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By Sam - Posted on 28 December 2004

by Samuel Frost
By the look of the tally, many have been reading the exchanges between me and Parker. From those exchanges, I felt that it was necessary to once again defend the position that the return of Christ was not something necessary to be documented by those living in the second century.By the look of the tally, many have been reading the exchanges between me and Parker. From those exchanges, I felt that it was necessary to once again defend the position that the return of Christ was not something necessary to be documented by those living in the second century.By that, I mean that no known record we have were actual witnesses of the events of the Parousia. Yet, Parker feels free to use Timothy as one who lived through the Parousia and did not know it had happened. How does he know this? He doesn’t. We only know of Timothy from Acts and Paul’s letters to him. After that, we know nothing about him, when he died, what he believed about these things, and the like.

Here, then, is the supposed scenario that threatens either A) the validity of Scriptures as an accurate witness of the truth (inerrancy) or B) Preterism is wrong and another alternative that includes the future return of the Son of God to earth must be sought. We affirm A and deny B, but the immediate problem that arises here are the writings we have of the second century Christians. None of them, it is said, hint that the Son of God returned “a second time” and, therefore, all of them looked forward to the Second Coming well after A.D. 70.

Let us, however, put the pieces together. What we do know is that many of the Apostolic Fathers (the earliest letters, fragments and books we have that date no further than the mid second century) explicitly expressed that Jesus’ parousia was “at hand” “soon” and “about to be.” Second, if that be the case, then they must have seen themselves as living “in the last days,” and this can be proven quite easily. Third, if that is the case, then they must have seen the events going on around them as “signs of the end” or “signs that the end was near,” and this can be shown quite easily. Now, if the historical events going on around them signaled for them that the last days was happening, and that Jesus was soon to return, then, quite logically, Rome was the persecuting Beast, and the several famines, wars, plagues of their time were equally signals for them that they were, indeed, in the last days.

See, you cannot think you are in the last days with Jesus and the age to come soon to appear without events that signal that, in fact, you are in the last days. What, then, were signals that would have prompted these writers to think that they, living in the second century, were, in fact, living in the last days with Jesus soon to return? There is no hint, no record, no thought that, in their minds, the last days would continue for 2,000 years. Patristic scholars are generally agreed that they viewed the world around them as coming to a fiery end very, very soon.

Another common thing to find among them is the use of II Peter 3 to give answer for a “delay of the parousia.” After all, living in the second generation of Christians, when Jesus spoke of his own generation, would cause some to review their understanding of when and where these things were supposed to happen, and for how long. II Peter 3 was used, explicitly in Hermas, to note that God did originally plan to come in that generation, but postponed the coming so as to bring more into the kingdom! Barnabas appears to be doing the same thing, since he explicitly mentions the destruction of the Temple. See, the Temple had fallen, but Christ had not appeared and the church was still undergoing persecution, and wars, famines and plagues continued. He originally was to appear, but he did not, because the time of suffering was to increase for the sake of the kingdom and the salvation of souls (“for he is not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance”). This, then, became the raison d’etre of Christian eschatology.

Coupled with these facts, we observe strange comments from these authors, like Ignatius, writing around 107 A.D., that the Old Testament saints had already been risen from the dead! In another, the Ascension of Isaiah, we have a non-bodily view of the resurrection. In the Odes of Solomon we find a realized eschatology with the “beast with seven heads” already conquered and the author(s) seeing himself as already in the new heavens and new earth Garden of God as a tree by the living waters. What’s going on here?

The Gnostics equally claimed that the resurrection was entirely a spiritual event and that those who followed Christ were already in the spiritual world. Where in the world did they get this idea? One of their leaders claims to have gotten it from Paul himself. Who knows? Maybe he did and went too far with what Paul was actually saying.

This prompts other questions, though. What kind of coming did Paul, the Hebrew of Hebrews, teach? Would it have been the same type of coming of Yahweh “on the clouds of heaven” to Egypt, Babylon and Edom? Shall we ransack Plutarch and Herodotus to find “evidence” for those invisible comings of God? And, if we cannot find that any secular sources did not “see” him come to destroy Egypt, shall we conclude that those who believe that he did, in fact, come on the clouds are wrong because they have no “evidence”? Perish the thought.

Paul’s world was framed by “the Scriptures” (the Hebrew Bible), and the expressions he used come straight out of those pages. Read Psalm 18 and ask yourself if any of this “literally” happened so that “every enemy” of David’s “saw his descent.”

Parker thinks that it is “irrelevant” that varying eschatological movements are found in the early fathers. Since “they all” viewed the second coming as future, then we have “100% corroboration.” But, in a court of law, as “evidence” is weighed, and as “witnesses” are found to be claiming the same apostolic authority and yet coming out with different schemes, one must put up a red flag. “Well, we all agree that Mr. Jones killed Mrs. Jones.” “Great. Now, Witness A, how did Mr. Jones kill Mrs. Jones.” “With a knife!.” “But, Witness B said a cleaver, and Witness C said an ax!” One can hear a lawyer say, “It is irrelevant as to how he killed her. The fact is, he did kill her, and that’s what we are after.” But, the defense would say, “Well, yes, however, each of the witnesses claim to be direct witnesses to the truth. If they cannot corroborate the details of their claim, then I can easily question their veracity on other points!” And logically, our imaginary defense lawyer is entirely correct. If Papias contradicts Barnabas, and Clement contradicts Justin, and Justin contradicts Origen, and Irenaeus contradicts Odes of Solomon and Ascension of Isaiah, and the Gnostics contradict all of them, then we, as investigators of history, can validly question their veracity on other points like, did they even understand what the Second Coming was attached to, and the nature of it and the Hebrew concepts used to describe it? I mean, if they missed all these other things, then why is their agreement meant to logically infer that they necessarily got that one thing correct?

Let us say that they did represent the apostles’ teaching. That would mean that they saw themselves as living in the last days, with the soon coming of Christ right around the corner. That would mean that the wars, famines and earthquakes were signs of the end, and that the persecution from Rome was Revelation 13 being played out in front of their eyes. But, if they understood all of these things, how could they screw up the millennium in Revelation 20? Did John forget to pass that little nugget of understanding along to Papias, who claims that he learned from the disciples of John himself? So, they got the Beast right, the soon coming of the Lord wrong (obviously), the fiery soon end of the world wrong (obviously). They got the fact that they were in the last days wrong, too. Some said that the body would not be raised, others insisted on it. Some early Christians wrote that they were already living in the Garden of God described in Revelation 21,22! Hey, but in spite of these, and several, several other “little facts” they got wrong, they all got one thing right: Jesus ain’t come yet. And, yet, I am asked to believe them here because they were all almost directly taught by the apostles!

See, folks, here’s the story. If these second century authors were all direct heirs of the Apostles’ teaching, that is, direct heirs from their lips, and if they were all equally inspired by God as were the Apostles, then THERE WOULD BE NO ERROR IN THE EARLY CHURCH WHATSOEVER. They should not have gotten anything wrong. But, the sad fact is, they got many things wrong. Even sadder, when they conflict on these things, they each claim apostolic authority! Well, who is right? Who is the judge to decide? How does Parker know that Premillennialism is wrong? How does the Dispensationalist know that Barnabas was wrong for saying that he was living in the last days? If our generation is the “terminal generation” then, clearly, Barnabas was off by two thousand years! But, Barnabas CLAIMS THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE SCRIPTURES! Is Ignatius correct to assert that the Old Testament saints have been risen from the dead? (he does so in Magnesians 9.2). Now, what is interesting here is that Max King argues that this was the resurrection of the OT saints in question in I Corinthians 15! Second, how could OT saints be risen “from the dead when he came” (Ignatius’ words) without a bodily resurrection? What does Ignatius mean here? I could go on, for in 10.2 of the same letter, Ignatius wrote that “every tongue” has believed (past tense) and that they have been gathered together to God. It appears that he is quoting from Isaiah 66.18 here, but this passage takes place in the new heavens and the new earth! What is going on here? Does Parker believe that the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have been raised from the dead, too? I do!

See, we can find little quotes like this all over the place, but one may even here object, “yes, but they all looked forward to the Second Coming.” What “coming” did Ignatius have in mind when he raised Abraham from the dead? I can find Athanansius and many others saying that the “whole world” had witnessed the Gospel light! That “death” has already been swallowed up, that Satan has been destroyed. Spiritually these things were interpreted as already having happened during the ministry of Christ and the apostles. I can speculate, very easily, that the spiritual things were seen as having counterparts to natural things, and since, spiritually, death was already conquered, then physically, one day, it will be removed, too. I can see how they viewed Jerusalem’s demise as a coming of the Lord, only to infer from that that he will come again to the world in like manner. The dead have been raised spiritually, but one day, bodies will come out of their graves. The New Jerusalem Temple of God has replaced the Old Covenant Temple of God, and one day, this will be physically realized on earth. Preterists simply say, yes, death has been conquered, the Light of the Gospel has come to the world, the dead have been raised and satan destroyed, and already we are planted as trees by the living streams of water in the New Jerusalem of God and Christ, but there is no PHYSICAL ADDITION or COUNTERPART to these SPIRITUAL REALITIES. Maybe these men “saw” more than what Parker allows….maybe in their correct spiritualizing and “seeing” they merely erred in adding to that a physical correspondence. Speculation, yes. Plausible, yes. If the Scriptures teach that Jesus came again in A.D. 70 to usher in the spiritual age to come, then there is “no end,” and this explanation compliments the many rich and theologically deep things these men had to say, but also acknowledges them as mere men, uninspired, capable of error, and capable of bad interpretation….and who does not fit into that camp?

Parker's picture

Sam, you're all over the place.

In the last article, you tried to discredit the value of historic testimony (thus discrediting even Josephus), knowing that history shows, unanimously, that no christians of record after AD 70 knew Jesus came back to them. You somehow then insinuated (without support) that some people DID know Jesus returned, but that these people and their testimony went extinct (and why God determined that to happen is anyone's guess). Obviously, such insinuations are pure speculation having no support in real historic testimony, and they should be trusted as much as the claim that the apostles traveled by airplane. (You can't prove they didn't!)

In this new article, you are all over the place, awash in contradictions. First you say the early christians didn't need to know--or at least didn't need to write down that they knew (nevermind that they DID, in fact, document the nonoccurrence of the Lord's return). You then seem to suggest they did SORTA know, citing historic sources that you earlier said couldn't be trusted (and sourced from the Gnostics at that). Good gosh, Sam, get control of your argument--you're indecipherable.

Let me help bring clarity to your wayward thoughts with two simple yes or no questions:

(#1) Is it the unanimous testimony of recorded history that the first christians failed to recognize the Lord's return? (Y/N?)

(#2) Did the scripture teach that the elect would recognize the Lord's return (Y/N?)

Thanks! That should help.

revkev201's picture

Dear Parker (and everyone else),

First, I freely admit that I am no expert theologian. With that caveat in mind please consider the following remarks and feel free to comment as you feel necessary.

1) If I understand you correctly (and please correct me if I miss-state your position) you contend that there is no record in any of the post AD 70 church writings (and I assume secular as well) which document any post AD 70 sources as having recognized any Parousia in the AD 70 events.

2) Furthermore you contend that this lack of recoginition is greatly problematic for Preterist understanding of eschatology.

3) You believe that those pre AD 70 believers were (in your words) the same as the church of AD 71, 72, 73 Etc. Therefore you believe there should be continuity of their witness regarding the AD 70 event and its eschatological significance.

If I've correctly outlined your concerns please consider this.

