After posting my article “Prophecy Writers Making Predictions Again,” it got quite a few comments. One particular commenter (TDS) was very frustrating to deal with because he refused to acknowledge facts that are not in dispute. This is not unusual. Facts don’t speak for themselves. They are always interpreted.
I often see Christians going to extraordinary lengths to hold onto a prophetic system even though it has been dismantled piece by piece. For many people holding on to an end-time futurism, there’s more at stake than prophecy. Some people have jobs that they would lose, as well as family and friends. Their churches would no longer hold the same value since the preaching would be very different.
But it’s one thing to argue well and another thing to argue poorly. As you will see in the following, TDS argued very poorly, and I’m not the only one saying it.
A number of people commented on how patient I was with TDS. Some asked why I wasted so much time with him.
I have a saying: “Don’t ever give anybody a reason to reject your position other than the position itself.” First, I don’t want somebody saying, “Well, that Gary DeMar is a jerk. Even if he’s right, I don’t want to be associated with a position whose advocates are mean spirited. Second, there have been a lot of people who over the years were equally stubborn and later abandoned their prophetic views because they saw how weak their arguments were, although I’ve never encountered someone like TDS. Third, it’s good practice. I always learn new things every time I have to defend my position.
The dialogue begins with TDS making his first response to the article I posted: “Prophecy Writers Making Predictions Again. My comments follow GDD. Added material is found in [brackets].
TDS: If you do not see the convergence of Biblical prophecy, I’m not sure what more there is to say. These aren’t stupid people. Men such as [John] MacArthur, [John F. Walvoord], [Ron] Rhodes, (J. Vernon) McGee, [Les] Feldick and others, who have Th.D’s. There are scores of others, such as Christians accepting unChristian lifestyles. I also find it interesting that as the last days approach, people are discarding Biblical truth, whether it be something like homosexuality, attending church or other commands.
GDD: There isn’t anything that’s going on today that hasn’t gone on some time in the past, in some cases much worse.
TDS: Well, I disagree.
GDD: Disagreeing is not enough. A biblical argument needs to be made.
TDS: For one thing, Preterism is younger than Darby.
GDD: For one thing, TDS is woefully misinformed. Preterism has a long history. All one has to do is look at www.preteristarchive.com to disprove his wild assertion. Even dispensationalist Thomas Ice had to admit that “there is early preterism in people like Eusebius [A.D. 263–339]. In fact, his work ‘The Proof of the Gospel’ is full of preterism in relationship to the Olivet Discourse.” That’s about 1500 years before Darby.
GDD: TDS [I’m] still waiting for your response to your preterism claim.
TDS: Gary, the statement that Preterism is younger than Darby did not originate from me, but Dr. Ron Rhodes (which is maybe why you attack him in this article). I also have a B.A. in Bible & Theology. 5 years of B&T, O.T. History, N.T. History, Church History and scores of other classes (graduated 1990). Why didn’t it come up in any of those classes? BTW, one of my teachers aided in The Quest Study Bible (Gianolius). Another of my teachers (Hustad) studied under Millard Erickson, and edited some of his books as well. Not a peep, as I can recall, about Preterism. I cannot find it in any of the books such as “4 Views on the Book of Revelation” where Premill’s, amill’s and others who debate each other on various views. While we studied Amillenialism, Premillenialism and others, never studied Preterism. Strange that even such giants in the faith as John Calvin, who authored his own commentaries on every book of the Bible, except for the Book of Revelation (I had to do a double take on this, and thought this was the result of someone stealing one of the books in this multi-volume set . Certainly Calvin had the ability. Your claim that there were Preterists throughout church history reminds me of Oneness Pentecostals, who, in an effort to prove that the church was Oneness/Jesus Only prior to 325 A.D., look for anyone, and I mean anyone, who baptized in Jesus’ name, spoke in tongues or had a modalistic view of the Godhead. Gary, your earlier claim that “There isn’t anything going on today that hasn’t gone on some time in the past, in some cases much worse” is the same thing that atheists claim when I warn them of Jesus’ return. But the Bible has an answer to that in 2 Peter 3:3-4.
