Questions, Questions, Questions

QUESTION 26: What relationship does preterism have to the doctrine of the Deity of Christ?

ANSWER: Before the Parousia, it was not yet fully manifested that Jesus is Yahweh the Savior (I Jn. 3:1-5,16). It was not yet fully manifested that the worshipers of Jesus Christ were worshiping "the true God" (I Jn. 5:20). It was not yet fully manifested that those who believed that Jesus Christ is Yahweh were the true children of God (Rom. 8:19).

The covenant-world that crucified Yahweh (Zech. 12:1,10) was still in power, and the Church was being accused of blasphemy by that world for her teaching that Jesus is Yahweh the Savior (Isa. 25:9; I Tim. 1:1; 2:3; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jude 25). The only way the Church was going to be vindicated in its worship of Jesus as Yahweh the Savior, and thus fully "manifested" as the pure children of God, was through the Parousia.

When Yahweh appeared in 70 (Deut. 33:26; Ps. 68:33; 104:3; Isa. 2:11; Matt. 21:33; Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-16; I Thess. 4:14; Titus 2:13; Jude 14; Rev. 1:4,8;4:8), the Church's enduring faith in His blood (Acts 20:28) conquered and overthrew the covenant-world that rejected Jesus as Yahweh (I Jn. 5:4). The redemption and purification of the Church that had been wrought through the death and resurrection of Yahweh (Isa. 59:16) was then consummated, and death was forever nullified.

The Church was perfectly transformed into the Image of Yahweh (II Cor. 3:18). She became "like Him" (Zech. 12:8) through His Own incorruptible blood --the holy blood of the Covenant (Heb. 10:29). Those who devalued the blood of Yahweh were swept away like dross in the terrifying wrath of God (Heb. 10:29-31); but those who worshiped Jesus Christ and received His Righteousness became pure just as He is pure (I Jn. 1:7; 2:20; 3:3).

QUESTION 27: The Parable of the Pounds / Minas in Lk. 19:12-27 says that at the Second Coming of Christ, the saints will be given authority over "cities." Some will rule over ten. Others will rule over five, etc. In preterism, the saints must be currently ruling cities. Then which ones?? Can you give me one city today that is ruled by a saint?

ANSWER: After the Lord ascended into Heaven to receive the Kingdom (Lk. 19:12; cf. Dan. 7:13-14) He poured out His Spirit upon all flesh (Lk. 19:13). Some men bore fruit in the Spirit as they grew in the Lord and led others to righteousness (Lk. 19:16-19). Other men believed in vain and produced no fruit (Lk. 19:20-21), and other men rejected the ministry of the Spirit altogether (Lk. 19:14).

Those who were fruitful in the Spirit received the Kingdom of God when Christ returned in 70 and destroyed the enemies in His Kingdom (Lk. 19:27; cf. Matt. 13:41). The Church then, with finality, was given its kingly and priestly authority over the nations of the earth (Lk. 19:17,19; cf. Rev. 2:26-27; 5:10). The Church was no longer a revolutionary movement within the Kingdom of God under the old covenant. In 70, it became the very Possessor of the Kingdom. It absolutely replaced the Pharisees and earthly priesthood as God's Nation of Kings and Priests (Rev. 1:6). Since that great Day, the Israel of God forever produces the fruit that God desires (Matt. 21:43).

God has given the Church the Divine "power / authority" to break the nations with "the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17). The Church "reigns" over the earth in that she perpetually and eternally brings the honor and the glory of the nations unto God and the Lamb (Rev. 21:24-26). Without God's Tabernacle (the Church) among men (Rev. 21:2-3), there would be only alienation, condemnation and death. Without the Body of Christ, there is absolutely zero hope for the nations of the earth. Thus, the Church's great "authority / power" over the world is wielded primarily in evangelism and teaching.

The "cities" in the Parable of the Minas (Lk. 19:17,19) are no more literal than the other elements of the parable, e.g., the nobleman, the distant country, the money, the handkerchief, the bank.

Why was one servant given authority over ten cities and another servant given authority over only five cities? For the same reason that some believers bring forth "a hundredfold" and "some sixty, and some thirty" (Matt. 13:8,23; cf. I Cor. 3:7; 12:11).

QUESTION 28: I have a real problem when things are not congruent. God in the Old Testament has the Iraelites killing every man, woman, and child (in some instances). How do you reconcile the Old Testament carnage with the God of the New Testament who pursues us with such tremendous love?

ANSWER: God ordained "carnage" and "killing" under both covenants. The difference is that the God-appointed "carnage" in the death of His Son was infinitely more appalling and shocking than all of the sufferings and deaths combined of those who were by nature children of wrath in the Old Testament (Eph. 2:3).

Not only did Jesus say that He came to accomplish the carnage-filled purpose of God, but He Himself also sent His own followers out "as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matt. 10:16), for the very purpose that His followers would be persecuted, scourged, crucified and killed (Matt. 23:34). Additionally, one of the purposes of Christ's New-Covenant Parousia was for the slaughter of millions of men, women and children.

It is evident that Jesus' mission, ministry and teachings were not foreign to, incongruent with or irreconcilable with the "killing" God of the Old Testament. In both Testaments, the God of love ordains and causes suffering and calamity (Isa. 45:7). This fact is only a "problem" if one imagines that God cannot be loving and wrathful and just at the same time.

"Behold then the kindness and severity of God" (Rom. 11:22).

QUESTION 29: I realize you feel strongly about the traditional, orthodox "Trinity" doctrine, but we have to keep in mind that this subject is a phenomenon of 4th century political debate, and not of any concern to the apostles or their Jewish detractors. Can you show me one place in Scripture where we find the apostles trying to convince anyone of the "Deity of Christ?" I didn't think so.

ANSWER: No Trinitarian expects, or should expect, to find a "Deity of Messiah" debate between the apostles and the Jews. The Jewish leaders already agreed that Whoever the Messiah / Son of Man / Son of God would be, He is God. The Deity of the promised Messiah was a "given" among the Jewish leaders.

For example, when Jesus referred to Himself as "the Son of Man ...Coming with the clouds of heaven," the Jewish leaders understood that, in applying those Old-Testament prophecies to Himself, Jesus was calling Himself God (Deut. 33:26; Ps. 68:33; 104:3; Dan. 7:13; Mk. 14:61-64; Matt. 26:63-66; Lk. 22:69-71; cf. Jn. 5:18).

