Discussion All Areas Of Systematic Theology
When I was a Dispensationalist, I used to hold pre-tribulation rapture of the saints but a little bit post-tribulation pre-wrath but I took a little break on eschatology views because they were too confusing and focused on Reformed theology. A little later on I discovered about full preterist which made a lot of sense because of the time statements. Most of the preterist camp holds in Covenant Eschatology and they take a lot of things on figurative or "spiritually". I read Max King's book, "The Cross and the Parousia" and there are some good stuffs in it but I wasn't satisfied with the resurrection issue. I did reject the "rapture" view because I thought it is just for the futurist view but at times I was swaying between these views.
My good friend "Rivers of Eden" whom we got in touch via email and in the forums but we never met in person a little after I became a full preterist. We learned a lot from each other which I am thankful for him. A couple years ago or so, he somehow was convinced with the literal "rapture" view from Ed Stevens' book, "Expectations Demand a First Century Rapture" which occurred in AD 66. I thought he went a little too far for that one. I didn't bother to go any further because I thought it's a waste of time. This time I decided to read some stuffs about this issue in the Internet, especially from Ed Stevens' website, preterist.org and also some in Todd Dennis' website, preteristarchive.com. It seems interesting to me and I decided to buy Stevens' books what Chris read and also "First Century Events in Chronological Order". Now I am more certain there was a literal rapture of the saints.
One of the things that got my attention is some records of Josephus and Tacitus:
The Jewish historian Josephus wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem [66 AD], "A certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those who saw it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding the cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said, that in the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound of multitude, saying, 'Let us remove hence" (Josephus' Wars of the Jews VI.V.3, read the whole Book VI especially in chapter V).
The Roman historian Tacitus relates a very similar event of the destruction of Jerusalem, "As I [Tacitus] am about to relate the last days of a famous city [Jerusalem], ...Prodigies had occurred, ...There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine [temple] were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but in most there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire" (Tacitus, The Histories, Book V).
Were these events which Jesus and his apostles foretold in the New Testament? Did the angels manifested in 66 AD? Josephus recorded it as well with Tacitus and also a Christian historian, Eusebuis confirmed it. What about the "Son of Man"? They seem did not mentioned about him but for what purpose when they saw the angels? Remember Paul's conversion in Acts 9 or Elisha's servant saw the army of angels in 1 King 6?
I'm going to use Young's Literal Translation every passages in this article.
I think in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is one of the most controversies among the preterist camp. Some believe this was a literal resurrection and rapture of the saint while others hold this is just a figurative:
13 And I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, that ye may not sorrow, as also the rest who have not hope, 14 for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also God those asleep through Jesus he will bring with him, 15 for this to you we say in the word of the Lord, that we who are living -- who do remain over to the presence of the Lord -- may not precede those asleep, 16 because the Lord himself, in a shout, in the voice of a chief-messenger, and in the trump of God, shall come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, 17 then we who are living, who are remaining over, together with them shall be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in air, and so always with the Lord we shall be; 18 so, then, comfort ye one another in these words.
This would make a lot of sense when Jesus, the Son of Man came with the angels and the saints were raised and those who were living caught away to be with them in heaven and judging the twelve tribes of Israel in 66 AD. Honestly, I don't see how anyone could overly-spiritualizing or “figurative” with this passage. It seems pretty straightforward from Paul. They were expecting to be raised or raptured to be like Jesus in glorified body after he went into heaven. If the death and the resurrection of Jesus were just figurative or spiritually, then we may having a hard time to understand what the Bible is telling us. The Bible tells us that there are earthly bodies and heavenly bodies, first the natural and then the spiritual (1 Cor. 15:42-50). Jesus told Nichodemus that he need to understand the earthly things in order to understand the heavenly things (John 3:12).
Let's compare with other scriptures that mentioned the angels/messengers came with Jesus and the sound of the trumpet:
Matthew 24:30 and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth smite the breast, and they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven, with power and much glory; 31 and he shall send his messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens unto the ends thereof. …34 Verily I say to you, this generation may not pass away till all these may come to pass (Compare Mark 13:26-27, 30 and Luke 21:27-28, 31-32).
1 Corinthians 15:51 lo, I tell you a secret; we indeed shall not all sleep, and we all shall be changed; 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet, for it shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we -- we shall be changed; 53 for it behoveth this corruptible to put on incorruption, and this mortal to put on immortality; 54 and when this corruptible may have put on incorruption, and this mortal may have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the word that hath been written, `The Death was swallowed up -- to victory; 55 where, O Death, thy sting? where, O Hades, thy victory?' 56 and the sting of the death [is] the sin, and the power of the sin the law;
Revelation 11:12 and they heard a great voice out of the heaven saying to them, `Come up hither;' and they went up to the heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them; 13 and in that hour came a great earthquake, and the tenth of the city did fall, and killed in the earthquake were names of men -- seven thousands, and the rest became affrighted, and they gave glory to the God of the heaven. 14 The second wo did go forth, lo, the third wo doth come quickly. 15 And the seventh messenger (last trumpet) did sound, and there came great voices in the heaven, saying, `The kingdoms of the world did become [those] of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign to the ages of the ages!' 16 and the twenty and four elders, who before God are sitting upon their thrones, did fall upon their faces, and did bow before God, 17 saying, `We give thanks to Thee, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art, and who wast, and who art coming, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and didst reign; 18 and the nations were angry, and Thine anger did come, and the time of the dead, to be judged, and to give the reward to Thy servants, to the prophets, and to the saints, and to those fearing Thy name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those who are destroying the land.' 19 And opened was the sanctuary of God in the heaven, and there was seen the ark of His covenant in His sanctuary, and there did come lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Some of people in Jesus’ generation still lived until they see his coming with the angels:
Matthew 10:22 and ye shall be hated by all because of my name, but he who hath endured to the end, he shall be saved. 23 `And whenever they may persecute you in this city, flee to the other, for verily I say to you, ye may not have completed the cities of Israel till the Son of Man may come.
