Preterist Universalism; Global or Local by Dorothy Anderson

Editors Note: Dorothy Anderson returned to the heresy of Full/Hyper Preterism in 2010.

 

Today I begin the series on the HP universalist position and I would encourage those to visit the Preterist Archive should they want to see a more thorough undertaking than what I plan on presenting here. My goal here is just to show that a conclusion of all things in AD70 either leads to universalism or a covenantal context. I would like to begin with this thought – which is a foundational thought for a universalist.

 

If one man remains outside the love of God then one man has defeated the love of God.

 

HP’s hold firmly to ALL things written must be fulfilled in the generation of Christ. Yet when it comes to the all things spoken of in these texts – they say there is the exception of In Christ. I don’t disagree with the In Christ – I do disagree that all had to be fulfilled during that generation. In this regard the non universalist HP’s are not consistent. Pay attention to the “all in alls”, “all things” and “every man” spoken of here.

 

Rom 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

 

Rom 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

 

1Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

 

1Cor 15:27-28 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

 

Eph 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him.

 

Phl 3:21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

 

Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

 

Col 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

 

Phl 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

This is a huge HP proof text – and again pay attention to the “all” and “every”.

 

Jer 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

 

For a universalist HP, these texts were fulfilled at the Great White Throne judgment of Rev 20. IF we are indeed in the new heavens and new earth, then righteousness dwells, all things are reconciled, there is no more condemnation, mercy has been extended to all, the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life, every knee has bowed and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and there is no more need to teach our neighbor for we all know Him. Grace has become comprehensive. In that respect the King’s (Max & Tim) have it right.

 

While the HP’s talk about the phrases “this age” and “the age to come” assigning them to the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, the HP universalists do something similar to what the covenantal context proponents do, they assign everything from Genesis to the destruction of Jerusalem to “this age”. By doing that, ALL the Old Testament law passed away and therefore anyone not subject to the sanctions of that “age”, are now in the new heavens and new earth and written in the Lambs book of Life.

 

If HP’s are to claim Adam as the first man and Eve as the first woman in the Garden where the serpent also resided, and now that serpent has been cast in the lake of fire at the Great White Throne judgment, then these statements would certainly hold and are not future to us, making universalism a full reality.

 

Rev 20:10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

 

Rev 20:14-15 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

IMHO, to claim the White Throne Judgment is past and Satan is cast into the lake of fire to no more deceive the nations along with ALL THOSE NOT WRITTEN IN THE LAMB’s BOOK OF LIFE, is not consistent with an AD70 judgment UNLESS universalism is the end result or the creation covenantal context is correct.

 

The real difference between the two is scope. One takes a global view and one a local view.

 

 

 

36 thoughts on “Preterist Universalism; Global or Local by Dorothy Anderson

  1. Dorothy, the non-universalist hyperpreterists will come & claim that your conclusions are “fallacy” & “not logical”. They will claim that perhaps you are a “boob” that everyone ignores (all the while they are NOT ignoring you). But you have rightly assessed that the most consistent form of hyperpreterism is a universalist & covenant creationist kind. Those who try to hold back the localized/tribal god & universalism flood-gates (pun intended) are fighting a losing battle. They are marginalized & seen less & less as holding the mantle of the hyperpreterist movement. Years & years of ignoring or compromising with the seedier/ more liberal elements of their movement has finally caught up with them & try as they might, they can’t remove themselves from who they are at the core.

  2. Hi Dorothy,

    Interesting post. I agree with you that Hyper-Preterism leads directly to Universalism. The fact there are so many Universalists goes to show how one false conclusion easily leads to another.

    Of course, Christ never said that all things would be acomplished in that generation. Fulfillment was dependent on Jewish national repentance (Hosea 5: 15; Matt. 23: 39; Acts 3: 19-21). Under the Mosaic charter, all the blessings were conditional (Lev. 26: 3-12), and Christ came to confirm the promises made to the fathers. The Mosaic covenant was always two-sided, and whenever one agrees that it was in force until A.D. 70, he/she must affirm that Christ’s coming (the greatest blessing of all) was conditional on national obedience.

    This is why in Matt. 10: 23; 16: 28; 23: 39; 24: 34, the latter clause contains the Greek particle ‘an,’ which always modifies the action of the verb, making it conditional. Some of Christ’s first-century listeners would not taste of death until they MIGHT HAVE SEEN the coming of the Son of Man. Their living until Acts 28 was certain. However, their fulfillment of the condition was uncertain, until they rejected the kingdom in A.D. 63. The contingent element is brought out in these timing texts.

    According to some authorities, a literal translation of Matthew 24: 34 reads: “This generation shall not pass away until all these things MAY BEGIN TO TAKE PLACE.” The usual New Testament word for “fulfill” is not “ginomai,” but “pleroo.” When we look back at the inspired record, we find that some things DID begin to take place in the first century. For instance, Matt. 24: 5-6. These are recorded facts. However, there in no record that the “famines, pestilences, and eathquakes,” etc. of Matt. 24: 7-8 occurred in the first century. The Bible is silent, and because of this, Hyper-Preterists have had to fetch support from Josephus. But if they had looked closely enough, they’d find that the “beginnings of sorrows” are mentioned in the New Testament. Not as history, but as prophecy. Read Revelation 6.

    The reason why they are not recorded as history may be found in Acts 28. It was at this point that the Jews formally rejected the offer of the kingdom, and so the prophcies involving the last 7 years of Israel’s history were postponed. After A.D. 63, the doctrinal nature of Paul’s teachings changes significantly. I have much more to say on these sujects, however I would suggest anyone interested to listen to Charles Welch’s sermon on the “Three Ministries of Paul Before Acts 28.” This is the first lesson needed in order to effectively refute Hyper-Preterism.

