass number of Christians believing and defending its system (“counting noses”). And yet when Gentry’s eschatological position is threatened by ours on an exegetical level, he runs to the “counting noses” argument as valid.

The Charge of Dispensational eschatology being in a “constant state of flux”

The DVD, and in the writings of Gentry and Mathison’s books critiquing Dispensationalism, teach that a sign that Dispensationalism is not biblical or logical is that it is constantly changing. This was seen as both a bad and good sign in the DVD. And yet proponents of Reformed eschatology, cannot agree on such fundamentals as if the plethora of NT imminent time texts were fulfilled in AD 70 or if they should be spiritualize away and applied to the future. They don’t even know if we are in the “age to come” or not. They don’t know if the NT teaches two redemptive comings of Christ or just one. They don’t know if we are or are not in the last days or if there should be a distinction between two different last days periods. They can’t make up their minds if the NT teaches two Great Commissions needing to be fulfilled before the one or two comings of Christ, or just one, etc… Again Gentry describes us as a “fragmented” group, and yet are we to believe he and his co-authors in WSTTB are not the epitome of “fragmentation” when it comes to trying to agree on eschatology?

Progressive Dispenstionalism and Progressive Partial Preterism: Similar to the point above, proponents of Reformed eschatology boast in this DVD that since progressive Dispenstionalism is moving further and further away from some of its previously held teachings, that this is indeed a good thing. We agree. Your sources of authority also point out that since the vast majority of students studying Dispensational eschatology along side of Reformed eschatology, – end up coming over and embracing the Reformed view(s). This is supposed to be evidence of its superior intellectual and consistent system. Therefore, it would be valid for me to say the same of the multitudes that have come from Dispensationalism–to the standard Amillennial position–to the partial preterist position–and then end up hanging their hat on exegetical preterism.

Jerry, you and your colleagues seem to boast that these progressive dispensationalists are giving up their ground and debate with you, because most of them are coming into your position and very few are coming out of yours into Dispensationalism. This is seen indirectly in the DVD as yet another sign or evidence of the intellectual, biblical, and consistent eschatological position(s) you have to offer over and against theirs. So based upon this reasoning, we are thankful for such progressive partial preterists as Kenneth Gentry, Keith Mathison and Gary DeMar who continue to give up ground to us, while we do not give up ground to them. Here is a list of admissions and the ground gained by Reformed progressive partial preterists into biblical preterism:

  • The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24-25 took place in AD 70.
  • The end of the [Old Covenant] age and the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:40-43 took place in AD 70.
  • The resurrection unto everlasting life and everlasting condemnation of Daniel 12:2-3 took place in AD 70.
  • The “last days” ended in AD 70.
  • The second appearing of Christ in Hebrews 9:26-10:37 took place at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.
  • The passing of the “first” heavens and earth and the establishment of the new of Isaiah 65-66; Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3 took place in AD 70.
  • The groanings, bondage and decay of creation in Romans 8:18-23 have nothing to do with the planet earth (not even poetically), but rather with the hearts and minds of men.

We are also thankful for Reformed theologians whom combined, teach us that the NT: 1) Only addresses one Second Coming, and 2) That the NT imminent time texts “demand” that Christ returned in AD 70. This is the historic and organic development of the Church which lays the foundation and pillars upon which we have built our system upon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and the thoughts it stimulated as I watched your first DVD critiquing Dispensationalism. I look forward to watching the others as and when they are made available.

In Christ (2 Cor. 1:20),
Mike Sullivan
www.treeoflifeministries.info
Posted in Uncategorized

The ABC’s of Matthew 24-25=1 Thessalonians 4-5=1 Corinthians 15 Embracing the Organic Development of Full Preterist Synthesis Or the Myth of Orthodox “Unity” on the “Essentials” – You Decide

 

The ABC’s of Matthew 24-25=1 Thessalonians 4-5=1 Corinthians 15

 Embracing the Organic Development of Full Preterist Synthesis

Or the Myth of Orthodox “Unity” on the “Essentials” You Decide

By Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 – revised and expanded 2013

Since this article is by far one of my most popular ones and has helped so many people come out of their journey from reformed Amillennialism and Partial Preterism into Full Preterism, I decided to add a section at the end which further demonstrates how Full Preterism synthesizes and is the organic development between the two reformed competing views on many eschatological subjects and key texts — all the while exposing the myth that these two views can somehow be “united” in the alleged future “essentials” of eschatology.  For documentation or footnotes of what I say about each view – one should get a copy of our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? and read my chapter response to Keith A. Mathison.