Matthew 16:27 `For, the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father, with his messengers, and then he will reward each, according to his work. 28 Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste of death till they may see the Son of Man coming in his reign.' (Compare Mark 8:38-9:1).
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, `Verily I say to you, that ye who did follow me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man may sit upon a throne of his glory, shall sit -- ye also -- upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel;
Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith to him, `Thou hast said; nevertheless I say to you, hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power, and coming upon the clouds, of the heaven.'
Luke 22:29 and I appoint to you, as my Father did appoint to me, a kingdom, 30 that ye may eat and may drink at my table, in my kingdom, and may sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'
John 14:3 and if I go on and prepare for you a place, again do I come, and will receive you unto myself, that where I am ye also may be;
2 Thessalonians 1:4 so that we ourselves do glory in you in the assemblies of God, for your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye bear; 5 a token of the righteous judgment of God, for your being counted worthy of the reign of God, for which also ye suffer, 6 since [it is] a righteous thing with God to give back to those troubling you -- trouble, 7 and to you who are troubled -- rest with us in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with messengers of his power, 8 in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ; 9 who shall suffer justice -- destruction age-during -- from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength, 10 when He may come to be glorified in his saints, and to be wondered at in all those believing -- because our testimony was believed among you -- in that day;
We have three options:
1. Is Jesus the false prophet because he didn’t come as he promised within his generation?
2. Are some of them from the first century still living and waiting for his coming?
3. Jesus did come with the angels to gather the dead and the living saints into heaven.
I would pick number three because it is consistent with the Scriptures.
Most preterist aren’t comfortable, which I did with this passage:
Acts 1:9 And these things having said -- they beholding -- he was taken up, and a cloud did receive him up from their sight; 10 and as they were looking stedfastly to the heaven in his going on, then, lo, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, `Men, Galileans, why do ye stand gazing into the heaven? this Jesus who was received up from you into the heaven, shall so come in what manner ye saw him going on to the heaven.'
A lot of them are trying to explain away or using this as a figurative. There is another one:
Revelation 1:7 Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen!
This translation is correct one because some other Bible translations use “nations of the earth”. The believers and the enemies of Christ did see him with the angels in 66 AD as I have shown you in above.
I looked up the word "manifestation/manifested/revelation/appearing with the Parousia of Christ in the NT, depending on which Bible translation you use and check some Greek words:
Apokalupto, Strong's #601, 26 times: to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up, disclose, make bare, to make known, make manifest, disclose what before was unknown.
Apokalupsis, Strong's #602, 18 times: laying bear, making naked, a disclosure of truth, instruction concerning things before unknown used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto, withdrawn from view are made visible to all, manifestation, appearance.
Epiphaneia, Strong's #2015, 6 times: an appearing, appearance.
Phaneroo, Strong's #5319, 49 times: to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way; make actual and visible, realised, to make known by teaching, to become manifest, be made known, of a person expose to view, make manifest, to show one's self, appear to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood who and what one is.
Please compare all of the scriptures if you need to check. I am going to use those Greek words only with the eschatological passages in the NT and see if they are literal or figurative:
Romans 2:5 but, according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou dost treasure up to thyself wrath, in a day of wrath and of the revelation (#602) of the righteous judgment of God,
Colossians 3:4 when the Christ -- our life -- may be manifested (#5319), then also we with him shall be manifested (#5319) in glory.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 and then shall be revealed the Lawless One, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation (#602) of his presence,
1 Timothy 6:14 that thou keep the command unspotted, unblameable, till the manifestation (#2015) of our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Timothy 4:1 I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation (#2015) and his reign -
2 Timothy 4:8 henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of the righteousness that the Lord -- the Righteous Judge -- shall give to me in that day, and not only to me, but also to all those loving his manifestation (#2015).
Titus 2:13 waiting for the blessed hope and manifestation (#2015) of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 5:4 and at the manifestation (#5319) of the chief Shepherd, ye shall receive the unfading crown of glory.
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, remain in him, that when he may be manifested (#5319), we may have boldness, and may not be ashamed before him, in his presence;
1 John 3:2 beloved, now, children of God are we, and it was not yet manifested (#5319) what we shall be, and we have known that if he may be manifested, (#5319) like him we shall be, because we shall see him as he is;
The saints were expecting to be like him when he manifested himself at his parousia. If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead with his glorified body, then the saint were expecting the same and to be with him in heaven. This was their hope, the hope of Israel (Acts 28:20).