Because the Jewish leaders already agreed with the Church that the Messiah / Son of Man / Son of God is God, there was no conceivable reason for a debate on that issue. What the Jews could not accept was that JESUS CHRIST was the Messiah / Son of Man / Son of God.

The wildly extra-biblical notion of a "non-Yahweh Messiah" --such as Superman-- was rejected prima facie by the 1st-century Jewish leaders and the Church. It is a blasphemy that you would also do well to reject.

QUESTION 30: Paul rebuked the Corinthians for acting as if they had already begun to reign. The text is clear that he thought neither he nor they had begun to reign. Yet preterism says that Christians were already reigning, for forty or so years from cross to judgement? How do you explain I Cor. 4:8ff?

ANSWER: The first-century church (including the Corinthians) was already reigning with Christ, according to Eph. 2:6. It had begun to reign, but it was waiting for the consummation when it would reign over the earth as God's "Kingdom of priests" (Rev. 5:10). This was to happen after God's old City of worship, earthly Jerusalem, was destroyed, and when God's fleshly children, the church-persecuting Jews, were disinherited from the Kingdom and put under the feet of Christ.

In the context of I Cor. 4:8, the Corinthians were "reigning" like "kings" in that they were, in practice, forsaking the rule of the Apostles and were walking on their own (in the flesh). The Corinthians were "puffed up" one against the other and were living as if all the blessings of the Kingdom which they were enjoying had not been given to them by God through the Apostles. The Corinthians were living boastfully, as if Christianity was the child of their heroes' wisdom. They were living like they had no need of the Apostles' example of humbly dying to human righteousness and human wisdom. They were "reigning" as if they had no use for spiritual growth through the ministry of the Apostles.

Paul was being sarcastic when he said that the Corinthians were "reigning" as "kings." But Paul sincerely wished that he and the Corinthians were really, truly and actually reigning over the earth. In other words, he wished that they were already living in the time when the enemies in Christ's Kingdom were finally cast out and placed under His feet, when the Church would finally find relief from its world-liberating struggle:

"For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those [THE JEWS] who afflict you, and to give relief to YOU [THE CHURCH] who are afflicted and to US [THE APOSTLES] as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire [IN A.D. 70]" (II Thess. 1:6-7).

QUESTION 31: The "old-covenant" world included works-religions other than Judaism. If God judged the whole world in A.D. 70, why were those religious institutions not destroyed the same way Jerusalem was?

ANSWER:The most holy place in the pagan Roman world was the Temple of the Capitoline Jupiter. It burned to the ground on December 19th, A.D. 69, less than a year before the Jewish Temple was destroyed (Tacitus, Histories, III, 48; Josephus, Wars, IV, XI, 4).

After the events of A.D. 68-70, both the pagan Roman Empire and Judaism continued to exist. Both entities continue even to this day, in one form or another. Yet those things were forever stripped of their former glories.

The Roman Empire had been founded under the "Julian Dynasty." That dynasty came to a disgraceful termination with Nero in A.D. 68. The decline of the Empire continued when from the 90's onward it was ruled by foreigners. Christianity weakened the unity of the Empire and gradually transformed it from a militaristic state to a state in religious turmoil. By 395, the ancient pagan religions of the world became culturally irrelevant and the Empire was divided in two (East and West). A few years later, looting Barbarians began to overrun the Empire, until Rome fell in 455.

The Jews had "the greater sin" (Jn. 19:11) in that they knowingly delivered their King to Rome to be put to death (Matt. 21:38). The Jews received "the greater condemnation." (Matt. 23:14) The Jews were sent to the "tormenters," (Matt. 18:34) until they were consumed with fire in A.D. 70 (Rev. 17:16). The Roman Empire on the other hand, having a "lesser sin" and a "lesser condemnation," died a more gradual and less hideous death.

QUESTION 32: In Acts, when talking to the gentiles, Paul talks about a day when God will judge all nations. (Acts 17:30-31) How is the fall of Jerusalem seen as a judgment on all nations, Jew and gentile?

ANSWER: First, the Gospel was to be preached into all the world as a witness. (Matt. 24:14) This was fulfilled by the time the book of Colossians was written (c. A.D. 60):

"...The Gospel ...was proclaimed in all creation under heaven...." (Col. 1:23)

Then, at the end of redemptive history, a time of great tribulation and upheaval was to take place in order to test the faith of all who had heard the Gospel (i.e., the world). That time of tribulation and testing was centered in its intensity with the Jews, at Jerusalem, yet it was also worldwide and involved the gentiles. It was "about to" take place when the book of Revelation was written:

"Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth." (Rev. 3:10; cf. Matt. 24:7)

From the years A.D. 68-70, Jerusalem was locked in the raging fires of the Great Tribulation, and the nations of the world were in veritable chaos:

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Preface, 2:

"Now at the time when this great concussion of affairs happened, the affairs of the Romans were themselves in great disorder. Those Jews also who were for revolution, then arose when the times were disturbed; they were also in a flourishing condition for strength and riches, insomuch that the affairs of the East were then exceeding tumultuous, while some hoped for gain, and others were afraid of loss in such troubles; for the Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would have raised an insurrection together with them. The Gauls also, in the neighborhood of the Romans, were in motion, and the Geltin were not quiet; but all was in disorder after the death of Nero [A. D. 68]."

When that time of testing was finished, God judged the world: The old-covenant world (which had accommodated human "righteous," and under which the gentiles had remained ignorant) was destroyed, and its shadows were fulfilled in the Body of Christ (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 8:13). In other words, the temporal kingdom of the world became the eternal Kingdom of God and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15).

Those who had rejected the Gospel were no longer allowed entrance into the Kingdom (as were both Jews and gentiles under the old covenant, through circumcision). But those who had obeyed the Gospel inherited all things (I Cor. 3:21-23; Rev. 21:7), and were revealed to be the true sons of God (Rom. 8:19).

"The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." (Matt. 13:41-43)

QUESTION 33: I have heard some preterists out there say that the "preterist hermeneutic" demands a ruthless reassessment of all Orthodoxy. They say if the church was wrong about the Parousia, how can we be sure it was not wrong about many other things, or even every other thing? On this basis, these preterists teach other people to question or even reject the doctrine of the Trinity. They say they are in the "demolition business." Does the preterist movement have any kind of "defense mechanism" or "restraint" against people like this?