    [audio src="http://www.charleswelch.net/W%2032%20%20%201%20%20The%207%20Epistles%20after%20Acts%2028.mp3" /]

    Brian

  3. Dorothy
    I appreciate your articles and your observations, however, I do not believe that Universalism is necessarily the logical conclusion to which Full Preterism leads. The use of “all” and “every” is often used in a relative sense rather than in the absolute sense. With the preaching of John the Baptizer, the text says “all” Judea went out to him and “all” the regions around the Jordan. This does not necessarily imply that “every single person” in those areas when out to hear the preaching of John (Matt. 3:5; Mark 1:5). Regarding the preaching of Jesus the text says, “all the city” gathered at the door (Mark 1:33). “All” is sometimes used as hyperbole in order the emphasize the largeness of the respond, and not to indicate “every” individual person.

    The book of Revelation suggests that there would be those “inside” the covenantal city of God, and those “outside” the covenantal city, and further that the “gates” to the city would never be closed. Those who insist that this prophecy refers to the eternal state (heaven) have to deal with the existence of “nations” in eternity and the need for the “healing” of those nations (Rev. 21-22). There is no reason to conclude that need for salvation ceases to exist after the time when Satan and his demonic forces are removed for their sphere of influence. Nor, it is the logical conclusion that everyone is saved in the end. Those who are “righteous” remain “righteous” and those who are “wicked” remain “wicked.”

    The New Covenant is God’s everlasting provision (Heb. 13:20) for the salvation of the lost, before and after A.D. 70.

    Larry

  4. With what broad paint brush strokes does DA paint!

    Arguements from silence prove nothing!

    The Eastgate is open, the King is in Residence!
    Whosoever will, may come in!

    Gatekeeper

    Phil: Arguments from silence prove nothing eh Gatekeeper? That’s interesting considering your reply to Dorothy’s article.

  5. Well hello GK,

    Speaking of broad brushes, I’m glad you showed up. I’ve been very curious about a comment you made when Mark wrote his post on “Another One Bites the Dust”.

    On Dec 21st you stated I had joined a premil Dispensationalist group where I was warmly embraced by those who cause you grief.

    Would you mind sharing with me just what group this was and who are the people?

    I was quite shocked to read that and my inquiring mind would like to know…

  6. Hi Larry,

    I would like to address your post in depth, so this is just an acknowledgement that I will do so this evening, God willing. Time does not permit me that luxury this morning. Would you object if I use it for the platform for the next article? I’m not saying I’m going to do that, just that I am considering it. I would like to add that I would not consider a negative reply here to be a sign that your position is diminished, nor would I want others to view it as so.

    Imho, there is just so much there that I think the comments section doesn’t really do it justice and I would like to explore that a little with you.

    I’ll await your reply and thanks for commenting.

  7. Greetings Phil, it is actually Brian who made reference to silence,

    “When we look back at the inspired record, we find that some things DID begin to take place in the first century. For instance, Matt. 24: 5-6. These are recorded facts. However, there is no record that the “famines, pestilences, and eathquakes,” etc. of Matt. 24: 7-8 occurred in the first century. The Bible is silent,….”

    This is his own observation, which I would not necessarily disagree with, just that the silence of the Biblical record does not prove that these events did not take place, the Biblical record having been terminated in 70AD, unless of course you want to prove that it went on much later. Even if it did, we would find that at some point the Biblical record stopped, though in the last two thousand years, there have been plenty of disastorous events to satisfy the most cynical observer!

    Now of course Brian has limited these events to the first century, but then if you want to parse prophecy, it can always be pointed out that the whole world of disaster, could be identified with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. For the Jews, Jerusalem, the temple, and the surrounding communities were their whole world. In 70AD, there was plenty of disaster to go around as far as they were concerned! With the initial destruction by the Romans, and the subsequent famine and plague, with the loss of their crops, and infra structure, I imagine Israel post 70AD, was no vacation paradise! Even the Romans were stunned with the desolation, and the land remained this way for a very long time! Their very world had been shaken and destroyed!

    The prophecy was being told to the disciples, who at the time, were only concerned about what went on in their backyards. So the phrase “the whole world, or all nations,” did not necessarily mean literally whole and all, but like the decree that went out into all the world, it was limited to those in the Roman world, and probably even then not everyone!

    I expect that there are plenty of other events which there is no record of, but we do not doubt that they occurred. It was not like today where everyone is running around with camcorders and digital cameras built into their cell phones.

    We could even go so far as to refer to the old story of a tree falling in the forest. Just because there is no record of a tree falling in the local newspaper, does not mean that a tree did not fall. Infact, the nature of the forest, is such that it would be more likely, that not only one tree fell, but eventually all will fall, though again I don’t know any editor who will be out checking out the statistics even in this day of modern recording and publishing.

    I have read somewhere that many of the ancient structures of the previous centuries, were in fact damaged and destroyed by earthquakes in the first century AD. Some of these dated back 1000 years or so. They were recognized fixtures of the early cultures, and to have them all of a sudden damaged, was a real testimony of the prophecy! The fact that the prophet spoke about earthquakes, as being a sign, you would not expect that they were a common event in the ancient world. Then to have a major quake occur would have been very frightening. We only have to look at the recent devastation of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, or the major earthquakes in Pakistan and China, to understand that they were accompanied by mass confusion, starvation and plague. I really doubt that the local CNN reporters were out getting the story down to be published in the 10:00 news. No, they were trying to survive as well, and there was no relief effort coming at all. I expect there were whole cities of mud huts, unreinforced, and not earthquake proofed, that were flattened, and populations were devastated for many years if not totally destroyed.