I don't see your concerns to be that much of a difficulty. For if the Apostles' followers did indeed heed the warning signs given in the Olivet Discourse, and did flee from Jerusalem, then they would obviously (at least to me) only have witnessed the judgment part of the parousia event, the Old Testement "cloud-coming" as it were. And they could only be considered witnesses in a general sense, and that from a distance, and perhaps only from second or even third hand accounts.
There would also have been a great deal of general confusion and chaos during that time as anyone who has ever been a war refugee can testify. Furthermore, consider that surely some of the believers, maybe as many as half if Jesus' parable of five foolish virgins and five wise can be taken that far, did not heed Jesus' warning to flee (else why would Christ refer to them as "foolish virgins"). Would not this also diminish by at least some degree the Jerusalem population of Christians who would otherwise have been able to testify to the events? And even further was not the Jewish Christian population at that time a minority in the church with the majority being gentile believers who would not be as familiar with the Tanach, if at all, and therefore be more likely to misapprehend the significance thereof?

With all these factors, is it really that much of a shock that there is so much discontinuity of witness among those who would come later, not having had the benefit of understanding or in some cases even access to the Old Testament, and possibly not even noticing the relevence to themselves by virtue of their distance (geographically) from the events?

Perhaps I'm just naive, but are you sure that it is all that farfetched to think that the more obtuse spiritual realities that went along with the physical judgement of Jerusalem might well go unrecognised in those conditions, in those circumstances?

Parker, perhaps I don't understand your position, and perhaps I'm a bit dense, but I really just don't see the difficulty that you do. It seems apparent to me that the circumstances of the time coupled with plain old human fallibility (as evidenced by the Galatian epistle) make it surprising not that no one recognised it, but rather that anyone would have at all.

But please. I stand ready to be corrected.

Grace,
Kevin

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Good points, Kevin. Another view that occurred to me, also, is that SOME of those closer to the event both geographically AND chronologically MAY have recognized it for what it was, but chose to refer to it in very guarded terms (if at all) due to the highly sensitive and dangerous nature of so doing. John, in the Apocalypse, referred to the Roman government and its leadership in what was essentially metaphorical "code" terminology, as a means of avoiding having his writings appropriated by the Romans and destroyed (not to mention punishment for himself).

So it's certainly possible that SOME of the Christians who were aware of the Parousia (and lived beyond it) were not so much deliberately deceptive (even though they would have been the among those unprepared for it, spiritually) as they were careful how they expressed their knowledge openly - particularly in print.

Markos's picture

The following statement is false, and cannot be proven either with the Scriptures, history or sound reasoning to be true:
John, in the Apocalypse, referred to the Roman government and its leadership in what was essentially metaphorical "code" terminology, as a means of avoiding having his writings appropriated by the Romans and destroyed (not to mention punishment for himself).
The historical record stands and says that the Roman government protected the Judean Church during the Jewish crisis of A.D.66-70. Therefore this tenet you hold to is false and meaningless.

Markos
atavistchristian.com

Markos Mountjoy

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Your treatment of my observation is interesting in that it is more reactionary than intelligent, Markos. I don't get the sense that you've thought this one through carefully enough.

Just working with your concluding statement (and assuming that it is based upon reliable, credible sources empirically verifiable, etc. etc.), we must draw the conclusion that (according to YOUR view) because the Roman government protected the Judean Church, the Christians of that period were given "carte blanche" to publish any opinion or view whatsoever concerning the Roman emperors and the future of its government. Does that follow, logically, to YOU Markos? It really doesn't work for me. Being under the PROTECTION of a government doesn't meant hat government will allow you to propagate negative views of it.

Markos's picture

Friend,
Yes, I've thought it through, you, on the other hand, keep parroting meaningless claims against the Roman empire, claims that originated with the wicked and misguided Judeans--that the Roman empire was the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy. Nothing could be further from the truth. If it was true that the Roman government was the Sea Beast then the New Testament would not have advised the early Christians to obey it, as you can see in Romans 13:1ff. Further, if the Roman empire was the Sea Beast, then from the Romans God would have taken the kingdom and given it to the Christians in 70--but no, NO. In Daniel 7:26 it was foretold that the dominion would be taken away from the fourth beast and given to people of the saints of the Most High. And yet in Matthew 21:43 Jesus (whom I suppose you'd believe above all others and all else) said that the kingdom of God would be taken from the officials of the Jewish world. You can't get blood from a turnip, nothing could be taken from them if they did not still have it. And if they still had it, the Romans did not have it. Matthew 21:45 shows that the Judeans understood Jesus to say that the Stone was going to crush them and that the kingdom would be taken away from them. Moreover, your interpretation of Revelation, (or rather your opinion that it is in a code to protect it from destruction from the Roman government), is pure conjecture based on your own bias towards the Romans. Why do I say this? I say this because Revelation makes every effort to insinuate who the culprits are, like eg. Rev. 2:9 and 3:9, "Say they sre Jews but are the synagogue of Satan"--that's not too subtle is it? And like Rev. 7:1ff baldly naming which JEWISH tribes were to be sealed before the wrath fully fell--again, not too subtle. And againm in Revelation 11:1-2 "Gentiles trample the holy city under foot 42 months"--and here we know that the Romans were only able to get into the city in the LAST five months of the civil war. And Revelation 11:8 "The Great City which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt where our Lord was crucified"--no code there,that was really clear SuperSoul, wasn't it? And more, like Rev. 16:1-6 showing that those who had the mark of the Beast are the same ones who were guilty of killing the saints and prophets--"For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink, for they are worthy."--has no reference to the Romans, Rome or the Roman wmpire, and some part of you knows this already. Why would you want me to have to work and sweat to prove to you something you already acknowledge in Matthew 23:29-39? Be fair and be consistant. We are so critical of Futurists we seem to have no energy to be self aware and self-critical of our own claims! Don't be deluded into the cute idea that the Almighty God was trying to protect his word from the Romans--Romans who could have cared less about Jewish Scriptures, Jewish questions of religion and intra-Jewish strifes, which is how they saw the unhappy interplay between the Jews and the Judeo-Christians for almost a century. But,ven if the Romans did care, God wasn't scared of the Romans whose souls belonged to him and their flesh and glory was but grass. So your notion is totally superfluous. But regardless,Revelation is blatent enough everywhere to let us know that the situation was about Judea. And Josephus informs is that some Judeans had wounded their right hands in reverence for one of their own tyrant leaders--no Roman, but a Judean. The Jewish Revolt was not over the issue of whether or not to worship Nero or any other Roman. It was about Jewish independance from Rome. The false idea that someone else was the Messiah besides our Lord, and some diabolical mockery of the sacerdotal office that wound up proving to be a supreme affront and idolatry towards their own God. But if you can find that it was about Nero and the other stuff put forth the evidence for all to see. Here is evidence thatb suggests that the mark of the Beast and the worship was directed towards Jewish delusions rather than some made up Roman one--and this is the quote, 'Nay, some of their right hands were debilitated by the reverence they bare to their general in these fatal calamities.' Wars 3.8:386
Revelation is very straightfoward and blatant about which city Babylon the Great was, and J.S.Russell showed long ago that Jerusalem sat on seven geographic mountains--so I do not see why you continue to circle around Rome as if that is the answer to the question. I feel that anyoone who says something "has" to be Rome had better have BIBLE book chapter and verse and REAL history to back up what they say or else they should admit they have a thing in for Nero and the Romans and they don't have to prove it, just assert. Of course I know full well that the Romans hurt the Church on ten different occassions, but yet and still, that still does not given anyone license to blow hot and cold about what the eschaton was really all about. Down through the years I have met many Preterist who claim they are "for" the truth and then want to fudge on one of the major players in the eschatolical stage. And why? Because of purely personal imperatives--not what the Scriptures demand we think and not what history will support. If we want to be on the Lord's side then fine, that means that what we say must be proved. If we have the truth then that truth serves as a catalyst for change and has no respect of persons. It does not change itself, but everything it comes in contact with must change or must rebel. You can accept the truth about the Fourth Kingdom or you may walk away from it. My appeal is to your conscience.

Markos Mountjoy

Erick's picture

uh, hmm, wow. well, i must have missed an earlier conversation between you two because Markos sounds a bit - let's say - passionate. I have read Russell, and his work is invaluable, but what is your take on Dan. 7:23 where it seems that the fourth beast is fourth in succession - it is (in Daniel's day) a FUTURE worldwide empire with kings. You said,

"In Daniel 7:26 it was foretold that the dominion would be taken away from the fourth beast and given to people of the saints of the Most High. And yet in Matthew 21:43 Jesus (whom I suppose you'd believe above all others and all else) said that the kingdom of God would be taken from the officials of the Jewish world."

Israel at the time of Daniels writings had seen its greatest earthly glory in the past and never rose again to fit the description of Dan. 7:23. The position that Judaism held sway over the world is even by your own admission ridiculous (the Romans didn't care). What are your thoughts on this (but please go easy on me brother - you may be 100% correct :^)

Markos's picture

Dear Erick,

Thankyou for your inquiry. I meant no offence in my response. However, each of the kingdoms in Daniel 2 and in Daniel 7 (which are the same) are four earthly kingdoms and the same one heavenly fifth kingdom. It was believed from a very long time ago--before God came to earth Incarnate, that the four kingdoms were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and the Romans. The book of Daniel itself makes it very clear who the first three kingdoms were. However, the fourth kingdom, as spoken of in Daniel 2 and 7, is shrouded somewhat--certainly out of no fear for any future government, but more likely because of some additional insight God wanted to make known at the proper time. Now at the time of the Abomination of Desolation in 167B.C. the Jews, under the leadership of Judas the Maccabee, pulled off a surprizing feat in winning Jewish independance from the Greek empire. By 142 B.C. the Judeans had established a Hasmonean empire that balooned to the size of the kingdom of David and held considerable political and social sway in the Ancient Near East. Under the Hasmoneans the entire population of Canaan was converted to Judaism at the point of the sword. They minted their own coins, had their own kings (and a queen) an army, struck hands with nations in treaties and carried on gloriously until around the time of Pompey the Great. All this glory lasted for about little over 100 years. It is, I contend, the Fourth Kingdom that was to briefly follow the Greek period. It was the shins of iron described in Daniel 2. When Pompey defeated Jerusalem in the mid 1st century B.C. he did not destroy the kingdom, but brought the power of Rome to bear on it in such a way as to transmogrify it into the "Feet" of iron and clay. Within little time a Jew-Herod the Great--himself married to a daughter of a Maccabee--was put on the throne of this very same kingdom-now-turned-Roman-province. Now Herod, as a Jew by religion but a Hellenist at heart brought the Jewish kingdom into further disintegration by bringing in and promoting purely Gentile elements where the Maccabees had tilted everything into a Jewish slant. Under Herod, therefore, assimilation--Jewish/Gentile marriages (which were against the Law) skyrocketed-ie, "these shall mingle themselves with the seed of men" and many other negative trends became the norm. But here's the thing: THE JEWS NEVER UNDERSTOOD THEMSELVES TO BE THE FOURTH KINGDOM. They gave that honor to the Romans. This is why they were revolting from the time of Judas of Galilee onward. They thought the Roman empire was only going to be around a SHORT TIME. They thought the Stone was going to crush the feet of the so-called Roman fourth kingdom. Amd each of these Messianic pretenders fancied himself to be that Stone. But each was defeated. Therefore, when Jesus showed up he was saying something markedly different and seemingly unpatriotic. Because he was preaching that Judea was going to be crushed by the Stone and THEY would see the Son of man coming in the clouds to judge THEM (and not the Romans) well, let's just say that that went over like a lead balloon. And they were determined to kill him. As of then, due to the wide sway that the Maccabees had managed to compass and convert so many Gentile prosylites into the Jewish fold, those multitudes (God-fearers) were still under that same 'spell' even on the eve of the Destruction in A.D.66. Now, it must be understood, that Herod, as a Jew and Judea as still a kingdom, meant that the kingdom established by the Maccabees still held the dominion that was won from the Seleucids in the 2nd century B.C., and Jesus recognized this as such-even if the Scribes and Pharisees did not exactly agree. Now, what happened on the commencement of the 1st Jewish Revolt was this: the Zealots and the Sicarri overthrew the Herodian government and set up a ten general coalition government to bring them to what they supposed to be their entitled fifth kingdom. According to the Scriptures, the fight in the 42 month period was this expectation on the Jew's part to receive something that Jesus had, in the meantime, raised up to receive it instead (Christians). Hence, the symbols in Revelation are consistant in every instance and can be shown to speak of Jewish adversaries working in different capacities. Now as far as the Romans are concerned, their empire continued on, winning an even bigger war against a 580,000 man Jewish army 7 decades later, and continuing on for another three hundred and forty years before falling in the West. The thing that is so frustrating about all this talk about the Romans being the Beast is that it is absolutely not true and more: one of the Futurist escape routes is to (correctly) assert that the Roman empire never did end like the Bible said the fourth kingdom would end--AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. But the way they use this truth is to say, "Well this proves that there must be a REVIVED Roman empire, because Scriptures cannot be broken--so it must be yet to come." They have a point. But my research, which started in 1981, shows conclusively that the Fourth Kingdom was never the Roman empire in the first place! To talk about the Romans being this is a straw man. I don't want to give quarter to a traditionalist historical misrepresentation, that, even in the Gospels, you can clearly see that Jesus was going in a decidedly different direction, and in the process, irking his creation by applying the fate they thought belonged to the Romans to their very own nation. I welcome any inquiries.