ANSWER: Yes. The fact that the historic Church was wrong about eschatology only indicates that eschatology is not something which the Church must necessarily believe accurately in order to be saved. Traditional Futurism is a serious, but nonfatal, error. The Church's eschatological misunderstanding does not, and indeed cannot, indicate that she might have been wrong about everything. Since the Church is "the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth," she could not "always and everywhere" be steeped in a false gospel.

The Church cannot have been wrong throughout history about the Deity of Christ (the Trinity) because being wrong about the Deity of Christ inescapably constitutes believing a false gospel. If Christ is not God, and the universal Church has worshiped Him as God, then the Church is damned because it "always and everywhere" worships a false god. Therefore, either the Body of Christ has been the pillar and foundation of a Lie throughout history, or these Trinity-denying preterists are Liars.

If these fanatical preterists do not repent, their "ruthless reassessment of all Orthodoxy" will end in a "ruthless" judgment of themselves.

Regarding their being in the "demolition business": I realize there is a time and place to demolish, but (and I'm sure you agree) being in the "demolition business" is a reviler's work. "Building up" is the life's work of a godly man.

QUESTION 34: Preterists admit that Christ ascended in a literal "cloud." They use that "cloud" as the reference point for His return "in like manner," "with the clouds." But preterists take the "clouds" of Christ's return to be metaphorical and apocalyptic "clouds." In other words, preterists say Jesus entered heaven in a literal cloud, and then say His return was "in like manner" because He returned in figurative clouds! Isn't this blatantly dishonest? Isn't it a form of exegetical equivocation / sleight of hand?

ANSWER: "Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Lk. 21:27)

Jesus entered heaven in "a cloud" in Acts 1:9.

"In like manner," (Acts 1:11) He returned "in a cloud" in Luke 21:27.

It is interesting that Luke, who penned both Lk. 21:27 and Acts 1:9-11, is the only New Testament writer who used the singular "cloud" instead of the plural "clouds" in reference to the "Coming" of Christ.

When Matthew, Mark and John all used the plural "clouds" in Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mk. 13:26; 14:62 and Rev. 1:7, they were no doubt employing imagery from the Old Testament. (cf. II Sam. 22:12; Ps. 18:11-12; Ps. 36:5; 57:10; 68:34; 97:2; 104:3; 108:4; Dan. 7:13; Joel 2:2; Nahum 1:3; Zeph. 1:15) But perhaps when Luke used the singular "cloud," he was referring to another aspect of Christ's Parousia: The Glory-Cloud of Yahweh God. The same Glory-Cloud that overshadowed Peter, James and John on the "Mount of Transfiguration." (Matt. 17:5; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:34-35) The same Glory-Cloud in which Jesus went into heaven in Acts 1:9-11.

There is no historical or exegetical reason to doubt that Jesus returned in the Divine Glory-Cloud when the Temple fell in A.D. 70. It would not have been the only such sign that appeared in heaven in those days:

c. April/May A.D. 66: "...before sunset, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities." (Josephus, Wars, VI, V, 3)

"...and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Lk. 21:11)

QUESTION 35: Daniel and Revelation both prophesy God's judgment on the Roman Empire. Doesn't that skew the whole "in this generation" interpretation of all prophecy, since Rome fell in A.D. 455?

ANSWER: I don't believe the fall of Rome in 455 was the fulfillment of a prophecy. It was an implication of fulfilled prophecy.

The Roman Empire's reign over God's kingdom (beginning in c. 63 B.C.) was broken to pieces in the years A.D. 30 to 70, by the power of Jesus Christ. In 70, when the saints finally received the Kingdom, (Dan. 7:18,22,27; Matt. 21:43) Rome's dominion over God's people was forever taken away. (Dan. 7:26) No longer could Rome regulate Israel's worship or destroy her peace. Israel now reigned over the Earth as God's kingdom of priests (Heb. 8:10; Rev. 5:10), and Rome was hopelessly lost without her. Thus the Roman Empire went from being the Iron Ruler of heaven and earth, to being a needy subject of the King of Kings in the New Heavens and Earth.

The increase of Christ's established Government in history (Isa. 9:7; Acts 9:31) necessarily means the decline, and eventual fall, of every human empire. The Roman Empire was one of the first to go.

QUESTION 36: Rome conquered God's people in A.D. 70. Wasn't this a victory for the Beast? A victory that has not been reversed even to this day, thus proving that the book of Revelation was not fulfilled in A.D. 70?

ANSWER: Israel was under the dominion of the Roman Empire beginning in 63 B.C., when Pompey captured Jerusalem, forcefully entered into the Holy of Holies and took authority over Israel's worship by installing her High Priest. But that dominion over God's people ended in A.D. 30-70, when Israel entered into her "spiritual things." (Rom. 15:27) The earthly holy of holies was fulfilled in the heavenly Holy of Holies; the earthly high priest was fulfilled in the heavenly High Priest; and the earthly Jerusalem was fulfilled in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Today, neither Rome nor any other power can possibly touch "the Israel of God." (Gal. 6:16) Jerusalem is "free indeed" (Jn. 8:36; Gal. 4:26).

Yes, Rome conquered the land of Judea in 70, but that tract of real estate ceased to exist as the Land of the Kingdom of God. When Rome conquered the children of the flesh, (Rom. 9:8) she had merely conquered the "dross" that King Jesus had swept out of His Kingdom.

QUESTION 37: I assume that you do not believe in "soul sleep" such as the JW's. So since the soul is not asleep but rather it is at "Abraham's bosom" and since you do not believe in a physical resurrection of any sort for believers, what was "sleeping" in the verses which speak of "sleeping?" "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." (I Thess. 4:14)

ANSWER: "Fell asleep" and "asleep" are euphemistic ways of saying "died" and "dead." Modern sayings such as, "passed away" and "laid to rest," have similar meanings. Expressions like these are not descriptive of an "after-life" condition. In the Old Testament, "sleep" describes the death of the wicked and the righteous alike.

QUESTION 38: Didn't Jesus say, "I am with you always, until the end of the age?" But since the age has ended, then He is no longer with us. God is our only Lord. Wouldn't this follow?

ANSWER: "Until I come, give attention to the reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching." (I Tim. 4:13)

"Until" did not mean that Timothy was to stop reading, stop exhorting and stop teaching after Paul came. In the same way, the word "until" in Matt. 28:20 did not mean that Jesus was to be no longer "with us" (Matt. 1:23) after the end of the age.