GDD: TDS wrote: “Gary, the statement that Preterism is younger than Darby did not originate from me, but Dr. Ron Rhodes (which is maybe why you attack him in this article).” I didn’t attack Ron Rhodes. I pointed out that if he’s going to write a book on great debates of Bible prophecy, then he needs to supply adequate source material showing why preterism is one of the great debates. If Ron Rhodes claimed that preterism is younger than Darbyism, then he has no business writing on the topic of prophecy. But he does know better, and that’s what’s so disturbing. It’s hard for me to believe he said such a thing given that he wrote the following: “This approach to interpreting prophecy [preterism] appeared in the early writer Eusebius (263-339) in his Ecclesiastical History. Later writers who incorporated this approach include Hugo Grotius of Holland (ca. 1644), and, in modern times, David Chilton.” [This same quotation appears in his book The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy (132). But even this is less than partially true. There were and are many preterist scholars. Can you send me the source of Ron Rhodes’ “younger than Darby” claim? As to modern times, Marcellus Kik is credited with adding to the revival of preterism with the publication of his short commentary on Matthew 24 published in 1948 [and now part of the book An Eschatology of Victory].I have no idea why you weren’t taught about preterism. Charles Spurgeon mentions it in his book Commenting and Commentaries: “1. Preterists. The prophecies contained in the Apocalypse were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of heathen Rome.” Why include this definition if there weren’t preterist commentaries prior to 1876 when Commenting and Commentaries was published. As I suggested, you need to take a look at PreteristArchive.com. It’s the single best repository of preterist material available. You bring up Oneness Pentecostalism. There is no comparison between Oneness Pentecostalism and preterism. Trying to make a connection shows me that you do not have much of a grasp on the [subject of] eschatology and are instead grasping at straws. Some of the best Bible scholars and commentators the church has ever produced were preterists on large sections of Scripture. It’s not one or two men: Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Adam Clarke (1762?-1832), Thomas Scott (1747-1821), John Gill (1697-1771), John Lightfoot (1602-1675), John Owen (1616-1683), John Brown of Edinburgh (1784-1858), N. Nisbett (work published in 1787), Thomas Newton (work published in 1754), Milton S. Terry (1840-1914), author of Biblical Hermeneutics and Biblical Apocalyptics, Alexander Keith (1791-1880), Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), Philip Doddridge (1702-1751), David Brown (1803-1897), James Farquharson (1781-1843), Philip Mauro (1859-1952), F. W. Farrar (1831-1903), and many others. Most of these commentators had their commentaries and/or works published long before Darby published his novel prophecy works. You mention John Calvin. Much of Calvin’s commentary on Daniel is preterist, and there is a great deal of preterism in his other commentaries. Here’s a portion of the Preface to the translation of his commentary on Daniel: “Our readers will remember, that as an expositor of prophecy, Calvin is a Praeterist, and that his general system of interpretation is as remote from the year-day theory of Birks, Faber, and others, as from the futurist speculations of Maitland, Tyso, and Todd.” One of the reasons you may not have studied preterism [in seminary] is because it is devastating to premillennialism. Maybe you should request a refund.
[TDS wrote that he could not find preterism “in any of the books such as ‘4 Views on the Book of Revelation.’” He mustn’t have read it, because one of the authors, Kenneth L. Gentry, is a noted preterist scholar who has a ThD and contributed the postmillennial entry to Four Views on the Book of Revelation. Actually, he didn’t have to read it since the cover includes the word “Preterist.” Here’s what one reviewer wrote: “The first writer is Kenneth Gentry, representing the Preterist view. His work is the best presented of the four positions, worthy of five stars. If anyone wants a very good explanation of the Preterist view in a nutshell, Gentry offers it here.” There’s also Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond where again Gentry is a contributor. Let’s not forget Steven Gregg’s Revelation: Four Views (1997), one of which is the preterist view. On 2 Peter 3:3-4, see my book Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers, especially chapter 10, “The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth.”]
TDS: The statement about Preterism being younger than Darby attributed to Ron Rhodes (if I remember correctly) was on one of Jan Markell’s programs “Understanding the Times” in which Rhodes was a guest. I believe it was sometime this past summer . It has stuck in my head ever since. As far as Preterism itself, it seems it did not become popular, or en vogue, until after I graduated in 1990. I remember someone in our church trying to teach it after leaving college, and I grew frustrated in following it, because the Preterist method of hermeneutics seems to change with every Bible verse. I just gave up.
GDD: Did you read my long comment? I quoted Rhodes: “This approach to interpreting prophecy [preterism] appeared in the early writer Eusebius (263-339) in his Ecclesiastical History.” He agrees with what I wrote in an earlier comment. I found the Rhodes’ citation online, [and it’s also in his book The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy]. The other noted writers I mentioned, whose commentaries have been around for centuries, wrote prolifically on the subject of preterism. I can’t help it if you got a poor seminary education. I was introduced to preterism in the 1970s when I was in seminary. I don’t know what you are referring to about “changing with every Bible verse.” On the Olivet Discourse, there is a great deal of agreement. Dispensationalists don’t have to prove anything since all their prophecies are said to be fulfilled after the so-called pre-trib “rapture.” It’s a convenient position. Almost every week [I learn about more] preterist authors whose writings have been obscured by the sensationalism of dispensational prophetic prognosticators.