~Markos
atavistchristian.com

Markos Mountjoy

Erick's picture

Thanks for the quick reply Markos, and the well developed insights. I was brought up (like most) believing that Rome was the city on seven hills, and not until I read Russell did I hear a good argument against that theory.

For the “literalist” he lists the seven mountains as:
Zion, Moriah, Acra, Bezetha, Ophel, the heights were Antonia stood, and the heights on which the towers of Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamme were built by Herod. But he prefers a symbolic interpretation as an exalted “seven hilled” city (which is probably more likely).

I know Russell takes the Nero approach to the “666” reference, what are your thoughts on IF, and HOW, he fits into the picture?

Russell states,

“The kings of the Herodian line have been suggested, viz. 1. Herod the Great; 2. Archelaus; 3. Philip; 4. Herod Antipas; 5. Agrippa I.; 6. Herod of Chaleis; 7. Agrippa II. This is the suggestion of Dr. Zullig and deserves the praise of ingenuity; but there are two fatal objections to it: first, they cannot all be said to have been kings or rulers in Jerusalem, or even Judea; and; secondly, they do not all belong to the apocalyptic period, the close of the Jewish age, or the last days of Jerusalem, which is an indispensable condition.”

Thanks again, Erick.

Markos's picture

Russell wrote:
“The kings of the Herodian line have been suggested, viz. 1. Herod the Great; 2. Archelaus; 3. Philip; 4. Herod Antipas; 5. Agrippa I.; 6. Herod of Chaleis; 7. Agrippa II. This is the suggestion of Dr. Zullig and deserves the praise of ingenuity; but there are two fatal objections to it: first, they cannot all be said to have been kings or rulers in Jerusalem, or even Judea; and; secondly, they do not all belong to the apocalyptic period, the close of the Jewish age, or the last days of Jerusalem, which is an indispensable condition.”
Brother Erick, I was just reflecting on Russell's comments on Dr. Zulligs suggestion of the Herodian Dynasty being somehow involved in the sequence of kings in the eschaton. But something hit me like a ton of bricks and that is this: Does Nero better fit those indispensable conditions he lists above? Think about it,friend.

  • Nero was never a king or ruler in Jerusalem nor Judea.
  • Nero was in the closing days of the apocalyptic period but showed up too early and then died too soon.

    I welcome your comments on this.

    ~Markos
    atavistchristian.com

  • Markos Mountjoy

    Erick's picture

    Good arguments Markos, I really don't have any comments off-hand, only I suppose one might argue that Nero being the Emperor was necessarily king over Judea, and that he was in the general time frame of the last days. Actually, I would love to see you write an article for Planet Preterist stating these points so that others could comment if they'd like (I don't know if anyone is checking us out way down here in the abyss of the Frost thread). As for me I have no personal attachment to Nero, and I've seen too many people (including myself) be too wrong about too many things to swallow anything without carefully considering other views (especially one as well stated as your own), but these things take time and research, as you well know.

    Also, I checked out your web site "atavist" and you also have some food for thought there that may spark some "lively debate" on this site (I'm not aware if you already have).
    Thanks Again brother, and keep a song in your heart for the King.
    -- Erick

    Markos's picture

    Hey Erick,
    Singing is how I get by in life--I love Christian music--of all varietys! :) By the way Erick, I have a new booklet fresh off the press that I would love to put into your hands. It's called 'The Kingdom After the Greeks-Was It Really the Roman Empire? An Inquiry Into a Solid Historical Basis for Intra-Christian Dialogue on Realized Eschatology" Let me know where I can send it and I'll ship it right away.

    Markos
    atavistchristian.com

    Markos Mountjoy

    Erick's picture

    sounds good, is there an email address where I can send you that info.?

    Markos's picture

    Markos Mountjoy

    Markos's picture

    Dear Erick,
    I disagree with Russell. Russell was not using an Atavist model for eschatology and therefore he would not have realized that the Herodian Dynasty had effective control (with the backing of the Romans) of Judea. The website below, and many like it, suggest that the Herodian Dynasty had its day up until the revolt. http://www.shaftek.org/torah/herodian_dynasty.html

    My position is that the legs of iron was the short Maccabean period 142 B.C. to 37 B.C. (more or less). Further, I believe the evidence will suggest that the Herodian/ Roman hold on Judea, from the 40's B.C. to A.D.66, answers to the Feet of Iron and Clay and most certainly IS the apocalyptic period-ie. the feet was the period in Daniel 2 leading right up to the TOES. As such, Erick, it doesn't even need to be a pure line of Herodian Kings--as the prophecy says it was partly iron and partly clay. (The iron element itself shows the continuity of the Jewish element, but the red earthen clay speaks of the Gentiles.) The Toes would then represent the formation of the Judean Den to govern the revolt in lieu of the supposed Stone crushing the Romans. Please understand that the eschatology I am proclaiming is of an event where the Judeans came out swinging thinking they were going to win--(And Jesus had already told the Christians to flee instead of fight-right?) The Romans, on the other hand, were on the defensive and had no spiritual interests at stake as far as the outcome of the war was concerned. This is why I believe Jesus' command in Revelation 13:9-10 is exceptionally awkward and inappropiate as a reference to Roman involvement in the Jewish War. "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity:he that killed with the sword must be killed with the sword." Fits real well as an injunction for Judean Christians refraining from involvement with the Zealots and the Sicarri. Why? Because they were taking their own countrymen as prisoners as well as killing others of their own. As far as their treatment of the Romans, Josephus reports of no captures but immediate killings in those cases. Thus, Revelation 13 strongly favors a Jewish situation because, at the end of the proverbial day. the Romans suffered no penalties from God for capturing and killing any of the Jews as such, and that is the only way they brought the civil war to a halt. In the end they had killed a million Jews and carried 600,000 away captive--and to stress what I am trying to say, the Romans themselves were not carried away captive for carrying the Judeans away captive. This all spells out that the command was against Judean Christians lending a hand in the revolt against the Romans. You asked about Nero. Well, Nero was upset about the war. Nero, according to my sources, was one of the emperors that did not care about emperor worship but, instead, was enthralled by the theater and plays. Accordingly, he never took any kind of trip down to Judea, and never made a mockery of Jewish worship that is in any recorded history known. According to Josephus, Nero sent Vaspasion down to Judea to get the place under control. Throughout the account, this Roman general, though apparently a pagan, gives credit to the God of Israel for delivering the rebellous nation to him. He pleads with them to save their holy things, while, in the meantime, the Zealots were in the Temple, the men done up like women and having sex in the courts and cannibalizing dead bodies, while they put some fellow in the Holy of holies and put a "counterfeit face" on him. While Judeans were being slaughtered wholesale in a grisly free-for-all in and out of the Temple. What was Nero's relation to that? He was nowhere near it, but was undergoing his own personal trials up north. Yes, it is true that a case for Nero being the Sea Beast has been woven against him based on his apparent arson in Rome--it may be true that he tarred and lit our innocent brothers and sisters as street lamps in order to distract attention from himself--I don't dispute that, however, Revelation opens up, not in Italy, but in Asia Minor. It speaks not of Roman troubles, but of Jewish ones. It talks not of the Romans bowing before the feet of the Christians but of the synagogue of Satan doing so (which also means that Christians had to be around for the Judeans to be able to do that, right?). Hence, the prologue of the book of Revelation completely ignores anything that might remotely suggest Neronian mischiefs or involvement. And when we get to Revelation 13 we see that, first of all, the Sea Beast has all the traits (in reverse order!) of the kingdoms the JEWS went through before they came into their own Hasmonean aegis--to wit: The Leopard is first and was the last kingdom they came out of before they had their own sovereignty. Then the Bear, which was Medo-Persia, and last, the mouth of the lion, which refers back to Babylon, the first to hold them in the classical Captivity--to me this is very amazing! Moreover, based on the historical fact that the Romans suffered no punity for capturing the Judeans OR killing them, it is like turning the narrative on its head to even suggest that Revelation 13 is about ROMANS arising for 42 months and God warning Christians not to participate or cooperate with the Romans. It is doubtful if the Christians were even in the Roman army so early on. But for sure they would have died as rebels if they did not cooporate and abide at Pella (or wherever else) till the commotion was over. But, as it was, Erick, the only thing the Romans wanted from the Judean Christians was PACIFISM, which is what the Holy Spirit required as "the patience and faith of the saints" in Revelation 13:9-10. The Romans, in the situation in Judea, did not hurt the saints, but helped them, as Revelation 12:14-16 alludes. (By the way,after the war, Eusubius tells us, that the Christians came back to Jerusalem and built a church on the spot near where the Temple had stood
    and had a succession of 13 (or 15) bishops all the way up to the time of Simon Bar Kokhba.) Now, look real good at the Nero argument. And compare it--turn it every which way. Give it a half turn-and look: it hangs on the thin assumption that the gammatria of his name and his reputation as a brute alone makes the case for him. I do not believe it does. Give it a full spin and look again: Nero died before the revolt was even over--and it wasn't even his revolt--wasn't for him, wasn't about him and it wasn't even about Judeans forsakiing Judaism and worshipping as Romans--period. To allege otherwise is to invent an imaginary history out of the threads of prejudice and whole cloth-and we can do better than that, I hope. So many things could be said--so many. Time won't allow it. Turn it and look at it from the perspective of religious freedom: But the Jews already had their freedom to worship God as the Law required, but they wanted independance. Now consider: the Beast of the Bible was punished AFTER Jerusalem was destroyed--Rev. 19:1-4 cf. 19:19-21-does that not rule Nero completely out? I would think so. Now, the Bible says that the Little Horn would have eyes as the eyes of man, this seems to suggest that the culprit we Christians are looking for would be a person of understanding. Josephus says that Simon Bar Giora was a "sophist"--a philosopher, and it wouldn't be hard to imagine that he was quite familiar with the Old Testament--but Nero? What do we know of him that would tell us of any interest in Bible prophecy? On the other hand, Simon was working from the very beginning of the war to steal, kill and destroy and consolidate power and, in the end, became "the lord and saviour" of Jerusalem in the third year of the war, according to Josephus. It was to him, according to Josephus, that they had wounded their right hands and had sealed themselves to die in a suicide pact. Does a Jewish context add some depth to the story? Does it make more sense when you reflect on the fact that the motions of sins in the body of Judaism had the Judeans doing the very opposite of what the Law demanded of them, as the Apostle Paul explained in Romans 7? We should be very rigorous with ourselves and very serious about what we say because, as we head toward our maiden journey into eternity, others are doing the same--with opposing and detrimental claims. And we true Christians must realize that Futurists are playing for keeps and so should we. I am not any enemy of Full Preterism, but I am willing to seem to be one if it means we will sharpen our swords a fight a better battle. I have spent an aweful lot of time analyzing Full Preterism--not because I want to harm it, but to shake out what is dross in the gold of this most precious Christian rediscovery. And I am functioning in the capacity that I believe God wants me to. Please e-mail me on my signature below for the location of all relevent references.