God "and the Lamb" reign on Earth, "among men," "forever and ever":

"And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, 'To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.'" (Rev. 5:13)
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them. ...And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. ...And the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him." (Rev. 21:3,22; 22:3)

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our dwelling with him.'" (Jn. 14:23)

QUESTION 39: If Christ gave up the Kingdom to God the Father in A.D. 70, then why is Christ still reigning? Shouldn't He no longer be reigning if He gave up the Kingdom? What in your view does giving up the Kingdom entail? And if this happened in A.D. 70, then what was different in A.D. 30-70?

ANSWER: The Son submissively delivered all things to the Father, because the Father had authoritatively delivered all things to the Son (Matt. 11:27; Lk. 10:22; Jn. 3:35; 13:3; 16:15; I Cor. 15:27-28). The submission of the Son to the Father means the Son co-reigns under the Headship / authority of the Father (Jn. 5:22,26,30; 14:28; 15:8; I Cor. 11:3).

When the Son delivered up the Kingdom to the Father, God became "All things in all [the saints]." (I Cor. 15:28) The universal Church became the Tabernacle of "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb." (Jn. 14:23; 17:21,24; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 1:22-23; 2:22; 3:19; Heb. 11:10, 39-40; Rev. 21:22) The Holy Spirit's eschatological work in constructing this New-Covenant Temple was consummated when the ministry of Death and condemnation vanished in 70. (Lk. 21:28; I Cor. 15:26; II Cor. 3:7,9; 5:1; Heb. 8:13; 9:8)

"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it...." (Rev. 22:3)

QUESTION 40: Ken Gentry has said repeatedly throughout his writings that Nero's persecution of the Church lasted 3 1/2 years, and that this persecution fulfilled Rev. 13:5-7, where the beast (Nero/Rome) made war on the saints for "forty-two months" (3 1/2 years). Here is my question: Where is Nero's 3-1/2-year persecution of the Church recorded in history? I can't find it anywhere.

ANSWER: It has been popularly repeated that Nero's persecution of Christians began in November A.D. 64 and that it ended, roughly 3 1/2 years later, with his death in June A.D. 68. The fact is though that no one knows for certain what month Nero's persecution began. November is only a guess that was proposed by the Lutheran historian J. L. von Mosheim in his Historical Commentaries, I:138-139 (pub. 1753). All we really know is that Nero's persecution began in A.D. 64, some weeks or months after Rome had burned in July of that same year.

It is also uncertain whether or not the persecution even extended beyond Rome. Only later historians, writing hundreds of years after the fact, said that it did. And it is uncertain whether or not the persecution continued until Nero's death in June 68. For all we know, it may have lasted for only a few months. Nobody knows. If it did end with Nero's death though, then his persecution lasted for roughly three years and six months, or perhaps for as long as three years and ten months, depending on what month it began.

Based on the historical evidence alone, the Neronic Persecution may or may not have lasted for 3 1/2 years. Only if we begin with the presupposition that the "forty-two months" of Rev. 13:7 refers to Nero's/Rome's persecution of Christians, does it then become tempting to speculate that the Neronic Persecution may have lasted for 3 1/2 years.

Our most detailed and reliable information on Nero's persecution comes from Tacitus (c. A.D. 55-120) in his Annals, 15.44, and from Suetonius (c. A.D. 70-140) in his The Twelve Caesars: Nero, 16:2. (See also I Clement, 6.)

QUESTION 41: I have read in different places that the siege of Jerusalem lasted 3 1/2 years, in fulfillment of Rev. 11:2? Is this true? If so, where can I find this 3-1/2-year period recorded in history?

ANSWER: The siege of Jerusalem did not last 3 1/2 years.  It is unfortunate that a number of partial preterists have said that it did, including the late David Chilton. (Days of Vengeance, chapter 11, note 5) The siege of Jerusalem did not begin until A.D. 70.

Vespasian was about to march against Jerusalem in c. July A.D. 68, (about two years before the end) but he decided against it after he heard that Nero had died. (Wars, iv, 491, 502) The actual siege of Jerusalem began about a year and a half later in early A.D. 70, under Titus. Titus' army breached Jerusalem's walls in April or May, about five months before the end.

(Incidentally, that five-month period might possibly have been a literal fulfillment of the "five months" of "locusts" in Rev. 9:5,10. Interestingly enough, May to September are the actual months of the season of literal locusts.)

Other preterists have stated that the Jewish-Roman War in general lasted 3 ½ years. They might very well be correct. Here is what we know:

The Jews defeated the army of Cestius Gallus, Roman proconsul of Syria, in November of A.D. 66. Josephus gives us this date in Wars, ii, 555.

After this incident, many of the most eminent Jews abandoned Jerusalem.  Among them were three men who went to Cestius Gallus, (Wars, ii, 556) who in turn sent them to Nero in Achaia "to inform him of the great distress they were in." (Wars, ii, 558)

  After Nero heard of Cestius' defeat, he deliberated about whom he should send to punish the Jews. (Wars, iii, 1-3)  He decided on Vespasian, and sent him to take command of the armies in Syria. (Wars, iii, 7) 

Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia (where he was with Nero) to Alexandria to bring troops back with him, while Vespasian himself crossed the Hellespont [Dardanelles] and then went by land into Syria and gathered his forces there. (Wars, iii, 8) From Antioch, Syria, Vespasian marched to Ptolemais. (Wars, iii, 29)

  His son Titus, in the meantime, had sailed from Achaia to Alexandria, "and that sooner than the winter season did usually permit" and took the forces he was sent for.  He then marched "with great expedition" and "came suddenly to Ptolemais," and found his father Vespasian already there. (Wars, iii, 64-65)

  At Ptolemais, Vespasian sent some of his troops to Sepphoris in Galilee. (Wars, iii, 33)  After some of his troops stationed there had ravaged the surrounding area, the Jews tried to capture Sepphoris and failed.  The Romans retaliated and began to treat the country in Galilee "according to the law of war." (Wars, iii, 62) 

This was the true beginning of Nero's war against the Jews. Night and day, all of Galilee was filled with fire, blood, misery and calamity. (Wars, iii, 62-63)

  After Vespasian and his son Titus had spent "some time at Ptolemais," Vespasian marched to the boundaries of Galilee, where he pitched camp and made final preparations for battle. (Wars, iii, 110,115,127)  He then marched to Gadara, "and took it upon the first onset."  He killed all the youth and mercilessly killed people of all ages.  He set fire to the city and all the surrounding villas and towns, and carried the survivors into captivity. (Wars, iii, 132-134)

  After that, Vespasian began to march to Jotapata.  On the way, his soldiers leveled the ground, as it was impassable for his horsemen. (Wars, iii, 141)  This project was undertaken in June of A.D. 67.  Josephus gives us this date in Wars, iii, 142.