After the above comment, LB, a new poster, made the following comment:
Very poor scholarship here. It’s easy Gary DeMar to go after Chuck Smith and Darby but why don’t you go after any of the Calvinistic Dispensationalist who are scholarly John Macarthur, Dr. Thomas Ice Robert Saucey. Instead Gary fights with dead guys who can’t hit back or who are very poor students of scripture like Chuck Smith.
Here was my response to LB:
Apparently you are not familiar with my work. I’ve debated Thomas Ice 9 times in various venues. You may be able to find them online. I did an extensive study of Ezekiel 38 and 39 [Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future] referencing Ice and Mark Hitchcock. [I wrote the book The Debate Over Christian Reconstruction that’s a point-by-point critique of a debate Dr. Gary North and I had with Thomas Ice and Dave Hunt in Dallas, Texas, in 1988.] I’ve probably responded to Thomas Ice more than any other living writer. Ron Rhodes is still alive, and so is Mark Hitchcock. It was TDS who brought up Darby, not me. Chuck Smith wasn’t dead when I wrote several critiques of his work (http://goo.gl/WTNaCO and http://goo.gl/R43UKi). I’ve written several articles dealing with MacArthur on eschatology. Here’s one and here’s another. There are others. [Probably my most controversial article, that got Phil Johnson hotter than a branding iron, was “John MacArthur’s Defense of Dispensationalism,” a response to MacArthur’s book The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age. Johnson is the executive Director of Grace to You, the Christian tape and radio preaching ministry of John MacArthur. Johnson “has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of MacArthur’s major books.” I suspected at the time that the reason Phil Johnson attacked me so viciously was because he edited The Second Coming and took it personally.] Robert Saucy is a Progressive Dispensationalist. He has a small following, as the number of books that he and others in his camp have published over the years demonstrate. If more people referenced him, I would spend time on his work. Progressive Dispensationalism is not that popular [of a position]. [Saucy’s book] Progressive Dispensationalism was written 21 years ago. The position has not caught on among the dispensational masses. So, LB, I’ll end this with, no offense, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Here’s what I’ll do. You set up a time and place for John MacArthur and me to discuss the topic, and I’ll be there.
Also, the Progressive Dispensationalists do a lot to undermine popular dispensataionalism. That’s probably why their works aren’t that popular among the end-of-the-world crowd.
Some of those posting here need to get up to speed on the facts before they comment. It’s embarrassing. There is a great body of work in the pipeline that is easily accessible to everyone. For example, Kregel published a point/counterpoint book with Ken Gentry and Thomas Ice: The Great Tribulation–Past Or Future?: Two Evangelicals Debate the Question:http://goo.gl/p8SJIW
[He never posted again.]
TDS: I’m pretty certain it was Rhodes who made the statement in regards to Preterism. As to why I wasn’t taught Preterism by my Professors (all of whom had Th.D.’s) in Bible College, it’s probably because Preterism is a just “bunch of hooey.” If it was mentioned at all, it probably took up no more than 5 minutes of dismissing the silliness of it all.
GDD: It’s so much hooey that dispensationalists can’t answer it without making so many concessions to their claim of interpreting the Bible literally. A few years ago I did a radio debate with a big name dispensationalist [Joel Rosenberg] on Ezekiel 38 and 39. He came at me charging that as a preterist I “didn’t interpret the Bible literally.” It turned out to be a huge mistake [on his part]. I went through the chapters taking a very literal approach and showed that the prophecy was fulfilled in Ezekiel’s near future. He was almost speechless. His No. 1 misrepresentation flew out the window, especially after I was able to demonstrate that he was not being consistent with his claimed literal hermeneutic. Even after I’ve shown TDS that Rhodes traces preterism to the 4th-century writings of Eusebius, and there are many preterist scholars who lived long before Darby, he’s still trying to peddle the canard that preterism is younger than Darbyism.
What Ron Rhodes says one way or the other is irrelevant in light of the facts. Here’s something from Richard Kidder’s “Demonstration of the Messiah. In Which the Truth of the Christian Religion is Proved, against all the Enemies Thereof (But Especially against the Jews) (1726: [note the date is 100 years before Darby]: “I shall prove, when I come to consider them. The destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and temple, and Jewish state is fitly enough expressed in such terms, as seem to imply the final conflagration, and end of the world, and the great day of judgment. Thus ’tis called the end of all things, I Pet. 4.7. with Luke 21.9. and the last days, James 5.3. The destruction of a particular country or land is frequently described as the destruction of the universe. Of this we have many examples, [See Isa. 13. 10,13. Ch. 34.4. Ezek. 32.7. Jer 4.23,24. Joel 2.10. Amos 9.5. Dan. 8.10. with I Maccab. 1.28. Isa. 2.19, 21.]” (p. 173). Then there’s this from John Home: “The Scripture History of the Jews, and Their Republick: “Nor did he cease till he made a final End and Dissolution of the Jewish Oeconomy (1737, also nearly 100 years before Darby]) which St. Peter calls the End of all things (I Pet. iv. 7) and St. James, the Coming of the Lord (Jam. v.8) and which our Saviour calls the Coming of the Son of Man (Mat. xiv. 27,28) the last of which verses may probably be an Allusion to the Roman Eagle, which was the Ensign of the Roman Empire” (p. 303).