    As far as DA painting with a broad brush, DA is definitely not a fine art artist! Her logic is flawed, and her conclusions don’t follow. I would welcome her being more precise, and restate her case if she would like!
    Phil: How about you show us where Dorothy’s logic is flawed and how her conclusions don’t follow. Please be precise Thomas and restate your case for us.

    Universalism, has been found in the church long before the current preterist teaching. That certain preterist are universalist, is not a surprise to me, as there are universalist found throughout the church structure. On the otherhand, most of the preterist I know, are Reformed Calvinist, and would hardly claim universalism as their standard color. I would also suggest that the proper response to the universalist error, is in a proper understanding of soteriology, and not eschatology. The fact that she tries to tie it to the latter, only demonstrates her bias, and not her understanding of the former!

    The Eastgate is open, the King is in Residence!
    Whosoever will, may come in!

    Gatekeeper

  8. Gatekeeper,

    Well, as they say, silence can be eloquent. All we have is the inspired New Testament record to tell us what was fulfilled and what wasn’t. Beyond this all is conjecture. Earthquakes have been happening since the beginning of the world, so mere allusions to earthquakes in secular history is an impotent argument. Alot of people thought that Napoleon was the Antichrist, too, but they couldn’t learn it by reading the Bible.

    I still have yet to see any textual proof that the events which Christ called “the beginnings of sorrows” were fulfilled in the first century. My position is that they belong to the last seven years of Israel’s history, which they forfeited when they rejected the kingdom in A.D. 63. It was at this point that the age stopped and the parenthetical “Administration of the Mystery” began. The last seven years of the age will take up their course when this Dispensation is concluded.

    As proof that my position is correct, there is not the slightest evidence that Matthew 24: 14 obtained a first-century fulfillment. This has to take place before the “end” comes. When Christ said, “And THIS GOSPEL of the kingdom shall be preached as a witness to all nations,” He was referring to the Gospel He had been preaching for 3 1/2 years– NOT the Gospel Paul later received in Arabia. The term “Gospel of the Kingdom” is never used in the Book of Acts or in the church epistles. Paul was preaching the “Gospel of the grace of God,” which he elsewhere calls “my Gospel.”

    Further support of a postponement is found in the fact that the apostles NEVER obeyed our Lord’s instructions to baptize “all nations” in the name of the Triune God (Matt. 28: 19-20). They always baptized in Jesus’ name alone. See Acts 2: 38; 8: 16; Acts 19: 5; Romans 6: 3.

    If Matt. 24: 14 was fulfilled in the first century, then why did they baptize in the name of Jesus only??? The reason is because the commission of Matt. 28 belongs to the last seven years of the age. The chronological sequence of Matthew 24 supports this.

    Remember, what is commonly called “the Great Commission” was only one of three commissions given on three different occasions. See Luke 24: 47; Mark 16: 15-18; Matt. 28: 19-20. The commission in Mark involved special “signs” and miracles which would follow them which believed. These signs cease after Acts 28.

    The point I’m making is that there is no Scriptural support for the view that Christ “returned” in A.D. 70. All of the evidence lies in the other direction. Christ couldn’t come, becaue the nation had already rejected the kingdom in A.D. 63. Christ didn’t come, because the condition of national repentance (Hosea 5: 15; Matt. 23: 39; Acts 3: 19-21) was never met.

    Brian

  9. Brian, before I go into this any deeper, I would be interested in clearly understanding what you believe occurred in 63AD, to signify the total rejection of the Messiah, by Israel? Gk

  10. Hi GK,

    In A.D. 63 Israel rejected Paul’s testimony, just as they had rejected Peter’s. The Book of Acts contains the record of God’s third offer to Israel, to restore them upon the one condition of national repentance.

    –The first offer was made by God the Father in the OldTestament.
    –The second offer was made by God the Son in the Gospels.
    –The third offer was made by God the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts.

    The Acts Dispensation would have closed up the last 40 years of Israel’s history. However the final seven years were cut short in A.D. 63, and reserved for a future time, to ensure the fulfillment all of God’s promises made to the nation. Meanwhile, we have the revelation of the mystery, which was never revealed (Eph. 3: 9; Col. 1: 26) until Israel had rejected God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

    The apostolic message of repentance was preached first to those in the land, and then to those afar off (Acts 2: 39). Peter’s ministry was to those in the land. But the nation rejected his testimony in Acts 12. James the brother of John was beheaded, and Peter imprisoned. After that, Paul was sent to those “far off” (the Dispersion). In Acts 28 they finally rejected his ministry as well, and Paul pronounced the sentence of judicial blindness on them (Acts 28: 26-27). This was in A.D. 63. Shortly thereafter, the wars with Rome began.

    Many writers have correctly identified Acts 28 a “Dispensational frontier.” On the one side, we have Israel’s offer of an imminent coming of Christ, ready to be fulfilled on the condition of national repentance. On the other side, we have the full revelation of God’s grace, in fulfillment of Acts 28: 28.

    “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.”

    Before the Acts 28 conference, Paul said that he was bound with “this chain” for the “hope of Israel” (Acts 28: 20). After they rejected the kingdom, however, he says:

    “I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ FOR YOU GENTILES” (Eph. 3: 1).

    After A.D. 63, Paul no longer considered himself a minister to the “Jews first.” Because they had formally rejected the “Kingdom,” they rejected the coming of the “King.” Therefore, the eternal PURPOSE of God could be proclaimed for the first time, in this parenthetical Dispensation of the Mystery (Eph. 3: 9).

    But the children had to be fed first (Matt. 15: 22-28).