Hermeneutics is defined as “the study or science of interpreting the Scriptures.” The Westminster Confession of Faith correctly states that, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”[1] J.I. Packer understands this to mean “that we must give ourselves in Bible study to following out the unities, cross-references and topical links which Scripture provides.”[2]  The problem reformed eschatology has had is which position is “speaking more clearly” 1)  the Partial Preterist view on the issue of the imminent time texts of the NT pointing to Christ’s Parousia or coming taking place in AD 70 or 2)  the classic and creedal Amillennial view that the time texts are inseparably tied to other passages dealing with the judgment and resurrection of the dead (the analogy of Scripture) and thus the NT affirms only ONE “the parousia” not two.  Of course there is a third choice (Full Preterism) which unites and harmonizes these competing views and thus “speaks more clearly” than both of them isolated from each other.      

In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C.  Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)

B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)

C = (1 Cor. 15)

THE CURRENT CONTRADICTION & DIVIDED HOUSE OF FUTURISM WITHOUT FULL PRETERISM:

Orthodox Reformed Partial Preterism (ex. R.C. Sproul, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison, etc…) Teaches the Church That:

A (Matt. 24:27-31) was fulfilled when Christ returned in AD 70 in Jesus’ “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). For the Partial Preterist Jesus’ statement of “this generation” (AD 30-70) connected with the NT’s imminent time texts “at hand,” “shortly,” “soon,” “quickly,” “in a very little while,” “about to,” also refer to an AD 70 fulfillment (cf. Romans 13:11-12; 1 Peter 4:5-7; James 5:7-9; Hebrews 8:13–10:37; Revelation 1:1, 3:11, 10:6-7, 22:6-7, 10-12, 20) and are the “speak more clearly” texts.  We agree with them on this point.  While ignoring the “clear” proposition of Biblical Preterism and traditional Amillennialism that A (Matt. 24:27-31) is equal to B (1 Thess. 4:15-17), they do affirm that both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) are equal to each other and are the Second Coming and resurrection events.

Orthodox Reformed/Classic & Creedal Amillennialism Teaches the Church That:

A (Matt. 24:27-31) = B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and that both A (Matt. 24:27-31) and B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) = C (1 Cor. 15).  For example the very Reformed Study Bible in which Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison are editors we learn this from an Amillennialist contributor concerning Matt. 24:29-31:

“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; and 25:31 [passages Partial Preterists say were fulfilled in AD 70], 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.”[3]

Luther, Calvin and even the WCF itself affirms that Matt. 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-28 is the Second Coming event.  While ignoring the “clear” proposition of Biblical and Partial Preterism on Jesus’ use of “this generation” and the imminent time texts, the traditional Amilennialist sees that the analogy of Scripture and the fact that the NT only teaches ONE Second Coming (not a third) as the hermeneutical “speak more clearly” teaching of Scripture.  We agree with them on this proposition as well.

THE BETTER HERMENEUITCS, LOGIC & SYNTHESIS OF BIBLICAL OR FULL PRETERISM 

Orthodox (“straight”) Biblical Preterism Objects To The Combined Contradictory Statements In That If…

A (Matt. 24:27-31) was fulfilled in AD 70, and if A (Matt. 24:27-31) is equal to both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15), then both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled at Christ’s parousia in AD 70. In other words, “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.”   

“If A (Matt. 24:27-43) bears some relation to B (1 Thess. 4:15 – 1 Thess. 5)” or “A=B”:

Matthew 24

1 Thessalonians 4-5

Christ returns from heaven          Matt. 24:30  = 1 Thess. 4:16
With archangelic voice                Matt. 24:31  = 1 Thess. 4:16
With God’s trumpet                      Matt. 24:31 = 1 Thess. 4:16
Gathered/caught up with Christ   Matt. 24:31 = 1 Thess. 4:17
“Meet” Christ in clouds      Matt. 24:30; 25:6 = 1 Thess. 4:17
Exact time unknown                     Matt. 24:36 = 1 Thess. 5:1-2
Christ comes like a thief               Matt. 24:43 = 1 Thess. 5:2
Unbelievers caught unaware   Matt. 24:37-39 = 1 Thess. 5:3
Birth pains                                      Matt. 24:8 = 1 Thess. 5:3
Believers are not deceived           Matt. 24:43 = 1 Thess. 5:4-5
Believers told to be watchful        Matt. 24:42 = 1 Thess. 5:6
Exhortation against drunkenness  Matt. 24:49 = 1 Thess. 5:7
The Day/Sons of day[4]       Matt. 24:27, 36-38 = 1Thess. 5:4-8
First Century “you” “we”         Matt. 24:2-34 = 1 Thess. 4:15-17

