A Case for Preterism and a Critique of Dispensationalism, Hoekema and a host of other eschatological discussions Part 2

The Signs of the times were to be seen and experienced by no other recipients than the first century generation. This is clear for at least five reasons: 1) It is noteworthy that Jesus is speaking to a real group of people with real questions. This means that Jesus sought to address their primary concerns and not any other group’s concern. 2) The language itself confirms this: “Do YOU see all these things? (24:2),” I tell YOU the truth (24:2),” “Tell US (24:3),” “Watch out that no one deceives YOU (24:4),” “ YOU will hear of wars and rumors of wars…(24:6).” It would be non-sensical to address an imaginary audience when Jesus is specifically addressing his disciples. 3) There is local language being used as opposed to vague or universal language. Jesus refers to those in Judea and further, to the still pending ceremonial observance of the Sabbath (24:20 – The ceremonial nature of the Sabbath was abolished with the end of the Jewish Age). 4) Virtually every sign spoken of Jesus is written in the corridors of history through the historian Josephus, Tacitus, and many others adding greater reliability to the text. 5) Many of the signs are already at work during the New Testament period, particularly in the book of Acts where Peter mentions famine (Acts 11:27-29) and false prophets (Acts 13:6). This indicates that the first century audience did not have to wait to see some of those signs, which were already at work.

For these reasons and others, it is incumbent upon the Biblical interpreter to alter their current presuppositions of the text and embrace Preterism, as expressed in the Olivet Discourse. In this fashion, not only will one answer objections as those proposed by Russell, but also be assured of the truthfulness and reliability of the words of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

 Part I

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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8 Responses to A Case for Preterism and a Critique of Dispensationalism, Hoekema and a host of other eschatological discussions Part 2

  1. AH says:

    Brito,

    I have always felt a certain diplopia was involved in reading the text in a ‘Murri(y)an’ fashion. The protection of presuppositions at the cost of the text. Anyway, hope things are well there at RTS…

    AH

  2. Jeremy says:

    A faithful reading of the Matt 24 passage certainly seems to require a preterist interpretation. What implications do you think that holds for an interpretation of the book of Revelations? To be consistent with the Matthew chapter (and the corresponding passages in the other Gospels), it would seem that an early date for that book (~ 65 ad) would make more sense. I believe a number of authors have argued for this. Dr. Chuck Hill wrote a fairly extensive rebutal to those arguments based on his later date and redemptive-historical interpretation of Revelations. Is it inconsistent to hold a preterist view of the Gospels and a non-preterist view of Revelations?

  3. U.T. Brito says:

    ah,
    Thanks for your comments. Like Professor Bahnsen after some time I became tired of having to explain away Matthew 24 in a dualistic fashion, meaning, “well, some yes, others not.” It was a great relief to me to discover that the Olivet Discourse was intended for the first century. Those who heard it were actually the ones to whom Jesus addresses.
    By the way, I enjoyed your blog. It appears that you and I tend to enjoy similar thinkers.

  4. U.T. Brito says:

    Hey Jeremy,
    Do I know you? Are you a current student? You raise some good questions. Though I can’t go in too much length, I do think that Matthew 24 has some implications for Revelation. There is similar language used in Matthew that is re-used in Revelation.
    Chuck Hill and Kistemaker whom I have both talked to, think very differently of course. Since I have not taken Hill’s class I cannot speak much about that, though I would assume that with all his brilliance he has a ver ygood case for a late date of Revelation. Ken Gentry’s lectures still are prevalent to me. He makes a convincing case for why early church fathers followed Ireneaus’s dating.
    Further, he elaborates on John’s language in Revelation and dispels any possibility in my mind of a late date. But I do want to say that I am open for changes, though to tell you the truth after so much discussion and reading on this topic, I find it hard to change my stubborn mind.
    As for your final question,
    I do know some guys here at RTS and others who accept Matthew 24 as preteristic and see Revelation as a post Ad 70 writing. I don’t think that is possible due to Gentry’s research, but hey if you can be a libertarian free-willer and still call yourself Reformed like Alvin Plantinga anything is possible.

  5. Jeremy says:

    You do know me… We had a nice debate over the various interpretations of Genesis 1 before dinner at my and my wife’s apartment several weeks ago…

    I agree with your analysis here, and I tended to follow a full preterist interpretation of Revelations for quite a while too (though I have not had a chance to read much of Gentry). However, I sat through Dr. Hill’s Hebrews to Revelations class, and I’ve read a paper he wrote to answer Gentry’s arguments (I still have the paper and can give you a copy if you like). He makes a fairly solid case for a later date for Revelations, though I still think Gentry’s arguments hold a lot of water.

    I’ve been wondering off and on how feasibly one could fit a later date with a preterist view. One idea I had, which is probably quite a stretch, is if John had his vision over a period of time (reaching before 70 ad), but that the book was not assembled as a single unit until the 90s time frame. At that point, a lot of the encouragement from the book was extremely applicable, even if the immediate interpretation dealt with 70 ad. But to John’s audience, it would be even more timely, because they had seen the judgement and deliverance in Jerusalem, and perhaps had heard some of the vision prior to the city’s destruction, and they could apply the immediate fullfillment to future events, including their own circumstances.

    Like I said, that may be quite a stretch, and it has the major flaw of taking preconceived ideas and trying to force the scripture to fit around them. But at the same time, I think it shows one possible way to hold the preterist position and allow for a later date. It does also have trouble with the cessationist interpretation of Daniel 9, though I have some ideas on that as well. Any thoughts?

    Jeremy Brown

  6. U.T. Brito says:

    Hey Jeremy,
    I wasn’t aware that you were the Mr. Brown. I have a couple of other Jeremy’s who read my blog pretty often as well.
    As for your proposition I think it is fairly possible, though the primary discussion has to do with when was John sent to Patmos. Late daters say very late, early daters (which include a growing consensus) affirm late 60′s. If the letter was written while John was in Patmos then the date of his exile becomes very significant.
    Great to hear from you again.
    P.S. I find it intriguing though why John would not have mention anything concerning the greatest destruction of the greatest city and of the holiest place of worship for the Jews if he had written at a later date. It’s like a book about New York city beng written 30 years from now with no reference to 9-11. It sounds absurd to me. What do you think?

  7. Jeremy says:

    I definitely agree. While arguments from silence are not always logically sound, in this case I think it is a critical point. This is particularly true in Reformed circles where we put a great deal of emphasis on the Church being the new Israel. The late-daters really are hard-pressed to make a case for why an event that completely seals that transitional period and ushers the Church to the forefront of history as God’s chosen people warrants not even a passing allusion in any of the books of the Bible.

    JB–>

  8. Pingback: A Case for Preterism and a Critique of Dispensationalism, Hoekema and a host of other eschatological discussions Part 3 « Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

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