Gary DeMar Study Archive | Norman Geisler and “This Generation” | Norman Geisler, “You,” & “Zechariah the Son of Berechiah” | Biblical Minimalism and the “History of Preterism” | Thomas Ice and the Time Texts | Will the Real Anti-Prophets Please Stand Up? | Time’s Puff Piece: The Devil is in the Details | Dispensationalism : Being Left Behind | Zechariah 14 and the Coming of Christ | Defending the Indefensible | No Fear of the Text | The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth | Who or what is the Antichrist | Rapture Fever: Why Dispensationalism is Paralyzed | Identifying Antichrist | On Thin Ice | Using the Bible to Interpret the Bible | DeMar Articles
I’ve debated with myself over whether I should respond to Tommy Ice’s awful article about me and my book End Times Fiction (Gary DeMar’s End Times Fiction). Certainly nothing I write will ever convince Ice of anything. I’ve debated him eight times, and he still uses the same arguments over and over again even though he has been proven wrong over and over again. So I’ve decided to respond so Tommy some day won’t come back and say that the reason I didn’t respond was because I couldn’t give an adequate defense. So here goes.
Tommy as Clairvoyant
Tommy claims that I’m “jealous of the fact that people have responded to a fictionalized version of a dispensational prophecy scenario while rejecting his own misguided belief that these prophetic events were really fulfilled when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and Israel’s Second Temple in the first century.” So now Tommy is a mind reader. He claims to know my motives.
The first major book I wrote on Bible prophecy was Last Days Madness. That was in 1999. It has gone through four editions and five printings. Any careful reader will note that I do not deal with the Left Behind series. There was no need to write a response to Left Behind since it was a fictionalized account of dispensationalism. Fictionalizing dispensationalism had been done before, as I point out in the Introduction of End Times Fiction. Last Days Madness was an adequate response to anything Tim LaHaye had written in Left Behind.
So why did I write End Times Fiction? Because someone at Thomas Nelson asked me to. I had no intention of writing a critique of the series. Who would buy it? Bookstores making tens of thousands of dollars on Left Behind weren’t going to buy a book—where they might make five bucks—that would cut into these sales. But since Thomas Nelson was going to pay me for my time, I wrote the book. This was the first time in my life that I actually tried to talk myself out of a book contract. How has End Times Fiction sold? It’s in its eighth printing, and by the numerous emails I’ve received, it’s had a profound effect on lots of people.
The Jealousy Effect
Am I jealous of Tim LaHaye? You bet I am, but not for the reasons stated by Ice. I’m jealous of anyone who makes 100 million dollars. Who wouldn’t be? But I am also grieved that millions of Christians and non-Christians are reading a misguided approach to Bible prophecy. I write against dispensationalism because it is false doctrine and dangerous culturally. And while I would like to make millions of dollars, I’m not going to publish error to do it. Tommy is right when he states the following: “DeMar repeatedly represents the prophecy beliefs of Tim LaHaye as far-fetched and beyond the realm of possibility.” Exactly!
Where Have I Personally Ridiculed Tim LaHaye?
Tommy goes on to write that I have ridiculed Tim LaHaye in End Times Fiction. Where? Do I evaluate and respond to LaHaye’s views by quoting his own non-fiction prophecy works and show how they do not line up with Scripture? I do. Is this ridicule? Tommy says that I am “incapable of simply presenting [my] views in a straightforward and positive manner, without first setting the stage with one of his negative diatribes against those with whom he disagrees.”
Where in End Times Fiction do I do this? I challenge anyone to read my books—Last Days Madness and End Times Fiction—and find the kind of vitriol that Tommy accuses me of having. All one has to do is read Tommy’s article to see who uses “negative diatribes against those with whom he disagrees.”
No Need to Defend Preterism Here
There is no sense is dealing with Tommy’s critique of preterism since anyone reading this on [PreteristArchive.com] knows the arguments for and against the position. Yes, I do believe that the events of Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 19 have been fulfilled. Why do I believe this? Because the Bible says so. Am I alone in this belief? Not at all. It’s dispensaionalism that’s new. There are numerous Bible scholars who have taken a similar preterist position on these passages.
Tommy’s ridicule should be heaped on Eusebius, John Lightfoot, Adam Clarke, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Thomas Scott, and many other Bible commentators through the centuries. My challenge to Tommy is simple: Find me one Bible commentator prior to 1830 that holds anything close to dispensationalism. I challenge Tommy to go up against John Owen and John Brown on their preterist interpretation of 2 Peter 3. He might not like my interpretation of Ezekiel 38–39, but it sure makes a whole lot more sense than what dispensationalists teach. Try interpreting the Bible literally and finding modern-day Russia in Ezekiel 38–39. Talk about bizarre!
The Future of Israel
I have never made “fun of people like LaHaye and [Ice] who believe in a national future for Israel.” Israel has a right to exist as a nation like any other nation. It does not have a prophetic right to exist. I don’t have time to go into a study of Romans 9–11, but to use Romans 11:1–2, as Tommy does, to prove that this means that there will be a future national restoration of Israel is Silly-Putty exegesis run rampant. First-century, pre-AD. 70 Paul and other Jewish believers are evidence that God had not rejected His people: “For I too am an Israelite. . .,” Paul writes.
Using Elijah as an example, it’s about a remnant of believers (11:2–4) living in the shadow of Jerusalem’s destruction, who will be saved. So how does Paul sum up God’s keeping His promise?: “In the same way then, there has also came to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious promise” (11:5). Did you catch that?: “AT THE PRESENT TIME” not at some distant future time. None of this nullifies the national sovereignty of the Jews living in Israel today. Keep in mind that the “all Israel will be saved” of 11:25 really means, “for the dispensationalist, all the Jews who survive the Great Tribulation will be saved.” This brings me to Tommy’s next point.
Israel’s Future Holocaust
What seems really to have gotten to Tommy is the way I keep bringing up the prophetic inevitability of dispensationalism’s future Jewish holocaust. Here’s what I wrote in “A Review of The Remnant”: “What many people who read LaHaye’s The Remnant fail to grasp is that two-thirds of the Jews living in Israel today will be slaughtered, and for every three Jews who decide to make Israel their home in the future, two will be killed during the Great Tribulation.” Is this incorrect? Have I misrepresented dispensationalism in general or LaHaye in particular? Not at all. Does Tommy deny that dispensationalists believe this? No he doesn’t. He does give us some comforting words. In addition to two-thirds of the Jews being slaughtered, we learn that “about three-fifths of the entire earth’s population will be killed during the course of the seven-year tribulation, many of them believers (Rev. 6:9–11).” According to Tommy, this slaughter is an evangelistic tool! “One of the main purposes of the tribulation (the 70th week of Daniel), Tommy argues, “is to bring the nation of Israel to faith in Jesus as their Messiah.” I’ve made the point that, contrary to dispensationalism, God actually sent messengers throughout Israel and the Roman Empire to warn of the coming judgment on Jerusalem that was to take place prior to its judgment in A.D. 70. God gave a 40-year warning. No such warning is given by dispensationalists. And as I’ve pointed out in a series of articles on Matthew 24:14, these prophecies refer to events related to the Roman world of the first century. Yes, I’m looking at these passages as a preterist, and Tommy’s looking at the passages as a dispensationalist.
The difference is, preterism is right and dispensationalism is wrong, and because it’s wrong, it’s dangerous to Jews and the rest of us and those people who are reading the Left Behind series as if the prophetic content is actually taught in the Bible. As I’ve demonstrated in End Times Fiction, it’s not.
Dispensationalism is false from top to bottom. It should be rejected because the Bible does not teach any of it. If I wasn’t such I nice guy, I’d call it heresy.
- 09 Mar 2004
Right on Gary DeMar! Without name-calling, simply put, “those” who constantly promote dispensationalism will always “claim” they are correct, however, a closer examination of the Scriptures will clearly reveal that the Scriptures (and moreover, Jesus) sides with the Preterist understanding of Matthew 24 since Jesus Himself gives us THE TIME-FRAME in Matthew 24:34 when he said, “this generation.”
The “generation” of “those then-living!” For ANYONE to miss this CRUCIAL POINT is beyond my understanding! Please people REALLY THINK ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT JESUS SAID. Then (if you must) check ANY “reputable” commentary and you will find that this is exactly what they ALL SAY (concerning Matthew 24:34).
While I’ll not “condemn” those who believe in dispensationalism, it is surely false since it does not “measure up” to what Jesus and the apostles so preached!!! Thanks again, Gary! To “misrepresent” you by “shades” of half-truths is unfortunate and unfair! –Tom Kloske
- 09 Mar 2004
I like Gary’s books and have read them. Gary’s arguments turned me from dispensationalism but ultimately made me a real Biblical preterist. Mostly in the passages Gary does NOT address.
