May 21st

Someone asked me what I thought about May 21st doomsday nonsense. Here’s what I said:

  1. Harold Camping is a heretic and a false prophet.
  2. Jesus is coming back. It can be even earlier than May 21st or even on that date or later than May 21st. No man knows. But one thing is certain. Jesus said he’ll come back again for his church.
  3. The Second Coming of Christ does have “doomsday” mood because its biblical descriptions are dark – e.g., judgment, wrath, etc. And it is no nonsense. But such mood applies only to those who are not ready. But to those who long to see Christ, we live as though today is our last day here on earth and can’t wait to see our Creator and Redeemer. Hence, wishing that Christ comes even before May 21st.

Preterism, Futurism, And The Olivet Discourse (Part 2)

In our last article we considered a brief overview of preterism and futurism in relationship to the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25).  As we noted, according to preterism, some or all of the events described in Matthew 24-25 were fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.  However, according to futurism, none of the events described in Matthew 24-25 were fulfilled in 70 A.D., but rather refer entirely to the future tribulation and second coming of Jesus Christ.

Now let’s consider some support for a preterist interpretation:

1.  The context is regarding the destruction of the temple (Matt. 23:37-39).

2.  The entire Olivet Discourse is Jesus’ answer to His disciples questions (Matt. 24:3), which

includes a question about the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:1-2).

3.  The abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15) is described by Jesus as the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Luke 21:20).

4.  The generation that would experience the events of 24:4-31 could be interpreted to be the generation of Jesus’ own day (Matt. 24:34; cf. 23:36).

These passages must be taken seriously, but there are some significant challenges to the preterist interpretation.  Consider the following arguments in favor of futurist interpretation:

1.  The disciple’s question is about Jesus’ coming and the end of the age (Matt. 24:3).

2.  The promise of global evangelism prior to the end (24:14) didn’t happen before 70 A.D.

3.  Jesus’ description of the severity of the tribulation (24:21-22) doesn’t accurately describe the events of 70 A.D.

4.  Jesus is clearly speaking about His second coming (24:29-31, 33, 37).

5.  The parables of preparedness clearly relate to the second coming (24:42-25:30).

6.  The judgment of the nations follows the second coming of Christ (25:31-46; cf. Rev. 19-20).

7.  The book of Revelation was written after 70 A.D. and clearly describes a future tribulation.

So, which view is correct, preterism or futurism?  We will answer that question in our next article.

Preterism, Futurism, and the Olivet Discourse (Part 1)

In my home church (Grace Baptist Church) we are currently doing an exposition of the gospel of Matthew and are now in the Olivet Discourse (chapters 24-25).  This is Jesus’ final sermon recorded in Matthew’s gospel and its subject is eschatology, or is it?  The Olivet Discourse is a real battle ground of interpretive differences between preterists and futurists.

Let’s start with some definitions before moving any further.

1.  The Preterist View.

The word preterist simply means past and it teaches that most or all of the predictions of Matthew 24-25 were fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.

There are two kinds of preterism:

A.  Full preterism teaches that the entirety of Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in 70 A.D.  Those holding this view would even go so far as to say that no prophecy of Scripture remains unfulfilled.  In other words they believe that events such as the second coming, the resurrection from the dead, and the Great White Throne judgment are all past events.  They would even claim that we are now living in the new heavens and new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21).

B.  Partial preterism teaches that some of Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in 70 A.D.  They believe that Matthew 24:1-35 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and that Matthew 24:36-25:46 refers to the second coming which is still a future event.  In other words they believe that what has traditionally been understood as the future seven year tribulation has already occurred (Revelation 6-19).

2.  The Futurist View.

This view teaches that the entirety of Matthew 24-25 refers not to 70 A.D. but to the future second coming of Jesus Christ.

So which is right, preterism or futurism?  In our next article we will look at the strengths of each view and carefully try to discern a right interpretation of this very difficult subject.  As J.C. Ryle said so well, “On no point have good men entirely disagreed as on the interpretation of prophecy.”

With that said, I leave you with my outline of the Olivet Discourse:

I.  The Setting (24:1-3).

II.  The Beginning of Birth Pangs (24:4-14).

III.  The Great Tribulation (24:15-28).

IV.  The Second Coming (24:29-31).

V.  The Parables About Preparedness (24:32-25:30).

VI.  The Final Judgment (25:31-46).

Corrective Eschatology

My seminary alum blog recently raised this observation:

How many times have you heard this line? The conversation usually goes something like this: “I am a panmillennialist because I believe everything will pan out in the end.”

To read the rest of the article click here.