John Lightfoot (1602–1675): “Hence it appears plain enough, that the foregoing verses are not to be understood of the last judgment, but, as we said, of the destruction of Jerusalem. There were some among the disciples (particularly John), who lived to see these things come to pass. With Matt. xvi. 28, compare John xxi. 22. And there were some Rabbins alive at the time when Christ spoke these things, that lived until the city was destroyed.”
John Gill (1697–1771): “This is a full and clear proof, that not any thing that is said before [v. 34], relates to the second coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and the end of the world; but that all belongs to the coming of the son of man in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the end of the Jewish state.”
N. A. Nisbett (1787): “Nor can I agree with him when he says, that our blessed Lord knew very well that he should not come, while that generation, to whom he preached, was alive, and that all his Apostles knew this, as well as he; for this is expressly contrary to our Lord’s own assertion, in many parts of the gospels, that the Son of Man would come before that generation was wholly passed away.”
Philip Doddridge (1702–1751): “‘And verily I say unto you; and urge you to observe it, as absolutely necessary in order to understand what I have been saying, That this generation of men now living shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled, for what I have foretold concerning the destruction of the Jewish state is so near at hand, that some of you shall live to see it all accomplished with a dreadful exactness.”
Thomas Newton (1704–1782): “It is to me a wonder how any man can refer part of the foregoing discourse to the destruction of Jerusalem, and part to the end of the world, or any other distant event, when it is said so positively here in the conclusion, All these things shall be fulfilled in this generation.”
Thomas Scott (1747–1821): “This absolutely restricts our primary interpretation of the prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place within forty years.”
Adam Clarke (1762–1832): “[Matthew 24] contains a prediction of the utter destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, and the subversion of the whole political constitution of the Jews; and is one of the most valuable portions of the new covenant Scriptures, with respect to the evidence which it furnishes of the truth of Christianity. Every thing which our Lord foretold should come on the temple, city, and people of the Jews, has been fulfilled in the most correct and astonishing manner; and witnessed by a writer [Flavius Josephus] who was present during the whole, who was himself a Jew, and is acknowledged to be an historian of indisputable veracity in all those transactions which concern the destruction of Jerusalem. Without having designed it, he has written a commentary on our Lord’s words, and shown how every tittle was punctually fulfilled, though he knew nothing of the Scripture which contained this remarkable prophecy. His account will be frequently referred to in the course of these notes; as also the admirable work of Bishop Newton on the prophecies.”
Clarke writes the following in his commentary on 1 Peter 4:7: “Peter says, The end of all things is at hand; and this he spoke when God had determined to destroy the Jewish people and their polity by one of the most signal judgments that ever fell upon any nation or people. In a very few years after St. Peter wrote this epistle, even taking it at the lowest computation, viz., A. D. 60 or 61, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. To this destruction, which was literally then at hand, the apostle alludes when he says, The end of all things is at hand; the end of the temple, the end of the Levitical priesthood, the end of the whole Jewish economy, was then at hand.”
TDS: Gary, I disagree. I could refute your arguments, but am leaving a marriage where we could argue over something as mundane and innocuous as a glass of milk. I have no desire to debate right now. Did that too much at home. Nothing personal.
GDD: You can’t refute my arguments. Ron Rhodes refutes your argument. The quotations I cited refute your argument.
TDS: Oh Pooey!
GDD: Quite an argument!
TDS: This is beginning to sound like my marriage.
GDD: And I can understand why if this is the way you ‘argue’ [with your wife. She presents facts, and all you can say is “I disagree” and “Pooey!”]
GDD: I do marriage counseling, too.
TDS: Hahahaha. Tried that. For 3 years I brought up the fact that the judge ordered us to counseling when I filed the first time. The other half always refused. Just in no mood for debate right now. 30+ years of it in the marriage. By all accounts, after having lived through all of the 70’s and 80’s predictions about the end times in Bible studies and churches, I should be your biggest ally. Despite all of the Hal Lindsey’s, Edgar Whisenant’s and others claiming something’s up, and nothing happens, something’s there. Perhaps the biggest reason is that while Dispensationalists have scores of men with Th.D.’s on their side (Geisler, Swindoll, Rhodes, MacArthur), Preterists only really have R.C. Sproul on their side (who has a Th.D.), and people like Hanegraaff, who have no Bible training at all.
