You are hereCasey Research: Raptured, Darbyism and the Middle East

Casey Research: Raptured, Darbyism and the Middle East

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By B-17Jock - Posted on 16 July 2005

For millennia, Christians have believed that the end times are near. Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus, precluded by the rise of the Antichrist and the seven years of tribulation, which--thanks to the rapture the Bible talks about--true believers will impassively watch from a box seat in heaven. Right? Not quite. In fact, you would have to look long and hard to find the word 'rapture' in the Bible... it's simply not there. Nor is any clear description or explanation of the rapture. Which is probably due to the fact that the whole concept was invented by a renegade Irish Anglican priest with strange ideas and strong convictions, less than 200 years ago.

A man whose beliefs, one could argue, are largely responsible for the current state of affairs in the Middle East.

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) was the founder of premillennial dispensationalism, as his version of Christian eschatology is called. Through extensive missionary travels across Europe and North America, "Darby converted a generation of evangelical clergy and laity to his views," writes Donald Wagner, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University in Chicago, in a 1998 article in The Christian Century.

Dispensationalism teaches that there are seven ways or "dispensations," (we could also call them 'eras') in which the creator deals with humans. Right now, we're supposedly in the sixth dispensation, Grace, which will be followed by the Millennial Kingdom, a 1000-year-long reign of peace. The transition will be a time of great tribulation, culminating in the final battle between good and evil at--you guessed it--Armageddon, a valley northwest of Jerusalem. Some, however, won't have to go through this messy period, according to Darby. They will be removed from the planet through the rapture; basically, God's "Get out of jail free" card for the faithful.

The history of the rapture can't be told without elaborating on Israel's part in it. "An early version of Christian eschatology... held that Jesus would return and establish his millennial kingdom after the world had been evangelized," explains Donald Wagner. "However, by the 18th century another model of eschatology emerged in England that emphasized the role of a reconstituted Israel in the end times."

Surprisingly, Christian Zionism preceded Jewish Zionism by several years. One of the pioneers of this movement was Sir Henry Finch, an influential lawyer and member of British parliament who, in 1621, wrote a treatise trying to convince the British government and the people to promote Jewish settlement in Palestine in order to fulfill biblical prophecy.

Even though the idea wasn't new, John Darby popularized it by making it a focal point of his teachings... and his successors put a great deal of effort into making it come true. The most prominent Darby followers were evangelical leader Dwight L. Moody, the British social reformer Lord Shaftesbury, and in the early 20th century, Lord Arthur Balfour and Prime Minister David Lloyd George, according to Wagner "the two most powerful men in British foreign policy at the close of World War I." Balfour and George were both raised in dispensationalist churches and openly committed to pursuing a Zionist agenda for "'biblical' and colonialist reasons."

In America, William E. Blackstone, an early Darby disciple and author of Jesus Is Coming (1882), "organized the first Zionist lobbying effort in the U.S. in 1891 when he enlisted J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Charles B. Scribner and other financiers to underwrite a massive newspaper campaign requesting President Benjamin Harrison to support the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine."

Fast forward to 1999. Historically, the dawn of a new century, or even more so, a new millennium, has always stirred fears in boobus sapiens of the sky falling on his head. Of course, the year 1999 was no exception, with doomsday scenarios to everyone's taste: Y2K for non-Christians, the Great Tribulation for believers. With one difference: While the Y2K threat was generally dreaded, many Christians--certain to be saved by the rapture--have been looking forward to the end times, which are supposed to be heralded by the rebuilding of Solomon's Temple on the famous Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Considering that, right now, that space is occupied by the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, two of the most sacred Islamic sites, it becomes clear that this conviction spells disaster.

Some Christians of the more zealous kind have been trying to speed up the construction of Solomon's Temple--and thus pave the way for Christ's second coming--by helping the demolition works along a bit. One major attempt was made in 1969, when an Australian tourist set fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque, the holiest shrine of Islam. His action stirred up Muslim riots whose ripple effects were felt as far away as India.

Needless to say, should one of those radicals succeed one day, it would mark the beginning of "a holy war of incalculable consequences," as one website put it. In other words, Armageddon on a silver platter.

In 1999, on the threshold of the new millennium, more than 60 fundamentalist Christians were rounded up and expelled from Israel by court order, most of them Americans. In January of '99, 14 members of the Denver-based Concerned Christians were arrested in a Jerusalem suburb and deported because "authorities had feared the group might attempt mass suicide or even a suicide shootout with police on the Temple Mount," reported the Washington Times. And in October of the same year, Israeli police ejected 21 Christians who had settled around the Mount of Olives in anticipation of the return of Christ, suspecting them of planning to disturb the public peace. Police spokesman Rafi Yaffe said: "Everyone of them believes he will be given a certain role at the end of days." One of the deportees, however, blamed the group's arrest on the devil who "doesn't like us preaching the name of Jesus in Israel."

Critics could argue that just the opposite might be true. In fact, the Darbyist belief system plays neatly into the political agenda of Jewish extremists who prefer taking back their land by militant means to working out a peaceful compromise between Israel and Palestine.

In February of this year, for example, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to begin withdrawal from the Gaza strip and four West Bank settlements. Settlers opposing the disengagement policy have started to rally radical right-wing Jews and Christian Zionists for support. "Thousands of Jews--and Christians, too--are waiting in the U.S. for the call to join the struggle of the settlers in Gaza," commented the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz--a move that is expected to get into full swing in July.

We're five years into the new millennium and nothing happened--reason for dispensationalists to lay low? Not at all, as you'll see in Part 2 of our rapture article next week. In the contrary, the apocalypse sells better than ever.

Part II

According to a 2002 Time/CNN poll, 36% of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally. 59% believe the events in the Book of Revelation are going to come true. And close to a quarter think the Bible predicted the WTC attack.