             

 “And …B (1 Thess. 4-5) bears the same relation to C (1 Cor. 15)…” or “B=C”:

All agree that B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) bears the same relation to C (1 Cor. 15) or “B=C” and is referring to the second coming and resurrection events:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

1 Corinthians 15

Those asleep will be raised  1 Thess. 4:13-14 = 1 Cor. 15:12-18
Living caught up/changed    1 Thess. 4:15-17 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52
At the sound of a trumpet          1 Thess. 4:16 = 1 Cor. 15:52
Christ’s coming (Gk. parousia) 1 Thess. 4:15 = 1 Cor. 15:23
“Encourage” “Stand firm”         1 Thess. 4:18 = 1 Cor. 15:58
Same contemporary “we”    1 Thess. 4:15-17 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52

“Then A (Matt. 24) bears it to C (1 Cor. 15)” or “A=C”:

Matthew 24/Luke 21

1 Corinthians 15

Christ comes (Gk. parousia)         Matt. 24:27 = 1 Cor. 15:23
Gather or change His people        Matt. 24:31 = 1 Cor. 15:52
With a trumpet                              Matt. 24:31 = 1 Cor. 15:52
The end (Gk. telos)                   Matt. 24:3, 14 = 1 Cor. 15:24
Consummation to kingdom     Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Cor. 15:24
Fulfillment of all OT prophecy     Luke 21:22 = 1 Cor. 15:54-55
Temple /victory over “The Law”   Matt. 24:1 = 1 Cor. 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” “we” Matt. 24:2ff = 1Cor. 15:51-52

PREMISE #1:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 took place in AD 70 (according to partial preterists and Biblical preterists)

PREMISE #2:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the same coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 (according to traditional amillennialists and Biblical preterists)

CONCLUSION:  The parousia/coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 took place in AD 70.

Preterists unite these two clear premises from both groups:

1. Partial Preterism – The imminent time texts concerning the parousia of Christ, judgment/resurrection of the dead = AD 70 and…
2. Classical Amillennialism – The analogy of Scripture supports only one NT “hope” of a Second Coming/judgment/resurrection of the living and dead.

Therefore, we “…speak more clearly” and consistently in our debate with futurists.  The divided corporate Reformed “House” contains the two premises (which we assume are true) and we are simply uniting the two valid premises into one new House.  We’re validating the Reformed and Sovereign Grace House by accepting both of it’s competing premises, and then uniting them, further honoring the Reformed and Sovereign Grace House.  This has and will continue to appeal to Reformed and Sovereign Grace believers as Biblical preterism spreads throughout their churches.   We are making a motion to revise the creeds to make them more “orthodox” (straight) with the “more clear” teaching of Scripture–“Sola Scriptura” and “Semper Reformanda”–selah.

If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.

A (Matt. 24:27-31, 34 fulfilled in AD 70) = B (1 Thess. 4:15-17 fulfilled in AD 70)  = C (1 Cor. 15 fulfilled in AD 70).

Again, I couldn’t agree more with the editors and authors of THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE:

1)  (Matthew 24:27-31, 34) is descriptive of Christ’s invisible parousia taking place in Jesus’ “this [AD 30 – AD 70] generation” and…

2) Matthew 24:27-31 “Most naturally refers to the Second Coming” and is “parallel” to or the same event as developed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:52.

Synthesis or “Reformed and always reforming”:  Thus the inevitable conclusion is that the Full Preterist view is both “Orthodox” and “Reformed” – Selah.  It is exciting to see (through emails and phone calls) that students of Reformed eschatology are properly learning their ABC’s of Biblical prophecy through Full Preterism and how our view is “Bridging the Gap” between the two futurist contradictory and competing views of Partial Preterism and classic Amillennialism.

Article Expansion

Although originally this article focused on how only the Full Preterism can harmonize what reformed eschatology has taught and is teaching on Matthew 24/1 Thessalonians 4-5/1 Corinthians 15, I would like to expand this now to other eschatological subjects and key texts.  I also want to turn my attention on exposing the “reformed” myth that reformed eschatology can be united on the future (to us) “essentials of eschatology.”

The Last Days

1)      Classic Amillennialism – The NT’s use of the “latter or last days” refers to the time of Christ’s first coming and extends to His one eschatological end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming.