    Markos Mountjoy

    Sam's picture

    Parker,

    My methodology has not changed in the least. I am a presuppositionalist. The Bible is the word of God, written, and BASED on that I interpret history. Since the Bible teaches that Jesus came again in A.D. 70, then I look at the historical record and speculate why it is they wrote they way they wrote. In doing so, I find confirmation (not proof) that something indeed happened in terms of eschatology.

    Now, your questions cannot be answered because they ASSUME within them the very point you have already answered. What we have of the RECORD, Parker are not the "first christians." They are a generation removed. They were not DIRECT disciples and had no DIRECT contact with the apostles. Asking "yes or no" questions is a fallacy. Have you stopped beating your wife?

    They did not FAIL to recognize the spiritual aspects of the COMING of Christ (Jesus' first and invisible second comings was seen as ONE COMING in the OT and the first cannot be separated from the second, with Jesus humble birth, the kingdom of God began to make its entrance into the world, and this, the ECF recognized). As pointed out in my article, they were not unanimous in what they thought was to occur, and you keep dismissing this as "irrelevant" but give no reason why it is irrelevant. If you were a lawyer, you'd be losing right now!

    As for question two, some would some wouldn't. The Bible does not speak about a second generation (the ECFs), and so I am not expected to think that they would have a completely worked, perfect eschatology. Listen to the words of Jesus, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the son of man, but you will not see it...for the coming of the son of man will be like lightning flashing." Now, Parker, how fast does lightning flash?

    Second, in Isaiah 66.15-19, speaking AFTER the events of day of the Lord, there are those "who have not SEEN my fame or KNOW of my glory." Zechariah 14 agrees: after the day of the Lord, nations who refuse to worship on the mount of the Lord will be accursed. Ezekiel 40-48 also pictures a time in the reign of Messiah, the Prince, of expansion. It just appears to me that you simply don't want to see any plausibility whatsoever, but this is because you are an empiricist.

    Parker, you did not deal with anything in my article, and still don't. I have, on the other hand, answered your questions, quoted my sources, and gave my theory. It is a plausible workable theory, and that is all I have with to do with history. Now, you answer me a question:
    Why don't all Protestant historians convert to Roman Catholicism?

    Samuel Frost

    Parker's picture

    SAM:
    The Bible is the word of God, written, and BASED on that I interpret history.

    PARKER:
    Anyone that trusts the bible must do so based on the decisions of post-AD 70 churchmen that claimed their copied letters were letters from apostles. So, your presupposition, really, is a faith placed in catholic churchmen of the post-AD 70 era. You have no way of knowing if any letter of your NT is from an apostle without taking the post-AD 70 christians at their word. Be very careful how you discredit these men.

    SAM:
    Since the Bible teaches that Jesus came again in A.D. 70, then I look at the historical record and speculate why it is they wrote they way they wrote. In doing so, I find confirmation (not proof) that something indeed happened in terms of eschatology.

    PARKER:
    There is zero evidence that the first christians recognized that "something indeed happened in terms of eschatology." You are engaged in wishful thinking. To the contrary, reams of documentation exists confirming that they did NOT know anything happened in terms of eschatology.

    SAM:
    What we have of the RECORD, Parker are not the "first christians." They are a generation removed. They were not DIRECT disciples and had no DIRECT contact with the apostles.

    PARKER:
    You are again insinuating that someone knew (a fraudulent claim, or wishful thinking at best). But in fact, the churches at Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, and Antioch were established by apostles, and bishops Ignatius, Polycarp, Linus, and Clement lived through generation one and two (even if their writings date to around 100 or so. To suggest that these people are too far removed from AD 70 to have known about the Lord's return is just untenable. There is total continuity between the AD 70 churches and the AD 71 churches. No one disappeared! No Great Rapture Cover Up took place. Rather, no one knew it took place, and the reasonable explanation for this is that it didn't take place for them.

    SAM:
    As pointed out in my article, they were not unanimous in what they thought was to occur, and you keep dismissing this as "irrelevant" but give no reason why it is irrelevant.

    PARKER:
    They thought it was something recognizable for them, and they learned this from the apostles (check the scriptures). Therefore, that all christians of record didn't recognize it turns out to be a grave dilemma for preterists. Preterists end up having to contort and twist into comical positions, even inventing hilarious explanations like the "Great Rapture Cover Up" (McPherson) or the "Unrecognizable Parousia" (Rod) or the "Known-but-immediately-lost Parousia" (Sam). Make no mistake about it: to be a preterist one must believe in one of those incredible, unsupportable theories. I think I'll just stick to the historic record and trust that the first christians really didn't know their Lord returned.

    SAM:
    The Bible does not speak about a second generation (the ECFs), and so I am not expected to think that they would have a completely worked, perfect eschatology.

    PARKER:
    Someone at Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, or Antioch would have known, and they would have told their churches. And, people like Papias, Ignatius, Polycarp, Linus, and Clement lived in both generation one and two. And, we could add that St. John, Titus, and Timothy would have said something if they knew.

    SAM:
    Listen to the words of Jesus, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the son of man, but you will not see it...for the coming of the son of man will be like lightning flashing." Now, Parker, how fast does lightning flash?

    PARKER:
    Now you are suggesting Rod's absurd and unbiblical view of an "Unrecognizable Parousia" so far as the elect were concerned. That position is untenable: (See: 1 Thess 5:4-5; 1 Jn 3:2; Rev 1:7; Rev 3:20-21; 1 Pet 4:13; 1 Pet 5:4; 2 Pet 1:19; Heb 9:28; Heb 10:25; Col 3:4; Col 3:24; 2 Peter 3:14; 2 Thess 1:10; 2 Tim 4:8; 2 Tim 2:12; 1 Pet 2:12; Mt 25:10, 19-23; Matt 25:34; Lk 12:37; Rev 2:25-28; Rom 14:12; 2 Cor 5:9-10; 1 Cor 6:2)

    Sam's picture

    Parker,

    This is the second time you have avoided my question, answering only what you like. But, my question has everything to do with our discussion here, so I will ask it again. Are learned Protestant historians, schooled in the originals, trained at the best of institutions, blind for not seeing history so clearly as you have outlined it to be? In other words, why do they not all convert to Roman Catholicism, since the "record" so "clearly" and "obviously" points in that direction?

    Samuel Frost

    Parker's picture

    SAM:
    Are learned Protestant historians, schooled in the originals, trained at the best of institutions, blind for not seeing history so clearly as you have outlined it to be? In other words, why do they not all convert to Roman Catholicism, since the "record" so "clearly" and "obviously" points in that direction?

    PARKER:
    I can't speak for "all historians," nor would I dare to try.

    The question at hand is as follows: Is it the unanimous testimony of recorded history that the first christians of the apostles' churches failed to know about the Parousia? (Y/N)

    You know the answer is yes, but you are afraid to admit it. Preterists are forced to say anything to skirt this grave problem of history. You are forced to teach the "Known but immediately lost Parousia," Rod is forced to teach the "Unrecognizable Parousia," and McPherson offers us the incredible "Great Rapture Cover Up." None of these holds any water, and they appear all the more silly and beyond imagination the more they are contemplated.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Parker: None of these holds any water, and they appear all the more silly and beyond imagination the more they are contemplated.

    They appear "silly and beyond all imagination" for those with a certain naive perspective on history. IF you believe that historical documentation is as inerrant and infallible as Scripture itself, and that God personally ensured its utterly accurate preservation - then you would have room to reject our theories in such a casual, off-hand manner, Parker. But we believe there is a FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE between historical record and the Scriptures. The latter are inerrant and every word (of the originals) was inspired by God. He was also actively involved in the accurate preservation and transmission of the text. History, on the other hand, is subject to the vagaries of human perceptions, biases and intepretations. You, sadly, don't recognize or acknowledge the difference between the two - to your loss.

    Sam's picture

    Parker,

    Your failure to answer speaks volumes.

    Sam

    Parker's picture

    I did answer, Sam. I don't know why some historians don't become Catholic yet some do.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    PARKER:
    They thought it was something recognizable for them, and they learned this from the apostles (check the scriptures). Therefore, that all christians of record didn't recognize it turns out to be a grave dilemma for preterists. Preterists end up having to contort and twist into comical positions, even inventing hilarious explanations like the "Great Rapture Cover Up" (McPherson) or the "Unrecognizable Parousia" (Rod) or the "Known-but-immediately-lost Parousia" (Sam). Make no mistake about it: to be a preterist one must believe in one of those incredible, unsupportable theories. I think I'll just stick to the historic record and trust that the first christians really didn't know their Lord returned.

    Actually, I have demonstrated that MY position as readily supported by the historical "evidence" (such as it is) as YOURS is, Parker. YOU can't empirically establish that the historical documentation WASN'T falsified. Therefore, we are at a deadlock.

    The "first Christians" were the PRE-AD 70 saints, by the way - NOT the post-AD 70 generations to which you refer in your last statement, above. Get your history straight, history-lover. Your "trust" in historical documentation is evident indeed, in your statement above. Unfortunately, you trust that data MORE than you do the Word of God. Therein lies your biggest problem, Parker.

    Parker's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    Actually, I have demonstrated that MY position as readily supported by the historical "evidence" (such as it is) as YOURS is, Parker.

    PARKER:
    That's funny, you don't have any historical evidence (real sources) that back any of your fanciful claims. None at all.

    MCPHERSON:
    YOU can't empirically establish that the historical documentation WASN'T falsified. Therefore, we are at a deadlock.

    PARKER:
    Yikes. You're back to saying historic testimony is of no value, even if unanimously supported by many sources. Time to throw away Josephus. Your conspiracy theories display a level of idiocy I've not seen since I last argued with the dispensationalist conspiracy nuts. You've demonstrated that you will do and say anything here to protect your personal interests, even if it means creating utter fabrications. You are an unethical con.

    MCPHERSON:
    The "first Christians" were the PRE-AD 70 saints, by the way - NOT the post-AD 70 generations to which you refer in your last statement, above.

    PARKER:
    Says who? Were not the AD 71 saints eyewitnesses of the supposed Parousia and acquaintances of the AD 70 saints? Of course they were. In fact, the AD 70 saints became the AD 71 saints...and the AD 72 saints...and the AD 73 saints...