Ever since 9/11, apocalyptic visions have seen a major boost, as a Time article from June 2002 confirms: "[The terrorist attacks] not only deepened the interest among Christians fluent in the language of Armageddon and Apocalypse. It broadened it as well, to an audience that had never paid much attention to the predictions of the doomsday prophet Nostradamus, or been worried about an epic battle that marks the end of time, or for that matter, read the Book of Revelation."

In the weeks after the attacks, U.S sales of Nostradamus books, the Bible, and books about Islam skyrocketed. But the most amazing phenomenon in the book market has been the Left Behind series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Rev. Tim LaHaye, the well-known Christian reconstructionist and co-founder (with Jerry Falwell) of Moral Majority.

In the first of the 12 Left Behind books (we hesitate to call them novels), Rayford Steele, a commercial airline pilot, not only loses his wife and young son to the rapture, but a third of the passengers on his plane... all snatched away in the blink of an eye, leaving only their clothes behind. The rest of the series deals with the abandoned heathens-turned-believers who--holding tiresome, unctuous monologues about their newfound belief--try to survive the following, horrendous seven-year-reign of the Antichrist and the plagues of the Seven Seals.

With little literary finesse but true to Darbyist doctrine, LaHaye and Jenkins take biblical inerrancy to the extreme. Word for word taken out of the Book of Revelation, bodies of water turn into blood, one-hundred-pound hailstones rain down on non-believers, and--true to the bizarre text of Rev. 9:7-10--a horde of attacking locusts look like tiny horses with human faces, long hair, and golden crowns on their little heads. Kinda cute, if they weren't so hungry. Stephen King, if he were dead, would spin in his grave.

The Left Behind series is the best-selling Christian fiction series of all times, only topped by 'The Book' itself. All in all, it sold 62 million books, 1 million internationally, and more than 10 million copies of the kids series, plus movie rights, audio tapes, etc. The last volume in the series, Glorious Appearing, alone sold 2 million copies even before its publication date in March of last year. It describes the second coming of a bloodthirsty, "avenging Jesus who slaughters non-believers by the millions," as a 2004 CBS report put it.

The authors have no problem with this image; LaHaye insists that "liberalism has so twisted the real meaning of Scripture that we've manufactured a loving, wimpy Jesus that he wouldn't even do anything in judgment." In LaHaye's and Jenkins' literal version of the final judgment, non-believers' eyes melt in their heads, their tongues disintegrate, and the flesh drops off their bones. Christians beware--these days, you may want to think twice about quoting the saying "WWJD--What would Jesus do?"

Tim LaHaye, definitely the spunkier of the two Left Behind authors, hasn't stopped there. According to the website www.raptureready.com, which we will discuss in a moment, "[the] Evangelical Studies Bulletin, the newsletter of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, picked LaHaye as the most influential evangelical leader in the United States." He founded the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy that is dedicated to interpreting biblical predictions of the end times for enraptured (pun intended) Christian students, as well as the Pre-Trib Research Center (PTRC), which publishes The Pre-Trib Perspectives, a monthly journal "intended to keep the reader on the cutting edge of prophetic events as they unfold." RaptureReady.com hails the PTRC as a "'think tank' committed to the study, proclamation, teaching and defending of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture... and related end-time prophecy."

Interestingly, the arrival of the end times and the messiah's second coming were never meant to take that long. Early Christians believed that Jesus would come back during their lifetime--an assumption that was shared by the various Bible authors and, supposedly, Jesus himself:

"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near." (John the Baptist to Jews in Matthew 3:2)

"Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him." (Rev. 1:7, referring to Jesus' crucifiers)

"For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled... for the powers of heaven shall be shaken... This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled." (Jesus to his disciples in Luke 21:22-32 and, similarly worded, in Matthew 24:30-34 and Mark 1:24-30)

"Verily I say unto you, There are some of those standing here, who in no wise shall taste of death, until they have seen the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 16:28 and similarly in Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27)

While staunch believers quietly kept postponing the deadline throughout the centuries, others, like John Anderson, radio show host of "Voice of Reason," claim the second coming has already happened and no one noticed. Oops.

Either way, it's better to be safe than sorry, says RaptureReady.com, probably the most comprehensive source on the Internet for rapturee hopefuls and thrill-seeking non-believers. The main attraction on the site is undeniably the Rapture Index, a "Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity" or a "prophetic speedometer."

The index, which has been around for over a decade, consists of 45 "[types] of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture," such as the appearance of false Christs, the Antichrist and the mark of the beast, but also more secular events like unemployment, anti-Semitism, the economy, drug abuse, earthquakes, arms proliferation, food supply, interest rates, nuclear nations, and many more. Every week, the current level of 'activity' for each item is rated from 1 to 5. The ratings are added up and voila--there's our RI.

But how do you evaluate the rapture potential of a given week? RaptureReady.com helps its readers out: A Rapture Index of 85 and below spells "slow prophetic activity," 85 to 110 "moderate prophetic activity," 110 to 145 "heavy prophetic activity," and above 145 means "fasten your seat belts." At the time of this writing, the RI was 145 (which doesn't include the terror attacks in London yet), just on the threshold to a red alert in the Rapture Ready Advisory System. (In contrast, the week of September 24, 2001, saw an RI of 182, with top ratings in more than half of the 45 categories.)

The strongest items on the list with a rating of 5 were debt and trade ("The U.S. federal and trade deficit hit new highs"), apostasy, Gog (Russia), ecumenism ("The death of Pope John Paul will likely prove to be a net benefit to the movement calling for the integration of world religions"), nuclear nations, arms proliferation ("Iran, China and Pakistan continue to build up their military"), earthquakes, and climate. Oil supply/price also received a 5. The reason: "The price of oil is up on strong demand."

Beam us up, Scotty.

From: http://www.caseyresearch.com

Virgil's picture

It's so good to see non-believers confirming over and over again what Preterists have been saying for years: dispensationalism makes Christians look like fools. The Middle East is a bomb ready to explode and ultimately Islamic terrorism is largely due to the spread of Zionism - what do you expect when the crazies go to Israel and plan a violent takeover of the Dome of the Rock?

coderguy's picture

So what else is new?