2)      Partial Preterism – The NT’s use of the “latter or last days” was a period roughly from AD 30 – AD 70 which closed the Old Covenant age (Gary DeMar & Joel McDurmon).

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The NT’s use of the “latter or last days” refers to the time of Christ’s first coming and extends to His one eschatological end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming which was a period roughly from AD 30 – AD 70 which closed the Old Covenant age.

 “This age” and “the age to come”

 1)      Classic Amillennialism – The NT’s use of “this age” is the New Covenant Christian age and the “age to come” is when the one consummative end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming, resurrection and judgment of the living and dead and arrival of the new creation takes place.

2)      Partial Preterism – The NT’s use of “this age” was the then current Old Covenant age and the use of “the age to come” was the imminent arrival of the New Covenant or Christian age in AD 70 (Gary DeMar & Joel McDurmon).

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The NT’s use of “this age” is the Old Covenant age and the “age to come” is the New Covenant age at which time the one imminent consummative end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming, resurrection and judgment of the living and dead and arrival of the new creation took place in AD 70.

 The Resurrection and Judgment of the living and dead

1)      Classic Amillennialism – There is only one end time consummative eschatological resurrection and judgment of the living dead event which takes place at the one “the parousia” at the “end of the age.”

2)      Partial Preterism – There was a judgment and resurrection of the living and dead at “the parousia” in AD 70 at “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” in AD 70.  This resurrection of the dead was:

  1. Spiritual and unseen.
  2. Corporate and covenantal.
  3. Of souls taken out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades to receive eternal life in God’s presence (James Jordan).

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – There is only one end time consummative eschatological resurrection and judgment of the living dead event which takes place at the one “the parousia” at the “end of the [Old Covenant] age” in AD 70.  This resurrection of the dead was:

  1. Spiritual and unseen.
  2. Corporate and covenantal.
  3. Of souls taken out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades to receive eternal life in God’s presence.

Seeing Christ coming on the clouds at His Second Appearing (Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7 and Hebrews 9:26-28)

1)      Classic Amillennialism – The one and final visible bodily Second Appearing/Coming of Christ is described for us again in (Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30;Revelation 1:7 and Hebrews 9:26-28).  He returns literally on the clouds at the end of the age and we will see Him with our literal eyes.  Hebrews 9:26-28 is describing Christ’s appearing as our High Priest to finish and complete salvation for the Church.

2)      Partial Preterism – The “seeing” of Christ in the Greek of (Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7) means to “understand” or “perceive.”  Through the events of AD 66 – AD 70 when Christ came in power through the Zealot and Roman armies they “saw” “perceived” or “understood” that He had “already” come (Mark 8:38-9:1).  It is not hermeneutically valid to separate the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 from His coming in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 (Milton Terry).  They are the same coming and took place in AD 70.  It is also true that hermeneutically / exegetically / logically that Christ’s appearing / coming a “second time” in Hebrews 9:26-28 is Him appearing at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Milton Terry).  Hebrews 9:26-28 is describing Christ’s appearing as our High Priest to finish and complete salvation for the Church.

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The “seeing” of Christ in the Greek of (Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7) means to “understand” or “perceive.”  Through the events of AD 66 – AD 70 when Christ came in power through the Zealot and Roman armies they “saw” “perceived” or “understood” that He had “already” come (Mark 8:38-9:1).  It is not hermeneutically valid to separate the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 from His coming in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7.  They are one and the same coming of Christ and took place in AD 70.  It is also true that hermeneutically / exegetically / logically that Christ’s appearing / coming a “second time” in Hebrews 9:26-28 is describing Him appearing at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 and corresponds to the same coming described in the next chapter that would be “in a very little while” and would “not be delayed” (Heb. 10:37).  Hebrews 9:26-28 is also describing Christ’s appearing as our High Priest to finish and complete salvation for the Church.

The Millennium

1)      Classic Amillennialism – The thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time which does not have to be a very long time.  It is a period extending from Christ’s first coming to His one eschatological end time “the parousia” / Second Coming to close “this age” and judge and raise the rest of the dead.  The WCF confirms that the coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation is indeed His Second Coming.  Revelation 20 recapitulates or is parallel to the same judgment scene depicted in Revelation 1-19 and 21-22.