  Historians have gathered from this sequence of events and from the time-indicators that Josephus gives us therein, that Nero sent Vespasian to make war with the Jews probably in about February of A.D. 67, and that Vespasian's troops first did battle with the Jews (in Galilee) in the spring (March/April/May) of the same year.

If Nero truly sent Vespasian against the Jews in February A.D. 67, then we might say that the War was "declared" 3 1/2 years before the fall of the Temple in August A.D. 70. Or if the war truly began in March (early spring) A.D. 67, then the War lasted for 3 ½ years, until the fall of Jerusalem in September A.D. 70.

However, whether we measure from Nero's "declaration of war" in February(?), or from the first battle in the war in March(?), in neither case did Roman armies tread "Jerusalem" underfoot for 3 ½ years, in fulfillment of Rev. 11:2. Nero's armies never touched Jerusalem before A.D. 70. Most of the 3 1/2 years of Rome's war with the Jews was spent in conquering Judea.

If there was a literal fulfillment of the "forty-two months" of Rev. 11:2, I believe that J. Stuart Russell's interpretation is correct:

"During the three years and an half which represent with sufficient accuracy the duration of the Jewish war, Jerusalem was actually in the hands and under the feet of a horde of ruffians, whom their own countrymen describe as 'slaves, and the very dregs of society, the spurious and polluted spawn of the nation.' The last fatal struggle may be said to have begun when Vespasian was sent by Nero, at the head of sixty thousand men, to put down the rebellion. This was early in the year A.D. 67, and in August A.D.70 the city and the temple were a heap of smoking ashes." (J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia, Part III, The Parousia In the Apocalypse, The Measurement of the Temple) [Emphasis added.]

As the inhabitants of Jerusalem were preparing for war with Rome, Josephus tells us of the futile attempts in the City to "restrain the madness of those that had the name of Zealots." (Wars, ii, 651) And as Roman armies toppled the cities of Galilee in the early days of the war, then it was that every worthless shred of human debris across the Land began slithering its way into the lawless City of Jerusalem. What those so-called "Jews" (Rev. 3:9) did to the Holy City was far worse than anything the merciless, pagan armies of Rome were doing to Judea. Those men (the bandits, Zealots, Sicarii, etc.) were the ones who trampled upon the Holy City; and they were the direct cause of its abominations, and of its desolation. (Wars, iv, 135-137, 163, 262).

QUESTION 42: Do preterist believe that Jesus Christ will ever return here to earth? Do they believe there will be the end of the world?

ANSWER: Preterists believe that Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit are here on Earth, in fulfillment of all the promises that God made to the fathers. Preterists believe that God abides with, in, and among believers forever. Preterists believe that the Church is God's Body and Temple for all generations, forever and ever. Preterists believe that the "world" that was about to end in the New Testament was the pre-Christ, old-covenant world. There will be no end to the Christian Age, because it is the age that was created through the power of Jesus' blood.

See: Psalms 72:17; 78:69; 89:36-37; 93:1; 96:10; 104:5; 119:90; 145:13; 148:4,6; Eccl. 1:4; Isa. 9:7; Dan. 2:44; 4:3,34; 7:14,18,27; Lk. 1:33; Eph. 3:21; Heb. 7:24-25; Rev. 22:2,5,14-15.

QUESTION 43: When did the seven years of tribulation take place?

ANSWER: In my opinion, the "three and a half years" / "forty-two months" / "one thousand two hundred and sixty days" / "time, times and half a time" (and the implied "half week" in Dan. 9:27) are symbols of a time of trouble or distress. They are "broken sevens," as others have put it. The expressions occur in "apocalyptic" contexts. (Dan. 7,9; Rev. 11,12,13)

I do not believe that we should add three and a half years of persecution of Christians (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5) to three and a half years of tribulation upon the Jews/Jerusalem, (Dan. 12:1-7; Rev. 11:2) and come up with a total period of seven literal, consecutive years of tribulation.

I believe there is good and sufficient evidence that the Abomination of Desolation took place, and that the Great Tribulation began, in about February of A.D. 68 (about two years and seven months before the destruction of Jerusalem):

As Judea was increasingly overflowing with blood and fire during Vesapasian's campaign in the first year of Rome's war against the Jews, (A.D. 67-68) Jerusalem was sinking into anarchy. The Zealots there had been tyrannizing the people for some weeks or months, pillaging, imprisoning, and eventually torturing and murdering the most respected citizens in the City. (Josephus, Wars, iv, iii, 4-5; iv, iv, iii)

The Zealots had annulled the succession of priests and replaced the legitimate priests with criminals and ignoramuses. The Zealots even installed their own mock "high priest" and paraded him before the people as though he was a clown on a stage. (Wars, iv, iii, 3-6,8)

In the height of their arrogance, the Zealots took up their residence in the very Temple of God. They filled it with abominations and turned it into "a shop of tyranny." Like "wild beasts," they trampled upon the holy places while their hands were warm with the blood of their own countrymen. (Wars, iv, iii, 3,10-11)

When the people attempted to overthrow them, the Zealots polluted the floor of the Temple with their own blood and retreated into the Inner Court. From there, they made the House of God their fortress, and their place of carousing and drinking. (Wars, iv, iii, 7,9-12; iv, iv, 3) (II Thess. 2:3-4)

Almost immediately after this, 20,000 Idumeans (Edomites) marched to Jerusalem to fight with the Zealots against the people. (Wars, iv, iv, 2) (This was when the Lord intended his children in Jerusalem and in Judea to instantly drop everything and flee to the mountains.)