By the way, I looked at Norman Geisler’s 4-volume set on theology. In the 4th book, he deals with your claims about Calvin being Preterist. Perhaps not as in depth as you may like. But he does answer it. The thing that gets me about Preterism is that they’re literal only when it comes to words like “soon” in Revelation 1:1. After that, everything seems to be figurative.
And the fact that after we’ve exhausted all our arguments, both sides will not change their view.
GDD: You are the one who brought up Calvin. I quoted someone from his commentary series. There are numerous preterists that I listed, and you will find many more at Preterist Archive. Geisler is a poor source on this subject. Your claim that “both sides will not change their view” is off the mark. Many people have changed their views after studying preterist works. I changed my view after reading Marcellus Kik’s commentary on Matthew 24. Many have changed their view after reading my book Last Days Madness.
TDS: Gary, you’re just too eager for a fight. But one thing I have noticed about your friends commenting here. There seem to be a lack of Futurists/Dispensationalists willing to debate you. That’s the same thing I’ve noticed about an atheist whom I’m FB friends with as well. Lots of atheists, very few Christians. He and his Facebook friends essentially chase off the Christians through ridicule, and eventually the Christians grow tired of the ridicule. The same seems to be true of you here when it comes to Futurists. As to Calvin, what I said was that if Calvin were a Preterist, he (who wrote hundreds of pages on other topics) would have had no problem writing a commentary on Revelation. It also seems that Preterists think that we read everything by every Futurist writer out there. We do not.
GDD: I’m not eager for a fight . . . I’m eager for the truth that many dispensationalists can’t handle.
TDS: Gary, what truth? Preterists treat this Preterist vs. Futurist issue as an essential of the Christian faith, or so it seems. They claim that Futurists write about this “in order to sell books.” But then I see Preterists like Hanegraaff “pimping out” his books every chance he gets, or at least used to. Hanegraaff’s head of CRI, and ironically, you can only find his books on a list of resources on any given topic, when there are more in depth authors who would put “his research” to shame. Add to that, the fact that Hanegraaff has plagiarized the work of others, such as D. James Kennedy. You too, mention your book at every turn as well. As J. Vernon McGee said, some people can’t seem to handle the idea that God dealt with his people differently at different times, or dispensations. If Futurism was false, Israel would have never become a nation in 1948. If futurism is false, why were people claiming that Christ would return again as far back as 1,000 A.D.? They may not have used words like “rapture,” but there seems to have been a constant, almost endless series of predictions about the future. And many futurists have pointed out that it did not begin with Darby.
GDD: you are not up on your history. Darbyism/Dispensationailsm is not the same as a general futurism. Long before dispensationalism, postmillennialism predicted a future for Israel. See Iain Murray’s book The Puritan Hope. See the work of the preterist John Owen. Also see the Westminster Confession of Faith Larger Catechism Question 191.1 These were all before Darby. Actually, dispensationalism predicts another Jewish holocaust. Rapture is not the same thing as the Second Coming. I deal with the Israel issue in “The Myth That only Dispensationalists Have a Redemptive Future for Israel” in my book 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered.
TDS: I think the coming holocaust isn’t just limited to the Jews. “10 Popular Prophecy Myths?” I’ll remember that when another Preterist claims that it’s only Futurists write “just to sell more books.” BTW, one of the reasons I have difficulty with Preterism is that in many ways, it seems to resemble A-Millenialism.
[GDD: I don’t make any money on any of the books I write. I write these books so I don’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over again. I point someone to an article or a book. It’s a test. If a person is not willing to read a chapter or an article, they that person is not worth spending time with.]
GDD: There are amil, premil, and postmil preterists. You are confusing preterism with millennial perspectives.
TDD: And then there’s Partial Preterism and Full Preterism. You almost need a scorecard to keep up on it all.
GDD: It’s not difficult [unless you go to Bible schools and seminaries that ignored the position out of feat of exposing the weakness of their own positions.]. What I find frustrating is you raise points that I answer then you move on to something else.
TDS: Because I’m really not into trying to change your mind. I don’t care if you’re a Preterist. I’m into debating Oneness Pentecostals, and co-authored a small book on it, which I am hoping to write a Revised Version of the book. BTW, there are Oneness Pentecostals who are Preterists, such as on the web site “Apostolic Friends Forum.”
GDD: I’m not into trying to convince you. All I’m trying to do is to get you to get the facts straight.
