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When Shall These Things Be?: A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism Paperback – February 20, 2004
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About the Author
Mathison received a B.A. in Christianity and political science from Houston Baptist University and then studied at Dallas Theological Seminary for two years before completing his M.A. in theological studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He earned a PhD in Christian thought from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He is director of curriculum development for Ligonier Ministries.
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Top Customer Reviews
Jesus speaking to the church of Philadelphia in first century Asia Minor...
(Rev 3:12 NASB) 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
An Alternate Translation...
(Rev 3:12 YLT) He who is overcoming -- I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, and without he may not go any more, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, that doth come down out of the heaven from my God -- also my new name.
A SCRIPTURALLY CO-RELATED look at this verse...
(Rev 3:12 NASB) 'He who overcomes (the current Neronic persecution and does not `fall away' from Jesus - Mt 24:10), I will make him a pillar (permanent presence) in the temple (The Church: 1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:19-22) of My God, and he (the overcomer) will not go out from it (the presence of God - like they were forced to flee the literal city of Jerusalem - Lk 21:20-21:) anymore; and I will write (inscribe) upon him THE NAME OF MY GOD (signifying ownership by God - 7:3; 14:1; 22:4), and the name of THE CITY OF MY GOD, THE NEW JERUSALEM (signifying citizenship in the church after the OLD Jerusalem passed away in AD70 - Gal 4:22-31; Phil 3:20; Heb 12:22), which comes down out of heaven from My (Jesus - since He is speaking) God (Rev 21:2; Lk 21:31: Heb 12:27-28), and MY (Jesus') NEW NAME.
Now dig this...
The book, "When Shall These Things Be?" was published in 2004 as a DEFINITIVE DENUNCIATION of full preterism by 7 different well known authors from the Reformed circles. In an effort to PROVE that the Book of Revelation was written after AD70 and therefore CANNOT be dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem etc. in AD70, Simon R. Kistemaker, on p 233 makes the following statement...
"The church at Philadelphia was given a new name, which is an oblique reference to changing the name of Philadelphia to Flavia in honor of the Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from 69 to 79 AD. He had built a temple in the city for Emperor worship. Thus, the reference to a new name was meaningful to the Philadelphian Christians."
Again with MY (FS) emphasis...
"The church at Philadelphia was given A NEW NAME, which is an oblique (indirect) reference to CHANGING THE NAME OF PHILADELPHIA TO FLAVIA IN HONOR OF THE EMPEROR VESPASIAN, who ruled from 69 to 79 AD. He had built a temple in the city for (Pagan) Emperor worship. Thus, the reference to A NEW NAME was meaningful to the Philadelphian Christians."
Jesus says that HE HIMSELF is going to inscribe on the overcomers (faithful Christians) IN THE CHURCH (not the city) THREE NAMES (Name of God, the New Jerusalem and His (Jesus' NEW name) and this "Bible scholar" is trying to tell us that Jesus is telling them that the name of their town is going to be changed in honor of a PAGAN ROMAN TEMPLE being erected there in the future?!?!?!
* What about the fact that Jesus was the one doing the inscribing of the names (PLURAL)?
* What about the fact that the THREE names to be inscribed are ACTUALLY MENTIONED by Jesus??
* What about the fact that the names were inscribed ON THE OVERCOMERS THEMSELVES (not the city of Philadelphia)??
Do I need to go on? Did this man actually READ the verse before he interpreted it? Did he read the WORDS contained in the verse?? Does He even make a hurried attempt to correlate this verse with ANY OTHER SCRIPTURE AT ALL?? What about CONTEXT!
Friends, this book (WSTTB), is absolutely HEAVING (bursting at the seams) with this same type of sloppy, silly "scholarship"!! I am trying my best to give my ear to the opponent in the interest of fairness but....wow!!! This book is a veritable smorgasbord of speculation and presumption! Hard to even get through a page without going for the matches!!
This book constitutes the first detailed and in-depth response to the movement known as "full preterism" but better called "hyper preterism." Naturally, because it is the first, it will stumble in some areas. But there are also positives.
By far the best contributions are the chapters by Gentry ("The Historical Problem with Hyper-Preterism"), Hill ("Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem's Fall"), Wilson ("Sola Scriptura, Creeds, and Ecclesiastical Authority"), and Stimple ("Hyper-Preterism on the Resurrection of the Body"). They are the best because they are tightly reasoned and exegetically based (I don't know if I've seen more scripture quoted in a book before. They can constitute a third or half of a page on occasion).
The remaining chapters are certainly ok, but not spectacular. That said, there is one chapter that completely stands out as being the worst contribution to this book, but also the worst explanation of the prophetic time texts I have read to date. It is Pratt's chapter ("Hyper-Preterism and Unfolding Biblical Eschatology"). The entire chapter's argument can be presented as follows: "Biblical prophesy and prediction do not need to be fulfilled in the manner, or the timing, made by the initial prophesy." Thus, his best defense becomes the worst offense. No, his best defense is to have no offense at all. Pratt's argument seems to go like this: "when confronted with a dissenting opinion to orthodoxy, we ought to exterminate everyone on earth."
The entire premise of his poorly-argued and naive exegesis is that, if we can establish that prophesies don't need to be fulfilled in the manner in which they were prophesied, we can simply disregard the "soon" time-texts cited by the hyper-preterists because even though they were prophesied to occur at a certain time, Jesus decided not to fulfill it at that time without informing anyone. (How is this different from simply claiming Jesus was in error, as many liberals do? Either way, intentionally or accidentally, Jesus still didn't return when He SAID He would.)
Yes, this idea might stop hyper-preterism dead in its tracks, but it also stops every other eschatology as well. Were we to follow this suggestion to its logical conclusion, we would not be able to even claim a FUTURE return of Christ, since, if Jesus can alter the fulfillment of a prophesy (turning it, then, into nothing more than a guess or a hope) he can certainly decide not to fulfill a given prophesy at all! Every eschatological system collapses into a pile of rubble. Prophesy, by its very definition, must come to pass exactly as stated (unless God explicitely states he's going to alter it, as He does in the OT) or it is not a prophesy.
Overall, the book has a schizophenic feel to it, since its contributors are of all eschatological systems, including amillenialism, premillenialism, postmillenialism, and orthodox preterist postmillenialism. Some contributors attack beliefs that are orthodox preteristic in nature and not restricted to hyper-preterists (such as Nero's being the Beast of Revelation and Revelation being written before A.D. 70), including legitimate orthodox beliefs under the blanket of hyper-preterism (without addressing the evidence amassed by orthodox preterists to defend these things). Such is Hill who (p. 63) categorically denies the pre-A.D. 70 date for the completion of Revelation, without presenting evidence, nor acknowledging that his fellow contributor, Ken Gentry, was the man who first proposed and defended the early date for Revelation (in his book "Before Jerusalem Fell"). Neither does Hill explain why Gentry is wrong in his theological, exegetical, and historical analyses. He simply states an opinion.
Had the contributors been a little more closely tied eschatologically, these contradictions would have been avoided. Also, they might have avoided criticing orthodox preterism in the process of refuting hyper-preterism (when you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, I suppose). Still, they attempt to also refute ideas put forward by fellow orthodox preterist Gary DeMar (while never making mention of his significant contribution to orthodox preterist postmillenialism). Further, where are DeMar, Sandlin, North, and other's contributions to this book? Their insights would have proved enlightening as well.
Taken as a whole, though, the majority of the book is worth reading and constititutes a good first book on the problems with hyper-preterism. No doubt more will follow.
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I simply wanted to offer a very brief summary of what I learned from...Read more