Apologetics scoffer

Published on November 22nd, 2011 | by Gary DeMar

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Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers

To scoff or not to scoff. Is that the question? It’s not. The question is: What were the scoffers scoffing at? Futurists insist that Peter is critical of those who were scoffing that the physical coming of Jesus had not occurred as promised (2 Peter 3–18). The simple fact is that the New Testament writers, Peter included (1 Peter 4:7), taught that Jesus would return shortly (Rev. 1:1), before the last apostle died (John 21:18–24; Matt. 16:27–28), within a generation (Matt. 24:34), because the time was “near” (Rev. 1:3) for the old covenant to pass away. This coming was a coming in judgment — not a physical coming like Jesus’ first coming — similar to the predicted comings that resulted in judgments in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 19:1; Micah 1:2–4). The New Testament writers were not describing a final, end-of-the-physical-world coming.

We find comparable local judgment comings in Revelation (Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:3). Here are fellow-dispensationalist John F. Walvoord’s comments on Revelation 2:5:

The Ephesian Christians were also sharply warned that if they did not heed exhortation, they could expect sudden judgment and removal of the candlestick. As [Henry] Alford comments, this is ‘not Christ’s final coming, but His coming in special judgment is here indicated.’ The meaning seems to be that He would remove the church as a testimony for Christ. This, of course, was tragically fulfilled ultimately.”(1)

Walvoord argues in a similar way in his comments on Revelation 3:3 where Jesus says to the church at Sardis, “I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you”:

The same symbolism is used at the second coming of the Lord, but here the figure is not related to that event. The judgment upon the church at Sardis, however, is going to be just as unexpected, sudden, and irrevocable as that which is related to the second coming.”(2)

The judgment described by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse was also only local. The then existing temple was to be destroyed (Matt. 24:2) and the judgment could be escaped by fleeing to the mountains outside Judea (24:16–20).

The scoffing of Peter’s skeptics makes sense only if a particular time period was known by those doing the scoffing. A nearly 40-year period with no return will bring out scoffers who were told that this coming would take place within a generation, but a nearly 2000-year period of no return makes scoffing reasonable. You can’t write that an event is “near” (Rev. 1:3), soon to take place (1:1), and then have 2000 years pass with no coming as promised and then claim that God has a different view of time than we do. By the time Peter wrote his letter, that generation was coming to an end and the temple was still standing. As a result, they began to scoff at Jesus’ prediction.

Today’s scoffers are those who do not take Jesus’ words seriously when He said He would return before the generation to whom He was speaking passed away (Matt. 24:34). Those who maintain that Jesus did not mean the generation that was alive in His day are calling Jesus’ veracity into question. They are scoffing that Jesus meant what He said. “He didn’t really mean that He would return within a generation,” they argue. “That’s just not possible.”

For example, Ed Hindson, who wrote “The New Last Days Scoffers” in the May 2005 issue of the National Liberty Journal, takes the position advocated by F. V. Filson “that Matthew [in chapter 24] certainly understood Jesus to be saying that ‘all these things’ referred to the end of history in the distant future.”(3) Contrary to Filson and Hindson, it’s obvious that Jesus had that particular generation in view and not a distant future one (Matt. 24:33). This is the position of numerous Bible commentators. For example, the great Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1891) writes: “The King left his followers in no doubt as to when these things should happen: ‘Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till and these things be fulfilled.’ It was about the ordinary limit of a generation when the Roman armies compassed Jerusalem, whose measure of iniquity was then full, and overflowed in misery, agony, distress, and bloodshed such as the world never saw before or since. Jesus was a true Prophet; everything that he foretold was literally fulfilled.”(4)

We live in a time leads people to believe that there is no hope. The world seems to be crumbling down around us. In a way, it is. But whose world is crumbling? It’s the worlds of unbelief, moral decadence, and confusion. What we do is what matters.