TDS: I had an over dose of end times stuff in the 70’s and 80’s. I accept Futurism over Preterism. That’s enough for me.
GDD: That’s fine, but get your facts right about preterism. In what I’ve read so far, you don’t know much about the subject.
TDS: Reading Preterist stuff is often like reading Garrison Keillor. Snooze-ville.
GDD: It may be, but it doesn’t change the fact that you misrepresent it over and over again and get so much history about eschatology wrong. It’s no excuse. You should say, “I don’t know enough about the subject to comment on it in an informed way.”
TDD: Considering the fact that you claimed earlier that “Geisler is a poor source on the subject,” I consider that a compliment.
GDD: Once again, you make a comment that isn’t an answer to anything. One of Geisler’s own co-authors [Frank Turek] is a preterist! On Geisler see this article.
TDS: Considering the fact that Preterists consider men such as MacArthur, Jeremiah, Rhodes and others, who have Th.D’s not worthy of anything, I’m not ashamed that my answer isn’t an answer to anything, either.
GDD: There you go again with the red herrings and misrepresentations. Whoever said these guys “aren’t worth anything”? I’ve never said any such thing. I know guys with PhDs and ThDs who are preterists. [You mentioned Les Feldick. Feldick “has not had any formal Bible education.”] Since when are advanced degrees the basis for truth? If you take that position, then you would have to give a lot of credibility to evolutionists with PhDs.
TDS: The simple fact is, there is only one person with a ThD with a good reputation who is a Preterist (that I am aware of): R.C. Sproul. All of the rest, including yourself, do not have a ThD. That says a lot. And then there’s Hank Hanegraaff, who hasn’t taken a single class at any Christian institution, yet speaks as if he’s a Rhodes Scholar. Perhaps when Preterists can add a few more men with ThDs to their ranks, they’ll be taken seriously. And as I said before, Preterists only seem to take the word “soon” in Rev. 1:1 literally. After that, they read it figuratively. That’s where they lose me.
GDD: Once again TDD is avoiding the issue and is now making some ridiculous arguments. Have you noticed how he has changed the terms of the debate? Only people with ThDs “with a good reputation” can be trusted, [unless it’s someone like Les Feldick]. All the scholars throughout history who were preterists don’t qualify under TDS’ standards, even though they had more theological training than any dispensationalist. They knew more languages, etc. (e.g., John Lightfoot, John Gill, John Owen). Some of them wrote commentaries on every book of the Bible. Then there’s Greg L. Bahnsen who earned Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees as well as a Ph.D. I can assure you that Greg could handle a Th.D. Ask any Th.D. “with a good reputation.” Kenneth L. Gentry earned a Th.M. (1986) and a Th.D. (1987, magna cum laude). His dissertation was on the dating of Revelation: Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation. There’s Paul L. Maier, a graduate of Harvard University (M.A., 1954) and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (M. Div., 1955). On a Fulbright Scholarship, Maier studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and Basel, Switzerland, where he received his Ph.D., summa cum laude, in 1957. These are all preterists. There are probably others. If we ever get to the point, however, that a person has to have an advanced degree to be able to comment on this subject, the church is in big trouble.
TDS is making more ridiculous claims when he writes: “And as I said before, Preterists only seem to take the word ‘soon’ in Rev. 1:1 literally. After that, they read it figuratively.” Of course, for those who know anything about preterism, they know this is untrue. It would be like me saying dispensationalists who claim to interpret Revelation literally almost never do. Moreover, notice how he completely changes the subject to avoid dealing with the facts.
When someone pulls degree rank over someone, you can be sure he or she is losing the argument. I hope you have noticed that I never do it. It’s petty and copies what liberals have done. Dr. Gary North (another preterist) told me that the reason he got a Ph.D. was so he could criticize the Ph.D. No one could accuse him of sour grapes because he did not have a Ph.D.
The great thing about preterism is that you don’t have to have an advanced degree to understand it. Actually, academic degrees like TDS insists on can be a hindrance. They have too much to lose institutionally.
TDS: Gary, why bother “debating (if you can call it that)” you? We don’t agree on anything regarding this and you do not see scripture being fulfilled even today. There’s passages in Genesis that have yet to be fulfilled, yet you think that Revelation was already (and completely) fulfilled in 70 A.D.??????? Anyways, have a great and blessed Christmas.
GDD: Because the integrity of the Bible is at stake, and as some of those posting here have shown, they’ve been convinced by such “debates” which are really discussions about what the Bible actually says. I always find it interesting that the people who complain the most about debating this subject always seem to be the ones debating this subject. Actually, the debate concerning dispensationalism and all its attendant end-time positions is over. The work that’s left is to do more exegetical work on some of the more difficult passages.