His compromise and arbitrary hermeneutics stuck out like a sore thumb and even a heretic like Ice points them out from time to time. Gary tells us that “you” in the Olivet discourse really means “you” and makes fun of Ice and others who don’t acknowledge this and then turns around and claims that “we” in 1Cor. doesn’t really mean “we.”
Gary makes parallel charts with Mt. 24 and PARTS OF Thess. but doesn’t do them with 1Thess. 4&5 because the resurrection is in view. His silence and lack of consistency screems out to those who actually are paying any attention to the arguments and hermeneutics applied. Time statements are to be taken at face value according to Gary except when Paul claims that the resurrection is “about to” take place. Gary please answer this. In context you would say that in the Olivet discourse “all these things” (Mt. 24:34) means all of the preceeding events (the signs and parousia of Christ. And righly said.
Therefore lets call this the “all these things context argument.” In Dan. 12 Daniel is specifically told that “all these things” will take place when the power of the holy people has been shattered. Question Gary – in context what are the “all these things or wonders”? Are they just the tribulation? No, in CONTEXT these wonders include the resurrection (vs.2-3) admist the tribulation “wonder.” In the OT and NT One cannot separate the parousia from the tribulation, resurrection, & judgment. Did I read that you take Mt. 24 & 25 as fulfilled??? Uh, so are you taking Rev. as fulfilled as well??? Shouldn’t you say mostly fulfilled? Kind of confussed on what you are saying here.
You chide Ice for not responding to your arguments and never changing his view and yet you never answer our arguments and although you are called to “continue in doctrine” you have not. Don’t chide MacArthur and Ice for their compromise – thou art the man Gary. I personally don’t believe you deserve the right to speak at preterist seminars. Those men have counted the cost for what they believe. You are a futurist. If a 4pnt. Calvinist is really a confused Arminian (which I would agree) your “partial preterism” is really confussed futurism. It is a man fearing compromising position and you know it Gary. You have feared the faces of men therefore your “dismay” has become evident and public before them.
In Christ, Mike Sullivan
- 09 Mar 2004
- 10 Mar 2004
Mike Sullivan claims that I’m inconsistent because I don’t interpret passages the way he does. The reason for this is simple: I don’t believe they should be interpreted the way he and some other full preterists interpret them. For example, the “you” vs. “we” passages. We know the audience in Matthew 24. They asked Jesus the questions; they were sitting at His feet. We also know that the use of the near demonstrative “this” coupled with “generation” can mean nothing other than the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. It’s not the same with the “we” passages in 1 Thess. 4:15 and 17. Consider what Paul writes in
Romans 14:7-8: “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
Is this just for pre-A.D. 70 Christians, or does Paul have all Christians everywhere and in every time in mind? I think it’s obvious that it’s the latter. Then there are those passages where Paul intimates that he will die soon (Phil. 1:20-26). Second Timothy 4:6-8 is even more specific: “For I am already being being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” Not “the time of OUR departure.” Mike and other full preterists might not like my interpretation of these passages, but there is nothing unusual in the way that I am handling them. I do a lot of public speaking. My use of “we” almost never means just the audience that is before me. In most cases I use it for “we Christians” or “we preterists (partial).” I am unsure on Revelation 20-22. Some full preterists believe that they’ve solved the “1000 years” of Revelation 20 by claiming that it’s the time between A.D. 30 and 70. I am not convinced, and I’ve made my opinions known in private conversations with those who ask. Turing 1000 years into 40 years is not very convincing to me, and if it’s not convincing to me, it certainly not going to be very convincing to a dispensationalist. I believe the solution is elsewhere, but I don’t have time to pursue a study of the topic at the moment. Studying Bible prophecy is not the only thing I do. I have to be convinced in my own mind before I take a position, and no one has convinced me on these passages. I’m getting a better handle on Daniel 12, but I have not studied it enough.
I have changed my views on certain passages, contrary to what Mike Sullivan implies. But I don’t make changes lightly. The most obvious shift was how I handled Matthew 24:35 and following. In the first two editions of Last Days Madness I did not take Matthew 24 beyond verse 34. When I was able to work through the rest of the chapter after a great deal of study and thought and was convinced by my study that Jesus was still dealing with the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, I put my views in print. Last Days Madness has gone through four editions. Any careful reader will see how some of my views have changed on other passages. I’m not going to adopt a position because someone tries to bully me into it.
Mike writes that I don’t “deserve” to speak at “full preterist conferences.” I suggest that he address his concerns to the conference sponsors. They are the ones doing the inviting. I’d rather stay home. But I’m trying to keep the lines of communication open with full preterists. I want to hear their arguments so I can understand how they approach their position. Unlike Tommy Ice and some full preterists, I listen so I can understand so I don’t misrepresent.
I suggest that Mike take a deep breath and focus on the more positive things that are happening with preterists. Dispensationalism is the prevailing system in America. That’s where I direct my energies. Many full preterists are a pain in the neck because its all they want to talk about, and many of them, like Mike, are not very nice about it. Gary DeMar
- 11 Mar 2004
First, that Ice article was TERRIBLE! While I don’t agree with him, I have at least attempted to have some respect for his as a brother and scholar. However, that particular article was horrible. Not only does he basically demonstrate the very things that he accuses DeMar of, but his whole tone is, frankly, embarrassing. I am always trying to learn more about eschatology and I love seeking wisdom from God’s Word. While I am not picking any of these guys as my team captain just yet, I am glad that I do not have to look to Thomas Ice as my resident scholar. Dispensationalism is going to have to do better than Ice if it is going to keep any sort of hold on things. I appreciate that Gary responds to our posts here at Preteristarchive.com. That is more than we can say about most of the people who are part of the debate. So, thanks for that Gary.
- 11 Mar 2004
Like Mike Sullivan, I’ve read many of Gary’s books. I discovered the Preterist view when I heard Gary on a local Southern California radio talk show. Since that time I’ve been a great admirer of Gary. His writings on history and worldviews are easily understandable and a tremendous help. “Last Days Madness” is a great study tool as well. As a Preterist, I think Gary is one of the most interesting figures on the scene today. I think it’s great that Gary speaks at conferences, and interacts with the Preterist camp. I’ve personally never heard, or read anything from Gary condemning any preterists on this site or any others. I believe Gary is open and honest, as evidenced by his statement above: “I’m unsure on Rev. 20-22.” I know that Gary has changed his view on some things.
What I find most interesting is how Gary’s relationships must be with those in the camp that are constantly condemning preterists. Can he sit down and have a beer with Gentry, Mathison or Sproul Jr. without being assaulted for associating with those “heretics”? I am very curious as to how Gary is treated by these folks, as it seems he is closely associated with them in many areas. I’d love to hear him comment on this. Thank you Gary, for the awesome tools and for your willingness to openly discuss these issues as a gentleman. God bless. Scott Vento
- 22 Mar 2004
1) Gary claims that I stated that I was accusing him of being inconsistent because he didn’t interpret texts the way I do or the way I want him to. No this is not what I stated. I stated in essence that Gary does not interpret very important passages the way HE interprets them. Again I accused Gary’s hermeneutic of being arbitrary and inconsistent thus it’s Gary against Gary. In Thess. it is Gary vs. Gary and it is also Jesus and Paul vs. Gary. I will demonstrate. Note Gary’s “Striking parallels between the Olivet Discourse and 2Thessalonians 2:
Gary’s parallel hermeutic:
1) 2Thess. 2:1 = Mt. 24:31
2) 2Thess. 2:1-2 = Mt. 24:27,30; Lk.21:27
3) 2Thess. 2:3 = Mt. 24:12; Mk. 13:14
4) 2Thess. 2:4 = Mt. 24:25
5) 2Thess. 2:7 = Mt. 24:12, 15
6) 2Thess. 2:8-12 = Mt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22
7) 2Thess. 2:13 = Mk. 13:27; Lk. 21:8
8) 2Thee. 2:15 = Mk. 13:23,31 (DeMar, Gary, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church exp. American Vision pub., p. 325).”
Gary failed to address what “glory” would be obtained in 2Thess. 2:14. So I will ask him now – what “glory” is this? Gary avoids and jumps over 1Thess. 4 like the plague and starts claiming that 1Thess. 5:2-3 = Mt. 24:15-25 and are AD 70 events.