    Markos's picture

    Paster Frost,
    Now, if the historical events going on around them signaled for them that the last days was happening, and that Jesus was soon to return, THEN, QUITE LOGICALLY, ROME WAS THE PERSECUTING BEAST. . ." (Emphasis mine, MEM)
    One of the major areas that is tripping up our inquiry, as well as our presentation of the truth is the confusion that is being generated continually by what we think we know. And by that, I mean by what we already presuppose. Preterist Christians are quite fond of counting Rome as the Beast, but this is an assumption that really needs to stand trial. Indeed, it is one of those pivotal beliefs that continues to disturb and distort what actually took place. How could you prove Rome was the Beast? The reason I ask that bold question is that historically we know full well that the Romans granted the Judean Christians amnesty and safety in Pella for three and a half years. This is spoken of prophetically and symbolically in Revelation 12:14-16. Eusubius passes the information down to us but I am not in possession of a copy of his works. Nevertheless, we are talking about ROMAN ASSISTANCE after Satan lost that fight with Michael (See Josephus Dissertation 3.5:13)
    How, then, are we to suppose that the Beast coming up out of the Sea only one verse down was also the Romans? If the Romans help the CHURCH for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:14) and the Beast rises to continue for 42 months, (which is also 1,260 days) what is it? The Romans help the Church with the bait of amnesty, and then turns around and demands the mark of the Beast? It doesn't make sense! No--the Eagle helps the saints for 1,260 days in Revelation 12:14; but Satan 12:17 uses the Sea Beast to make war with the remnant of her seed AND TO OVERCOME THEM-13:7--for an equal period of time!
    Now that the Sea Beast overcame the saints-there goes the testimony of the 'remnant'we are looking for--they all were killed. (See Revelation 13:7 and 20:4) Who was the Sea Beast? It had to be a combination of several social factors in unison-namely the seditious who started the war against the Romans, ie. Zealots and Sicarri with the assistance of false prophets from all over the Jewish world. If you continue to believe the Romans constrain an early Parousia you have no basis in history to do so. Friend, you have to deal with REAL Roman history and not a sectarian Christian understanding that "creates" a boogeyman out of the Romans when they did more good than harm to the Church. Look and see for yourself, if you don't believe me. Since the Roman empire began its decline much much later in history (See Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, you have a gigantic historical window-reaching all the way to A.D.1453 with which to deal with. But the Bible itself, in Ezekiel 38:10-16, shows that the Christians would be caught by surprize on the eve of the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D.132-135). If you read Ezekiel 38 and 39 carefully, you will notice that Israel is invading Israel and is being defeated by God in a final war. The Holy Spirit, through the pen of the Apostle John, posited that war AFTER the debacle with the Sea Beast and his mark. Now, since the incident with the Sea Beast and his mark is an enigma which is intrisnically embossed onto the first Jewish War, it proves beyond all doubt that the events predicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39 form the zenith of Bible prophecy--in the Second Century NOT A.D.70. This would mean that the first Christians would have come out of the A.D.70 event with an understanding that the Lord had returned (as he promised) by that the final Messianic battle, round-up and disappearance of fleshly Israel was yet to come, whichn happened in due time.
    What is damaging our vision about what's what and what happened is that we insist that the eschaton was a single pointed event. It was not. Revelation 20 and the way it is contructed makes it quite impossible to force verses 20:1-4 back into Pentecost. You may have missed that. But by making it impossible to force the Beast backwards to Pentecost one is also prohibited from forcing verses 20:7-15 into A.D.70. The one event school is making an argument which defies the Scriptures in ragards to Judea's final years and how the Jewish State actually did disappear in the Second Century. This would account for why Christians continued to look ahead for the final big explosion. All these misguided assumptions, (which we inherited mostly from what we used to believe), help make what we are now challenged with, that mcuh more perplexing to come to grips with. Anyone interested in discovering what happened in the final hours of the Jewish State should put in their browsers keyword "Bar Kokhba" or "Second Jewish Revolt" it truly was a big explosion, and, according to Jewish sources, God's voice (a Bath Kol) was heard announcing the condemnation of the effort.A discussion of the entire matter of Judea's downfall and how that looks in history is very germaine to the discussion we are having and about the disappearance of "proof." We should not exclude anything but sift through all the evidence and try, for God's sake and our own insight, to stay with a strickly Jewish context.
    QUITE LOGICALLY, ROME WAS NOT THE PERSECUTING BEAST, everytime the Romans persecuted the Church, more Romans became Christians. But when Judea with Satan and the Law persued the Church it actually did make the Church get smaller. I therefore challenge what you say about Rome and the Romans because it does not appear to be according to the truth--something else is the case.

    Markos
    atavistchristian.com

    Markos Mountjoy

    Sam's picture

    Markos,

    This is all very interesting, and certainly worth a second look, but as of this time, I am convinced that Rome is the fourth beast of Daniel and matches Revelation 13. The point about the martyrs being killed is equally interesting in that it would explain why we may not have accounts from direct eyewitnesses in that generation.

    Sam

    Markos's picture

    Sam,
    Even if you don't agree at this time that the Zealots were the manifestation of the Fourth Beast, you're faced with a gigantic historical catastrophe in the Land of the Jews anyway. What do I mean by this? Think about this: Was Judea's history serene and tranquil after the Second Coming? Or was there another huge interruption that could have easily and be exopected to have reasonably obliterated all written evidence had there been any? Look, all I am saying is that you don't even have to go so far down the road historically before you have a complete desolation of Post A.D.70 Judean life. And this came in the form of the Roman wrath that put down the Second Jewish revolt in the three and a half years that spanned A.D.132-135. All I am advocating is, don't miss the very obvious disruption that came not long after our Lord fulfilled his word. Here's an interesting quote about the Second Great War: "In 132-135 C.E., under the inspired military leadership of Simon bar-Kokhba, rebellion once more broke out. It was Rabbi Akiba, the leading Rabbinic authority of the age, who gave it its motivating force. The expectation of the Messiah's coming was still as strong among the Jewish masses as it had been a century before. That Rabbi Akiba believed in the imminence of the End of Days is attested by the fact that he publically proclaimed Bar-Kokhba as the Messiah.
    Like all previous revolts against Rome, this one had specific provocation. The Emperor Hadrian apparently was moved by aims similar to those of Antiochus Epiphanes. He wanted to deprive the Jews of their uniqueness as a people, to force them to adopt the Roman religion, and by this and other methods of cultural assimilation, to end once and for all their inclination to rebel.
    The fierce hostility of the Jews to his decrees, which forbade the rite of circumcision, the study of the Torah and the observance of the Sabbath and other holy days, finally erupted into open rebellion in 132 C.E. The struggle lasted for three and a half years and cost a staggering number of lives-580,000 killed, besides many thousands more who died of pestilence and starvation. When it was over, the Roman writer, Dio Cassius, could say with full justification" "All of Judea became almost a desert."
    Bar-Kokhba's supreme confidence in final victory may have been due to his own belief, strengthened by the enthusiasm of Rabbi Akiba, that he was the Messiah and, therefore, invincible. The smashing defeats he inflicted on the proud Roman legions must have deepened this conviction. He was, furthermore, so confident in the prowess of his army that he once prayed before the battle in the sight of the assembled host: "O Lord, do not help the enemy, as for us, we need no help."
    The Pharisee quietists and the pacifists among the Jews-those who would let well enough alone-and, of course, those of the pro-Roman faction, argued against the war in the same way the renegade Josephus had argued sixty-five years before: "Are you wealthier than the Gauls, stronger than the Germans, more intelligent than the Greeks, more numerous than all the peoples of the world?" Their plaintive voices were drowned, however, in the patriotic roar of the Jewish people.
    The situation of the rebels was not completely hopeless. Bar-Kokhba drove the Roman legions out of the country. Some historians believe that had he continued persuing them instead of stoppibg at the borders of Syria, he might possibly have roused the entire colonial empire to rebel against Rome, so great was the social termoil of the times.
    Bar-Kokhba declared the independence of Judea almost as soon as he had taken over command of rebel forces. In emulation of the Maccabees, each year he struck coins, commemorative shekels and half shekels, with Hebrew superscriptions, "First year after the liberation of Jerusalem" and "Redemption of Zion." Hadrian, alarmed by the defeat inflicted on his legions, summoned his best general, Julius Severus, from Britain.

    War of Attrition
    Julius Severus was a resourceful soldier. He realized that it would be folly for him, as it would have been for other Roman generals, to engage the Jewish army in open battle. Rather, he decided to cut off their supplies and to starve them out. One by one, he isolated and then took by storm the strongholds of the Jews. Bar-Kokhba was finally forced to flee to the last rebel stronghold of Bethar. For several months he held out there and managed to inflict great losses on the Romans, but Bathar fell in 135 C.E. and he with it. Most of the survivors were butchered. The Talmud mournfully tells that when Bethar fell, the blood of the murdered women and children flowed for a mile like a turgid stream into the nearby stream.
    Martyrs
    Ten Rabbinic heroes, wise and gentle men, died the martyr's death. One of them, Hanina ben Teradion, had been found teaching the Torah, and the Romans, fitting the punishment to the crime, they thought, wrapped him in the parchment scroll of the Sefer Torah and burned him at the stake. Just as tragic was the end of Rabbi Akiba, the man who had been the "soul" of the rebellion. The Romans imprisoned him in Caesarea, tortured him constantly and tore the flesh off his body with a sharp iron comb. By dying, he said, he had at last found the most exalted way of affirming his belief in God and of fulfilling the commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul."
    A thousand villages and fifty fortress cities lay in ruins. To symbize the end of Jerusalem, the Romans raised a new city, called Aelia Capitolina, upon its site. In the Temple area they erected temples to their own deities, Venus and Bacchus, and there, where not so long before the sanctuary had stood, they built a temple in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus. For centuries thereafter Jews were not allowed in the city. Only on the ninth of Ab and only after paying heavy bribes were they allowed to visit the Wailing Wall, to grieve over the disaster to their sanctuary and state. Judea was no more.

    From Nathan Ausubel's Pictorial History of the Jewish People pp.89,90 1965 Crown Publishers, Inc.

    Markos Mountjoy

    Virgil's picture

    Excellent article Sam!

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    If the Scriptures teach that Jesus came again in A.D. 70 to usher in the spiritual age to come, then there is “no end,” and this explanation compliments the many rich and theologically deep things these men had to say, but also acknowledges them as mere men, uninspired, capable of error, and capable of bad interpretation….and who does not fit into that camp?

    AMEN, Sam. This is the very point I have been seeking to drive home with Parker. Parker's whole theology is based on the thinking and teachings of these men as recorded in the documentation available to us (which may or may not be what they ACTUALLY wrote).

    Clearly, somewhere along the way, UNIVERSALISM became the predominant interpretive perspective among the post-AD 70 ECFs. Instead of understanding Biblical prophecy within its limited context (limited to the pre-AD 70 "world" of the Old Covenant Jews), they concocted ideas and beliefs involving planetary, global scenarios, and the culmination of human history as a whole. At this point, they erred in their handling of Scripture (regardless of who may have personally influenced them), and misrepresented the eschatological Truth as revealed in the Word of God.

    I respect the fact that you make no attempt to directly discredit the ECFs and historical documentation from the latter First and Second Centuries, Sam. At the same time, the erroneous nature of the beliefs of these men leads me to conclude that SOMEONE pulled the wool over their eyes, so to speak. SOMEONE gave them the false impression that a UNIVERSAL application of Biblical prophecy was originally intended by its divine Author. There is a distinct, conspiratorial element at work in all of this. People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity, chronologically, to the actual events of that period.

    revkev201's picture

    SuperSoulFighter wrote:

    "There is a distinct, conspiratorial element at work in all of this. People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity, chronologically, to the actual events of that period."

    Kevin Asks:

    What are you suggesting by "conspiratorial?"

    Kevin remarks:

    Actually, Paul's epistle to the Galatians seems to take the wind from the sails of the argument that "People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity, chronologically, to the actual events of that period".
    Paul was obviously much closer to the Galatians than the ECFs were to any apostolic tradition, yet the Galatians are accused directly by the INSPIRED apostle Paul of having quickly abandoned his teaching.

    Grace,
    Kevin

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    SuperSoulFighter wrote:

    "There is a distinct, conspiratorial element at work in all of this. People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity, chronologically, to the actual events of that period."

    Kevin Asks:

    What are you suggesting by "conspiratorial?"

    I am suggesting a "doctoring" and falsifying of the historical records of the post-AD 70 period, Kevin. I am also suggesting that those who lived in the era immediately following the events of 70 AD were most likely the ones directly responsible for shifting the focus of the Parousia from a limited "coming" involving a judgment upon the JEWISH "cosmos" of the First Century, to one involving all of mankind. Likewise, these same individuals were undoubtedly involved in seeking to legitimize and perpetuate a post-AD 70 "church" (in keeping with the false idea that there was no "break" or "Parousia occurrence" differentiating between their spiritual experience and that of the pre-AD 70 saints).