Endnotes:

  1. John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1966), 57.()
  2. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, 81.()
  3. Edward E. Hindson, “Matthew” in Liberty Bible Commentary: New Testament (Lynchburg, VA: The Old-Time Gospel Hour, 1982), 83.()
  4. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 1987), 353.()
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About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



22 Responses to Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers

  1. MB-F says:

    First of all, it is doubtful, and there are covenant theologians who agree with me, that Jesus meant that he will fulfill ALL his Olivet Discourse prophecy within a generation.
    Second, we know that Peter wrote his 2nd epistle in the time-frame between AD 60-67. Writting from that time-frame, Peter says:
    - “Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff” – so, he is talking about some future (surely, it doesn’t have to be a distant one)
    - But then he writes: “They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought … the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” – so, he is going to a distant past when heavens were created and then jumps to the judgement.
    - With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. – here Peter clearly mentions at least a thousand years period that is at least possible time that could pass away.
    - Peter also writes: God is “patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” – now, what does AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem has to do with his present readers repentance that He is “patient with you”?
    - Then Peter writes: “The heavens will be on fire and be dissolved because of it, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.” – it is clear that Peter is here talking about the final destruction of the world and bringing about the new heaven and the new earth (if you are not full-preterists, which I think you are not).
    Guys, I see that you are most passionate about your beliefs, but you cannot just label someone a scoffer just because he doesn’t agree with your interpretation. Indeed, I could say the same thing for you: maybe you are scoffers like the ones that said that ressurection already happened, destroying the faith of some?

  2. David says:

    Dear Mr. DeMar,

    Thank you for your ministry and for the clarity that you provide for us. Your articles and essays are literally like a breath of fresh pure air and are welcomed by me and my family just like we would welcome a pure diamond found in a field of coal.

    Best Regards,

    David A. Butler, Jr.

  3. Mark says:

    http://www.eschatology.org/announcements

    The debate will be in July. Maybe I shouldnt have used the word “upcoming”…..sorta like the word “soon” which can mean 2000 years. Lol

  4. Micah Martin says:

    Quote from the article:

    “The New Testament writers were not describing a final, end-of-the-physical-world coming.”

    Amen to that. Or was it just a freudian slip?

    It is encouraging to see Gary cashing in on the last days madness though. I enjoy receiving the dispensational end timer’s political advertisements from his Vision 2 America business.

  5. I have read Gary Demar and honestly cannot recall his personal last days ideas.I will say that Jesus mentioned what to watch for and they could not have meant his or some 50 years ‘down the road’ time. These signs,and if your a student of prophecy,know which ones I am speaking about.They are reserved for either this generation or still distant.God is not in time and so we can’t tell God when these things will come to pass.all I am saying is;they are still in the future.

    • Brother Les says:

      So you are saying that there was no Audience Relevance to whom the books of the NT were written to…. The Romans, the Corithians, the Galations, etc?

      http://cangodtelltime.com/

    • Michael Earl Riemer says:

      Johny Angel Advocacy you state:
      “They are reserved for either this generation or still distant.God is not in time and so we can’t tell God when these things will come to pass.all I am saying is;they are still in the future.”

      It seems you do not know anything about history. Yes we can tell, and we know just when it did happen. The temple that Jesus said “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Was destroyed in A.D 70. No that is not future, its in the past.

    • David says:

      I’ll take God at His word, and not try and read anything more in to it. If Jesus said that these things would happen in His generation, then I have no choice but to accept that they happened when He said they would. I’ve had no formal theological training, but I think that it would be very dangerous to try and second-guess God’s Word.

  6. Mark says:

    Guys, give Gary a break…… He’s a little stressed out these days. He’s busy coaching Joel on the upcoming debate with Don Preston.

    Seriously though, I hope the debate is cancelled due to a paradigm shift at AV.

    • Brother Les says:

      Don Preston will be a Gentileman in this debate (What debate?) with Joel, as I know Joel will be also. The Love of Truth will make Bereans of them all.

      It baffles me to think of Gary/Joel as Partial Preterists…. they ‘want’ to be, but they know that it is far to late to stay in that camp. Don has been where they (Gary/Joe) are now, there is no place to go but to Full Preterism. The Bible does not…does not teach a physical bodily return of Jesus as He was in the first century in order for us to have a physical flesh and blood body after the death of the physical body that we have now. We shall be as He is in the Spiritual relm and not how He was in His physical Manifestation…..

