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B.F. Westcott

“As far as I can remember, I said very shortly what I hold to be the ‘Lord’s coming’ in my little book on the Historic Faith. I hold very strongly that the Fall of Jerusalem was the coming which first fulfilled the Lord’s words; and, as there have been other comings, I cannot doubt that He is ‘coming’ to us now.”  Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott. (New York, 1903), Volume II, p. 308. )


Preterist Commentaries By Historicist / Continuists


John 21:22 “abide till I come] The exact force of the original is rather “while I am coming”). The “coming” is not regarded as a definite point in future time, but rather as a fact which is in slow and continuous realisation.  The prominent idea is of the interval to be passed over rather than of the end to be reached. Comp. ix. 4, xii. 35 f. ; Mark vi. 45 ; I Tim. iv. 13 ; Luke xix. 13 ; Matt. v. 25. “Abiding” is the correlative to “following;” and according to the manifold significance of this word it expresses the calm waiting for further light, the patient resting in a fixed position, the continuance in life. The “coming” of the Lord is no doubt primarily “the second coming” (John ii. 28) ; but at the same time the idea of Christ’s “coming” includes thoughts of His personal coming in death to each believer. And yet further the coming of Christ to the Society is not absolutely one. He “came” in the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus St John did tarry till the great “coming,” nor is there anything fanciful in seeing an allusion to the course of the history of the Church under the image of the history of the apostles. The type of doctrine and character represented by St John is the last in the order of development. In this sense he abides still. Comp. xiv. 3, note; and Rev. ii. 5, 16, iii. 11, xvi. 15, xxii. 7, 12, 20.”

Early Date of Revelation
“The irregularities of style in the Apocalypse appear to be due not so much to ignorance of the language as to a free treatment of it, by one who used it as a foreign dialect. Nor is it difficult to see that in any case intercourse with a Greek-speaking people would in a short time naturally reduce the style of the author of the Apocalypse to that of the author of the Gospel. It is, however, very difficult to suppose that the language of the writer of the Gospel could pass at a later time in a Greek-speaking country into the language of the Apocalypse. . . .

“Of the two books the Apocalypse is the earlier. It is less developed both in thought and style. The material imagery in which it is composed includes the idea of progress in interpretation. . .

“The Apocalypse is after the close of St. Paul’s work. It shows in its mode of dealing with Old Testament figures a close connexion with the Epistle to the Hebrews (2 Peter, Jude). And on the other hand it is before the destruction of Jerusalem.” (Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1908] 1980), pp. clxxiv-clxxv.)

The Day of the Lord (1889)
“Jewish teachers distinguished a ‘present age’ (this age) from ‘that age’ (the age to come). Between ‘the present age’ of imperfection and conflict and trial and ‘the age to come’ of the perfect reign of God they placed ‘the days of the Messiah,’ which they sometimes reckoned in the former, sometimes in the latter, and sometimes distinct from both. They were, however, commonly agreed that the passage from one age to the other would be through a period of intense sorrow and anguish, ‘the travail-pains’ of the new birth (Mt. 24:8). The apostolic writers, fully conscious of the spiritual crisis through which they were passing speak of their own time as the ‘last days’ (Acts 2:17James 5:3; comp. 2 Tim. 3:1); the ‘last hour’ (1 Jno. 2:18); the ‘end of the times’ (1 Peter 1:202 Pet. 3:3); ‘the last time’ (Jude 18).”

“Every student of the Epistle to the Hebrews must feel that it deals in a peculiar degree with the thoughts and trials of our own time. The situation of Jewish converts on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem was necessarily marked by the sorest distress.” (Epistle to the Hebrews)

“NOW when we read the apostolic words, and picture to ourselves the sorrows which they illuminated — when we feel that in the portraiture of the perils of early believers we have the record of true struggles, and know that the essential elements of human discipline must always be the same — we cannot, I think, fail to recognise in the trials of the Hebrews of the first age an image of the peculiar trials by which we are beset ; and so by their experience we may gain the assurance that for us also there is the promise of larger wisdom where they found it in wider views of Christ’s Person and Work, that the removal of those things that are shaken is brought about in order that those things which are not shaken may remain in serener and simpler beauty.

If we look at the circumstances of the Hebrews a little more closely we shall notice that the severity of their trials came in a great degree from mistaken devoutness.

They had determined, in obedience to traditional opinion, what Scripture should mean, and they found it hard to enter into its wider teaching.

They had determined that institutions which were of Divine appointment must be permanent, and they found it hard to grasp the realities by which the forms of the older worship were replaced.

Now in these respects we cannot fail to recognise that the difficulties of the Hebrews correspond with our own. For I am speaking now of the difficulties of those who hold to their first faith, and are yet conscious of shakings, changes, losses, of the removing of much which they formerly identified with it.

IF our trials, the trials of a new age, correspond with those of the Hebrews, the consolation which availed for them avails for us also.

We shall find in due course, as they found, that all we are required to surrender — childlike prepossessions, venerable types of opinion, partial and impatient hopes — is given back to us in a new revelation of Christ ; that He is being brought nearer to us, and shewn in fresh glory, through the ” fallings from us, vanishing of sense and earthly things,” which we had been inclined to identify with Himself.” (Thoughts on Revelation and Life, p. 203)

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