2)      Partial Preterism –  The thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time ending with the Second Coming of Christ and was or very possibly was from AD 30 – AD 70 (Sam Frost).  Revelation 20 does in fact “pick up where Daniel leaves off” in Daniel 12:1-7, 13 with Daniel himself being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades inheriting eternal life and enjoying God’s presence (James Jordan).  The book of Revelation is John’s version of Matthew 24-25 which cannot be divided and refers to Christ’s coming in AD 70 (Gary DeMar).  The only coming of Christ mentioned in the book of Revelation is imminent and therefore refers to His coming invisibly in AD 70 to judge Old Covenant Jerusalem/Babylon/The Great City.  Revelation is written in a recapitulation or parallel structure, with chapters 1-19 (and some of 20) and 21-22 being fulfilled in AD 70.

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time which does not have to be a very long time and is therefore from AD 30 – AD 70 extending from Christ’s first coming to His one eschatological end time “the parousia” / Second Coming to close “this age” and judge and raise the rest of the dead.  The coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation is imminent and is His actual Second Coming.  Revelation 20 does in fact “pick up where Daniel leaves off” in Daniel 12:1-7, 13 with Daniel himself being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades inheriting eternal life and enjoying God’s presence.  The book of Revelation is John’s version of Matthew 24-25 which cannot be divided and refers to Christ’s coming in AD 70.  Revelation 20 recapitulates or is parallel to the same judgment scene depicted in Revelation 1-19 and 21-22.

The “groaning of creation” and the passing/fleeing of the old heavens and earth and the arrival of the new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65-66; 2 Peter 3 & Revelation 21-22)

1)      Classic Amillennialism – There is one consummative eschatological end time passing and fleeing of the “elements” of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new heavens and new earth and it arrives at the one “Day of the Lord” “the parousia” or Second Coming of Christ in the NT to close the end of the age.  There is no exegetical evidence to support two passings of the heavens and earth and arrival of a new heavens and a new earth in 2 Peter 3 or in Revelation 21-22.  These passages are clearly describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3.  Romans 8:18-23 is one unit and is also describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3 and the resurrection of the dead.  And “salvation” in (Romans 13:11-12) is the “redemption” of (Romans 8:23) and the same final “redemption” described by Jesus in (Luke 21:27-28).

2)      Partial Preterism – There was a covenantal passing of the “elements” of the “first” heavens and earth and a spiritual and unseen arrival of the new heavens and new earth at Christ’s “the parousia” to close “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” in AD 70.  The Day of Lord or “the parousia” caused the passing of the Old Covenant “elements” in (2 Peter 3) and this coming and de-creation “only” refers to AD 70.  Romans 8:18 is describing the glory that was “about to be” (cf. Young’s Literal Translation) revealed “in” the first century believers in AD 70 (Gary DeMar).  The “creation” (Gk. kitisis) here is not referring to planet earth but to the creation of people as in (Mark 16:15/Colossians 1:23) (John Lightfoot).  The “bondage,” “futility” and “decay” here is not discussing the second law of thermodynamics of the planet, but rather man groaning under sin in the heart and mind (John Lightfoot).

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) –  There is one consummative eschatological end time passing and fleeing of the “elements” of the “first” heavens and earth and arrival of the new heavens and a new earth and it arrives at the one “Day of the Lord” “the parousia” or Second Coming of Christ in the NT to close the end of the [Old Covenant] age in AD 70.  There is no exegetical evidence to support two passing(s) or two fleeing(s) of the heavens and earth and arrival of a new heavens and a new earth in 2 Peter 3 or in Revelation 21-22.  These passages are clearly describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3 and were fulfilled by AD 70.  Romans 8:18-23 is one unit and is also describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3 and the resurrection of the dead.  Romans 8:18-23 is describing the glory that was “about to be” (cf. Young’s Literal Translation) revealed “in” the first century believers and the Church by AD 70.  The “creation” (Gk. kitisis) here is not referring to planet earth but the creation of people as in (Mark 16:15/Colossians 1:23).  The “bondage,” “futility” and “decay” here is not discussing the second law of thermodynamics, but rather man groaning under sin in the heart and mind. The “salvation” in (Romans 13:11-12) is the “redemption of the body”(Romans 8:23) and the same final “redemption” described by Jesus at His Second Coming in (Luke 21:27-28) and were all eschatological events that were “near,” “at hand” and “about to be” fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”

The Olivet discourse Matthew 24-25; Luke 21 Mark 13 

1)      Classic Amillennialism – Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 helps us understand all of the key eschatological themes (Second Coming/judgment and resurrection/passing of creation) developed in the rest of the NT (ex. 1-2 Thessalonians; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 3; Romans 8:18-23, 13:11-12, 16:20 and the Book of Revelation).