    Brian

  11. Matthew 4:17
    From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

    Mark 1:14-15
    Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

    In the above texts we see the START of Jesus’ ministry & of the preaching of the Gospel. Notice that the preaching contains 3 elements:

    1. Need for Repentance
    2. Need for Belief
    3. Announcement of the Kingdom

    Now, under hyperpreterism we are told the KINGDOM is already here. Since the NEED to repent & NEED for belief was hinged on the announcement that the kingdom was arriving, we can then under the hyperpreterist “paradigm” conclude there is no more NEED to repent & no more NEED to believe since the KINGDOM IS HERE. This is how many of the hyperpreterist universalists conclude.

    My question is, how can hyperpreterism be preaching the SAME Gospel as Jesus if the dynamic has radically changed??? Hyperpreterism ISN’T preaching the Gospel of Jesus, instead it is a heresy & cult that perverts Christianity. I’m sorry if this smacks some people upside the head, but they just cant get around it.

  12. Brian, I would ask for clarification on one aspect of the 63AD date, how did you arrive at that date? Why not 62, 63, 64, 65, or some other pre 70AD. time factor? Gk

  13. GK,

    Well, the date of Acts 28 can’t be settled with absolute certainty. But scholars generally agree that it took place no later than A.D. 63. We know that Paul was imprisoned at Caesarea for two years (Acts 24: 27), before Porcius Festus took Felix’s place. Festus was made procurator of Judea circa A.D. 60. Paul was sent to Rome some months later, and after a delayed voyage was shipwrecked in Malta in the winter of A.D. 61. He arrived at Rome in the spring of A.D. 62, and the Acts 28 conference took place three days later. This places the conference in A.D 62, which is the earliest date we can assign it.

    If (as I believe) the Book of Revelation was written around A.D. 60-62, then the events of the last seven years were ready to happen before Paul reached Rome. The nation’s decision to reject Paul’s testimony settled the matter of whether the events related to Christ’s coming would commence, or be delayed until a future time. At any rate, Revelation must predate Paul’s prison epistles, for there is a total absence of the Pauline doctrines of grace, which weren’t revealed until after the Acts 28 conference. The purely Hebraic character of Christ’s warnings to the seven churches in Asia informs us that the book was written prior to Paul’s first imprisonment.

    Of course, whether he reached Rome in A.D. 62 or A.D. 63 is immaterial to the whole issue, because either date leaves enough wiggle room for the last 7 years to have commenced, if the nation had accepted the Gospel.

    Brian

  14. Brian, since you seem to have a pretty clear idea of when the different books of the NT were written, could you provide a list of those books, and the suggested date of their authorship. Thanks Gk

  15. GK,

    No problem. Here is what I have:

    Epistle of James (A.D. 45)
    1 Thessalonians (A.D. 52-53)
    2 Thessalonians (A.D. A.D. 54)
    1 Corinthians (A.D. 57)
    2 Corinthians (A.D. 58)
    Romans (A.D. 58)
    Galatians (A.D. 58)
    1 John (A.D. 58-60)
    1 & 2 Peter (A.D. 58-60)
    Hebrews (A.D. 60)
    Epistle of Jude (A.D. 60)
    2 & 3 John (A.D. 60-62)
    Revelation (A.D. 60-62)

    ****Acts 28 conference****

    Ephesians (A.D. 63)
    Colossians (A.D. 63)
    Philippians (A.D. 63)
    Philemon (A.D. 64)
    1 Timothy (A.D. 67)
    Titus (A.D. 67-68)
    2 Timothy (A.D. 68)

    Brian

  16. Oops, I though the Gospels were in the NT. 🙂 Also if you could include a short statement of how you determined these dates. Whether it is internal evidence, and what, or whether it is external? Or is there some other theological schapel used to distinguish their relative dates?

    Thanks, Gk

  17. Dorothy
    You are welcome to comment and to develop your thoughts based upon anything I have either said or written. My comment certainly did not contain a comprehensive answer to your article, only a brief observation. For example, the verse you quoted from Rom. 5:18 “one man’s offense judgment came to all men…through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” in my view is best understood within the context of the argumentation of Paul in Romans 1-4 and especially in relationship to the “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) in the context of “Jews” and “Gentiles” (seen from the community aspect). “Judgment came to all” (Jew and Gentile), and because of the sacrifice of Christ “justification of life” also “came to all” (Jew and Gentile alike). It is not necessarily a reference to the condemnation of EVERY Jew or EVERY Gentile, or of the salvation of EVERY Jew or EVERY Gentile. My point was that using “every” and “all” in the comprehensive sense of including EVERYONE could lead one to conclude that Universalism is a viable option since “justification of life” is said to extend to “all men”–without qualification. When seen from the perspective of Paul who lived during a time when God was bringing together Jew and Gentile into “one body” helps to clarify the total context and meaning of the passage.

    My point is that one must use care when taking the expression in the absolute sense–“present EVERY MAN perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28). Who is the EVERY MAN who is perfected in Christ? The one who is “in Christ” positionally and not EVERY single human being on the planet, living or dead. That was my only point. The Covenantal view does not imply Universalism.

    Roderick argues above that because John announced the “at hand” arrival of the Kingdom that there would be no need for “repentance” or “faith” when that Kingdom arrived. Both John the Baptizer and Jesus were preaching the same message of the “at hand” kingdom from the standpoint of living (at that time) under the Old Covenant system. The Jewish nation needed to “repent” and exercise “faith” with respect to the coming of that announced Kingdom. In Matt 16, Jesus refers to the “church” and the “kingdom” in the same context. Jesus also told his followers that “some” who were standing there would live to see the arrival of that promised “kingdom” in power (Mark 9:1). The arrival of the Kingdom certainly does not negate either “faith” or “repentance” as terms of entrance into the Kingdom and into the New Covenant under which the Kingdom of God is established and through which it operates today.