“The Thessalonians had been warned of this coming judgment: ‘But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief” (5:4)’. And note Gay’s “obvious” hermeneutic, “It is obvious that Paul in 1Thessalonians 5:2 and Peter in 2 Peter 3:10 are speaking of the same day since they both use the metaphor “like a thief in the night.” (DeMar, ibid p. 328)
Now tell me Gary why do you not use this same hermeneutic throughout the Thessalonians Epistles?!? You seem to arbitrarily pick and choose what “metaphors” you want to apply to the Thess & Mt. 24. Biblical Preterist Parallels:
1) Christ Himself comes 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30
2) From heaven 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30
3) With a shout 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30
4) With angels 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30
5) With a trumpet 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30
6) At which time believers are gathered 1Thess. 4:17 = Mt. 24:31, 40-41
7) In the clouds 1Thess. 4:17 = Mt. 24:30
8) The time is unkown 1Thess. 5:1-2 = Mt. 24:36
9) Because Christ comes as a thief 1Thess. 5:2,4 = Mt. 24:43
10) Unbelievers are unaware judgment 1Thess. 5:3 = Mt. 24:37-39
11) Judgment, travail as upon expectant mother 1Thess. 5:3 = Mt. 24:8
12) But believers persevere & are preserved 1Thess. 5:4-10 = Mt. 24:22-24
13) Believers are of the day & watch 1Thess. 5:5-6 = Mt. 24:42
14) Unbelievers are of the night & get drunk 1Thess. 5:7 = Mt. 24:44-50
It is really difficult to see the seriousness of your “you” and “we” “argument.” Please affirm that you take 1Thess. 4 and 1Cor. 5 as parallel. If not why not?!? Are these different resurrections and parousias?!? Is the “we” of 1Thess. different than the “we” of 1Cor. 15? Simple question. If you are really claiming to be serious with this I will deal with it. You italicized “you” in 1Thess. 5 in my quote above and yet “you” and “we” are used interchangeably throughout these epistles and in 1Thess. 4 which you avoid! “You” and “we” mean the contemporaries elsewhere in Thess. but when we get into chapter 4 they seem to take on a mystical meaning! At this point you and Ice go dancing through the tulips together with “you” and “we.” You have no argument here and I believe you know it just as Ice knows he has no argument. You are incorrect there is something very “unusual in the way you are handling them.” I have written so correct me where I am wrong,
“Gary Demar, R.C. Sproul, and Kenneth Gentry, also argue for a first century fulfillment of Matt. 24 because Jesus uses the personal pronoun “you” throughout in reference to the contemporaries of the disciples but all of a sudden when Paul uses “we” in 1Thess. 4-5 and 1Cor. 15 “we” just can’t mean what it says!” R.C. Sproul writes concerning “we shall not all sleep”,
“If we conclude that Paul, by divine inspiration, is predicting that the resurrection will occur while he is still alive, then the resurrection occurred at least five years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (Paul was martyred under Nero in A.D. 65).” “…The ‘we’ passage of 1Corinthians is far less specific concerning the time of the resurrection than are Jesus’ words in the Olivet Discourse” (R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According To Jesus, Baker pub. p.162).
“This is a ridiculous argument for partial “preterists” to make especially since Sproul and DeMar believe that Matt. 16:27-28 is speaking of A.D. 70 “Verily I say unto you that there are some standing here who shall not taste death till you see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Ibid., Sproul, pp. 53-56)
DeMar states of Matt. 16:27-28
“If we maintain that the event Jesus is describing in these verses is still in our future, then how should we interpret Jesus’ statement that some of those with whom He was speaking would still be alive when He did in fact “come in the glory of His Father with His angels”?” (Ibid. Demar, pp. 34).
How in the world is Paul not inspired according to Sproul and Demar if He is referring to Christ coming in A.D. 70 since he is only reiterating the teaching of Jesus that some of the disciples would live to witness Christ’s return while others would not?!? Sproul is grasping at straws here and throwing out anything he can to avoid the obvious inconsistencies in his arguments when the resurrection is in view. Again why the arbitrary hermeneutic and conflicting arguments? Yes, the fear of violating the creeds and traditions of men” (Mike Sullivan, The Second Coming Happened In AD 70 According To Christ and the Apostles).
You claimed that 1Thess. 5 is an “obvious parallel” to Mt. 24 because of a metaphor and yet Paul gives us a stronger link in 1Thess. 4 to Mt. 24 when he states, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord…” (1Thess. 4:15). What “word of the Lord” is this Gary if not Christ’s word in the Olivet Discourse?
2) Well it doesn’t really surprise me Gary that you have not dealt with Dan. 12. In fact has ANY partial preterist ever dealt with this text??? I am sincere – I want to know where Bahnsen, Gentry, you, or Jordan ever dealt with our “all these things” including the resurrection argument in Dan. 12. I have written,
“Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 12 gives further evidence that the resurrection is to happen during the time of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time (the tribulation Matt. 24:21-22): and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever contempt (resurrection of those that had died and those that were alive and “gathered” Matt. 24:31, “changed” 1Cor. 15:51-53, “caught up” 1Thess. 4:13-17). But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half (Dan. 7:25, and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
Daniel’s prophecy is clear as to when the resurrection is to take place. That specific question is asked, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be (the tribulation, judgment, & resurrection of the dead vs. 1-3) (vs. 6)?” And the answer is clearly given in the next verse, “…it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished” (vs.7). Contextually, the “all these things” includes the resurrection in (vs. 2- 3) and it is nothing short of exegetical fraud to somehow separate the resurrection from the tribulation, abomination of desolation, and judgment!
3 ½ years
This three and a half year time period, forty two months, or “a time, times, and half a time” is half of the 7 years of tribulation for Israel. In this last week of Daniel’s prophecy, the 70th week, there would be two 3 ½ year time periods significant for fleshly Israel (unbelieving Jews) and for spiritual Israel (believing Jew & Gentiles). Between AD 62 – AD 64 fleshly Israel and Nero persecuted the Christians (Rev. 11:3-7; 13:5) throughout the Roman empire. But the 3 ½ year time period our text is looking to here in Dan. 12:7 is to the second half of the 70th week, that time between AD 66 – AD 70 whereby Rome turned against Israel after the flesh and destroyed her city: ·
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Rev. 11:1-2).
Shattering of the power of the holy people
The RSV has the best translation of this verse, “…and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be accomplished.” The “power of the holy people” is none other than the law system of OC Israel embodied within the sacrificial system and it’s city. The temple and the city would be shattered and made desolate in AD 70. Thus exegetically, the resurrection “all these things” would take place at this time.
1) JESUS AND THE TIME OF THE RESURRECTION
No one knew and understood Daniel’s prophecy of the time of the end and the resurrection better than Jesus. Jesus clearly in the Olivet discourse taught the disciples that the “end” of Israel and her age – “not one stone will be left upon another” and the “gathering” or resurrection was to take place within their generation (Matt. 24:34). Jesus in Luke identifies the abomination of desolation as the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and that when they were seen the desolation of her temple and city would be “near” (Lk. 21:20-24). Now as we have seen in Dan. 12:7, Daniel was told that when the power of the holy people was shattered was when the tribulation, abomination of desolation, and resurrection would occur. And Jesus simply reiterates the time of fulfillment connection of these events and exclaims in no uncertain terms: ·
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Lk. 21:20-22).” (Sullivan, ibid).
3) Before leaving Daniel according to Jesus’ teaching how many 1) coming(s) of the Son of Man 2) “time of the end(s)” 3) kingdom(s), 4) tribulation(s), 5) abomination(s) that make desolate, 6) judgments on Israel, and 7) resurrection(s) do you see taught. Do you not teach that the “end” in the Olivet Discourse is the “end of the Jewish age?” What “age” took it’s place after AD 70? When Scripture states, “this age” is it not the OC age? And when it speaks of “the age to come” is it not the Christian age? Why is the “end” and “parousia” in 1Cor. 15 a different one than that of the Olivet Discourse? Where did ANY OC prophet speak of two different ends or ages to come? Please clarify your position.
4) Yes preterists have solved the 1000 years millennium. I will send my exegesis of Ps. 90 and 2Pet. 3:9 where I take this text to a ref. to Jn’s. millennium in Rev. 20. I think I gave it to Todd to post if it’s here somewhere I’m not sure? When I sat under Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel for years one of the big oohs at the “prophecy updates” once a year was the scenario that the earth was 6,000 years old and we were just about to enter that 7,000 millennium period which was allegedly the literal 1,000 year millennium. I think that is how it went although I try hard to forget as much of that stuff as I can. I don’t try and prove it that way 🙂
5) Sorry not buying it. If you have time to interact with Ice you should have time to interact with us.