EWMI's picture

Let's see,

A looming draft. (You could pray that you are old enought to miss it or get into shape)

Four Dollars a Gallon (Buy a small car or a motorcycle)

A for real nuclear war as desired by Futurists everywhere, oh and BTW NO RAPTURE to pull us out Just in Time!

Virgil's picture

Gas prices can change - I am not that worried about Gas since prices depend on supplies. We already went through a bad period with gas in the 70s.

The desire for nuclear war is what worries me the most. It is amazing to me that people who call themselves "christians" are rooting for millions to die.

EWMI's picture

What do you think about the emerging Bio Oil theories? If it is true that oil is a natural biproduct of the earth itself we are not really doing as bad as some would have us feel.

I too am really amazed at the Christians who somehow think that exploding Nukes will bring the Lord back.

Virgil's picture

Yes, it seems like there is enough evidence to at least consider the idea of oil being produced by the planet itself. About a year ago I posted an article titled An Unlimited Supply of Oil? It makes for an excellent read:

http://planetpreterist.com/news-1983.html

chrisliv's picture

Wow,

This article came mighty close to mentioning "70 AD" and "Preterism" as a sane biblical alternative to Dispensationalism.

The mention of John Anderson and his program may be helpful for the more diligent seekers, but a website URL would have been even better press.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Actually, Chrisliv, the article mentioned preterism as an insane alternative:

"While staunch believers quietly kept postponing the deadline throughout the centuries, others, like John Anderson, radio show host of "Voice of Reason," claim the second coming has already happened and no one noticed. Oops.

The author has rightly identified the dilemma facing full preterism. A secretive second coming that was kept hidden from even the elect ones to whom it pertained stretches the imagination and defies the biblical prediction concerning the event.

Partial preterism is the only position that can square with real history and scripture.

EWMI's picture

Parker I have read your position on this in the past but have a couple of questions.

Do you see any signs of the times?

Do you do any sort of date/time/season setting?

al

Parker's picture

Hi EWMI:

I believe the best reasoning concerning eschatology (especially as it relates to preterism) is expressed in the following statements:

I answer that, when Christ shall come to judge He will appear in the form of glory, on account of the authority becoming a judge. Now it pertains to the dignity of judicial power to have certain signs that induce people to reverence and subjection: and consequently many signs will precede the advent of Christ when He shall come to judgment, in order that the hearts of men be brought to subjection to the coming judge, and be prepared for the judgment, being forewarned by those signs. But it is not easy to know what these signs may be: for the signs of which we read in the gospels, as Augustine says, writing to Hesychius about the end of the world, refer not only to Christ's coming to judgment, but also to the time of the sack of Jerusalem, and to the coming of Christ in ceaselessly visiting His Church. So that, perhaps, if we consider them carefully, we shall find that none of them refers to the coming advent, as he remarks: because these signs that are mentioned in the gospels, such as wars, fears, and so forth, have been from the beginning of the human race: unless perhaps we say that at that time they will be more prevalent: although it is uncertain in what degree this increase will foretell the imminence of the advent. -- Thomas Aquinas; Summa Theologica, Supplement Question 73, Article 1

Aquinas' view as stated above is the most reasonable of all positions because it alone squares with both scripture and history. Note that Aquinas referred to Augustine's statement below:

"Many passages...seem to refer to the last judgment, yet on a closer examination they are found to be ambiguous, or to allude rather to some other event -- whether to that coming of the Saviour which continually occurs in His Church, that is, in His members, in which comes little by little, and piece by piece, since the whole Church is His body, or to the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem. For when He speaks even of this, He often uses language which is applicable to the end of the world and that last and great day of judgment" (Augustine - City of God - Book XX)

Personally, I believe this is the only rationale that makes any possible sense. To teach a fulfilled eschatology that was not known to even the elect ones to whom the event pertained is lunacy. Such a position also blatantly defies scripture which teaches that the elect will know. The full preterist paradigm blatantly contradicts scripture on that point.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

There was no "secret" about Christ's Coming and Judgment in 70 AD. And the facts about it are not "hidden."

Regardless of whether uninformed voices are misunderstanding or misstating the full Preterist position, they are getting closer to stumbling into it, and will likely articulate it correctly fairly soon, if for no other reason than to attempt to debate it reasonable.

At the moment though, there is speculation about false dilemmas and a fear to even mention Preterism or how it is the only eschatological position that sanely interprets Christ's prophecies, which all demand a 1st century AD fulfillment.

Like Dispensationalism, so-called "partial" Preterism implies that Christ was a false prophet. So, Atheism is a more viable postion.

You have created a dilemma for yourself, Parker, and trying to make it a dilemma for others probably won't help you solve it.

Peace,
Christian

Parker's picture

Chrisliv,

Full preterism has a second coming that was indeed kept secret from the very elect ones to whom the event pertained. The first elect ones had no idea it took place for them (assuming it did).

Now, since the bible predicted that the elect would know it took place for them, full preterism makes Christ and the apostles liars, for FP has a second coming, but one that evaded the knowledge of even the elect to whom it pertained. Such a position makes scripture errant.

The fact that the first century elect did not know of any full preterism spells doom for full preterism. If the first century elect ones had known the second coming took place for them, futurism would never have existed. Or to state it in the positive, the first generation of Christians didn't know of any fulfilled eschatology, and thus they are responsible for the futurism of all successive generations.

Now, contrary to your statement, partial preterism does NOT not imply Christ was a false prophet. Early christians taught that AD 70 was in some way an earthly foreshadowing/forecasting of another, different end. And such has been the only possible preterism known to anyone until the 20th century. We might call this typology or multiple fulfillments or something like that, but such an approach to scripture does NOT impugn scripture or the prophets.

mdpopescu's picture

[Full preterism has a second coming that was indeed kept secret from the very elect ones to whom the event pertained.]