    Thanks
    Larry

  18. Below are three quotes from the above comments:

    “According to some authorities, a literal translation of Matthew 24: 34 reads: “This generation shall not pass away until all these things MAY BEGIN TO TAKE PLACE.”

    “…in Matt. 10: 23; 16: 28; 23: 39; 24: 34, the latter clause contains the Greek particle ‘an,’ which always modifies the action of the verb, making it conditional. Some of Christ’s first-century listeners would not taste of death until they MIGHT HAVE SEEN the coming of the Son of Man.”

    “The use of “all” and “every” is often used in a relative sense rather than in the absolute sense.”

    I am in no way disagreeing with the veracity of the above statements but I have to ask myself is this what Christianity has come to? Is this what Christianity is all about? Arguing over translations and parts of speech? Do you suppose any of these issues ever concerned Jesus?

    Go back to the very beginning of Christ’s ministry.

    Q: By what means did Jesus transmit the Gospel?

    A: By his own face-to-face physical presence (example) which included of course his speech.

    But he never wrote a word and he never commissioned his disciples to write a word. Why do you suppose that was? Because the SPIRIT of the Gospel was personally communicated by Jesus and his disciples through real life person-to-person contact. This is obviously what he intended as he never instructed another way. What became of that SPIRIT after the Apostolic age? What happened to original Christianity? Obviously the original modes of communication, face-to-face personal example and testimony, the modes practiced by Jesus and the disciples, eventually came to be increasingly usurped by reliance on documents written years after the life of Jesus.

    I don’t mean to sound blasphemous but modern empirically based Christianity could be summed up in a variation of the t-shirt slogan “My parents went to Hawaii and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”. The Christian t-shirt would read, “Jesus preached the Gospel 2,000 years ago and I have this book to prove it.”

    My personal view is that for many Christians the Book is Jesus or as close to Jesus as they will ever get. But without the SPIRIT the Book becomes an idol standing in for Jesus.

    Remember Christianity existed and was communicated long before any books written about Christianity. But what we have today is layer upon layer of veneer obscuring original Christianity, the real intent and practice of Jesus. Today we have the Preterist layer. Before that came the Protestant layer. Before that the Catholic layer. Before that the Patristic layer. All of these mutations supposedly telling us what Christianity really is. Before Patristics came the Pauline layer of veneer. Or as Brian Simmons wrote:

    “When Christ said, “And THIS GOSPEL of the kingdom shall be preached as a witness to all nations,” He was referring to the Gospel He had been preaching for 3 1/2 years– NOT the Gospel Paul later received in Arabia. The term “Gospel of the Kingdom” is never used in the Book of Acts or in the church epistles. Paul was preaching the “Gospel of the grace of God,” which he elsewhere calls “my Gospel.”

    And if Paul was preaching a different gospel than Jesus what are we to make of the other apostles? Was there a general apostolic layer of veneer over original Christianity as well?

    But if we strip away all of these layers of veneer we get to the mustard seed of authenticity, Jesus Christ – not just what he said but what he represents in our hearts. Wher he lives. Where the SPIRIT lives.

    John Calvin wrote, “all who…follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light.”

    Then where is the perspicuity of scripture indicated in all of these discussions over doctrine, grammar and translation? Where is the SPIRIT in us which will reveal the Scripture in clear light?

    The SPIRIT is in you. It is your birthright. Listen to it. Understand it. It’s not the Bible. Develop a relationship with the Spirit in your own way. And then all of these arguments will become superfluous. Do you think that Jesus ever spent a moment considering grammar and translation? Do you think he ever gave a moments thought to whether or not we could or should be able to determine when his second coming was underway or identify it as a past event? What do you think was in his heart and mind at the crucifixion? Theological parlor games?

    Whatever happened to simple Christianity? Did it die on the cross? No. Christianity exists in the Spirit not in our empirical understanding of a book.

  19. Hi Larry,

    Thanks. I was waiting to hear from you. I didn’t want to been seen taking a liberty here without asking first. While it isn’t a requirement, it is a policy I like to follow. I figured you got busy and would make it back to answer eventually. I can relate to that. I got a little preoccupied here also. :))

    I’ll get back to finishing my article then…and I may incorporate some of this also. It’s good to hear from you. I look forward to our conversation here.

  20. Hi Jon,

    Simple Christianity exists as it always has. But there are different levels of understanding, and as you know, there is a warfare going on between those who accept the Gospel and those who twist and garble the Scriptures to serve their own ends. When it comes down to the punch, those in the front-lines are forced to more “critically” examine the Scriptures to combat the false doctrines that are making the rounds. This involves a careful exegesis of the text, with attention paid to the minutest details, even when it’s a matter of the use of a preposition.

    God has left us the Scriptures, and He certainly expects us to study them. One of Paul’s last words to Timothy was: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in so doing, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee” (2 Tim. 4: 16). This means rightly dividing the truth.

    Only when the truth is rightly divided does the absolute perfecttion of God’s word stand out. Yes, simplicity may be the most apparent thing at first glance. Yet much of the simplicity may arise from our own superficial understanding of what God’s word really says. The Gospel will never become the property of the scholastics, for the preaching of the cross is foolishness unto them. However, it is our business to defend the Gospel when they bring it under attack. This involves answering their arguments, and critically and academically refuting them whenever possible. Remember, there is an apologetic side to preaching the Gospel which must not be ignored.

    I fully agree with you that “right division” shouldn’t become a cause of contention or strife among brethren. However, there are false doctrines making the rounds, and we must stand against them with all our might, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Banding together to fight the common enemy is at all times needful.