TDS: I bring up the fact that most of the people with Th.D.’s hold the Futurist position because one of the first “arrows” that Preterists (and others) claim, or at the very least imply, is that everyone who believes in the idea of a rapture are just backwoods hillbillies, and that it was begun by the same. And yes, I’ve had debates with Preterists, and before they begin anything else, they insist that “soon” in Rev. 1:1 is literal, but then go on to claim that all the rest is figurative.
GDD: TDS cite me one person who argues that “‘soon’ in Rev. 1:1 is literal, but then go[es] on to claim that all the rest is figurative.” Of course, there might be some unstudied person out there who claims such a thing. But show it to me in people who write consistently on the subject of eschatology from a preterist perspective: David Chilton, Kenneth L. Gentry, Greg L. Bahnsen, James B. Jordan, or me. I’ve never heard anybody make such a claim. There are a lot of symbols in Revelation, something that EVERY futurist, even those with ThDs, will admit. I don’t know any PhD-holding futurist who argues that the dragon, the sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth, or the chain that binds Satan are “literal.” Nobody interprets all of Revelation literally or figuratively. You should actually read what preterists write before you make such ridiculous claims and argue from a few uncorroborated personal examples. By the way, “literal” means “according to the literature.” [With that definition, presented by the ThD-holding R.C. Sproul in Knowing Scripture, preterists interpret all of prophecy literally.] Here’s something I wrote about Norman Geisler’s interpretation of “this generation” in Matthew 24:34: “Norman Geisler: ‘This Generation’ or ‘This Race’ Will Not Pass Away?”
TDS: Gary, why even bother debating this when your answer in an earlier debate about the 7 missing years in Daniel 9 (483 years between Daniel’s prophecy and Christ’s crucifixion) is “so what?” That’s like Daniel only catching one of the two prophecies about the 7 lean years and the 7 fat years in Daniel.
GDD: Where did I say “so what”? I account for all 490 consecutive years down to the very event in Scripture that ends the 490 years. Please find the article or book where I don’t account for all the years. TDS is probably the most misinformed person I’ve ever countered who claims to have gone to seminary. [Someone asked me if my book Last Days Madness includes my interpretation of Daniel’s 70 weeks of years (Dan. 9:24-27.] I have a chapter on Daniel 9:24-27 [Chap. 25: “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.”] If TDS actually read what I and other Preterists have written, he would not make so many ridiculous claims.
TDS: Gary, you most certainly did say “so what?” in answer to Daniel 9. And the fact that the Arab words “In the Name of Allah” is identical in appearance to the Greek number 666? (The fact that Revelation was written over 500 years before the birth of Islam)? The fact that Muslims wear this mark of their right arm/hand or forehead? The fact that Revelation 13:18 can also read “Here is wisdom: let him that has understanding reckon (consider) the multitude of the beast: for it is the multitude of a man [Muhammed] and his multitude is “In the Name of Allah.” Or the fact that the struggle that we still face in the Middle East has to do with the 2 sons of Abraham and their offspring. Yeah, I suppose that’s just coincidence. It seems odd that while the author of Revelation also wrote the Gospel of John and 1st, 2nd and 3rd John, which can be read independently of the Old Testament, but if we read Revelation, we have to keep sticking our thumb in the 39 books of the Old Testament.
GDD: Link to the article where I said “so what?”
TDS: I can try. However, I do not have a computer at home, so I will have to do some digging, and am limited on time. I only use the library computer. If you feel that this is just an excuse, then I’ll just have to let you think that way.
GDD: I saw how you were never able to find the Rhodes’ claim about preterism after I gave you a source where he agrees with me.
TDS: I could be wrong about Rhodes, but his name seems to stick in my head because of his distinctive voice. I did not purchase the CD which makes that claim, and it would mean going through Jan Markell’s radio archives to find a link. Regardless of who it was, I also figured that with the regularity in which you attack Futurists, I figured you had already heard it, or the program long ago.
It’s at this point that TDS links to a video on how Islam Could be the Mark of the Beast: https://youtube.com/watch?v=Fpl_CwiTL3E
TDS: Trying to find the link (or topic). However, because Facebook essentially hides posts after about a month, I may have to keep digging.
GDD: I’m familiar with Joel Richardson’s arguments. [I met and spoke with “Joel” (Joel Richardson is a pen name) at the “Take America Back Conference” that was held in Miami (October 15–18, 2010). I mentioned to him that I had been working on a response to his article “Preterism: The Marxist’s Theological Tool.” After our conversation, I believe he pulled the article, but I can’t be certain. It was poorly argued. For some reason, I am unable to find the original article I wrote but never published.] But once again you are going off topic and refuse to admit the dozen or so times you’ve been wrong in these comments.