6) I know of your “changes” on the division theory of Mt. 24 and commend you for them. However, how you can claim you now take Mt. 24 & 25 as AD 70 and still claim a different judgment and parousia in 1Thess. 4 and 1Cor. 15 baffles not only us but every eschatological school! The only valid arguments Ice has EVER used against partial “preterists” has been making OURS and I told him this several years ago. Space forbids going over them with you here.
7) “Bully you into it.” And “not nice.” Come on Gary. Apparently you have the right to address the moral issues of Ice and MacArthur not responding to truth but when I address your conscience I’m a “bully” and “not nice”?
8) I have been a Biblical preterist now for 15 years and yes Gary I have taken note of the positive things that are happening with preterism. One of them being dispies and partial preterists are actually attempting to refute us because they are being forced to. I tried a debate with Bahnsen and Preston and that fell through. It’s about time one of you steps up to the plate and starts answering our questions for a change.
9) I think someone wrote on here that they wanted to know how you interact with other partial and full preterists. Yes, I would like to know your thoughts on Gentry’s Roman Catholic view of church tradition and the creeds (cf. David Green’s article). Yes, how does one sit down and have a beer with such as friend as this? There’s your real “bully” and one that needs to get knocked on his butt for his statements!
10) Thank you for responding. Look forward to your comments – if you can find the time. In Christ, Mike Sullivan
- 22 Mar 2004
Here is an article I published in City of the Living God and on my web site explaining why I am no longer a partial “preterist”:
Worlds Apart From Other “Preterists”
2) Dismayed before their faces (Jer.1:17)
“C”reedal “preterists” Some who call themselves “preterists” have come up with the imaginative idea that the Bible teaches two redemptive eschatological comings (Gr. parousia) of Christ. One coming of Christ was to destroy Jerusalem, while we await another second or third (?) coming or parousia of Christ to end the universe.
When I was a dispensationalist, I was troubled by my double vision hermeneutic that forced me to read into the Scriptures (two kingdoms, two peoples of God, with two temples, etc…) , but when I became a moderate postmillennial preterist I noticed that my double vision hadn’t left me. I still was forcing my double vision hermeneutic into the Scriptures and it seemed to have gotten worse this time (two judgments, w/ two eschatological parousias or comings of Christ, to culminate two ends and ages, ending in the destruction of two heavens and earths, for the purpose of establishing two kingdoms of God). I started to have problems when I noticed in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles that they did not make a distinction between two eschatological parousias, ends, ages, judgments, heaven and earth’s passing away ect… . The distinctions I was making had no exegetical support and were arbitrary. The Lord had brought me to a place where the creeds were wrong or Christ and the apostles were wrong. Call me what you will, but I went with Christ and His inspired Apostles!
Some writers who defend or have past works out that defend this two eschatological comings of Christ theory are: Ken Gentry, Greg Bahnsen, Gary DeMar, David Chilton (who eventually became a Biblical preterist), Jay Adams, William Kimball, John Bray (who is now a Biblical preterist), and James Jordan. Most partial preterists are postmillennial in their preterism. That is, they are preterist just enough to get “the great tribulation” behind them (that’s coming #?) so that they can promote what they believe to be “An Eschatology of Victory” which culminates in the eschatological coming #? of Christ.
“Partial preterists divide Matthew 24 into teaching two DIFFERENT comings (Greek – parousias) of Christ instead of one. This however is easily refuted when one examines the same subject matter found in Luke 17.”
Matthew 24 & Luke 17 Examined
Moderate “preterists” such as Greg Bahnsen, Ken Gentry, and James Jordan arbitrarily divide the olivet discourse into two comings of Christ (one parousia to end the temple & the other to end the planet). The problem with this imaginative theory, is that it has no contextual foundation! The contextual setting in the olivet discourse is the destruction of the temple which would be the “end of the old kingdom age.” These men also assert (with no contextual evidence) that Lk.17 is Christ coming to end the planet. But the contextual setting of (Lk.17) is when the kingdom of God would come. Christ answers the Pharisees question by explaining that the Kingdom of God comes, when He Himself is revealed from heaven like lightning (which Mt. tells us is His parousia Lk 17:24-30; Mt.24:27). Luke in the olivet discourse (Lk.21) tells us plainly when Christ and the kingdom of God would come- “this generation” (Lk.21:25-32). Luke 17 deals with the SAME coming of Christ and the SAME coming kingdom of God as does the olivet discourse! These men have to have (Lk.17) teaching the end of the planet, because if it doesn’t, it exposes their artificial two comings of Christ theory in the olivet discourse.
Luke 21 “Kingdom of God coming”
Luke 17 context: “The kingdom of God coming.”
1) Lk 21:8 “Take heed that you (the disciples) not be deceived.” “…Therefore do not go after them.”
1) Lk. 17:23 “They will say to you, (the disciples) ‘Look here!’ or ‘look ‘look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them.”
2) Lk. 21:31-32 “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”
2) Lk. 17:20 “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God… (the discourse begins with the kingdom being the subject matter related to His coming). See (Ed Stevens, “What Happened In 70A.D.?” p.16-17″ Mt. 24 Lk. 17 chart. Can’t paste it here.
Greg Bahnsen, Ken Gentry, and James Jordan, along with other futuristic schools, hold the idea (shown in the Matthew 24 chart) that Mt.24 speaks of two different comings (Gr. parousia’s vs. 27) of Christ: 1) To destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and 2) another parousia of Christ to destroy the planet. They apply the events mentioned in verses 1-34 (“section A”) to the first parousia in (A.D. 70), and the events in verses 36ff. (“Section B”) to the second parousia of Christ in the imagined future. Luke’s statements in chapter 17 show that this vain imagination is not Biblical. Luke discusses the same events leading to Christ’s “DAY” as if they would all happen in the same “days” time period (see vs.24-30). This presents a problem: If Mt. 24 deals with two different parousias of Christ with events leading up to two different time periods, then Luke’s account is incorrect. Either Luke was wrong in mixing up these events or arbitrary “preterists” like Greg Bahnsen, Ken Gentry, and James Jordan are wrong in dividing up Mt.24 into two sections with two comings of Christ. Both Matthew 24 and Luke 17 speak of the same “days” time period that were leading up to, and would culminate in the coming of Christ in His judgment revelation “DAY!” And, Mt.24:34 tells us when this ONE parousia (not two) would come- “This generation” (the generation from 30-70 AD)!
The Partial Preterists Matthew 24 Division Argument: ‘That Day’ vs. ‘Those Days’ Examined and Refuted
I wrote Dr. Bahnsen one time and lovingly asking him why he divided Matthew 24 into two comings of Christ and this was the response:
“You ask why there is an interpretive division at verse 36 of Matthew 24. The answer given by Kik is still cogent, as far as I am concerned. Jesus stops speaking of “these days” and turns to another consideration, “that day.” The change of plural to singular, as well as a change from the near-denotive (“these”) to the remote-denotive (“that”) is highly significant. Then there is the fact that whatever Jesus was talking about previously would occur with signs preceding, whereas after vs. 36 He indicates that something He is talking about would occur without preparatory signs (life as usual). These are, thus, different referents. Then there is the fact that the whatever Jesus was talking about previously would occur with signs preceding, whereas after v. 36 he indicates that something he is talking about would occur without preparatory signs (life as usual). These are, thus, different referents.” I responded to this arbitrary “preterist” argument in an “Open Letter To Dr. Greg Bahnsen” published in Kingdom Counsel. “
I responded and quoted some helpful material by Ed Stevens:
“Let me tell you why I asked you about your division at vs. 36. As I was reading through Revelation one day, I pondered our Lord’s directions to the church at Sardis: “Be watchful… Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Rev. 3:2,3). I wanted to do a study of this verse, so I turned to what I consider to be parallel passages of this text. I first went to (Matt. 24:42-44), because Jesus says, “Remember how you have received and heard (past tense)…” Where did they get the concept of Christ coming as a thief? It seems to me that our Lord was referring to His earlier teaching on His coming as a thief (Matt. 24:42-44), which falls in the section that you would interpret as Christ’s physical world-ending coming? I also turned to 1 Thess. 5:1-6, where I read, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night… (vs. 4) – But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief, and (2 Pet. 3:10) “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements (Gr. stoiceia- Gal. 4:3,9; Col. 2:8, 20) will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” And vs. 11 – “Therefore, since all these things will be (not “might be”) dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…” I really struggle with your reasoning when you teach that Christ’s coming as a thief in Rev. 3:3 is referring to 70 AD, but that Christ’s coming as a thief in Matt. 24:42-44; 2 Pet. 3 and 1 Thess. 5 is a totally different coming. Concerning our Lord’s exhortation to the church at Sardis (Rev. 3:3), you say, “The very fact that it is conditional, that it is hypothetical, that it is conditioned upon something that they (my emphasis) are to do or not do, indicates that this is not the final return of Christ” (Tape #00120 The Letter to the Church at Sardis).” Because coming of Christ was directed to the Church at Sardis, a first cent. audience, Bahnsen argued that the coming of Christ as a thief was His A.D. 70 coming. There was a major inconsistency with Greg’s argument here. The church that Peter addressed in 2Pet. 3:10 and the Church of the Thessalonians that Paul addressed in (1Thess. 5:2) concerning Christ coming as a thief were first cent. audiences and therefore WHY didn’t Greg use his same hermeneutic that this exhortation to “watch” was, “conditioned upon something that they (my emphasis) were to do or not do” and therefore Christ coming in A.D. 70? Greg’s same reasoning and hermeneutic in (Rev. 3:3) should have not only been applied in (2Pet. 3:10 & 1Thess. 5:2) but also in (Mt. 24:43-44). The reason he wasn’t consistent in his hermeneutic, was because it would have exposed his artificial division of Matthew 24 and eventually cause him to contradict his creeds. I went on to point out:
“Your argument using “these days” (plural) and “that day” (singular) to justify two different comings of Christ just isn’t convincing, especially if you agree with Gary DeMar that, “the last days were in operation in the first century!” (Last Days Madness, p. 21). If the last days is referring to the 30-70 AD time frame, then why isn’t the “last day,” simply the last day of the last days? Especially when our Lord uses both these terms (day & days) interchangeably in giving His first century audience “they” an example of “that day” – “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the DAY.” The ONE judgment in Noah’s time was depicted using both “days” and “day” terminology. Therefore why is Jesus allegedly teaching two judgments and two different comings of Himself because He uses “days” (A.D. 70) and “day” (alleged stillfuture coming)?