    Kevin remarks:

    Actually, Paul's epistle to the Galatians seems to take the wind from the sails of the argument that "People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity, chronologically, to the actual events of that period".
    Paul was obviously much closer to the Galatians than the ECFs were to any apostolic tradition, yet the Galatians are accused directly by the INSPIRED apostle Paul of having quickly abandoned his teaching.

    Grace,
    Kevin

    I'm thinking of "people" on a much broader scale than one Church, Kevin. I'm talking about ALL of the post-AD 70 Christians "on record" (according to the historical documentation Parker is relying upon to attack the true, Biblical Parousia expectations taught and preached by Christ and His apostles). You ARE correct, though, in pointing out that human thinking CAN drift rather quickly away from the Truth if it is not properly grounded in a thoroughly Biblical understanding.

    revkev201's picture

    Thanks for the reply, and clarification. What concerns me about this line of speculation is that it is just speculation. The main problem with conspiracy theories is that if there were any decent evidence of a conspiracy, then there would not be any conspiracy theories. In essence one can make just about any claim about any circumstance and point and shout "Conspiracy!", yet such speculations are usually damaging to ones reputation without having significant evidence. Another problem (and probably more common) is that conspiracy speculations tend to waste precious time, diverting focus from more pressing issues of exegesis. Sure, I'd love the opportunity to run through the Vatican archives with a team of trained linguists and other experts, but chances are that's never going to happen, so why waste time pondering the improbables when I could instead be busy deepening my understanding of the word, and striving toward a consistent living out of what my understanding brings.

    Grace,
    Kevin

    Parker's picture

    KEVIN:
    In essence one can make just about any claim about any circumstance and point and shout "Conspiracy!", yet such speculations are usually damaging to ones reputation without having significant evidence.

    PARKER:
    Psst. Kevin. Did you know that the apostles flew around the Roman Empire in airplanes? It's true, it's just that there was a massive cover up by the post-AD 70 christians to bury the information. I know there's no evidence, but that was part of their conspiracy! They did a great job covering up, didn't they?

    Oh, and by the way, those same christians of the apostles' churches knew that Jesus returned at AD 70, but they immediately came together to snuff out the truth. They even died as martyrs to protect their own lies. I know there is no evidence for this, but that ONLY PROVES how good they were at executing an empire wide conspiracy! They were amazing. Even God was helpless to stop them! Those evil post-AD 70 christians of Philippi, Smyrna, Rome, Antioch, and Corinth! But we know the truth, Kevin, just you and me...and perhaps McPherson.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    IF the Scriptures had prophesied repeatedly that the apostles WOULD fly around the Roman Empire in airplanes, and then subsequent historical documentation failed to note that such a thing ever happened - we would STILL be obligated to consider the "conspiratorial cover-up" as a legitimate possibility, since the WORD OF GOD is INFALLIBLE AND INERRANT.

    Your argument is with the SCRIPTURES, Parker. Your asinine drivelling does nothing to undermine MY position. It merely emphasizes your own foolishness and lack of objectivity.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    I understand your point, Kevin - and in many ways, I agree with you. I DO, however, see value in this "conspiracy theorizing" in one area at least. On a theoretical, hypothetical level - it provides a legitimate alternative to Parker's devaluing of the Scriptural model of the Parousia.

    Also, my "conspiracy theory" dovetails quite nicely with my ecclesiology (if you've read any of my articles in that area, you'll understand where I'm coming from). So these speculations DO serve a purpose of sorts - but you're right when you say that exegeting the Scriptures and fleshing out the doctrinal ramifications of our paradigm in a systematic fashion is far more important and valuable.

    Parker's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    I DO, however, see value in this "conspiracy theorizing" in one area at least. On a theoretical, hypothetical level - it provides a legitimate alternative to Parker's devaluing of the Scriptural model of the Parousia.

    PARKER:
    Or, to put McPherson's statement another way:

    "the harsh reality posed by recorded history is so grave (as Parker has well demonstrated) that I'll make up any lie or suggest any myth to get around it. I'll say anything! I'm desperate, don't you see, desperate! I have personal interests to protect! It matters not how incredible the assertion may be, I'm McPherson. Do you hear me? I'm McPherson!"

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Or, as PARKER would have it, "The Scriptures aren't REALLY Divinely inspired and inerrant. Christ and His apostles were obviously MISTAKEN. SEE? My inerrant, infallible historical documentation PROVES it beyond any shadow of a doubt! Do you hear? I'm PARKER!! I'm a CATHOLIC! What we say stands as law for anyone daring to call himself a Christian!!

    Parker's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    Or, as PARKER would have it, "The Scriptures aren't REALLY Divinely inspired and inerrant. Christ and His apostles were obviously MISTAKEN. SEE? My inerrant, infallible historical documentation PROVES it beyond any shadow of a doubt! Do you hear? I'm PARKER!! I'm a CATHOLIC! What we say stands as law for anyone daring to call himself a Christian!!

    PARKER:
    Hold there, John. I'm not speaking for the Catholic church in my increasing skepticism of christian eschatology! I am speaking for myself only.

    Furthermore, I have approached the history of the nonoccurrence of the Parousia not as a Catholic, per se, but as an honest observer who is looking at the documents of the written record with open mind. The fact that those documents (both from secular and christian sources) show a people frozen in time waiting for the return of their Lord is not a Catholic conspiracy. Instead, it is a historic dilemma--one that strongly hints at the nonoccurrence (or blundering) of Christ's Parousia, as many scholars like Albert Schweitzer, Borg, and Lewis also suggest.

    Does this history create serious problems for Christianity and even for preterist christians? I think so. Is it fatal if true? Probably not more fatal than the ongoing creation and science debate, but it may mean that the man-made doctrine of inerrancy needs some adjustment. Perhaps there is more "play" or more "layers" in prophetic traditions than we are led to believe.

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    Thank you for expressing yourself in a more rational, composed, sincere manner, Parker. I respect this kind of response. And I will respond in kind.

    Furthermore, I have approached the history of the nonoccurrence of the Parousia not as a Catholic, per se, but as an honest observer who is looking at the documents of the written record with open mind. The fact that those documents (both from secular and christian sources) show a people frozen in time waiting for the return of their Lord is not a Catholic conspiracy.

    Do you see how your two statements, above, contradict each other, Parker? You stated that you approached the subject as an honest (impartial?) observer examining the records with an "open mind". Immediately following this statement, you emphatically and authoritatively state that the historical record of a people "frozen in time" awaiting a Parousia that never occurred is NOT a result of a Catholic conspiracy. You make this statement even though you have repeatedly reminded me that it is the Catholic ECFs who are responsible for formulating the canon of Scripture, based upon originals that are no longer in existence. This is likewise true of the historical record providing us with insight into the early post-AD 70 mindset and circumstances of the Christian community. We are forced to accept the activities of the ECFs in preserving and maintaining all of this ancient documentation as being motivated by the highest intentions and essentially ACCURATE. I can actually ACCEPT that view as FACT, where the SCRIPTURES are concerned, because I believe GOD was directly involved with the treatment and handling of His Word. But their handling of historical data is in a different category, and DIDN'T have God's direct involvement to the same degree.

    You state, again authoritatively (on the basis of the opinions of a few - or even many - scholars), that it is a historical "dilemma". I agree that it IS a dilemma, but it is one in which ALL of the options must be carefully weighed, INCLUDING the possibility that the absent awareness of the accomplished, fuliflled Parousia event IS the result of a conspiracy. To flatly deny that there is NO possibility that a conspiracy of any kind could have created this situation is simply close-minded dogmatism.

    I can see that on a certain level, you are TRYING to be objective and approach this issue from a non-partisan, non-sectarian perspective. But your subconscious biases STILL inform your views and beliefs, governing that which is "permissible" and that which is not. I would like to encourage you to continue doing your best to "think outside the box", and explore options that are not personally or immediately palatable to you. We all must do the same on a regular, ongoing basis. We are re-examining virtually EVERYTHING (although, for myself, you can see that the inerrancy of Scripture is one of my own, personal points of epistemological inflexibility).

    Parker's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    Parker's whole theology is based on the thinking and teachings of these men as recorded in the documentation available to us (which may or may not be what they ACTUALLY wrote).

    PARKER:
    As you surely know, the only way we may trust our NT writings is by trusting the later churchmen that handled, selected, copied, and authorized them. There are NO ORIGINALS, and the apostles did not do anything to canonize a "bible." So, we have no idea if the apostles actually wrote our NT letters, except by trusting the Catholic ECFs who give us their word. Catholics believe that later development happened by God's inspiration, but since you reject inspiration in the POST-AD 70 world, you have no INSPIRED surety that your NT letters are from the apostles!

    MCPHERSON:
    Clearly, somewhere along the way, UNIVERSALISM became the predominant interpretive perspective among the post-AD 70 ECFs.

    PARKER:
    Really? Did you learn that information from historic documents that also can't be trusted? Perhaps you now trust historic documents that support your views.

    MCPHERSON:
    I respect the fact that you make no attempt to directly discredit the ECFs and historical documentation from the latter First and Second Centuries, Sam. At the same time, the erroneous nature of the beliefs of these men leads me to conclude that SOMEONE pulled the wool over their eyes, so to speak.

    PARKER:
    Perhaps it is YOU that is pulling the wool down over others' eyes. The *reasonable* explanation from history for why they didn't know of a fulfilled Parousia is because no one there experienced Christ's return in any way recognizable to them. They were eagerly awaiting it and continued to do so, but experienced nothing that was recognizable to them. That's clearly what happened, *according to the historic record.* And the historic record is so unanimous, and from so many sources, that it is as certain as any *historic* knowledge can be.

    MCPHERSON:
    SOMEONE gave them the false impression that a UNIVERSAL application of Biblical prophecy was originally intended by its divine Author.

    PARKER:
    Rather, the apostles gave their churches the impression that the Second Coming of Christ was an event they would know, recognize, experience, and participate in. Since it wasn't (assuming some Parousia took place), they all kept looking with eager expectation and with incredible faithfulness. If the event did happen, then the elect were misled by the apostles who taught a recognizable Parousia.

    MCPHERSON:
    There is a distinct, conspiratorial element at work in all of this. People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity,

    PARKER:
    The "conspiracy" (if you must find one) was started by Christ and the apostles--they are the ones that taught a recognizable Parousia that the elect would know and participate in. Yet *all the elect of record* (those of apostles' churches) did NOT experience or recognize the Lord because his coming was kept secret. There's your conspiracy, friend.

    judge's picture

    HI GW! hope you are well and looking forward to much growth in 2005!

    PARKER:
    As you surely know, the only way we may trust our NT writings is by trusting the later churchmen that handled, selected, copied, and authorized them. There are NO ORIGINALS, and the apostles did not do anything to canonize a "bible." So, we have no idea if the apostles actually wrote our NT letters, except by trusting the Catholic ECFs who give us their word.

    JUDGE:
    Not only this. The books of the NT (or most of them) were independently preserved outside the Roamn Empire by the Assyrian Church of the East.

    This group of believers were not and still are not in communion with the catholic church.

    They did not attend the early church councils but had their own councils where they proclaimed their independence from those inside the Empire.

    Here we have independent testimony that the Catholic ECF's got it right , or extremely close to right.
    Separated from the rest of Christendom by their extreme isolation, the Nestorians (sic) have preserved many of the traditions of the early church which have either disappeared altogether elsewhere or else survived only in the most unrecognizable forms. Their legends are fragments of fossilized early Christian folklore, while the Eucharistic rite (liturgy), the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari, is the oldest Christian liturgy in use anywhere in the world." (William Dalrymple, From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East., New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1997, pg. 141

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    Parker's whole theology is based on the thinking and teachings of these men as recorded in the documentation available to us (which may or may not be what they ACTUALLY wrote).