Now, you do repeat this several times - but, contrary to the opinion of five-year olds, this does not actually make it an argument.

[If the first century elect ones had known the second coming took place for them, futurism would never have existed.]

Now THIS is an argument. Let's apply it some more:

- if the first century elect ones had known that Mary was not actually immaculately conceived, the RCC would never have existed

or

- if the first century elect ones had known that Mary was, in fact, immaculately conceived, then protestantism would never have existed

or

- if the first century elect ones had truly known God, then atheism would never have existed

See the problem? There's no actual case-effect relationship between the two parts of the argument. No actual implication. Something is missing.

Parker's picture

Hello mdpopescu:

My claim that the first-century elect ones remained futurists at and immediately beyond AD 70 is a matter of history. A broad variety of sources and documents exist that show this is the case, and they form a unanimous witness. Therefore, full preterism is stuck saying eschatology was fully realized when, as a matter of historical fact, the first-century christians didn't know it. I have not listed all those sources since most people here already know of them and have done some homework on their own to see it is so. If you can produce even *one* source that shows the first-century church professed that their blessed hope had been fully realized, please do so.

I am not quite sure I followed your point on the immaculate conception being related to the RCC's existance. The RCC was established by Peter, Paul and other apostles in their lifetime (see the Book of Romans)--and it remains to this day. (As an aside, Catholic views on Mary have longstanding support among early christians [and the Orthodox Church], and even Luther and Calvin had great devotion to the blessed mother [as disciples, of course]. But that's off topic here. The reformation didn't take place over Mary anyway.)

And, the point to remember is that every source we have from history concerning the first-century Christians shows that they were futurists just beyond AD 70. Obviously, if they knew their blessed hope took place, they would have been avid, devout, loud preterists. But as a matter of historic fact, they were avid, devout, loud futurists. The cause/effect is obvious: if the first-century christians knew their blessed hope took place in its entirety, they would not have continued to be futurists beyond AD 70. But, as a matter of historic fact, they were futurists beyond AD 70.

God bless

Virgil's picture

Where do you see Preterism being described as "insane?" That's a ridiculous conclusion... And how is making Jesus a liar square with the Scriptures? It seems to me like you are now a partial preterist because you are forced to be so by the Catholic Church, not because of your personal studies. The "infallible interpretation" of the Church overrides anything you could come up with, so you either end up in a damnable position, or you agree with the Church's position on the Second Coming. I am not surprised by your position at all - I am surprised by the lack of backbone.

Parker's picture

Virgil,

I was merely pointing out that the author of the article clearly considers John Anderson's position to be incredible. He calls the preterist scenario an "Oops" because it teaches the second coming happened yet no one noticed. In my opinion, such a scenario is indeed an "oops"--perhaps the greatest "oops" of all time.

Next, you are dead wrong in saying I'm a partial preterist because I'm Catholic. Rather, I'm a partial preterist because the elect ones of the first century had no idea their blessed hope took place for them. This reality forces one of two possible conclusions: (1) Christianity is false or (2) Partial preterism is the correct eschatological tradition/viewpoint. I have chosen option No. 2. That is why I am a partial preterist.

Also, full preterism makes Christ and the apostles false prophets because it teaches a second coming that was kept hidden from the first christians. Christ and the apostles clearly taught that the elect would recognize the event.

Virgil's picture

I'm a partial preterist because the elect ones of the first century had no idea their blessed hope took place for them.

Parker...I would expect better from you man. Stop making stupid assumptions - you don't know what the first century christians knew or didn't know.

Parker's picture

Virgil,

The problem is that we DO know what the first christians believed in the post AD 70 world. We know it from both secular and Christian sources. They knew nothing of a fulfilled eschatology. This is not my "assumption," it is real history.

Virgil's picture

They knew nothing of a fulfilled eschatology. This is not my "assumption," it is real history.

Bah...yeah, Catholic Church history. We've had this conversation before. Your recent "conversion" to partial-preteristm doesn't do anything for me Parker. You may not want to publicly admit its relation to Catholicism, but that's just the way things appear and most likely the way things are.

Did they threaten you with excommunication, or are they holding salvation dangling in the air for you? Or was it the eucharist they threatened to keep from you?

Parker's picture

Virgil:
Bah...yeah, Catholic Church history.

Parker:
Any history, Virgil. The historic record is unanimous on this issue, and it is supported by both secular and christian sources. We have documents from first-century witnesses as to what the first elect ones were doing and teaching. They had no idea the parousia took place in any full sense.

Virgil:
We've had this conversation before. Your recent "conversion" to partial-preteristm doesn't do anything for me Parker.

Parker:
This has nothing to do with me. The first century reality is that the elect ones of the apostolic churches had no idea their "blessed hope" took place in its totality. Thus, full preterism logically melts down.

Virgil:
You may not want to publicly admit its relation to Catholicism, but that's just the way things appear and most likely the way things are. Did they threaten you ...

Parker:
I have to chuckle a bit. Protestants have some funny ideas about the way the Catholic Church handles doctrinal deviations among individual Catholics.

Look, Virgil, I am a partial preterist because it best fits the scriptural and historic realities. Full Prets are stuck teaching a secret parousia that was kept hidden from the very elect to whom the event pertained. Such a view is incredible, and the author of this article instantly realized it -- he calls it an "Oops." People will never believe the full preterist "story" because both scripture and common sense demand that the elect would have known the event took place--and yet no one knew it took place. They recognized and faithfully passed on all other relevant aspects about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, yet they somehow failed to recognize and pass on the realization of their blessed hope??? It's an impossible sell. It defies logic, common sense, and scripture.

Virgil's picture

Look, Virgil, I am a partial preterist because it best fits the scriptural and historic realities. Full Prets are stuck teaching a secret parousia that was kept hidden from the very elect to whom the event pertained.