2)      Partial Preterism – Matthew 24-25 cannot be divided and the disciples question regarding the Temple’s destruction, His coming and the end of the age is referring to Christ’s invisible coming to close the Old Covenant age and “nothing else.”  One cannot “double fulfill” it’s content (Gary DeMar).

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) -  Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 helps us understand all of the key eschatological events (Second Coming/judgment and resurrection/de-creation and passing of creation) developed in the rest of the NT (ex. 1-2 Thessalonians; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 3 and the Book of Revelation).  Matthew 24-25 cannot be divided and is referring to Christ’s invisible coming to close the Old Covenant age and “nothing else.”  One cannot “double fulfill” it’s content.

Indeed I could produce ABC charts here (as I have elsewhere on my sites) of the Olivet Discourse with all of the main eschatological texts in the NT – 2 Peter 3, Revelation 20, etc…, just as I have with 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Conclusion

As one can plainly see the assertion that reformed orthodox eschatology is and can be united concerning the following:

  • The seeing of Christ on the clouds (the Second Coming) at the end of the last days or end of the age must be physical and future…
  •  The judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of the last days and end of the age must be physical and future…
  • The liberation of creation and arrival of the New at the end of the last days or end of the age must be physical and future…

…is nothing but a pure myth as long as the classic Amillennial position holds to the NT’s “one hope” “the [one] parousia” of Christ is future while the Partial Preterist view says it happened in AD 70.  As long as AD 70 is the “X factor” in all of these crucial eschatolocial passages and it continues to be “orthodox” to believe such AND at the same time the creedal Amillennial view affirms they are one and the same “end of the age” event, the ONLY way to harmonize the two is with the Full Preterist view.  This is how I came to the Full Preterist view – by comparing Scripture with Scripture (Matt. 24-25=1Thess. 4-5) and realizing the classic Amillennial view and Partial Preterist views were teaching (no matter if they realized it or not) that Christ’s ONE Second Coming happened in the First Century ie. AD 70.

Both the Amillennialist and the Postmillennial Partial Preterist claim that if Full Preterism is true then the Holy Spirit failed in guiding the Church in truth.  And yet if this is the case, this begs the question as to which “truth” did the Holy Spirit guide the Church in Amillennialism or Partial Preterism?  Does the Holy Spirit contradict Himself?  The truth of course is that this is not an either or choice between the two competing views since as I have demonstrated they are both right and yet at the same time both wrong.  The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church through Full Preterism as it unites the two views.  The truth has always been with us, it just hasn’t been put together correctly because of all of the in-fighting between the two and their upholding the reformed creeds as if they have the same authority as the Bible (tradition over Scripture).  And answering a foolish argument according to its folly – are they willing to say that the Holy Spirit failed to lead the Church on the issue of forensic justification for 1500 years prior to Luther?  Do they forget that the Roman Catholic Church and John Eck pointed out that Luther had to be wrong because he was teaching something totally new that had not been taught by the Church Fathers prior to him?!? 

When will the Partial Preterist and the classic Amillennialist stop shooting at each other and writing the IVP 3-4 view type books (without Full Preterism being allowed to present the truth)?  The Partial Preterist view fires away at the Amillennial and Premillennial Dispensational views by arguing that they come dangerously close to denying the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible in their handling of the imminent time texts or their approaches to them are more akin to liberal treatments (DeMar & Sproul).  The Amillennialist fires back that the Partial Preterist is denying the reformed creeds (and shouldn’t be considered “reformed”) ripping asunder texts which are united through the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation.  Wouldn’t it be more constructive for these two groups to humbly sit down at the table with Full Preterists to discuss the creedal position that the creeds are not infallible (as were the previous creeds they radically reformed) and thus really are subject to Scripture and change on eschatology — and that if both the classical Amillennialial and Partial Preterist views are true, then Full Preterism is true!  The day will come and it is inevitable – it is just a matter of when.



[1] Westminster Confession of Faith, I. ix.

[2] J.I. Packer, The Interpretation of Scripture, from ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God (Inter-Varsity Press, 1958), pp. 101-114. http://www.bible-researcher.com/packer1.html

[3]   THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE, R.C. Sproul General Editor, (Orlando: FL, Ligonier Ministries) 1401.

[4] If we translate astrape in Matthew 24:27 as a “bright light” from the sun (instead of lightning) coming from the east and shining to the west, then this parallel that I have seen is also possible.

Posted in Uncategorized