    PARKER:
    As you surely know, the only way we may trust our NT writings is by trusting the later churchmen that handled, selected, copied, and authorized them. There are NO ORIGINALS, and the apostles did not do anything to canonize a "bible." So, we have no idea if the apostles actually wrote our NT letters, except by trusting the Catholic ECFs who give us their word. Catholics believe that later development happened by God's inspiration, but since you reject inspiration in the POST-AD 70 world, you have no INSPIRED surety that your NT letters are from the apostles!

    IF the Bible is truly the Word of God, Parker (evidence of which exists on various levels), then it is GOD who was ultimately responsible for its preservation, and men were the mere servants of His Will. As I indicated in another response, the apostles DID actively identify which texts were Scripture and which were not, according to Peter's statement in 2Peter 3. Peter acknowledged some of Paul's writings as Scripture. The process really BEGAN with them, and the process of INSPIRATION ENDED with them. If you really understood the term "inspiration", you wouldn't misuse it so freely, misapplying it to the canonization of Scripture. It is exclusive to TEXTUAL COMPOSITION.

    I understand your argument concerning the means of establishing and verifying the authorship of Biblical texts, however the "churchmen" involved in the process themselves acknowledge a DIFFERENCE and SUPERIORITY in the veracity of Scripture versus the more uncertain and dubious nature of historical documentation. Texts truly inspired by God have His unique involvement in their preservation. Historical documents of strictly human authorship do not.

    MCPHERSON:
    Clearly, somewhere along the way, UNIVERSALISM became the predominant interpretive perspective among the post-AD 70 ECFs.

    PARKER:
    Really? Did you learn that information from historic documents that also can't be trusted? Perhaps you now trust historic documents that support your views.

    The Bible does NOT teach a "universal Parousia" involving all of mankind on a global scale. The ECFs of the post-AD 70 era developed that idea, in accordance with false premises concocted to legitimize the ecclesiastical enterprise and institution with which they were involved. I'm rather astounded that you can't see (or acknowledge) the radical shift in emphasis and focus to which I'm referring, Parker.

    MCPHERSON:
    I respect the fact that you make no attempt to directly discredit the ECFs and historical documentation from the latter First and Second Centuries, Sam. At the same time, the erroneous nature of the beliefs of these men leads me to conclude that SOMEONE pulled the wool over their eyes, so to speak.

    PARKER:
    Perhaps it is YOU that is pulling the wool down over others' eyes. The *reasonable* explanation from history for why they didn't know of a fulfilled Parousia is because no one there experienced Christ's return in any way recognizable to them. They were eagerly awaiting it and continued to do so, but experienced nothing that was recognizable to them. That's clearly what happened, *according to the historic record.* And the historic record is so unanimous, and from so many sources, that it is as certain as any *historic* knowledge can be.

    How easy would it have been to perpetrate and popularize a hoax in those days, Parker? It would have been much easier than you think, in the days before modern communication devices. But even today, such a feat could be accomplished rather readily, through a little clever media manipulation and propaganda. There was tremendous political/social upheaval and unrest during the post-AD 70 period of history anyway, so the confusion and turmoil of the period permitted certain key individuals to develop a distorted view of history and the Parousia, using their influence and connections to popularize it. Yes, I'm treating history AS THOUGH it is reasonably accurate in responding to your argument here, Parker. But since we have no CONCRETE evidence supporting the idea that the Christian documentation of the period excludes any awareness of an accomplished Parousia, I find such documentation as does exist (and is in direct conflict with the Scriptural perspective on the subject) flawed and untrustworthy (regardless of its quantity and purported sources).

    MCPHERSON:
    SOMEONE gave them the false impression that a UNIVERSAL application of Biblical prophecy was originally intended by its divine Author.

    PARKER:
    Rather, the apostles gave their churches the impression that the Second Coming of Christ was an event they would know, recognize, experience, and participate in. Since it wasn't (assuming some Parousia took place), they all kept looking with eager expectation and with incredible faithfulness. If the event did happen, then the elect were misled by the apostles who taught a recognizable Parousia.

    Again - none of these post-AD 70 Christians were of the "elect", and if they were led to believe that they WERE - those responsible for this idea were NOT the pre-AD 70 apostles, but rather the POST-AD 70 deceivers who refused to acknowledge their failure to experience the Parousia WITH the pre-AD 70 saints. Rather, they chose to DISTORT the teachings of the apostles, and misapply them directly to POST-AD 70 Christians.

    MCPHERSON:
    There is a distinct, conspiratorial element at work in all of this. People don't naturally drift so far away from the Truth so quickly (without a little extra assistance in heading down the wrong path) - particularly in view of their close proximity,

    PARKER:
    The "conspiracy" (if you must find one) was started by Christ and the apostles--they are the ones that taught a recognizable Parousia that the elect would know and participate in. Yet *all the elect of record* (those of apostles' churches) did NOT experience or recognize the Lord because his coming was kept secret. There's your conspiracy, friend.

    ALL of the "elect" DID experience the Parousia, Parker. Their experience simply isn't recorded in the documents at your disposal, nor was it made public to the post-AD 70 Christians who were falsely led to believe that it hadn't occurred yet, but WOULD within their lifetimes. The "church" of the post-AD 70 period of history has played the "imminency" game for centuries now, and it's time to blow the whistle on the whole, futurist game. It's a false cult, and is in direct contradiction to the very Scriptures it claims as its foundation.

    NOTHING was "kept secret" by the Lord and His apostles, Parker. Rather, the post-AD 70 ECFs managed to bury the Truth and deceive many people, victimizing them in drawing them into a system of false beliefs and expectations.

    Parker's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    IF the Bible is truly the Word of God, Parker (evidence of which exists on various levels), then it is GOD who was ultimately responsible for its preservation, and men were the mere servants of His Will.

    PARKER:
    That process you are describing is known as INSPIRATION. Since you don't believe in post-AD 70 inspiration , you can have no inspired surety that even a single NT letter is authentic. And there are NO ORIGINALS. You therefore must trust the analysis and decisions of uninspired people of the post-AD 70 era if you are to trust your bible at all. Then, of logical necessity, you can trust those letters *only as much* as you trust the churchmen of the post-AD 70 era who determined a "NT bible."

    MCPHERSON:
    As I indicated in another response, the apostles DID actively identify which texts were Scripture and which were not

    PARKER:
    Please cite the NT scriptures where we see the apostles determining the NT canon! (Hint: there isn't any such passage in scripture.)

    MCPHERSON:
    The process really BEGAN with them, and the process of INSPIRATION ENDED with them. If you really understood the term "inspiration", you wouldn't misuse it so freely, misapplying it to the canonization of Scripture. It is exclusive to TEXTUAL COMPOSITION.

    PARKER:
    The apostles did NOT keep any list of authorized books, nor did they seek to compile their writings into an authorized canon. Nor do ANY ORIGINALS exist! All we have is copies from later centuries. And, there is no way to know if ANY of those copies had anything ever to do with a single apostle. They could all be forgeries, for all we know. The only way we can trust that our NT is authentic is by trusting the decisions of churchmen of the post-AD 70 era (something you manifestly refuse to do). Therefore, you cannot trust a single word of the NT bible to be authentic. I love this: Your faith rests entirely upon the later churchmen of the post AD 70 era, and you didn't even know it. Perhaps you're more Catholic than you think.

    MCPHERSON:
    I understand your argument concerning the means of establishing and verifying the authorship of Biblical texts, however the "churchmen" involved in the process themselves acknowledge a DIFFERENCE and SUPERIORITY in the veracity of Scripture versus the more uncertain and dubious nature of historical documentation.

    PARKER:
    But that's their subjective opinion based on traditions, not anything the apostles determined. And no original documents exist. So, again, the entirety of your faith rests upon the opinions of churchmen of the post-AD70 era. You may trust your NT bible to be authentic *ONLY* to the extent that you trust the churchmen of the post-AD 70 era. And since it is clear that you don't trust any of them a lick, your faith is utterly in vain. (And you didn't even know it until now! That's rich.)

    MCPHERSON:
    Texts truly inspired by God have His unique involvement in their preservation. Historical documents of strictly human authorship do not.

    PARKER:
    Scripture, please. (Oh, there isn't one--it's just your opinion.) Luther declared as uninspired seven NT books: Revelation, Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John. Luther's followers decided to trust the post AD 70 Catholics instead and keep those in (though they did remove the deuterocanonicals that existed in the Septuagint).

    MCPHERSON:
    The Bible does NOT teach a "universal Parousia" involving all of mankind on a global scale.

    PARKER:
    It does teach an event that would be recognizable to--and experienced by--the elect when it took place. Yet no such elect of history knew of their Lord's return, so far as the unanimous testimony of history is concerned. So either it never happened, or it was kept hidden from the elect and thus the apostles' predictions erred (for the apostles predicted the elect would know of their Lord's return).

    MCPHERSON:
    The ECFs of the post-AD 70 era developed that idea, in accordance with false premises concocted to legitimize the ecclesiastical enterprise and institution with which they were involved.

    PARKER:
    That "ecclesiastical enterprise and institution" with which they were involved was established by the apostles for the sake that those churches would recognize and participate in the Lord's return. Unfortunately, we know that the apostles' churches never knew of any Parousia, so they were all left hanging. Actually, they were left to the lions' mouths to die looking for their Lord to return to them.

    MCPHERSON:
    How easy would it have been to perpetrate and popularize a hoax in those days, Parker? It would have been much easier than you think...

    PARKER:
    Your assertion of "A Great Rapture Cover Up" among the first christians is utter fraud. It has no basis in any reality. It exists as a fantasy in your head, and the fact that you're trying to get anyone to believe it is a true conspiracy going on right here at planetpreterist.com. Luckily, I'm here to ensure you don't get away with it. You are a very unethical man, McPherson.

    MCPHERSON:
    ALL of the "elect" DID experience the Parousia, Parker. Their experience simply isn't recorded in the documents

    PARKER:
    You are perpetrating a fraud. Please cite proof that the first christians knew of the Parousia. I can cite reams of evidence from many sources--both secular and christian--that they did not know of their Lord's return. You are engaged in mere wishful thinking.

    MCPHERSON:
    NOTHING was "kept secret" by the Lord and His apostles, Parker. Rather, the post-AD 70 ECFs managed to bury the Truth and deceive many people, victimizing them in drawing them into a system of false beliefs and expectations.

    PARKER:
    Again, look how you have to invent a total myth to maintain your preterism. "The Great Rapture Cover Up" myth MUST be believed for you to maintain your preterism. This is fantastic. For preterists to be preterists, they must embrace McPherson's revisionist history of "The Great Rapture Cover Up." That's rich. Who would ever believe such tripe?

    SuperSoulFighter's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    IF the Bible is truly the Word of God, Parker (evidence of which exists on various levels), then it is GOD who was ultimately responsible for its preservation, and men were the mere servants of His Will.

    PARKER:
    That process you are describing is known as INSPIRATION. Since you don't believe in post-AD 70 inspiration , you can have no inspired surety that even a single NT letter is authentic. And there are NO ORIGINALS. You therefore must trust the analysis and decisions of uninspired people of the post-AD 70 era if you are to trust your bible at all. Then, of logical necessity, you can trust those letters *only as much* as you trust the churchmen of the post-AD 70 era who determined a "NT bible."

    No, Parker. It's NOT "inspiration". The canonization of Scripture was NOT a process governed by Divine inspiration. That is easily demonstrated by (once again) posting the THEOLOGICAL definition of the term "inspiration" (based upon the SCRIPTURAL, contextual usage of the term).