    • Gary DeMar says:

      Joel doesn’t need any coaching from me. He’s a whole lot smarter than I am. I always hire people who know more than I do. It’s a sign of good leadership.

      • Brother Les says:

        :) My wife popped into my mind when I read your post…. I would humbly ‘not’ say…. My marrying you(my wife) was a sign of good leadership…. but I give her that drift every now and then… :)

        You and Joel and are very good men. Thank-you for what you do.
        You know that I razz you and Joel in Christs Love.Tthank-you for the Berean work that you and Joel do.

      • David says:

        Nice, Mr. DeMar! I’ve always been most comfortable when working for/under someone who knew our specialty area better than I did. Now all of my mentors have died or retired, and I’ve got younger people looking to me for direction. On one hand, it’s a great compliment but, at the same time, it’s somewhat frightening. Now I’m considered to be a mentor or an expert, and I feel inadequate for the task. There’s always more to learn.

  7. Mika'il Rahim says:

    Mr. DeMar, if you are only a partial preterist and believe Jesus will come yet again, can you answer the following questions? Are you not ultimately teaching that there are three comings of Jesus? If not, how are you not? Where in the bible does it talk about or imply that Jesus will come three times and not only two? What is 1 Thessalonians 4 referring to? Jesus’ second coming? His third coming? How do you make this distinction? Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

    • Brother Les says:

      Seems like it is that Jesus comes and goes comes and goes….. two, three….dozens of ‘times’….

      read the verse of to whom Jesus ‘comes a second time to…’

    • Gary DeMar says:

      How many times did God come in the Old Testament? Here are two: Isaiah 19:1 and Micah 1:2-4. There are others (Gen. 11:5; 18:21; Deut. 33:2; Isa. 31:4; 64:3). Preterists of all types use these and other OT comings to demonstrate that the use of the word “coming” is not always an indication of a final physical coming. As the article mentions, Jesus threatened to come to three local churches in the first century. Full preterists continually bring up the multiple comings argument, but I haven’t seen what they do with these OT comings and the one in Revelation. Context and time indicators are interpretive keys. First Thessalonians 4 does not seem to me to be a parallel of the Olivet Discourse. I have not been satisfied with any interpretation. I have a theory, but I am not ready to publish it.

      • Mika'il Rahim says:

        Hi Gary. Thank you for your response. I have considered those verses you listed of various comings, but we’re specifically talking about the second coming of Jesus in the final and apocalyptic sense. Matthew 24 is very clear about this, along with 1 Thessalonians 4, so that is one commonality between these two chapters. It just doesn’t make sense to me to say that matthew 24:29-31 has already been fulfilled but 1 Thessalonians has not. As far as the different types of preterism of which you speak, the full preterist makes a lot more sense than the partial preterist view, which to me appears to be wishy-washy, inconsistent and even schizophrenic. It seems that the full preterists have a point when they say that either Jesus came back in 70 AD or he did not. I’m not trying to be antagonistic. I’m just calling it like I see it. Thanks again for taking the time to write a response.

        Perhaps Mr. Preston and Mr. McDurmon can resolve this issue at their debate.

      • Mika'il Rahim says:

        I would also add that you believe Matthew 16:27-28 has already been fulfilled as well, c correct?

      • Brother Les says:

        If you go to the debate with Joel, go a head and ask Don for his view points on this.

        Blessings

  8. Gary DeMar says:

    The article is about what led people in Peter’s day to scoff.

    • MB-F says:

      Is it really:
      “Today’s scoffers are those who do not take Jesus’ words seriously when He said He would return before the generation to whom He was speaking passed away (Matt. 24:34). Those who maintain that Jesus did not mean the generation that was alive in His day are calling Jesus’ veracity into question. They are scoffing that Jesus meant what He said. “He didn’t really mean that He would return within a generation,” they argue. “That’s just not possible.”
      So, who are today’s scoffers then?

  9. Brother Les says:

    Are you moving John Walvoord to a Parial Preterist position or are you moving in his dispensationalist positional direction?

    Both of you preach a physical return, but corrupt verses to try to prove that it is so….. some time…maybe…. in a future timeline that know one knows about.

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