“I believe Ed Stevens has also given strong contextual evidence negating your argument for a distinction between the “last days” (plural) and the “last day” (singular). In responding to Joseph Balyeat, Ed wrote, “It would seem strained and extremely tenuous to create a distinction between the terms, when other similar terms (like “last times”-plural, “last time”-singular, and “last hour”-singular) seem to be used interchangeably in reference to the 30-70 AD time frame. Let’s look at an eschatological passage where “day” (singular) and “days (plural) are used interchangeably in the same context about the same period of time. Notice the flip-flop back and forth in Luke 17:20-37 –
Lk. 17:22 – “days (plural)
Lk. 17:24 – “day” (singular)
Lk. 17:26 – “days” (plural)
Lk. 17:27 – “day” (singular)
Lk. 17:28 – “days (plural)
Lk. 17:29 – “day” (singular)
Lk. 17:30 – “day” (singular)
Lk. 17:31 – “day” (singular)
It’s pretty obvious here that the singular usage refers to a specific ‘day’ within the plural ‘days’ period, not some completely different and distant period.” (Mike Sullivan, “An Open Letter To Dr. Greg Bahnsen”, Kingdom Counsel, Vol #5, Jan-Feb-Mar- 1993, p. 16-17).
Moderate preterists such as Gary DeMar, and James Jordan like to take 2Pet. 3 and Rev.21 as fulfilled already (I guess in a dispensational “sense”) and associate the fulfillment(?) of these events to the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. But if these texts teach the destruction of the old covenant, and the bringing in of a spiritual new covenant heaven and earth, then where in the N.T. (or the O.T. for that matter) does it teach that Christ will come in the future to destroy the planet and create another spiritual/literal(?) new heaven and earth (ie. “mother church”/creedalist position)?!? James Jordan writes, “Finally, after the elimination of the completion in AD 70, the new kingdom stood forth in glory. The former heavens and earth were done away, and the new had fully come” [Emphasis mine] (Through New Eyes, pp.275). How many “stages” and kingdoms of God are there, and what is the Biblical time frame between the old kingdom to the new one?!? Mr. Jordan goes on to write, “…there is yet a fourth and final stage to come,” (pp. 275) but offers no Scripture to support this “final” and “fourth stage” of the kingdom! It’s because he doesn’t have any! At a recent eschatology symposium, Max King was no doubt puzzled over Jordan’s interpretation of Rev.21-22. Max asked him, “But you would begin with a literal tree in Genesis but not particularly wind up with one (literal tree that is) in Revelation???” Mr. Jordan responds, “That’s right.” So then Mr. Jordan, if Revelation 21-22 is referring to spiritual realties “In Christ” (which we would agree with), then where does the Bible teach us of the physical heaven and earth passing away and a renewed one taking it’s place? Just how “useful” do you find John Owen’s exegesis of 2Pet. 3 (Through New Eyes, pp. 302)?!? The bottom line here, is that Jordan only claims there is a physical “final stage of the kingdom,” so he won’t get the rod from “mother church” (to use his phrase). These men seem to compete among themselves to see who can be the most preteristic and not violate the creeds at the same time. They would rather delay the coming of Christ and His kingdom (making the church sick Prov.13:12) because of their man-fearing, than teach the truth. That may seem harsh, but the fear of man and following the traditions of men over the Word are the moral issues involved. It is not a matter of ignorance for these men. They have moved well beyond that point.
It was the inconsistent hermeneutic of the partial or arbitrary “preterists” and their fear of violating the creeds that God used to show me that their teachings were man made and not designed to give Christ the glory He rightfully deserves.
The Challenge of An Imminent Parousia, Judgment, & Resurrection: Arbitrary Hermeneutics & The Two NT Parousia Theory of Partial Preterists
Gary Demar wrote an article entitled, the “Ever-Changing Face of Dispensationalism” and writes, “when will the dispensationalists deal with the time texts that point to the near coming of Christ in judgment in the first century? Until this question is answered, the new dispensationalism is still the old dispensationalism (DeMar, “Biblical World View An American Vision Publication,” Sola Scriptura Our Badge of Authority, Vol.9 #12, Dec. Ed., pp. 3).” To which I would reply, “When will moderate preterists such as Gary, deal with the parallel passages of the time texts that deal with the judgment and resurrection? Until this question is answered, the novel moderate “preterist” position is still in the same futuristic camp as the imaginatively novel dispensationalism.”
The challenge that Gary DeMar and other partial preterists have not answered from dispensationalists, liberals, and us Biblical preterists, is that the time texts are interlinked with the resurrection and judgment. These three schools point out that the partial or arbitrary “preterist” position can’t have it’s cake (the parousia of Christ happened in A.D. 70) and eat it too (But we await another parousia of Christ when the great judgment and resurrection will take place). It’s all or nothing! The imminent parousia, judgment, & resurrection stand or fall together.
The parousia of Christ in the olivet discourse is connected to the judgment and resurrection (Mt. 24-25). The sheep are separated from the goats and both enter into everlasting torment or inherit eternal life in the kingdom at Christ’s parousia or second coming. Paul in (Acts 24:15) speaks of an imminent resurrection, “having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there is “about to be” [Gr. mello] a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. In 1 & 2 Thessalonians the early first cent. church audience “we” was taught that Christ’s imminent Parousia was associated with the resurrection and judgment (1 Thess. 1:3,10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:15-17; 5:23; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2:1-14). Likewise Christ’s imminent parousia in the book of 1Corinthians is linked to the resurrection and judgment (cf. Chpt. 15). I heard that Gary DeMar had a hard time selling his partial and arbitrary “preterist” view to Dave Hunt recently.
The arbitrary preterist position simply is not consistent and lacks exegetical support. There is simply no exegetical evidence to prove that there are two eschatological parousia’s or comings of Christ mentioned in the N.T.! Even dispensationalists point this out, “How is it that the cloud-coming of A.D. 70 involves no personal coming of Christ (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Rev. 1:7; 2:5, 16, 25; 3:3, 11, 20; 16:15; 22:7, 12, 20), but the cloud-coming at the end of history does (Acts. 1:11; 1Thess. 4:13ff)? In the first place, where did Christ distinguish between two comings, and in the second place, where did He say that He would personally appear at one and not the other? the answer to both questions is “nowhere.” Such a distinguishing between two future comings is the product of a dominion-theological distortion of NT teaching, not of sound exegetical practice” [emphasis MJS] (Dr. Robert L. Thomas, The Master’s Journal, Fall 1994, pp.185-202. This was taken from Stevens Response To Gentry, Kingdom Publications, pp. 38).