    "That extraordinary or supernatural divine influence vouchsafed to those who
    WROTE the Holy Scriptures, rendering their writings infallible. "All scripture
    is given by inspiration of God" (R.V., "Every scripture inspired of God"), 2
    Tim. 3:16. This is true of all the "sacred writings," not in the sense of their
    being works of genius or of supernatural insight, but as "theopneustic," i.e.,
    "breathed into by God" in such a sense that the writers were supernaturally
    guided to express exactly what God intended them to express as a revelation of
    his mind and will. The testimony of the sacred writers themselves abundantly
    demonstrates this truth; and if they are infallible as teachers of doctrine,
    then the doctrine of plenary inspiration must be accepted. There are no errors
    in the Bible as it came from God, none have been proved to exist. Difficulties
    and phenomena we cannot explain are not errors. All these books of the Old and
    New Testaments are inspired. We do not say that they contain, but that they
    are, the Word of God. The gift of inspiration rendered the writers the organs
    of God, for the infallible communication of his mind and will, in the very
    manner and words in which it was originally given. As to the nature of
    inspiration we have no information. This only we know, it rendered the writers
    infallible. They were all equally inspired, and are all equally infallible. The
    inspiration of the sacred writers did not change their characters. They retained
    all their individual peculiarities as thinkers or writers." (Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897)

    The process of "inspiration" was EXCLUSIVE to the composition of the text, Parker. Interestingly, that textual authorship ENDED not long before 70 AD. Have you ever given any serious thought to the significance of that aspect of the Scriptures? WHY aren't "inspired" Scriptures still being written today, and why is our "canon" NOT "open-ended"? Why are we not adding new, "inspired" texts to the canon daily? THINK about it.

    MCPHERSON:
    As I indicated in another response, the apostles DID actively identify which texts were Scripture and which were not

    PARKER:
    Please cite the NT scriptures where we see the apostles determining the NT canon! (Hint: there isn't any such passage in scripture.)

    I already DID. Obviously, you weren't paying attention. 2Peter 3:16. Look it up.

    MCPHERSON:
    The process really BEGAN with them, and the process of INSPIRATION ENDED with them. If you really understood the term "inspiration", you wouldn't misuse it so freely, misapplying it to the canonization of Scripture. It is exclusive to TEXTUAL COMPOSITION.

    PARKER:
    The apostles did NOT keep any list of authorized books, nor did they seek to compile their writings into an authorized canon.[According to the LIMITED "historical record" on which YOUR faith is based]. Nor do ANY ORIGINALS exist! All we have is copies from later centuries. And, there is no way to know if ANY of those copies had anything ever to do with a single apostle. They could all be forgeries, for all we know.[As could YOUR "historical documents and data"] The only way we can trust that our NT is authentic is by trusting the decisions of churchmen of the post-AD 70 era (something you manifestly refuse to do).[Actually, I trust the pronouncements of the Divine AUTHOR of Scripture who declared that HE would ensure the preservation of His Word by whatever means necessary. Those very same "churchmen" who were involved in the canonization and preservation process were ALSO involved in attempting to keep that Word of God OUT of the hands of the common people, and in a dead, archaic language they were unable to read and understand for themselves.] Therefore, you cannot trust a single word of the NT bible to be authentic [except by FAITH in the GOD OF THE BIBLE]. I love this: Your faith rests entirely upon the later churchmen of the post AD 70 era[FALSE - see above], and you didn't even know it. Perhaps you're more Catholic than you think [or perhaps YOU are LESS Catholic than you think, since the RCC claims to uphold the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture - "Sacred Scripture is the text of Revelation, written by humans under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and guarded by the Church through which the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the language of the Holy Spirit." - Old Catholic #1 position ].

    MCPHERSON:
    I understand your argument concerning the means of establishing and verifying the authorship of Biblical texts, however the "churchmen" involved in the process themselves acknowledge a DIFFERENCE and SUPERIORITY in the veracity of Scripture versus the more uncertain and dubious nature of historical documentation.

    PARKER:
    But that's their subjective opinion based on traditions, not anything the apostles determined. And no original documents exist. So, again, the entirety of your faith rests upon the opinions of churchmen of the post-AD70 era. You may trust your NT bible to be authentic *ONLY* to the extent that you trust the churchmen of the post-AD 70 era. And since it is clear that you don't trust any of them a lick, your faith is utterly in vain. (And you didn't even know it until now! That's rich.)

    Many books could be written developing the theme "Things that Parker doesn't know" - but the most significant aspect in your statements above, is that you obviously DON'T understand the mystical element of faith in my own reliance upon Scripture alone. Nor do you wish to acknowledge it.

    MCPHERSON:
    The Bible does NOT teach a "universal Parousia" involving all of mankind on a global scale.

    PARKER:
    It does teach an event that would be recognizable to--and experienced by--the elect when it took place. Yet no such elect of history knew of their Lord's return, so far as the unanimous testimony of history is concerned. So either it never happened, or it was kept hidden from the elect and thus the apostles' predictions erred (for the apostles predicted the elect would know of their Lord's return).

    YOUR assumption is that the PRE-AD 70 ELECT knew of no such Parousia. Of course, the Scriptures declare your belief to be FALSE. The POST-AD 70 "elect" were a non-existent group of people.

    MCPHERSON:
    The ECFs of the post-AD 70 era developed that idea, in accordance with false premises concocted to legitimize the ecclesiastical enterprise and institution with which they were involved.

    PARKER:
    That "ecclesiastical enterprise and institution" with which they were involved was established by the apostles for the sake that those churches would recognize and participate in the Lord's return. Unfortunately, we know that the apostles' churches never knew of any Parousia, so they were all left hanging. Actually, they were left to the lions' mouths to die looking for their Lord to return to them.

    Actually, we know of no such thing. The apostles' churches had memberships who WERE ready for the 70 AD Parousia, and many (perhaps MOST) of them EXPERIENCED it. Later "church" leaders deceptively buried evidence of that event, and falsified historical data to perpetuate a hoax. As far as I'M concerned, such a view is every bit as consistent with the historical data you tout as accurate and trustworthy, as YOUR interpretation of it.

    MCPHERSON:
    How easy would it have been to perpetrate and popularize a hoax in those days, Parker? It would have been much easier than you think...

    PARKER:
    Your assertion of "A Great Rapture Cover Up" among the first christians is utter fraud. It has no basis in any reality. It exists as a fantasy in your head, and the fact that you're trying to get anyone to believe it is a true conspiracy going on right here at planetpreterist.com. Luckily, I'm here to ensure you don't get away with it. You are a very unethical man, McPherson.

    YOU are a very naive and unobjective person, Parker. YOU are unprepared to even CONSIDER the possibility that the historical record upon which you place such reliance and in which you trust unquestioningly MAY have been the result of a conspiratorial revision of TRUE history. Your understanding of that which is "real" and "reality" needs revision, Parker. Your unshakable belief that "historical data" accurately establishes both is founded upon utterly erroneous assumptions.

    MCPHERSON:
    ALL of the "elect" DID experience the Parousia, Parker. Their experience simply isn't recorded in the documents

    PARKER:
    You are perpetrating a fraud. Please cite proof that the first christians knew of the Parousia. I can cite reams of evidence from many sources--both secular and christian--that they did not know of their Lord's return. You are engaged in mere wishful thinking.

    The ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT is RIDDLED with examples of the First Century Parousia expectations of the FIRST CHRISTIANS (the PRE-AD 70 saints whose history is detailed to a considerable extent in the Book of Acts, and whose thinking, beliefs and teachings were preserved for us as the NEW TESTAMENT). The Christians YOU refer to were NOT the "first Christians". WAKE UP, Parker. Your distorted understanding of history and Scripture is painful to contemplate.

    MCPHERSON:
    NOTHING was "kept secret" by the Lord and His apostles, Parker. Rather, the post-AD 70 ECFs managed to bury the Truth and deceive many people, victimizing them in drawing them into a system of false beliefs and expectations.

    PARKER:
    Again, look how you have to invent a total myth to maintain your preterism. "The Great Rapture Cover Up" myth MUST be believed for you to maintain your preterism. This is fantastic. For preterists to be preterists, they must embrace McPherson's revisionist history of "The Great Rapture Cover Up." That's rich. Who would ever believe such tripe?

    The "unbelievability" of anything I have proposed PALES in comparison with YOUR outright denial of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture (based upon the supposed superiority of your touted "historical documentation"). Your position is worse than "tripe", Parker. It is, quite simply, a LIE.

    Parker's picture

    MCPHERSON:
    No, Parker. It's NOT "inspiration". The canonization of Scripture was NOT a process governed by Divine inspiration.

    PARKER:
    Then you have no way of knowing that your NT letters have any apostolic link whatsoever. The originals don't exist anywhere, and the apostles did not create a list of authorized, inspired books. Therefore, the New Testment scriptures are utterly untrustworthy and are perhaps even forgeries created by the evil post-AD 70 christians. BTW, your Easton Bible Dictionary quote is worthless. The author doesn't even dare address that the NT canon of scripture was produced by churchmen of the second through fourth centuries. No originals exist! We have no way of knowing if our NT letters are from any apostles without the testimony of post-AD 70 christian con artists (as you like to portray the ECFs). The origin of your bible is a bunch of post-AD 70 hucksters and conspirators. McPherson, I shouldn't be allowed to have this much fun at your expense.

    MCPHERSON:
    The process of "inspiration" was EXCLUSIVE to the composition of the text, Parker.

    PARKER:
    You don't know that a single letter of your NT bible has any connection to any apostle! The apostles made no list of books and no originals exist. For all you know, every NT letter is a forgery like so many of the other "gospels" and "apocalypses" written in that time.

    MCPHERSON:
    I already DID. Obviously, you weren't paying attention. 2Peter 3:16. Look it up.

    PARKER:
    You don't know that 2 Peter is authentic or of any apostle. In fact, Luther said it wasn't. No original exists, and there is no inspired person after AD 70 who can verify with divine surety that the letter is authentic. See how flimsy your faith is, McPherson? Your bible is kaput. Poof. Gone.

    MCPHERSON:
    Actually, I trust the pronouncements of the Divine AUTHOR of Scripture who declared that HE would ensure the preservation of His Word by whatever means necessary.

    PARKER:
    You have no such promise concerning the NT letters, and even if you did, you don't know that those letters are even authentic or linked to any apostle! Your faith rests upon the determinations of later ECFs whom you deride constantly. Way to cut off your nose to spite your face!

    MCPHERSON:
    you obviously DON'T understand the mystical element of faith in my own reliance upon Scripture alone.

    PARKER:
    I do understand. You have blind faith in the ECFs that handled and copied what they declared to be "the scriptures," even though you foolishly deny it. You ignorantly deny their role and deride the very men you must trust with your life if you are ever to approach the New Testament letters with confidence.

    MCPHERSON:
    YOUR assumption is that the PRE-AD 70 ELECT knew of no such Parousia. Of course, the Scriptures declare your belief to be FALSE. The POST-AD 70 "elect" were a non-existent group of people.

    PARKER:
    AD 70 people became AD 71 people. And, AD 71 people knew personally AD 70 people. In fact, the AD 71 people were in the same churches with the AD 70 people (Antioch, Rome, Corinth, Smyrna, Philippi). And, people like St. John, Ignatius, Clement, and Polycarp lived at AD 70 through to the early 100s! These people accurately taught the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Your attempt to criminalize all the AD 71 christians just goes to show what a total flake you are. (Not to mention that libel is against God's law. So you're a flake and an unrepentant pagan.)

    MCPHERSON:
    Actually, we know of no such thing. The apostles' churches had memberships who WERE ready for the 70 AD Parousia, and many (perhaps MOST) of them EXPERIENCED it.

    PARKER:
    You have no evidence of this whatsoever. It is a fabrication. A fraud. Now, in contrast, I have written evidence that proves that no christian of record at the apostolic churches ever even heard of the claim of a fulfilled Parousia at AD 70.

    MCPHERSON:
    Later "church" leaders deceptively buried evidence of that event, and falsified historical data to perpetuate a hoax.

    PARKER:
    Yet there is no historic basis for your assertion. We must simply trust that McPherson is INSPIRED, and blindly follow him. You're just making stuff up to protect your self interests. Psst! Did you know the apostles flew airplaines but the evidence was deceptively buried and lost forever--but I have been raised up 2000 years later to recover this lost fact? Trust me, I say so.

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