TDS: I believe the comment about “so what” was your post on October 8th  about the rapture. But I cannot find your “so what” comment. I’m wrong? How? Because I disagree with you? The fact that the Greek number 666 is identical in appearance to the Arabic words “In the Name of Allah” is frightening. I lived through the years when 666 equaled Ronald Wilson Reagan, a microchip, the Universal Price Code and scores of other claims to it being “The Mark of the Beast.” This one is way too close to be mere coincidence.
GDD: Here’s what James White, who can read Arabic, has said about the “in the name of Allah”/666 claim: http://goo.gl/RK7fWM. James White has debated Islamic scholar Shabir Ally and South African Muslim apologist Yusuf Ismail. [There’s also “Walid Shoebat Youtube Video on the Mark of the Beast” from Dan Wallace who teaches at the dispensational (futurist) oriented Dallas Theological Seminary. Wallace does a thorough job refuting what TDS and Walid Shoebat claim. As far as I can tell, Shoebat does not have a ThD, and much of his biographical claims are in dispute, while Wallace has a ThD and PhD.]
TDS’ claim that “the Greek number 666 is identical in appearance to the Arabic words ‘In the Name of Allah'” isn’t “frightening”; it’s absurd.
[In an earlier post, someone pointed out that Monster Energy drinks have been linked with 666. Here’s a link to an article I wrote on the subject: http://goo.gl/E1UNWO]
The Greek ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ or χξϛ? It makes a difference for TDS’ “in the name of Allah” thesis. What manuscript do you use? The X in the Arabic image is not a letter but two crossed swords. There are also other anomalies that do not line up with χξϛ, 600, 60, 6.
TDS: It’s interesting that the very earliest manuscript (Codex Vaticanus, I believe) does not say Six hundred and sixty six, but rather XES (I cannot find Greek letters on Facebook). Let’s say John did see XES. However, he could not read Arabic. He also seems to be struggling to be explaining himself in Revelation 13:18, asking the reader to show wisdom. The X in Arabic (Two crossed swords) is identical in appearance to the Greek number 600. Again, John wrote Revelation 500+ years before the birth of Islam. As to 666 being Nero, the only way you arrive at that number is if you include the title Ceasar to the name Nero. That’s cheating, kinda like adding the word President to a person’s name to arrive at 666.
GDD: I guess Jesus was cheating when He said “render unto Caesar” and the Jews were cheating when they said “We have no king but Caesar” and Paul was cheating when he said “I appeal to Caesar.” The use of ‘Nero’ tells us what Caesar it was since the Caesar in Jesus’ day was different from the one in John’s day. The real cheating is having to manipulate the Arabic (turn swords into letters and turn the middle Arabic word so it faces right to make it look like the second Greek letter ξ) to fit with the Greek. The way the letter looks positioned in Arabic look like the Greek lower case letter omega (ω) [rather than the Greek letter ξ. See for yourself. A very early Greek manuscript has 616 (something Irenaeus references in ‘Against Heresies,’ which was written around 180, that completely destroys the Arabic association since the key middle letter is different). Codex Sinaiticus is older than Codex Vaticanus and reads hexakosioi (six-hundred) hexakon ta (sixty) hex (six). [Dan Wallace points out the following about the date of Codex Vaticanus: “But Shoebat did not read Codex Vaticanus. This codex is the famous fourth-century Greek New Testament (and Old Testament) manuscript that ends at Hebrews 9.13. The material added after Heb 9.13 is all in a much later hand. According to the authoritative Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (Concise List of the Handwritten Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament) 2nd edition (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1994), the supplement (known as codex 1957) was written in the 15th century. What Shoebat saw was not technically Codex Vaticanus but Codex 1957, a text written over a thousand years after Vaticanus.]
TDS: Read the Alpha and Omega article. Interesting. As to Revelation, I just find it hard to believe that John would write something full of so much imagery that would take place 7 years later (assuming it was written in 63 A.D. and not 90-95 A.D.) when the O.T. prophets wrote of things that would take place hundreds of years later. As to flipping the E in Arabic, perhaps it would be no different than creatively writing 696, as some have done. It certainly is more plausible that the UPC code, which, in some cases, has a 6 in the beginning, 6 in the middle and 6 in the end. I’m also old enough to remember those who said that a person’s SSN was going to be the Mark of the Beast. Interesting that Codex Vaticanus (or was it Saniticus?) also appears to have a crescent moon under the 666.
GDD: [After the above comment, I wrote that this was “my last comment. If Thomas D. Sheehey is the future of futurism, it will be dead sooner than I thought.
- “Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition? A. In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate; that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.”(↩)