That very night, there was an incredibly violent lightning storm and an earthquake. (Wars, iv, iv, 5) During the storm the Idumeans secreted their way into the City, (Wars, iv, iv, 6-7) joined the Zealots, and launched a surprise attack on the unsuspecting populace. Everyone throughout the City was astonished at the Judgment of God that was suddenly coming upon them. (Wars, iv, v, 1)

After a night of terror and carnage, the morning saw 8,000 dead bodies in the outer Temple. (Wars, iv, v, 1) The Idumeans then proceeded to murder the two eldest high priests. They cast out their naked corpses and left them unburied to become food for dogs and wild animals. (Wars, iv, v, 2)

These abominations were the beginning of the end for Jerusalem. After that awful day, things progressively became worse and worse in the Holy City. Within the next two years and seven months (approximately), Judea was reduced to ashes and Jerusalem became an unspeakable chamber of demoniacs. (Wars, v-vi)

For the sake of God's chosen ones among the Jews, those days were cut short, and in September of A.D. 70 the power of the holy people was finally shattered. (Dan. 12:7) The City and the Sanctuary were razed to the ground by the Romans, (Lk. 19:41-44) and the inhabitants of Judea were taken captive into all nations. (Wars, vii)

"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the City depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the City, because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the Land, and wrath to this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the nations until the times of the nations be fulfilled." (Lk. 21:20-24)

QUESTION 44: I would like to know since Jesus has already returned then what happens to us when we die? For I was raised thinking that we are waiting on Jesus to come back for his people.

ANSWER: This is one of the wonderful things about the preterist doctrine. In futurism, when we die our spirits go directly to be with God in Heaven, only to be taken away from Him some day and put back into our reconstituted, physical bodies on Earth.

In contrast, preterists do not believe that Christians in Heaven have been waiting for centuries to leave Heaven and to be put back on a refurbished planet Earth. Preterists believe that when we die, we not only go immediately to be "with Christ," (Phil. 1:23) but we stay with Him forever. "So shall we ever be with the Lord." (I Thess. 4:17)

After we die, we "rest" and are "blessed," because our "deeds" "follow with" us. (Rev. 14:13) To live on Earth is to do the works that our Father has ordained for us. (Eph. 2:10) To die is "gain." (Phil. 1:21)

After we die, we are judged. "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment." (Heb. 9:27) We are saved by grace through faith in Christ's blood, and when we die we are rewarded according to the works we did while we were in the body. (I Cor. 3:14; II Cor. 5:10)

After we die, we become "like angels." (Matt. 22:30; Mk. 12:25; Lk. 20:36) In Heaven we will be spirits. (Heb. 12:23) Not naked, disembodied phantoms hovering about, but spirits in the way that God Himself is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24), and that the angels are spirits (Heb. 1:7; )

After we die, we enjoy every blessing that futurists on Earth today think we will not obtain until an allegedly future Parousia at an alleged end of the New Covenant Age.

When I think about what it will be like when we die, I think of Moses and Elijah on the "Mount of Transfiguration." Those two men lived in glorious splendor and talked with Jesus, (Lk. 9:31) Who Himself was as radiant as the sun and as a flash of lightning before them. (Matt. 17:2; Lk. 9:29) Moses and Elijah were so glorious in their "afterlife state" that one of the Lord's apostles wanted to build tabernacles for them. (Matt. 17:4)

Yet the Bible also tells us this: Not only was John the Baptist greater than Moses and Elijah, (Matt. 11:11; Lk. 7:28) but the very weakest of all Christians is greater than was John the Baptist:

"He that is least in the Kingdom is greater than [John the Baptist]." (Matt. 11:11; Lk. 7:28)

The glory of Moses (II Cor. 3:13) and Elijah, and of John the Baptist, as bright and as consuming as it was, was nothing in comparison to the eternal and transcendent Glory of "Christ in you." (II Cor. 3:10-11; Col. 1:27; Heb. 11:39) The eternal Glory of the Kingdom of God (Lk. 17:21) is "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. ...Amen!" (Eph. 3:20)

One of the three things that forever "remains" throughout the Christian Age is "Hope" (I Cor. 13:13). As individual believers today, our living Expectation (I Peter 1:3-4) is to be forever with the Lord and His holy ones in the unimaginable joys of Heaven.

"Comfort one another with these words." (I Thess. 4:18)

QUESTION 45: According to preterists, who are the two witnesses? Please be more specific than answers I have received in the past.

ANSWER: I don't think there is a consensus among preterists as to who "the two witnesses" were. I personally believe the "two witnesses" were symbolic of the Church in the last days. Here are seven reasons why I believe this:

1. God gave His "two witnesses" authority to lock up heaven so that there would be no rain while they prophesied, to turn the waters into blood and to smite the Land with every calamity. (Rev. 11:6)

These judgments against Israel were the judgments of the saints, apostles and prophets, in Rev. 18:20. In Rev. 16:2-12 these judgments were "poured out" on the wicked by means of the Church (in the symbol of the "seven angels"). Compare Rev. 15:6 and Rev. 19:8,14; and compare Rev. 21:9 and Rev. 22:8,9.

Through the faith and prayers of the Church, the destroying Mountain of Israel was violently cast into the sea, turning the waters into blood. (Jer. 51:25; Matt. 21:21; Rev. 8:8)

2. Fire came out of the mouth of the "two witnesses," and it devoured their enemies. (Rev. 11:5)

This symbol was taken from Jer. 5:14:

"...Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it will consume them."

The prophetic words of the Church consumed the people in the Last Days, just as the prophetic words of Jeremiah consumed the people in his day.

Utterance and wisdom was "given" to believers that none of their enemies were able to resist or refute. (Matt. 10:19-20; Mk. 13:11; Lk. 21:15)

3. No one could harm the two witnesses. (Rev. 11:5) In Lk. 10:19, Jesus gave believers "authority" to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, so that nothing could injure them.

4. The two witnesses were the "two olive trees and the two lampstands." (Rev. 11:4)

In Zech. 3-4, these symbols represented Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel the king. In the New Testament, the Church is God's "kingdom and priesthood." (I Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6)

5. The beast made war with the two witnesses, conquered them and killed them. (Rev. 11:7)

This parallels Rev. 13:7-9, where the beast made war with the saints, conquered them and killed them.