    Brian

  21. Dorothy: I would like to begin with this thought – which is a foundational thought for a universalist.

    If one man remains outside the love of God then one man has defeated the love of God.

    G’day Dorothy… what you’ve written above pretty well expresses the “universalist” position, it is however far from where those of us originally proposing a “fulfilled redemption” model were and have been saying, and for myself explaining such things as “Pantelism”. In the past most respondents to this position [Rod, Todd and Michael B.] have floundered around grasping a more consistent “fulfilled” view simply because they’ve taken the universalist approach in kind with your description above.

    Now, that many universalists have come to realise a more prêteristic scope to biblical prophecy and so will identify with the rationale you’ve provided here. The reality is however that Pantelism provides a prêteristically consistent approach that many prêterists themselves haved struggled to answer, and so the best attempted defense of some ultimately has been to jettison “prêterism” altogether…

    From certain comments above it is still clear that those apposed to “universalism” take exception to the globalising of certain “all” and “every” texts – Pantelism actually readily agrees that NOT every or all universalist “proof texts” are to be universalised accordingly. And this is the problem certain prêterists in the past have had difficulties with because a pantelistic rationale makes sense, regardless of their disagreeing with it.

    The key difference between the universalism you’ve defined above and pantelism is that the universalism expressed above is a philosophical approach [“well God couldn’t…”] whereas pantelism arrives at its inclusive and fulfilled soteriological position directly and consistently through “fulfilled” eschatology.

    IF you folk are going to be consistent and restrict certain “all” and “every” passages then you need to be truly consistent and see that the promises of redemption were to Israel, ALL Israel, and that these “all” and “every” promises etc came to fruition through and via “the elect”. Redemption did NOT stop certain rebellious one suffering the temporal consequences of the AD70 wrath, just as in former times when the entire nation [ALL Israel] were redeemed out of bondage YET certain rebellious ones fell by the way and did not come into the fullness of their redemption in the land of Promise, though being NO LESS fully redeemed.

    It was the AD30-70 redemption of Israel that in turn wrought the reconciliation of God’s wider creation – this is the key difference between pantelism and universalism, i.e., recognising and building off the base of God’s planned and foreordained redemption of ALL ISRAEL and its consequent effect; aptly demonstrated in this reading of Paul:

    Rom 11:12, 15 Now if their [Israel’s] fall is riches for the world [humanity], and their [Israel’s] failure riches for the Gentiles [first-fruit saints Act 13:48; 15:14, 17], how much more their [Israel’s] fullness!
    For if their
    [Israel’s] being cast away [by God] IS the reconciling of the world [humanity], what will their [Israel’s] acceptance [by God] be but life [covenant resurrection] from the dead?

    So… Israel’s redemption, resurrection and restoration = the world’s reconciliation. Thus realised eschatology = realised redemption.

  22. Brian,

    You make a solid argument. But with all due respect it appears to me you are equating the word (Bible) with the Word (Jesus Christ).

    You wrote:

    “Only when the truth is rightly divided does the absolute perfection of God’s word stand out.”

    Christ, the Logos (Word) is absolute perfection. Documents written years after the ministry of Jesus are not the Word they are words attempting to represent the Word, Gospel of Jesus Christ who is himself the Gospel, the Living Word. The Book is not Jesus or as close to Jesus as we will ever get. Jesus is Jesus and he lives in our hearts. We understand the words of the Bible because we understand Him (to the degree humans can understand Him) because He lives in our hearts.

    As for the scripture you quoted:

    “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in so doing, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee” (2 Tim. 4: 16)

    Yes. But what doctrine? How do we know what doctrine is correct? We recognize correct doctrine by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, not by theological sudoku. If we view the Bible as a puzzle then our starting point is wrong. The Spirit is our guide not deductive reasoning, intellectualism or, dare I say it, systematic theology. Or I should say if theology is to be “systematic” it must be a very simple system. As simple as:

    “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

    I can’t find any scripture wherein Jesus told us to approach scripture as though it were an unsolved crime, a sudoku puzzle or a rubik’s cube. What he did tell us is this:

    “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:31-46

    You wrote:

    “…it is our business to defend the Gospel when they bring it under attack. This involves answering their arguments, and critically and academically refuting them whenever possible.”

    You are correct that intellectual arguments are one strategy which may contribute to leading certain materialistic/empirical types (of people) to the Lord but intellectual arguments for or against any point are feeble compared to the example our own lives can provide. And this is precisely what Jesus and the apostles did, provide a face-to-face example to believers and non-believers alike of what Christianity looks and feels like, the Spirit. It’s not in the dry letter of books. It’s in you.

    If it were possible to “prove” this or that doctrine through empirical means, the dry letter of the law or any scripture Old or New, such a “proof” would still be meaningless without the Spirit. The Spirit is transmitted by (dwells inside of) us not a collection of writings. The empirical approach is just a modern form of Judaising the Gospel (as if that were possible). Jesus came to fulfill the Law. If He is in us then we also fulfill the law because the law is also fulfilled in our hearts through Him – not through a book. The Book is not Jesus or as close to Jesus as we will ever get. Jesus is Jesus and he lives in our hearts.

    The lack of Spirit has caused all of the ills of Christianity. Form your own list of “ills”, errors committed by churches and Christians over the centuries. Everybody has a list. You are on someone’s list. So am I.

    Have you ever been involved in starting a new business, organization or facility? I have. At the beginning we (the employees/participants) all know each other face-to-face. We all transmit our work culture, beliefs and expectations through our own speech but more so through our example, the spirit we convey to others around us. It’s a family or like a family, a brotherhood and a sisterhood. Families don’t have policy and procedure manuals and compared to large organizations neither do start up organizations. But as an organization grows it becomes less and less personal. Less and less of the original spirit of the original participants in the organization is transmitted to the new arrivals. Eventually the original spirit of the organization becomes so obscured that the organization has no choice but to become increasingly legalistic, textually based on written policy and procedure, heirarchical and authoritarian. The organization becomes impersonal. This happens to all organizations everywhere as they grow.