It seems to me that by the time in 66 AD, there were not many Christians living because they were killed or died in natural cause as Jesus mentioned:
Matthew 7:13 ‘Go ye in through the strait gate, because wide [is] the gate, and broad the way that is leading to the destruction, and many are those going in through it; 14 how strait [is] the gate, and compressed the way that is leading to the life, and few are those finding it!
Luke 18:8 I say to you, that He will execute the justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth (land)?'
I like to add a few more in regard with the revelation and the coming of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 so that ye are not behind in any gift, waiting for the revelation (#602) of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who also shall confirm you unto the end -- unblamable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ; 9 faithful [is] God, through whom ye were called to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 And we ask you, brethren, in regard to the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him, 2 that ye be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of Christ hath arrived;… 8 and then shall be revealed the Lawless One, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation (#2015) of his presence,
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed [is] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to the abundance of His kindness did beget us again to a living hope, through the rising again of Jesus Christ out of the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in the heavens for you, 5 who, in the power of God are being guarded, through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed (#601) in the last time, ...7 that the proof of your faith -- much more precious than of gold that is perishing, and through fire being approved -- may be found to praise, and honour, and glory, in the revelation (#602) of Jesus Christ, 8 whom, not having seen, ye love, in whom, now not seeing and believing, ye are glad with joy unspeakable and glorified, 9 receiving the end of your faith -- salvation of souls....13 Wherefore having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, hope perfectly upon the grace that is being brought to you in the revelation (#602) of Jesus Christ,
The saints were expecting to see the Parousia of Christ and they were looking forward to be like him when he manifested/revealed/appeared. Would you dare to say that he only came in figuratively despite we have records from the mouth of Jesus, the apostles and even some historians?
Here are some links:
I've been wondering for some time.
1. I think most of you believe the dead ones before the the parousia were in the graves/Hades and this does not mean they were conscious in unseen realm, correct?
2. There is another one about the living saints who were caught away to be with Jesus in heaven. I need to know which one, were they literally caught away and their bodies changed/ vanished? Or their bodies remained on earth as they "died" but their spirits/souls or whatever just went with Jesus?
1. Yes, I agree with that statement. The "unseen realm" or "Hades" is the same thing as the "grave" in scripture. In Job 33:18, the literal "grave (pit)" and "Sheol" are the same place.
2. I think they were literally and physically "caught away" to heaven just as Philip was literally "caught away" from the Eunuch's chariot (1 Thessalonians 4:17; Acts 8:39). Their "body" of those who were raised (1 Corinthians 15:35) was also literally "changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
Accodring to Genesis 2:7, Adam's "body" was formed, then God breathed into his nostrils "the spirit (of life)" and then Adam "became a living soul." This suggests that the "soul" cannot be separated from the "body." Thus, I would say that there isn't any reason to think that the "soul" could be with Jesus without the "body."
For example, it was said of Jesus that "his soul would not be allowed to decay in Hades" (Psalm 16:10). We all know that this was talking about the literal "body" of Jesus being raised out of a literal "grave" at the resurrection (Acts 2:25-32). Thus, it's evident that "soul" and "body" referred to the flesh that went into the tomb at death and that "Hades/Sheol" was the same place as the literal "tomb" where the fleshly body was buried.
Thanks. I have one more question. Were the dead ones raised with their bones or still remained in the graves? What about the living ones? I know both groups just somehow changed from perishable/earthy/mortal to imperishable/heavenly/immortality into heaven (1 Cor. 15:42-56) but just wondering about their bones. Did anyone find any bones of the saints of the OT/NT since 70 AD?
Jesus was raised out of the grave with his "flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39).
Are you saying that Jesus and the saints were raised/caught away with their "flesh and bones" in heaven and live forever?
Not only was Jesus raised with "flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39), but he also ascended in the same form (Acts 1:9-11).
Can you just answer my question in above? Yes or no. I assume you do but I just want to make sure about the saints as well.
The hope of the Christians was to be "conformed to the glory of Christ's body" (Philippians 3:21) which was also "imperishable." (1 Corinthians 15:42-43). Since Jesus was raised and glorified in a "flesh and bones" form (Luke 24:39; Acts 1:9), it seems that the believing Israelites were expecting the same kind of resurrection and glorification experience at the parousia.
Thanks. So I assume all the believing Israelites' (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, the apostles, etc.) bones were disappeared in the graves/tombs since the parousia, correct?
I can't quote a scripture that says that all their bones were gone, but that would be the implication of a "flesh and bones" resurrection. Peter spoke of David's "tomb" still being known in his day (Acts 2).
Rivers or anyone,
I wonder if anyone have a proof where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, the apostles, or any OT/NT saints were buried with their bones in their tombs today?
I read somewhere mentioned that the Catholic church claimed they have bones of Peter and Paul.
Another good read from Ed Stevens, "Sequencing the Rapture":