Who is teaching a secret parousia, because I am not?! You also continue to speak on behalf of the first century believers - very convenient...to make claims that nobody can prove.

Here is a good one for you. The first-century Christians never got to see a pie in the sky floating above Jerusalem. Prove that one wrong!

Parker's picture

Virgil, I am not trying to prove a negative here (see your pie example). Rather, I am referring to a unanimous, positive, explicit record that shows the first christians (of apostolic churches, no less) to be futurists at and just beyond AD 70. The testimony comes directly from them and also from secular sources describing the first christians.

Virgil's picture

Ok Parker...I know you have the ability to keep this going forever, so you can have the last word on this one.

Parker's picture

Virgil, ask yourself: Why has the church been futurist for 20 centuries now? The answer? Because no generation experienced or even recognized the blessed hope and proclaimed it to anyone.

If any generation of christians had experienced the blessed hope in any way recognizable to them, they would have transmitted the knowledge of it to everyone, thus ending futurism for all future generations of christians.

We don't have even a single testimony of even one person that claimed eschatology was fulfilled, and the testimony we do have indicates that the early 70AD christians had no idea their blessed hope transpired for them. It simply didn't happen in real history. And that's why the church has been futurist all along.

Virgil's picture

I tell you what...you put your faith in the writings of "the church" as all the other Catholics do. I'll put my faith in what the Bible teaches.

Everlasting's picture

Virgil,

Your repeated accusation that Parker's partial preterist position is the result of his affiliation with the Catholic Church is unjustified and extremely annoying. He's explained this is not the case. Are you calling him a liar?

I 'met' Parker in cyber space some years ago because I frequented visited a forum called 'Not Deceived', and on that forum Parker, or BJ, argued consistently for full preterism. He was by far the most passionate, eloquent and knowledgable preterist on the forum and handled the Word of God with humility and confidence. I learned a great deal from him and hold him in the highest regard.

I do not doubt for a moment that Parker's outstanding defence of the full preterist position was the reason why all preterist discussion was eventually banned from the forum, to the dismay of other like-minded believers.

I visit Planet Preterist regularly and have noted Parker's change in position with great interest. And with some concern. The fact that there is not a single shred of evidence that the elect recognized the parousia, is in his honest assessment, the 'achilles heel' of full preterism. He cannot see a way around it and to this day noone here has in his judgment suggsted a reasonable explanation. I imagine the transition from full to partial preterism has been painful and disturbing.

I think the man deserves more respect than he's getting.

I am sure I am not the only one watching this discussion and deeply interested in this issue. If it has turned Parker from full to partial preterism then it really interests me and is in my opinion very significant.

By the way .. I am not a Catholic.

And I am not a personal friend of Parker or in touch with him.

And I hope to goodness that I've not embarrassed Parker!!

But I am sickened by the way his Roman Catholicism provokes in fellow preterists on this forum the most pathetic and unchristian response. This is by no means the first time this has happened. And it is not helpful.

In the Love of Christ,
Everlasting.

bcurtis's picture

Finally! A post upon which I have the intellectual acumen to respond. I have read this entire thread and I must say, "I agree with Everlasting."

I am an uninvolved third party here, as I do not know anyone participating in this forum. I am trying to work through some of these issues, and from time to time the banter among believers here does get rather biting.

Virgil's picture

The fact that there is not a single shred of evidence that the elect recognized the parousia, is in his honest assessment, the 'achilles heel' of full preterism.

Yes, and as I've already said several times, the fact that there is not a single shred of evidence that the elect did NOT recognize the parousia, is my honest assessment that full preterism is correct. Why is his position anymore valid than mine, and why are his words NOT "pathetic" and mine are?

But I am sickened by the way his Roman Catholicism provokes in fellow preterists on this forum the most pathetic and unchristian response. This is by no means the first time this has happened. And it is not helpful.

It would do you well to read about my support of Catholicism on this site. If you think my words are "pathetic and unchristian" you are living in the twilight zone! Parker has many times appealed in the past to his Catholic tradition in defense of his quirky views on theological matters. I am not calling him a liar, I am calling him evasive and deceitful. I've given him unlimited support in the past here and I've stood behind him fully aware of his Catholicism, and now he has broken my trust by coming back here with his nonsensical partial-preterist stuff which lacks any evidence whatsoever.

The ONLY reasonable thing I must conclude is that his recent retrogression is due mostly to the Catholic Church cracking down on his heretical views since the "Church" is the ultimate source of truth to begin with. And please don't mock my "protestant" views as he did. I am nowhere close to a protestant..there is hardly anything left to protest in the Catholic Church.

Parker's picture

Virgil:
the fact that there is not a single shred of evidence that the elect did NOT recognize the parousia, is my honest assessment that full preterism is correct.

Parker:
Virgil, there is a historic record (i.e., evidence) which gives unanimous testimony against the full preterist claim. That record demonstrates that the first christians of the apostolic churches continued to be devoted futurists immediately beyond AD 70. This means they did NOT know eschatology was fully realized. I don't know how you can suggest otherwise. There is hard evidence, and it is most certainly not on the full preterist side.

Next, Virgil, I do not accuse you of being anti-Catholic. You have been one of few people here at Planet Preterist to actually accept me as a brother. And I appreciate that. However, I do think you use a "oh-he's-just-a-Catholic" tactic to try and dismiss my argument instead of dealing with the substance of it. My argument is based on real history using an objective historic record made up of varied secular and early christian sources. And if you think I'm making this issue up in my head, remember that Ed Stevens was forced to publish an entire book with an absurd theory to try and get around this same historical dilemma ("Expectations Demand a First Century Rapture"). Stevens knows that the historical problem is grave to the preterist view. Stevens' explanation is that the elect disappeared at AD 70, and so they weren't around to tell all the other christians. (And no one noticed their disappearance!)