Other dispensationalists are confused over the two parousias of the partial preterists in Matthew 24. Tommy Ice writes, “Why on the basis of the hermenutics Jordan has used to this point in his interpretation of the Olivet discourse, does he suddenly make an arbitrary (emphasis mine) leap to the second coming of Christ?” And, “How can Jordan, after taking the references to “coming” in verses 1-35 as referring to Christ’s coming in judgment in 70A.D, turn around and say that starting at vs. 36 through the end of the chapter, it refers to the second coming. Either he is wrong about the first 35 verses, and they do refer to the second coming, or he should take vs. 36 and following as a reference to the A.D. 70 destruction ( Greg Bahnsens & Ken Gentry, “House Divided”, pp.270 quoting from Tommy Ice, “Dominion Theology”, pp.268). I think I can give a good amen to that statement! It’s just to bad that House and Ice have clung onto even a more inconsistent hermeneutic to the olivet discourse!
When I think on the compromise of moderate preterism, I’m reminded of a story I hear R.C. Sproul tells about 4pnt. Calvinists. R.C. says, “Whenever someone comes up to me and tells me that they are a 4pnt. Calvinist, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Oh, you mean you are a confused Arminian.’” So when I now hear that R.C. is a arbitrary preterist, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Oh, you mean R.C. is a confused futurist’.”
What Amyraldianism (4pnt. Calvinism) is to the doctrines of grace, is what postmillennial arbitrary preterism is to Biblical eschatology- a system of defeat in redemption and compromise of the truth! Amyraldians can’t conquer and drive Arminans from the theologically correct promised land, because they themselves are disqualified, being confused Arminians. Likewise, creedal and arbitrary “preterists,” can’t conquer and drive dispensationalism from the land, because they themselves are disqualified, being confused futurists. They have a theological plank in their own eye, but yet they are trying to take out the planks in dispenstaionalists! In their lack of zeal for the Word of God and their fear of men, they have become as Joash, striking only 3 times when 5-6 strikes would have brought the victory over dispensationalism (2Kgs. 13:17-19). But because they comporomise the Word and fear what men can do to them if they violate their creeds, they have become dismayed before liberals, dispensationalists, and have fled in fear from debating the Biblical preterist position.
I do not want to be confused with the men pleasing (creedally pleasing), arbitrary preterists either. I believe in “continuing in doctrine” not compromising it! The Lord is able to humble those who quote creeds more than the Scriptures! If the “orthodox” world be against us, then we are against the “orthodox” world! “…let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. I am worlds apart from their unscriptural physical (of which some don’t even have a text for) new heaven and new earth.
Thus my position and differences with other “preterists” and ” “Reformed preterists”.
- 30 Mar 2004
Well folks the lights were turned out and the party was over at Dan. 12. The fat lady is even singing! The only statements I have ever heard that have come from a partial preterist that might make me think that futurism is true are the ones made by Gary North. His ignorant and bragadotious mouth claiming how no one can defeat postimillennial partial “preterism” took me back when I read them. I thought to myself, “surely this man is the fulfillment of the little horn that boasts great things!” I have my own little version and testimony about my interaction with David Chilton and his writings that I want to share with the public. And then after that I will address Gary North, Ken Gentry, and Jame Jordan publicly. I don’t feel Gary has gone quite as far as the other three with a Roman Catholic type understanding of church tradition. The Lord will however soften and strengthen Gary’s heart to become a Biblical preterist or He will harden it to the point of the other three. There is no middle ground. However, I must point out that the reason Gary DeMar and R.C. Sproul are “unsure” on the millennium isn’t because our arguments aren’t convincing it’s that they are to convincing! They are “unsure” on how to answer them and “unsure” on how to get out of the corner they have painted themselves into. I will finish up my response on the 40 yr. millennium to Gary. When I strike I want to strike all the way. It will also be a study on “Prove ALL THING” not just the “things” listed in Mt. 24 but the “things” in Dan. 12 and the “things” in Revelation. I will also use Gary’s own statements and again his own hermeneutics to demonstrate that Gary needs to believe the millennium came before “the Day of the Lord” (2Pet.3/Rev.22:12) and before the new heavens and new earth in Rev. 21-22. When it comes to Biblical hermeneutics on the second coming of Christ James Jordan is unconvincing to say the least. He is a philosopher not an exegete when it comes to the second coming of Christ and the new heavens and new earth! Again I and the Biblical Preterist are “Worlds Apart From Partial Preterists.” He will be dismayed in a public debate with a real preterist. I speak the truth. In Christ, Mike Sullivan email@example.com
- 12 Apr 2004
My Testimony and Interaction With David Chilton and Thoughts on Ken Gentry and Gary North. By: Mike Sullivan On one of my summer breaks from school I read a small article critiquing dispensationalism. The pastor was a moderate preterist Reformed Baptist and in the article he stated that “this generation” meant what it always means throughout the NT (the contemporary generation of Jesus and the 12) and that all of the signs were fulfilled prior to AD 70. Again, the lights went on and this stuff was hermeneutically sound. I had to get a hold of this guy and find out where he was getting this material. I was soon introduced to the authors of David Chilton, Gary DeMar, Greg Bahnsen & Ken Gentry. I devoured everything I could get my hands on. Chilton was first and I loved Paradise Restored. Everything Chilton seemed to be saying was pretty right on target except he left me hanging on the Olivet Discourse and some serious questions emerged. Why didn’t he go further in Mt. 24? If Chilton took 1Thess. 5 as AD 70 then he would have to take the entire Olivet Discourse as A.D. 70 and in fact he stated that the entire Olivet Discourse was about God’s judgment on Israel and if that is the case what about Revelation? Why in Days of Vengeance does Chilton start quoting creeds and abandon his own hermeneutic? These questions kept popping up left and right. My roommate at college lived in Sacramento at the time and asked me if I wanted to spend spring break with him. I agreed especially since Chilton lived near there in Placerville I believe it was. I set up a time to meet with him and we talked. I asked him specifically about 1Thess. 5 and the Olivet Discourse and why he stopped his exegesis of it at Mt.24:34. I stated that “the entire Olivet Discourse had to be dealing with A.D. 70. Why didn’t you keep going through 24 and into 25” I asked? He saw where I was going and began to grin (we will come back to the grin). “Mike it sounds like you need to read a book “The Parousia” by Stuart Russell.” I got the book and then returned to school. As I read his exegesis of the Olivet Discourse the lights went on. “Yes, this guy is saying what I have been thinking!!! No division of the Olivet Discourse!” I of course was disappointed that the guy was dead and lived before my time. The obvious question was, “Who out there believes this way too?” I was not to excited to hear about some Church of Christ preterists. But there were others out there that believed the same way that I did. The Lord had reserved 7,000 that had not bowed the knee to the “prophecy experts” and the almighty creeds! I had to give a persuasive speech in my oral communication class at Master’s so I picked the topic of the tribulation. I figured this should be pretty safe. I used much of Chilton’s and DeMar’s work to prove to the class that it was a past event. I of course did prove my case and no one could answer my arguments but then the questions came. “So then are you saying that the second coming has already taken place?” Well, if I were speaking to a bunch of postmillennial “preterists” I probably could have gotten out of there unscathed but I wasn’t. They didn’t really buy my panicked grin and “well some people do and some people believe it was just ‘a’ coming in AD 70. See the only advantage that a dispensationalist has in their indoctrination is that at least he or she knows how to connect the parousia in the Olivet Discourse to the one in 1Thess. 4. So I then began to be confronted with the very questions I had had myself and gave to Chilton. I unfortunately compromised the truth and if I recall made some statements misleading them that I held “a” position in Mt. 24. I would later repent of my man fearing and man pleasing. Although I got an A on the speech I didn’t cut the grade with my Lord. I eventually got tired of paying several thousands of dollars for a theological education that presented a Christ who fails in the cross and parousia. Why should I pay my instructors salaries when they aren’t teaching the truth? Shoot after all of the discussions and questions I gave I figured they should have been paying me. After dropping out of the Master’s College broke and somewhat bitter at the false doctrine that was being taught there to the students I ended up moving to Sacramento where I attended a Reformed Baptist Church. It didn’t take long to see that these folks had a cultish understanding of Elder rule and had basically canonized the London Babtist 1689 Confession of Faith. I remember sitting in on one meeting where they where going to change the section where the Roman Catholic Church wasn’t the antichrist or Babylon. I thought to myself and did put in writing “there’s a lot more that needs to be changed.” Of course none of my Scriptures were ever addressed and I was looked upon as a rebel because I didn’t believe that their teaching was accurate. Apparently my job was to ONLY “SBUMIT” and had nothing to do with being a Berean. I again found myself getting a bit angry again even with this “reformed” group. I thought to myself, “Doesn’t being ‘reformed’ mean “the Scriptures alone”? Well I knew my days there were numbered so I began wondering where to go. I had also been reading more partial “preterist” books by Gentry, Bahnsen, DeMar, and