    But even in the largest organization it’s still possible to retain or acquire the original spirit of that organization. Someone in the organization is carrying that spirit. The spirit is not in the policy and procedure manual it’s in actual people working for the organization. If one is lucky enough to come into contact with someone who carries the original spirit of the organization and recognizes that what this person conveys through their example and speech has value then potentially the work of the observing employee acquires a new and deeper meaning. The observing employee may go far in the organization. But this process is not carried out through policy and procedure manuals. It occurs primarily if not exclusively through human interaction.

  23. Hi Davo,

    Although you and I have never conversed, I have seen your name over the years and I am quite pleased to see your desire to add input here. I know you’ve been around the HP camp for a long time.

    I hope you understand that I don’t adhere to your position, but I am trying to show that it is the more logical conclusion from the AD70 fulfillment standpoint.

    I welcome any criticism you have and comments. One reason we are using this platform is so everyone can contribute and comment on the topics.

    I’ve started a response to Larry Seigle. Would you like me to complete it and then have you address his comments and my response? OR would you like to address it and have me back you up. I have no problem with you doing just that if you would like.

    I would like to be sure that all is represented fairly, whether or not we agree on a particular position. I do believe that those of us who have left HP understand the pantelist portal – so to speak. Denial by others doesn’t negate it.

    I would also hope you will stay around over time as we move into more and more scriptural support for AD70 not being the end all….but it’s not a requirement. Also, if we are able to prove to you that AD70 doesn’t not meet all the scriptural requirements, what happens to the pantelist view? I would be interested in your comments there also.

  24. Davo,

    One last thing – I was getting ready to address the “all in alls” in regard to Israel. I do grasp that point and that, unlike universalism, you don’t see salvation inclusive of every man, woman and child back to Adam….or at least it’s my understanding you don’t.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you see salvation coming to ALL Israel….and those covenant breakers who denied Christ in an attempt to continue the Mosaic covenant, were those destroyed in AD70. The Gentiles who were given the “free gift”, were never under the sanctions of the law, thus judgment did not apply to them…

    Have I stated that clearly?

  25. Brian, I am still hoping for a breakdown in the list you made regarding the timeline of authorship of the NT Books. I would prefer this to be in your own words, though if you are unable to provide this info, I would be glad to consider another source if you could point it out for me. I realize this could be a lengthy process, and I do not want you to think that I am not really interested.

    Jon, I find what you say, very intriguing! I am a Reformed Charismatic Preterist! I started out as a dispensational Plymouth Bretheren, and then ultra-dispensationalist studying Cornelius Stam, Bullinger, and Ryrie. In the midst of that time, I came face to face with the claims of the Holy Spirit, on my life. I ask myself, whether I had received the Holy Spirit, since I believed. Theologically I understood that the Holy Spirit had come into my life the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior on March 13, 1968, and I received new Life in Christ. However I came to realize that I never believed that the Holy Spirit was actually the Person of God, now actively working in my life, conforming me to the image of Christ which is what Christ had promised would be the ministry of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth!

    So in the meantime, I had set about to show myself a workman that need to not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, as Brian has so adeptly stated above. Not that this is not a noble endeavor, but when done as you point out, without the instruction and leading of the Holy Spirit, just becomes another scholastic endeavor. When it is approached this way, your scholastic endeavor is trumped by my scholastic endeavor, and we end up with the scholastic soup that we find ourselves swimming in today.

    On the Contrary, when you read the scriptures as a Love Letter spoken to us by the Holy Spirit, we are not so much concerned with the scholastic endeavors and proofs of words that result in mini spiritual quarrels, but instead we are interested in meeting Him, the Lover of our souls. I entered this Love relationship, when I ask the Holy Spirit into my life on Jan 1, 1970. We are taught to ask God for the Holy Spirit, as we are told that if we ask for bread, He will not give us a snake, and if we ask for the Holy Spirit, He will give us the Holy Spirit. Previously I had just assumed upon the grace of God that the Holy Spirit had come, now I desired the active participation of the Holy Spirit in my life. From that day to this, He has been active in my life, teaching me His word, from His lips to my ears, from His heart to mine. This takes the study of God’s word way beyond scholastism, into the realm of Heaven itself! We can actually hear Him speak to us!

    Now I realize that this seemingly plunges a spear into the heart of the scholastic. But let me be clear on this, I also continue to study, to show myself….. I do not disparage scholastic study of the word, but realize it must always be subservient to the Word!

    The Eastgate is open, the King is in Residence!
    Whosoever will, may come in!

    Gatekeeper

  26. Hi Jon,

    I’m not equating the Word of God with Jesus Christ. However, Christ is the Living Word, while the Bible is the Written word. So there is a relation. Christ makes known the Father. The Bible makes known Christ. Naturally therefore, if we would know Christ better we must study the Word He has given us. And this means studying it systematically, and according to an arranged “plan.”

    We can all enjoy looking at the stars of heaven. But the man who would really learn what they are about must use the telescope. Truth from a distance can be beautiful. But it’s only when we get close up that the perfection of God’s word is seen. His Word is no less perfect than His works.