Next, I don't know how you can accuse me of being evasive or deceitful. If my defense of the partial preterist view is a disappointment to you, that's one thing; but I don't think it's dishonest or evasive in any way. If you think it's wrong for me to voice a partial preterist defense here, then you need to make that a policy for this site. I would abide by any policy you have here. I am no troublemaker, as you well know.

Finally, I have told you plainly what is the reason for my rejection of a full preterist position. I can't believe in a consummation that was unrecognizable to--and unrecognized by--the very elect ones to whom the event pertained. It defies scripture and logic. Sam Frost says they had a "misplaced hope," and that's why they missed it. R.C. Sproul says they erred. But these are unacceptable, for scripture plainly says the elect were to recognize the event when it took place. The entire event was to and for them. How could the blessed hope evade the very ones for whom the event pertained? It defies all logic.

BTW, it is unreasonable for you to reach other conclusions about why I have rejected the full preterist proposition after I have clearly told you my reasons. My personal studies are my personal studies, and the Catholic Church wouldn't do anything about them unless I was a renegade pastor or bishop insisting on popularizing views contrary to accepted Church teaching. So you're way off there. The substance of my reasoning is based on real, objective history. If ANY generation had experienced the consummation of Christ's parousia in its totality, there would be no futurism or futurists. It's that simple.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker,

I hope you don't mind me interjecting some more, but I think your dilemma is the same as the Dispensationalists; you're both trying to make the Parousia into something it was never intended to be: a religious Big Bang Theory.

Christ is the authority on the matter.

Listen carefully to Christ's words from several verses in John chapter 14 and 17:

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also."

"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."

"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

"As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."

Parker, that Day has come. There is no need to wait for it.

The World will not see Him again, and it's pretty silly for Christians to wonder why that is so.

So you can stop looking for a historical record of His sighting or the disappearance of Christians.

Christ said Christians would stay put on planet Earth, yet they would see Him (not carnally) and be comforted.

What more could you want?

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Chrisliv:
I hope you don't mind me interjecting some more, but I think your dilemma is the same as the Dispensationalists; you're both trying to make the Parousia into something it was never intended to be: a religious Big Bang Theory.

Parker:
I just explained this, Chrisliv. Even if the Parousia was a mere theological concept to be grasped at AD 70 and nothing more, THEY STILL MISSED IT. Scripture predicts that the elect of the final judgment will participate in and recognize the event. That simply didn't take place at AD 70. Am I not explaining the problem well?

Let's try it this way: if full preterism were true, then the first-century Christians would have had to be preterists in their views at AD 70 and beyond. Yet that was not the case in real history. While those first disciples of the apostles knew of AD 70 and considered it providential, they continued to believe in another end and looked forward to it. Say what you want, but that is what really happened at AD 70.

chrisliv's picture

So,

Like the Dispensationalists, you too are waiting for a religious Big Bang.

I'm sorry to say that you'll probably have to wait for all eternity for it.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

CLIV:
So, like the Dispensationalists, you too are waiting for a religious Big Bang.

PARKER:
Scripture said the elect would *recognize* the event (even if that event was to be nothing more than a mere fleeting thought or theological understanding in ones brain). They did not recognize the event. Deal with it. Full prets are stuck teaching a second coming that was kept hidden from the very elect ones for whom the event pertained. We might call that a "secret rapture" view.

Virgil's picture

Scripture said the elect would *recognize* the event

Scripture also says that people would NOT recognize the event...that's why they had signs to point them to it.

Parker's picture

Virgil,

Whether by signs or by revelation or by experience, the elect would recognize the event. Scripture shows this plainly. And, such ones would then cease to be futurists at that time. Yet history shows us that the first-century christians remained futurists at and beyond AD 70, without exception. The various sources from history form a unanimous witness to this fact.

Everlasting's picture

Parker,

You say that the Scripture predicts the elect of the final judgment will participate in and recognize the event.

I'd really appreciate it if you'd post a list verses that support this position.

Also, who are 'the elect'?

And why is the idea proposed by Ed Stevens (the removal of the elect from the earth at Jesus' second coming) not a reasonable explanation?

Thankyou!
Everlasting.

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

Just a couple of posts ago (reposted below) I provided Parker with clear statements by Christ that indicate that he seems to reject the Parousia for what it was, almost like the Jews rejected Christ's Kingdom for what it was, i.e., non-hostile.

Parker didn't seem to want to deal with those verses that the Master so clearly seemed to indicate was the nature of of His own Parousia was all about, regardless of whether people tried to make it into a religious Big Bang.

I suppose Parker might look for some Pauline verses that may seem to contradict Christ, in order to try to prove his point, but that would only mire his position more.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

------------------------------------------------------
(From: A Religious Big Bang, by Chrisliv)

Well, Parker,

I hope you don't mind me interjecting some more, but I think your dilemma is the same as the Dispensationalists; you're both trying to make the Parousia into something it was never intended to be: a religious Big Bang Theory.

Christ is the authority on the matter.

Listen carefully to Christ's words from several verses in John chapter 14 and 17:

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also."

"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."

"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

"As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."

Parker, that Day has come. There is no need to wait for it.

The World will not see Him again, and it's pretty silly for Christians to wonder why that is so.

So you can stop looking for a historical record of His sighting or the disappearance of Christians.

Christ said Christians would stay put on planet Earth, yet they would see Him (not carnally) and be comforted.

What more could you want?

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

CHRISLIV:
Christ said Christians would stay put on planet Earth, yet they would see Him (not carnally) and be comforted. What more could you want?

PARKER:
I would want the first-century elect ones to have recognized/understood/perceived/known that the second coming was fully past AT LEAST AS WELL AS YOU DO.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker,

You didn't seem to have your way!

So, are you going to kick and scream for all eternity?

Or are you going to wait for a so-called Rapture, for all eternity?