6. The two prophets "stood on their feet" after "a breath of God" entered them, and they ascended into Heaven. In that very hour, their enemies became terrified and Jerusalem's downfall began. (Rev. 11:12-13)

This parallels Eze. 37, where the house of Israel was symbolized as "a valley of dry bones." The "breath of God" entered the slain of Israel and "they stood on their feet" and became a vast, conquering army. (Eze. 37:9-14)

The Church was persecuted and martyred, until God raised her up, when He came and paid back affliction to those Jews who were afflicting her. (I Thess. 2:14-16; 4:13-18; II Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 6:10-17)

7. The peoples "rejoiced" and made merry and gave presents to one another when the two prophets (witnesses) who had prophesied in sackcloth were killed, (Rev. 11:3,9-10) but the two prophets were later raised up. (Rev. 11:12)

This is a reiteration of Jesus' words concerning the Church:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy." (Jn. 16:20).

I believe the symbol of the "two witnesses" is based on Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16:

"On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death....."

The prophetic witness of the Church against fleshly Israel was faithful and true.

"But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony [witness]. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all on account of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand." (Lk. 21:12-20)

QUESTION 46: It's universally held that the Apostle John lived to a very old age. Why isn't there anything from him through Polycarp or any other early Christians regarding the Second Coming?

ANSWER: Very few Christian writings from the decades following A.D. 70 have survived to this day. Even quotations of those writings in other writings are scarce. If John did write after A.D. 70, his writings of those years have been lost.

What we can see however from the scant surviving documents of those decades after the fall of Jerusalem, is that the post-apostolic Church adjusted, or "developed," the original eschatology of John and the other Apostles.

As you may know, believers who lived in the Apostolic era believed that Jesus was going to return in their own lifetime. This expectation was in strict accordance with the Lord's own Word:

"Jesus said to His disciples, '...The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.'" (Matt. 16:24,27-28)

But after Jersualem fell in A.D. 70, and the Second Coming and the destruction of heaven and earth had not happened literally, sub-apostolic teachers then came up with the concept of the "Parousia delay." We see this concept most notably in the Epistle of Barnabas (written shortly after the fall of Jerusalem) and in the Shepherd of Hermas. (c. A.D. 85-140)

In the Epistle of Barnabas, it was taught that because Jerusalem had recently fallen, believers could be sure that Jesus was about to come at any moment. And the Shepherd of Hermas was written to explain why there had been a delay in the Church's original, Apostolic expectation.

The Second Coming of Christ and the fall of Jerusalem were gradually dichotomized in the years that followed A.D. 70. As the centuries rolled on, the two events eventually became unrelated in the mind of most.

The early abandonment of the eschatology of the Apostolic era was not a reflection on the teaching abilities of the Apostles, but it was a reflection on our slowness in comprehending some of the more difficult teachings of the Apostles. (II Peter 3:16) Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, (c. A.D. 150) was refreshingly humble and honest in this regard:

"For neither am I, nor is any other like unto me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul..." (Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, 3:2).

Preterism is condemned by many futurists today as a damnable heresy. Yet there is little debate on the following point:

The first century, apostolic Church expected the Parousia to take place within the lifetime of the Apostles.

It necessarily follows from that admission that every doctrine today that teaches that the Parousia of Christ did not take place within the lifetime of the Apostles is a flat denial of the original eschatology of the Church.

Since preterism (the doctrine that the Parousia was to take place within the lifetime of the Apostles) was the original eschatology of the Apostolic Church, we can rest assured that it is infinitely more trustworthy and authoritative than all of the "eschatologies," so called, that were "developed" subsequently.

The original and infallible eschatology that God revealed to the Apostolic Church, and which was believed and taught by the Church from A.D. 30-70, should be believed by us with all of our hearts and minds, that is, if we truly believe that the Apostles and prophets are the foundation of the eternal City of God. (Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14)

A momentous work of the modern Church in coming days will be its eschatological reformation, its submission to Apostolic / preterist eschatology. May certain Church leaders today emulate the humility of Polycarp, and cease in their virtually unqualified veneration of the Creeds, and at last confess the possibility that the historic Church has erred in its eschatology.

In thus humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord, we will discover a more biblical worldview, and will bring glory to the Eternal Gospel. Amen.

(Note: A preterist author named Samuel M. Frost has recently written a book called Misplaced Hope that deals with this issue in detail. The book is sometimes difficult to read, but it has many strong arguments as to how and why the early Church abandoned Apostolic / preterist eschatology. The book was published by a liberal publisher, but the author himself is Reformed. You can purchase a copy of the book directly from the author by e-mailing him at

QUESTION 47: Did the angels gather the elect already? (Matt. 24:31) And was this referring to believers that had died?

ANSWER: I believe the angels gathered the elect in A.D. 70, and that the elect consisted of the dead and the living.

The elect were gathered at "the great sound of a trumpet." This was "the trump of God" in I Thess. 4:16, at which the dead and the living were "caught up together," (I Thess. 4:17) and gathered (II Thess. 2:1) to a "meeting with the Lord in the air." (I Thess. 4:17)

Rev. 10:7 reveals the exact meaning of the "trumpet." When the seventh and last trumpet sounded, (I Cor. 15:52) "the mystery of God" was perfected. "The mystery" was none other than that the Gentiles would be "fellow heirs and fellow members of the Body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel." (Eph. 3:4-6) The trumpet was the Gospel-Voice of Christ. (Compare Jn. 5:25-28; I Thess. 4:16-17) It was the uniting (gathering) of the saints in His "one Body" at the annulment of "the ministry of condemnation" in 70. (II Cor. 3:9; Col. 2:16-17)

QUESTION 48: Should the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Lk. 16:19-31) be taken at face value as the story of a man who died and suffered torments in Hades? Or is it an allegory? I ask this because I've seen preterists say that this story had nothing to do with what happened under the old covenant when people died, but that it was only symbolic of the Judgment in A.D. 70.

ANSWER: I believe the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man depicted what happened to people like Lazarus and the rich man in the afterlife before the time of Christ. Here are two reasons why I do not agree with the interpretation that the story is purely symbolic of the Judgment in 70:

1. A comparison of Lk. 16:23 and Rev. 20:13 shows that the historical setting of the story was pre-A.D. 70:

"In Hades [the rich man] lifted up his eyes..." (Lk. 16:23)

Then later, in A.D. 70:

"Hades gave up the dead..." (Rev. 20:13)

2. Abraham appealed to the old covenant ("Moses and the Prophets") as that which made the rich man's brothers accountable to repent. (Lk. 16:29) The historical-judicial context of that condemnation was pre-Cross. (Lk. 16:16; cf. Lk. 18:18-27)

Under the old covenant, the Israelites had "Moses and the prophets" to call them to righteousness. In the Last Days, they had the One that the Law and the prophets had foreshadowed and predicted, i.e., Christ, His words, His work, and His Church.

