Musings on Preterism (1)

Before we get into a discussion of the Olivet Discourse or certain Biblical passages I would like to point out something that preterism often forgets. One Greek word can have many meanings. Strong's Dictionary and Concordance is a simple primer and it lists all possible meanings of one word, or the semantic range of that word. In defining Greek words in certain Biblical passages preterists typically pick a meaning among the various semantic range of a particular word and apply its meaning to a particular verse. This is done without really knowing that the context of the verse actually determines the applicable meaning. Strong's is a primer, and personally I recommend something a little better. Other lexicons will show what the word means in different contexts or different passages. For example consider the BADG on G3625. This is only one of the possible meanings:

1. the inhabited earth, the world—α. as such (Ps 23:1 and often): πάσας τ. βασιλείας τ. οἰκουμένης Lk 4:5. Cf. 21:26; Ro 10:18 (Ps 18:5); Hb 1:6. ὅλη ἡ οἰκ. the whole inhabited earth (Diod. S. 12, 2, 1 καθʼ ὅλην τὴν οἰκουμένην; Ep. Arist. 37.—Diod. S. 3, 64, 6 and Jos., Bell. 7, 43πᾶσα ἡ οἰκ.) Mt 24:14; Ac 11:28; Rv 3:10; 16:14. οἱ κατὰ τὴν οἰκ. ἄνθρωποι PK p. 15, l. 20. αἱ κατὰ τὴν οἰκ. ἐκκλησίαι the churches throughout the world MPol 5:1; cf. 8:1; 19:2.

Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1996, c1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (561). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Just because Strong's lists all manner of possible definitions for one word does not make that one word apply every possible meaning in that Scripture verse. A bass can mean a fish, just as in other context it could refer to a musical instrument.

The Second Coming of our Lord is being discussed in such passages as Matthew 24 (also referred to as the Olivet Discourse), and the destruction of the Temple is under discussion as well (Matthew 24:2-3). Because the phrase these things is plural, more than the temple's destruction is in view. The conjunction “and” here also denotes two different clauses or thoughts are in view.

Verse 22 speaks of those days being cut short: surely this does not mean the preliminaries to the Fall of Jerusalem were cut short for the elect's sake, for that would entail the conclusion that the fall itself was a mercy on the elect.

Matthew 24:13"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
What type of saving was being spoken of here for the ones who "endure unto the end"? Preterist suggest it was deliverance from destruction and imminent danger.

I believe that Christ’s promise of salvation here is bound to mean the soul’s salvation in the last days. I think it arbitrary to mean the safety of human life. He had already said some shall be killed (Matthew 24:9), therein he refers to “you“ as being the believers. Therefore, is the deliverance conditional or situational? Texts such as Matthew 10:22, Luke 8:15, Hebrews 3:6 & 14 share conspicuous affinity here with endurance persecution and salvation.

Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
This verse implies that the preaching of gospel is to be preached, and then shall the end come. If the end, which denotes a consummation, is come then why preach the gospel? Also, if this is not "The End" but a protracted form of coming then why does Jesus not indicate a sequence of comings or alert the disciples that I will come figuratively, then, later come again literally?

Preterist suggest that Colossians 1:5-6 states the gospel already went to all the world by the time Paul wrote Colossians. Paul refers here though to the then known world. Not, literally, to every person on the globe, for we know it highly probable that the North Americas were inhabited yet not exposed to the Gospel.

If the gospel had been preached to the world, assuming the preterist interpretation of Colossians, then why do we still preach? The comings seem to be too arbitrary, especially if it was so important to know and realize. We should have some explicit citations of multiple comings by the Disciples or historical writings. None of Epistles or other NT writings refer to Jesus being already come. It is hardly conceivable that if He had indeed came a second time that they would not write a word about such an event.

Matthew 24:15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand."
Here is one of the assumptions you must take for granted to interpret this passage in the preterist fashion. It is not historically proven that the Abomination of Desolation has occurred. No such man has done what is prophetically required of him. Therefore, this is a passage that should be in the immediate discussion of preterists to emphatically solidify, then once this is proven other time-texts can be relevant.

Matthew 24:30 "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Here, the "sign of the Son of man" in the preterist fashion has occurred, yet no literary evidence remains of such a magnificent event. "They shall see" here comes from a Greek word always translated in meaning "look" or "see" etc and indicates an actually "looking on", "to be seen by" or "visible to", it is the same Greek word used of Jesus in Acts 1:3, "he was seen by them for forty days" It is hard, also, to restrict "all the tribes of the earth" to those of Israel alone.

Ge or earth is translated 188 times as “earth”. In instances where ge is translated land (only 33 times) the context indicates the locality. Such is not the case in Matthew 24. For example:

Matthew 2:6 "And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.“
Notice Matthew uses ge here to be land and is localized by citing actual geographical locales.

Matthew 24:31 "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Again, there is no record of such events. One must wonder, sincerely. "Four winds" is an Hebraism that refers to the four corners of the earth as well. No such gathering of the diaspora has occurred, as of yet.

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Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)