Peace,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Cliv,

I'm not "waiting" for anything. Partial preterism believes the kingdom is here just as much as full preterists. Christians are the covenant people of God, and our job is to live according to God's commands and worship Him and live the upright lives he calls us to by His grace.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker

That all sounds great.

But you contradict yourself, since you've been bemoaning your "dilemma" by incessantly stating that your "Blessed Hope" has either "not occurred" or that it remains "unrealized".

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Hi Everlasting.

Somewhere in another comments thread I listed dozens of verses that show how God's bride was to recognize the Lord's return. I'll see if I can locate that. If not, you can find such passages in nearly every book of the New Testament.

Next, the elect are the apostles' churches and disciples--the first-century christians.

Next, concerning brother Stevens' view, it has the same problem it attempts to solve. Stevens recognizes that if the blessed hope was fully realized, someone should have known it and trumpeted it loudly. He's very forceful on that, and rightly so. Yet history shows just the opposite took place--no one knew the blessed hope took place. The problem is so serious to anyone who studies the history, that Stevens tried to find a workaround, which was as follows: the reason no one proclaimed fulfillment is because the elect ones had disappeared in a rapture. There were no true christians left on earth to tell anyone.

Stevens' explanation runs into innumerable historical and logical problems. First, it runs into the exact same problem it attempts to solve. Namely, if a "rapture" took place, why did no one know? The same problem still exists. And, humorously, the answer would be that no one knew the rapture took place because the people who presumably did know must have been raptured themselves! But why then did no one know of their rapture? The answer would be, again, that the people who knew of their rapture must have been raptured. And so on and so on. It's circular. It just keeps going around and never solves the initial dilemma--you just end up with endless raptures. Follow?

The historic record presents many more problems for Stevens' view. If the elect were raptured as Stevens suggest, why do we have records of apostolic churches at and beyond AD 70 such as Rome, Corinth, Smyrna, Corinth, etc.? We have testimonies about these disciples, including letters to and from ordained bishops like Ignatus and Polycarp and Clement. We have secular sources as well. Furthermore, nearly all groups agree that these were some of the most heroic and brave followers of Christ to have ever existed--true blue followers that faced the lions' mouths and other horrible martrydoms for the faith. In Stevens' view, we must think of these people as having no relationship to the apostles and apostolic churches at all. These were not christians of the "first rank," as Stevens calls it. These were apostates who "missed the rapture." Stevens' view melts down entirely when compared to the actual history of those churches and christians.

Hope that helps.

chrisliv's picture

Dear Parker,

The article was apparently written by an atheist or an agnostic. His article clearly holds Dispensationalism up to ridicule in much the same way as a good Preterist might do, by using the Bible, history, and fair judgment.

I give the writer credit for coming close to mentioning Preterism, though he doesn't actually do it. What he does do is mention John Anderson, but then goes on to misrepresent Preterism and John Anderson, by saying, "others, like John Anderson, radio show host of 'Voice of Reason,' claim the second coming has already happened and no one noticed. Oops."

I'm quite certain that John Anderson doesn't hold a view that the Parousia went "unnoticed". So, the author is actually missunderstanding or is missrepresenteding Preterism and John Anderson.

All of the Christians who saw the signs in the heavens over Jerusalem during the 3+ year long Seige, and who then heeded Christ's warnings to get out of Jerusalem when it became possible (and it did, momentarily), were those "wise virgins" who had their "lamps" ready and escaped across the Jordan river to Pella. The "unwise virgins" actually thought that the Romans gave up at that moment, and foolishly believed that "peace and safety" had been won.

Of course, the Arch of Titus in Rome remains standing today, and is an ancient monument that serves as a graphic historical recognition and display of the Fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, even showing how the sacred, golden Temple vessels were taken away as booty, along with about a million Jewish slaves who weren't slaughterd with the rest who came from all around Asia to celebrate Passover and were caught packed inside Jerusalem.

No, Parker, the event was fully recognized. It was even recognized and recorded as such by an uninterested and unimpeachable eye witness, the brilliant Jewish general and historian, Flavius Josephus.

Parker, likely by accident, when the author writes "Oops" in ridicule, it is actually making fun of your pseudo-Preterist position and the foolish notion that "nobody noticed". But, again, I give him credit for making such a crude approximation in print, i.e., it's still fairly good free press for the Preterist position.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Cliv,

I agree the author gave good criticism of Dispensationalism. But I am simply pointing out that he also criticized preterism for its claim that the second coming already happened (yet no one knew it).

Some full preterists admit it went unnoticed in real history (Sam Frost, if I'm not mistaken), and others say it MUST have been noticied in real history (contrary to the clear historic testimony). Well guess what: both secular and christian history show the first christians did NOT know of a fulfilled eschatology.

Next, that the Christians fled Jerusalem according to the signs and portents they were given does NOT equate to a completely fulfilled eschatology! Remember, Eusebius, who records that event for us, did NOT conclude that ALL eschatology was fulfilled simply because the Jerusalem christians fled the city and were spared. Cliv, partial preterism says a hearty amen to your recounting of AD 70, yet it does not admit that the event exhausted all of the eschatological tradition handed down by the apostles to all the church. The Christians who lived at AD 70, AD 71, AD 72 etc. left a clear record that AD 70 had NOT delivered all eschatological hopes and promises, for they continued to look forward to eschatological hopes beyond it. We know this from both secular and christian sources of that era.

Cliv, you have redefined the Parousia as merely the sack of Jerusalem. But the entirety of the churches were to recognize and participate in the event, and yet they never did in true history. The christians could not have continued to be futurists if preterism was the true experience of the elect at AD 70. Yet they ALL continued to be futurists.