Jordan and was getting even further frustrated at men who claimed to be “reformed” but clearly had an eschatological agenda that was not found in Scripture. I tried to organize a public debate with Greg Bahnsen (partial ‘preterist’) and Don Preston (Biblical preterist) but it didn’t go through. Something about money! I remembered my converstation with David Chilton. I thought to myself, “this guy knows the truth but he’s not teaching it. Perhaps the Lord will open a door with him. I had felt the Lord wanting me to rebuke and confront David on that grin or smile he gave me instead of answering my questions for quite some time but didn’t do it. I felt the time had come. I wrote David a letter specifically dealing with his grin and pressed his conscience on why he wasn’t teaching the truth. I pointed out that the area I had questions on were the exact areas he would stop his exegesis and start quoting creeds in his books. I pressed him on how serious a thing it is to be a teacher of God’s people and to know the truth but not teach it. Not only this but to replace the truth with the traditions of men. I cited that this was the unbelieving attitude of the Jews during Jesus day, “You make null and void the commandments of God due to your traditions.” I cited passages in Deut. And passages in the NT where God clearly disciplines those He loves and sometimes that discipline results in death. He responded. Chilton pointed out that he no longer needed the Holy Spirit because he now had me (he had a great sense of humor). But amidst his very good use of sarcasm he avoided the Scriptures and told me that I was basically going to hell for being a preterist. And something to the effect that all my position would ever amount to would be a small footnote in one of his books whereas his position of “mother church” would roll and crush over it, or something to that effect. I wrote back and said that he was the one that taught me that imprecatory prayers were still valid in the NC so I told him that I would use them as a self-defense technique against his statements. I specifically prayed that if David was not a Christian that he take his life but if he was a Christian that God would put him on his death bed and cause him to repent of the things he said to me and accept the Biblical position. From there I spent a brief time at Ward Fenley’s church – Sovereign Grace Bible Assembly in Sacramento and introduced the preterist view to him. At the time he was a 5 pnt. Calvinist but a dispensationalist. It was nice to at least be in a church that held to the doctrines of grace but at the same time didn’t feel that old hymns and the organ were the only inspired tools for worship. He had his own radio program called “Redemption Acomplished” or something like that where he went after Arminians quite a bit. I had already been burned out on trying to convince pastors why what they believed was wrong and getting labled “divisive” and all of that not to mention I considered Ward a friend so I told Ward I wouldn’t be there long and had planned on moving to PA with Ed Stevens. I remember taking a walk with Ward before I was going to move and he encouraged me to stay and that he wouldn’t label me “divisive”. He encouraged me to not study eschatology so much but to stick to the cross and redemption. I asked Ward to finish this sentence, “Look up for your…” and he answered, “…redemption draws nigh.” I encouraged him that I was studying redemption and salvation and that it couldn’t be separated from the cross. I think that stuck with him. After about 6 months in PA I knew the Lord was getting me ready for another move. Then out of the blue Ward called me and stated that I should come and move back to Sacramento because he had become a preterist. He said that he had been preaching out of Hosea or Haggai and something clicked for him. So I knew God was answering my prayers and I moved back. Not to long from this time I heard from Ed that David Chilton had had a massive heart attack and was in serious condition. Providentially David was staying in the hospital two blocks from my house. I asked Ward and some in our church to go and visit him and we went and sang worship songs alongside his bed. David remembered me and our correspondence. I didn’t say anything about it because I knew God had answered my prayers and I just wanted David to know he was loved by a small church who were dedicated to the sovereignty of God and to His Kingdom – Preterists. That was all he needed to know at that point. And as he had pointed out the Holy Spirit would do His job 🙂 After David had recovered we went out to lunch with him and he apologized to me for calling me a heretic and that he was now a preterist. You know I often wonder why God doesn’t answer a lot of my prayers but when it came to David Chilton for whatever reasons He had answered them exactly as I had requested. I had hoped that God would go on to use David more but his ministry was brief but impressionable. He at one time struck the rock of Christ and His Word with the staff of the traditions of men so he went up on the mountain and was able to see the heavenly land of preterism from a distance and then the Lord took him. I would have enjoyed fighting along side him (especially against Gary North, Gentry, and Jordan) but God loved David so much that He wanted to show him more of these realities. David had fought the good fight of faith and had ended on a positive note. 25 – 100 years from now David will be remembered as the one who had the courage to stand up against the creeds and shout “the Scriptures alone.” It will be the postmillennial “preterist” view that will be in the footnotes J. They will go down in church history as the compromisers that they really are. God decided no more fighting for David here. No doubt Dr. Bahnsen knows better on the new heavens and new earth in (Mt. 5:17-18 & 2Pet. 3) now and he and Mr. Chilton glory in it. So much has happened since those days. It would appear to me that Gary North, Gentry, and Jordan have adopted the same Roman Catholic understanding of church tradition that Chilton once used against the preterist view. In reading some of North’s forwards in Chilton’s books and in Bahnsen’s and in talking to these men about them Gary is a serious control freak. However I would agree with this statement: “What should be an inspiration to any dedicated Christian layman is the knowledge that another layman with a bachelor’s degree in history and only one year of seminary wrote two of the most important works in eschatology in the history of the church – perhaps the most important. It makes a person wonder: Why didn’t some distinguished seminary professor write them? I believe the answer is simple: if distinguished theology professors write at all, they write mainly to impress other distinguished professors, and this is the kiss of death.” (Paradise Restored, p.340). Well now of course Gary got his pants all in a wod because David wouldn’t write anymore to impress HIM but wanted to write so as to please Christ and have a good conscience toward Him! Gentry seems to be that man pleasing puppet now. It appears to be all about the money and the creeds for these men if they even deserved to be called such! Gary North: “I have spent about a million dollars to publish books against apocalypticism” & (Chilton was) “the hottest ‘theological property’ in the West” – “He has now become self-damaged goods delivered on the doorstep of Max King.” – Was Chilton damned to hell due to the doctrine or dollars? “David Chilton is indeed a heretic who has denied the Church’s historic creeds and confessions on the question of the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment.” Please note how the coward Gary North handled Chilton’s position by trying to avoid it and manipulate others with strong arm (which are sickly and weak) techniques: Gary North: (On How to Treat a Preterist) “I would suggest that we not encourage (David Chilton’s) heresy by interacting with him on this matter on this or any other forum. It is now a matter of Church discipline, assuming that he is under any.” (North on Chilton) “We can and should pray for the restoration of his mind, but to debate with him publicly will almost certainly drive him deeper into this heresy. He will feel compelled to defend himself in public. Let him go in peace. It is not our God-given task to confront him at this point. That is for his local church to do.” “I recommend the immediate public recantation and personal repentance of Russell’s theology (Preterism). Barring this, I recommend the heretic’s excommunication by his church’s judicial body. The elders should allow the accused member to identify the heresy for which he is then excommunicated.” “Church officers who learn of any member’s commitment to the doctrine of “full preterism” have an obligation to help this member clarify his or her thinking, and either become fully consistent with the full-preterist position or else fully abandon it. The member should be brought before the church’s session or other disciplinary body and asked the following six questions in writing:” “the member must also be asked to sign an affirmation of Chapter XXXIII of the Westminster Confession of Faith and answer 90 of the Larger Catechism. This signed statement constitutes a formal rejection of the “full preterist” position. The member must be told in advance that this signed statement can be shown to others at the discretion of the session. If the member refuses to sign such a statement under these conditions, the elders should continue the disciplinary process.” “There are only three lawful ways out of a local congregation: by death, by letter of transfer, and by excommunication. Presbyterian laymen who have been brought before the church’s session because they are suspected of holding heretical preterism, and who persist in their commitment to heretical preterism by refusing to sign a statement that is consistent with the Westminster standards, must be removed from membership in the local congregation by excommunication.” Well now let’s go to Gary North’s hired puppet to see why preterists are damned to hell. Gentry states of the creeds, “Rather, orthodox Christians believe that doctrines contained in the creeds are the doctrines of Scripture, and therefore the doctrines are deemed infallibly certain because they derive from God.” (Ken Gentry, When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism, p. 44 bold MJS) He quotes Ed Stevens and makes some comments, “Which would you rather throw out the window, the New Testament writings, or the creeds?” (cited