    The problem with many is, that they are content with viewing truth from a distance. But they miss the details. Consider the Gospel, for example. The word “Gospel” literally means “good news.” But this word in itself tells us little. It’s obvious that news can differ while still being ‘good.’ And in fact, the news DOES differ! Paul’s message was quite different from that which Christ preached on the Mount. Christ was preaching “THIS GOSPEL of the Kingdom” (Matt. 24: 14) whereas Paul received his Gospel (good-news) in Arabia years later. The good-news that Paul preached could not be proclaimed until the facts on which it was based had come to pass. That is why the doctrines of grace could not be preacched in their fulness until Israel had formally rejected the Kingdom.

    Such a conclusion is based on a careful study of God’s word. I am just giving one example, of course. My approach does not view the Bible as a “puzzle” or a “Rubik’s cube” (remember those things?), because the Word is already put together for us. It presents one harmonious whole. However, its particular excellences can only be discovered by a careful and stystematic study.

    Brian

  27. Hi GK,

    I thought I already gave you the chronological order of N.T. writings. Let me try again, this time without the smily-faces 😉

    ****Acts 3: 19-21****

    Epistle of James (A.D. 45)
    1 Thessalonians (A.D. 52-53)
    2 Thessalonians (A.D. A.D. 54)
    1 Corinthians (A.D. 57)
    2 Corinthians (A.D. 58]
    Romans (A.D. 58]
    Galatians (A.D. 58]
    1 John (A.D. 58-60)
    1 & 2 Peter (A.D. 58-60)
    Hebrews (A.D. 60)
    Epistle of Jude (A.D. 60)
    2 & 3 John (A.D. 60-62)
    Revelation (A.D. 60-62)

    ****Acts 28 conference****

    Ephesians (A.D. 63)
    Colossians (A.D. 63)
    Philippians (A.D. 63)
    Philemon (A.D. 64)
    1 Timothy (A.D. 67)
    Titus (A.D. 67-68]
    2 Timothy (A.D. 68]

    Notice in these last-written epistles, there is no reference to the tribulation, much less the siege of Jerusalem, which was then in progress. News traveled fast in the Roman world. If Paul had really thought that Christ’s coming was connected with the siege, why did he fail to mention such an important fact?

    It’s interesting to note that after A.D. 63, the “apocalyptic” character of Christ’s second coming disappears. Consider the word “fire,” for example. The Greek word ‘pur’ occurs 73 times in the New Testament, and NOT ONCE in the epistles dated after the Acts 28 conference.

    Does this tell us anything???

    Brian

  28. Brian
    You still take an “early” date on the book of Revelation? I am going to report you to Premillennial Police! Perhaps there is some door of hope for you yet. By accepting the time frame for the “end-time” work of the Holy Spirit in disclosing “things to come” during the “last days” of the Jewish age, it may be possible for you to see the eschatological ministry of the imparted Spirit from the standpoint of Christ’s “absence” and the completion of that ministry with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Time to come back home!

    Larry

  29. Brian, could you show me the apocalyptic character of Paul’s writing before 63AD?

    I have been working my way through your date list, and appreciate your efforts.

    Gk

  30. Dorothy: I do grasp that point and that, unlike universalism, you don’t see salvation inclusive of every man, woman and child back to Adam….or at least it’s my understanding you don’t.

    From the pantelistic perspective this need clarifying… scripturally speaking “salvation” does not mean “getting to heaven” – it is equated with either redemption i.e., the forgiveness of sins; or literal deliverance out of harms way; or the transformative liberty the gospel works in one’s life. These are all “this life” pre-mortem realities, and unlike “reconciliation” not necessarily all inclusive. I tease this out further HERE.

    Dorothy: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you see salvation coming to ALL Israel….and those covenant breakers who denied Christ in an attempt to continue the Mosaic covenant, were those destroyed in AD70.

    The pantelistic understanding views the “salvation coming to ALL Israel” in terms of redemption “the forgiveness of sins”. The “breakers who denied Christ” like their disobedient forebears though fully redeemed suffered temporal and corporeal judgment on their wilfulness in the Parousia. Thus disobedience didn’t remove redemption; it did however mean that like their forebears they would not enjoy the rewards associated with it – for them, “rewards” that came in the Parousia.

    Now with regards to your response to Larry… don’t worry about me, like anyone else I’ll simply chime in if I have something to add by way of comment or clarification from my perspective etc.

  31. Hi Davo,

    Thanks for your comments. I have almost finished my reply to Larry, but I got a little sidetracked in some personal business here…my husband is on a mission to make a purchase and then we accidently destroyed some financial records we needed to keep, so I’ve been having to get them replaced. So temporal issues had to take a front seat for a few days.

    I welcome any comments or clarifications you want to make. It can be easy to make a mistake when making an argument from a position you don’t hold. It guess it would equate to you presenting a case for dispensationalism…:)

    I was surprised to see comments where people denied the strong presense of universalism in preterism. They’ve just never seen it but I have to say it is more consistant with an AD70 change than any other position.

    Also, I’m also working off discussions with the CG camp from a few years back, so I’m sure there are some revisions that I don’t have so please don’t hesitate to clarify. I have no problem with corrections to my work.

  32. Larry,

    Yes, I hold an early date of Revelation. However, the early date does not support a Hyper-Pret interpretation. It actually supports the Pre-Millennial view. The “last days” are the last 40 years of Israel’s history. These last days were broken short in A.D. 63 by Israel’s formal rejection of the Gospel. The Revelation (written around A.D. 60-62) showed things which would happen quickly if Israel met the requirements of national repentance. But because they chose “plan B” instead of “plan A,” further fulfillment was stopped, and the parenthetical “Dispensation of the Mystery” interposed between commencement of the last days in A.D. 30 and their ultimate climax in the last 7 years (sunteleia). The last 7 years (as outlined in the Book of Revelation) will be fulfilled after this Dispensation closes.

    Brian

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