The reason a number of preterists allegorize this story is because the Old Testament says nothing about "torments" in the "afterlife" before Judgment Day. So the mention of "torments" in the story leads them to identify the rich man's "torments" with the torments of the A.D.-70 "Lake of Fire" in Rev. 20:10.

I believe there is another explanation for the Old Testament's silence about the "torments" of the wicked dead in Hades before the time of Christ. II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 teach that angels who sinned in ancient times were kept in eternal bonds in pits of darkness, waiting for the Judgment of the Great Day. The doctrine of the perpetual suffering of these angels throughout the ages before the time of Christ is not found in the Old Testament. Though the doctrine was a truth that had already been taught in Israel (in the Book of Enoch), it was not officially included in the Canon until the time of the Apostles.

It was the same for the doctrine of the punishment of wicked men in Hades before the time of Christ. It was one of many other already-established truths that was confirmed in the Apostolic Scriptures. When the Lord uttered the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, He reiterated and approved that which had already been revealed through non-canonical prophecies. Josephus related that teaching of the Jews in His Discourse To The Greeks Concerning Hades:

"Hades" [is a] ..."region" ..."wherein the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are detained," ..."a place of custody for souls, in which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishments, appropriate to every one's behavior...." (Paragraph 1)

"In this region there is a certain place set apart, as a lake of unquenchable fire, in which one has yet been cast; but it is prepared for a day foreordained by God, in which one righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men; when the unjust ...shall be judged to this everlasting punishment, ...while the just shall obtain an incorruptible and never-fading Kingdom. These are now indeed confined in Hades, but not in the same place wherein the unjust are confined." (Paragraph 2)

"...The just have dwelt [in] ...a region of light ...from the beginning of the world, ...with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor are any briers there; but the countenance of the fathers and of the just, which they see always smiles upon them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in Heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call the Bosom of Abraham." (Paragraph 3)

"But as to the unjust, ...they see the place [or choir] of the fathers and of the just. ...For a chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man who has compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust ...pass over it." (Paragraph 4)

(See The Book of Enoch (Section 1, Chapter 22) which also taught a separation or partitioning of the dead before Judgment Day.)

QUESTION 49: If Jesus has already returned then why is it that it seems as though the world is going in the direction of a one world government?

ANSWER: Let's say that in the year 2007 the world becomes "One Government," and let's say that this "One Government" cruelly persecutes Christians.

Would these events indicate that preterism is false?


Why not? Because in the preterist view of Scripture and history, every Christ-hating empire is destined to fall in the course of history. It is either destroyed or it gradually disintegrates. Evil empires, no matter how powerful they become, are little more than a pack of mad dogs outside the eternal City of the great King. (Ps. 48:2-8; Rev. 22:15)

Zech. 14:16-18 refers directly to every person and nation that refuses to worship Christ in the years following the Parousia in 70:

"Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths." (Zech. 14:16-18)

After the Coming of the Messiah (Zech. 14:5) and the eternal establishment of the New Jerusalem, (Zech. 14:11) there have been "families of the earth" that do not worship the King, the Lord of hosts. What happens to these "Egyptians" today, among whom God does not dwell? According to the Scriptures, they have "no rain."

They need to hear and obey Hosea 10:12:

"Sow with a view to righteousness. Reap in accordance with kindness. Break up your fallow ground. For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12; cf. 6:3)

Today, in the Messianic (Christian) Age, God's enemies --individuals and states-- have "no rain." They "lick the dust." (Ps. 72:9) They are on the "outside." They rise for a season, but they soon vanish like a vapor. Their goals are sheer futility. (Eccl. 1:2ff)

Where is the Assyrian Empire today? The Babylonian Empire? The Egyptian Empire? The Grecian Empire? The Ottoman Empire? The Persian Empire? The Roman Empire? The Nazi Empire? The Soviet Empire?

They are all licking the dust. They had no rain and they perished, because they were not founded on the imperishable Word of Christ. And it will be the same for any other empire in our future that rises up against Jesus, the King of kings.

In contrast to those empires, where is the Church?

She is ever-increasing, (Ps. 72:17; 115:14; Isa. 9:7; Jn. 3:30) and has been perpetually worshiping the Father and the Lamb for almost 2,000 years now. We will continue to serve God, and to have peace and fellowship with Him without interruption, "to all generations forever and ever" (Eph. 3:21) --no matter what cruelties an evil empire or religious institution might inflict upon us for a moment in history. (II Cor. 4:17)

"Let them fear You while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. May He come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the Earth. In His days may the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon is no more. May He also rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Let the nomads of the desert bow before Him; And His enemies lick the dust." (Ps. 72:5-9)

QUESTION 50: I heard a preterist author say that Jesus did not possess all the attributes of omniscience because of what Luke 2:52 says about Jesus increasing in wisdom. He also relates this to the fact that Jesus did not know the time of His return in Matthew 24:36. Does this mean He didn't have total omniscience? That statement kind of bothered me a little. If Jesus is fully God and fully man, how can anyone say He didn't have total omniscience?

ANSWER: "...Christ Jesus, Who subsisting in the form of God, esteemed it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, having taken the form of a servant, and having become in the likeness of men. And having been found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, having become obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:5-8)

As we agree, Jesus did not simply "resemble" a human. He did not remain in His divine, heavenly Glory and merely "project" a "fantom image" of a man (as the Gnostics taught). The Son truly gave up the Glory which He had with the Father from eternity past, (Jn. 17:5) and became a Man. A Man Who was truly in one place at one time. A Man Who truly became hungry and thirsty. A Man Whose body was truly weak. A Man Who was truly vulnerable to His enemies, even to the point of death.

Jesus' limited knowledge was not a unique aspect of His humility on Earth. "In the days of His flesh," (Heb. 5:7) He had humbled and limited Himself in regard to His divine Glory and Power. In the same way, when He became "a little while lower than the angels," (Ps. 8:5-6; Heb. 2:7-9) He did not retain the infinite knowledge of the Deity.

Jesus of Nazareth was Yahweh the Son, emptied and humiliated. The humbling of the second Person of the Godhead --whether in glory, or in strength or in knowledge-- is not a dilemma, but it is a profound "mystery."

"And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory." (I Tim. 3:16)



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