in BET, 216). Elsewhere he reasserts this false dilemma: “We must decide which is the right course of action: sacrifice the inspiration of Jesus and the NT writers in order to maintain the integrity of the uninspired creeds and Church fathers, or preserve the inspiration of Jesus and the NT and impeach the fallible interpretations and applications of the historic church” (WH, 5-6). These rallying cries are superficially compelling to those who are unschooled in logic and theology. But the more accurate antithesis would really be: Which would you rather throw out the window, the novel theological position of Ed Stevens or the convictions of the universal Christian church of all ages? (ibid. p.42 emphasis MJS) “The interpreters or exegetes who agree with the historic, orthodox interpretations of the past and who find themselves in the mainstream of Christian thought should not be suspect.” (ibid. p.60, emphasis MJS) “Who would have known where the followers of Joseph Smith would end up when he first began to decry the creeds of the church and the denominations of his day? Who knows at this stage where hyper-preterism will end up?” Third, hyper-preterism’s danger is intensified by its ability to draw out followers through the perennial cry of the cults: “No creed but the Bible.” It also feigns “scholarship” and claims “consistency” as a lure to theologically immature Christians.” (ibid. p.61, emphasis MJS). Basically Gentry assumes what he needs to prove in his assertion that the creeds contain doctrines that are “infallibly certain” on eschatology. We could summarize Gentry’s other “arguments” – “ha, ha, because we have more on our side and our view has been around longer, no one deserves the right to question us and thus it is our position that will stay and the hyper-preterist view needs to go.” Of course his approach is supposed to be “logical” and “scholarly” – yeah whatever, maybe in your own mind Ken and those around you that blow “scholarly” smoke up your butt like Gary North. “Pride comes before a fall” and yours is coming real soon! Ken uses other really persuasive “logical”, “scholarly” “arguments” likening our position that the creeds are wrong (to assume a future coming past A.D. 70) to JW’s and Mormon’s who likewise challenged the creeds. But shoot according to Gentry’s “logic” why shouldn’t we all be Roman Catholics since they have been around longer and have more members? The same “logic” and “scholarship” arguments I here from Gentry are the exact same ones I hear as to why I need to be a Roman Catholic and the reformation was a heretical movement that went against “the convictions of the universal Christian church of all ages!” Shoot why not go back to my former Arminian and charismatic churches too since Calvinism was wrong in their mind because Calvinists were a minority view today in “mainstream Christianity” and those reformed churches just were “quenching the Spirit.” I remember the days of my 4 pnt. “Calvinism”. Anyone who believed in limited atonement was considered a “hyper-Calvinist”! “Consistency” was so wrong! I of course didn’t know what in the world I was talking about and neither did any of those other 4.5er’s but likewise Gentry tries the same tactics with Biblical preterists. He attempts to scare others away from reading our arguments because we are “hyper” preterists! Gentry has lowered himself to that of a caged monkey throwing poop at Biblical preterists or anyone wanting to read us. Now I hate to be so honest but the facts are the facts. Gary North is obviously a control freak from the admissions of his own authors! He didn’t like Chilton becoming a Biblical preterist because it exposed his and Gentry’s arbitrary preterist hermeneutics that dispenstationalists and all other eschatological schools have demonstrated to be inconsistent to say the least. Do doubt North didn’t want to get in a public debate with Chilton because he knew he would blow him out of the water even with a serious health issue. North was so busy blowing smoke up Chilton’s butt in Days of Vengeance that he didn’t even have the “scholarly” sense to see that David’s view of the new heavens and new earth demolished the very foundation of theonomy (Mt. 5:17-18) that he has been paying millions of dollars to promote! The partial “preterists” know the more exposure they give us the more we show their hermeneutics a “house divided!” That is why R.C. Jr. probably didn’t want Dad or Gentry to put a whole lot of their “preterism” in their book to “refute” us. Thus it was most likely why Gentry got the crumbs of pedaling the Roman Catholic Church tradition “arguments” as well! James Jordan is going to have a real hard time defending his partial creedal view with Don Preston in that debate. I have been waiting over 10 years to watch the “dismay” of their position in a public setting! I am going to love watching Jordan take 2Pet. 3 as AD 70 and “defend” “a final future stage” of it when he doesn’t have any Scripture for it! What a mess!
- 18 Nov 2004
I appreciate what Gary had to say in this article and other things that Gary has written. I have been an Armenian Full Preterist for many years so I am a double heretic. For most of my preterist years I had little depth in the full preterist argument, I just knew from a few scriptures that it was the truth. When “Last Days Madness” was published, it was the vehicle which prompted me to start an in-depth study of preterism (I hadn’t even heard of the term “preterism”.) Yes, I was a bit disappointed when I found that Gary was a partial preterist, but “Last Days Madness” still provides me with the bulk of my preterist argument. So no name calling please, let us recognize that dispensationalism is the enemy.
- 03 Dec 2004
That last response is exactly why I don’t think partial preterists should speak at full preterist seminars (unless they are willing to debate us – then they deserve the right to speak [my personal conviction]). Gary and the above commentor give the allusion that partial preterism deals with dispensationalism just as well as does full preterism. No way – not buying it. All Ice has to do is use full preterist arguments against DeMar [which he has] and Gary is forced to let his enemy (not saying Ice isn’t saved but using an OT picture of Israel battling their enemies) get away and not completely destroying his carnal eschatology which is what God has called Gary to do. Gary may not believe in a liter 1,000 reign of the kingdom of God on the earth but he is forced to embrace a physical carnal expection in a literal new heaven and new earth (creedal position I believe?) of which he has no text for. Not to mention – “Hope defered maketh the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life” (Proverbs). Gary is guilty I believe of still making the church “sick” in placing it’s hope in a yet future coming of Christ which the Bible does not predict. I don’t buy Gary’s point that we need to focus our energies on dealing with Dispensationalism because it’s the prevailing system (see his comments to me in this comments section). This assumes that if his partial preterism was the predominant view that we would be better off. Placing the Churches hope in a yet future return of Christ (something He never promised believers post AD 70) is hardly a comforting solution to Dispensationalism. Gary you know that come on man. That approach may persuade some full preterists but not most who know the issues. In Christ, Mike Sullivan
Date: 29 Dec 2005
Revelation 20: First of all, the “thousand years” is not necessarily 1000 years, but some multiple of 1000. So this period didn’t end 1000 years after the first century. It started just after AD70, and is still going on.
Two of these thousand year periods have gone by, and the world may have to wait another 1000 or 2000 years before the end. There is no biblial indication that “Christ is returning very soon.”
Secondly, all the people mentioned in verses 4 and 5 are part of the First Resurrection. Since John mentions the “souls” of some, this resurrection must be spiritual, not physical. And that resurrection is experienced when Christ is accepted. Contrary to dispensationalism, “the rest of the dead” are not “the wicked dead,” but are those who die during the Church Age, and await the general resurrection. The thousand year kingdom of Revelation 20 is not the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel in the Old Testament. He never promised Israel a thousand year kingdom. He promised to keep His covenant with them for a thousand GENERATIONS, but only to those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy). The major part of Israel in Christ’s day failed that test. Verse 6 of Revelation 20 says that those who have part in the first resurrection shall reign with Christ a thousand years. This does not say that Christ shall reign on earth a thousand years; it says that THEY shall reign with
That is my take on Revelation 20, flawed as it may be. If Bible scholars would rather get together and restudy their Bibles, rather than wage constant war with each other defending doctrines which are full of contradictions, they could help us get a better understanding God’s prophetic picture.
Date: 28 Jun 2006
Pretribers collect money (Wings Of eagles) to send poor Russian Jews to Israel knowing that two thirds of them will be slaughtered. What do the pretribers get out of this ? Heavenly bliss (payoff for their efforts)! I’m no lawyer but this sounds like accessory to murder to me.Do these people ever THINK about what they are doing?
Date: 07 Aug 2006
We are doing a teaching on the End times, and we are studying the same as Gary Believes, and it is so consistent with the Word and scriptures. It makes such sense as the other does not, just fear and tactics. But american’s love fear, so they are just living in a paradigm, the way their church or family believes. You are doing some good stuff, but remember only the Holy Spirit can reveal to them! Good work
Date: 04 Nov 2006
The tribulation is defined as unprecedented. If it already happened then why has Jerusalem had greater tribulation since? firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 02 May 2010
So what you think God will abandon all the eternal unconditional covenants He made with Israel when He met with Abraham (Gen. 15:7-21)? What makes you think He won’t abandon the New Covenant He made with YOU? How do you know? Doesn’t make sense..Yahweh is eternal and sees the end from the beginning. He wouldn’t break a covenant. That’s nuts! The church never replaced Israel.. We Gentiles were just blessed to be grafted into the olive tree…