Again, the elect of true history did NOT notice that eschatology had been realized. They continued to look for their blessed hope. That's the "Oops." To say that Josephus recognized the role of Providence in the sack of Jerusalem is a far cry from saying all eschatology is now fulfilled and that the elect of that time were preterists. The christians who actually lived through and beyond AD 70 were NOT preterists. That's the "Oops." They didn't know their blessed hope "took place" for them.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker,

We see things differently, as has been the case a few times before regarding your dilemma. I respect the sincerity in which you hold your position, but find it seriously untenable. I mean, you are either like the Dispensationalists: looking and waiting for prophecies that demanded a 1st century AD fulfillment, or are similarly are like Bertrand Russell (a man I consider of high integrity) in his observations from his book, Why I'm Not a Christian, except that Russell, unlike you, follows your flawed position to its logical conclusion.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Christian,

The point I am making here is that the author of this article has exposed the obvious chink in the full preterist armor: The second coming happened, but the first-century church didn't know it. Oops.

Don't you see how obvious a problem this is for full prets? According to scripture, the elect ones were to recognize the event. They didn't in real history. Therefore full preterism has a big problem on its hands. This is full preterism's Achilles' heel, and I encourage you to take the objection more seriously before casually dismissing it.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

The Preterist position and the historical record that supports it are sound, even if the perceptions of many Christians down through the years are not.

Do you really think that waiting for 2000 years "proves" that Christ must now get up out of His throne to display Himself, carnally, as a hostile global dictator in some sort of a Rapture? Is that really your Blessed Hope?

The Bible demands a 1st century AD fulfillment for Christ's Coming, The Judgment, and His Kingdom. Dispensationalists deny that the Bible teaches this, because it is, "Oops", embarrassing to their position, so they end up twisting the text to allow fulfillment 2000 years later, or more.

So-called "partial" Preterism has that same Achilles Heel: it implies that Christs was a false prophet. Bertrand Russell's position is actually more honest about that fact, "Oops", than are Dispensationalists. But, Bertrand Russell's position and the above article do not approximate the Preterist positon.

Parker, you have the problem and the dilemma. You're caught between Dispensationalism and Bertrand Russell. And it's silly to see you repeatedly splashing around saying, "Help me out of this water or jump in with me."

I suppose trying to get some Preterists to jump in with you, so they can help you solve your problem, does make a little sense. But, I think you have everything you need to solve your problem by your own effort.

May His peace be with you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

CLIV:
you really think that waiting for 2000 years "proves" that Christ must now get up out of His throne to display Himself, carnally, as a hostile global dictator in some sort of a Rapture? Is that really your Blessed Hope?

PARKER:
Scripture clearly says the elect would recognize the event and be participants in it. Now, even if that recognition of the Lord's return was to be a mere cognition in the brain and nothing more, they should have recognized it when it transpired (AD 70). That is, even if we reduce the *experience* of the Lord's return to a mere theological position to be proclaimed when it transpired, we still don't have a record of historical fulfillment. The first-century elect ones had no idea it took place.

CLIV:
I suppose trying to get some Preterists to jump in with you, so they can help you solve your problem, does make a little sense.

PARKER:
I am simply pointing out that this author has identified the Achilles' heel of full preterism, and he did so almost instinctively. It's a near absurdity to teach a fulfilled second coming that not even the elect ones to whom it pertained knew about.

Say what you want about me, but I believe that this author's comment was a "heads up" as to why full preterism will ultimately be rejected. A second coming that was not recognized by the very elect ones to whom it pertained is unscriptural and nonsensical. It is an "Oops." The author hit the nail on the head, IMHO. Remember, this historical problem is so serious that it forced brother Ed Stevens to formulate an even more absurd position: A 70AD RAPTURE OF THE ELECT ONES.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker,

I believe the article unknowingly applied "Oops" to what you are espousing, and not to the Preterist position.

You can call that a "heads up", but it was really just a mistake and a misrepresentation by an author who knows a little bit about Dispensationalism and almost nothing about Preterism.

We continue to view things differently. But, again, you have the same dilemma as the Dispensationalists: by believing that some Christ's prophecies are left unfulfilled, you imply that He is a false prophet, since He stated that it would all be fulfilled within the lifetime of some Christians were still alive during the 1st century AD.

Read a good modern translation or a condensation of Jewish War by Josephus, he was an unbiased eye-witness. Afterward, you may discover that the words of our Lord pose no dilemma in light of what happened.

Or maybe you could investigate what, if anything, those Christians who escaped to Pella wrote. They were the eye-witnesses, and they likely would have laughed at the idea of a Blessed Hope being some sort of Rapture 2000 years in the future.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

Cliv,

How can you say the author was not commenting on the preterist position? He mentions John Anderson's view (full preterism), and he called it an "Oops." Why did he call it an "oops"? Because the author found it absurd to think the second coming took place given that no one knew it. And I'm saying the author has rightly identified full preterism's Achilles' heel. Full preterism has a second coming that the first-century elect never knew took place.

I'm not sure why I have to keep explaining myself on this. Cliv, do you say the first-century elect recognized their blessed hope took place in its full realization or not? Please give a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

Now, it is full preterism, not partial preterism, that makes a liar out of Christ and the apostles, because the apostles taught that the elect would recognize the event. We know from history that no one recognized the event took place (until the 20th century, that is). The first-century elect ones, in particular, did not know "the event took place" in its fullness/realization. So, full preterists are stuck teaching the event took place in fullness when the first-century apostolic churches had no idea it took place in fullness.

BTW, I do not "have the same problem as dispensationalists." Scripture can have multiple applications. The belief that AD 70 was a *type* of a final, future end is an acceptable view, for scripture itself demonstrates the precedent of having multiple fulfillments for prophetic passages. And this view/hermeneutic was applied to eschatology by the early christians.

Finally, the history of the Jerusalem church escaping to Pella was handed down to us by Eusebius, and he didn't think that event proved *all* eschatology was fulfilled. And why are you forgetting the churches at Rome, Corinth, Antioch, etc.? The historic record on those first-century churches shows they did not know of a full realization of eschatology. In fact, ALL documents that exist regarding the first Christians shows that they were futurists at and immediatly beyond AD 70.

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