"The Early Church and the End of the World"
Gary DeMar &
Francis X. Gumerlock
"Since the futurist perspective has been
promoted as an early church reality by so many for so long, few people
today actually question it. The Early Church and the "End of the
World" is the first book to question the prevailing futurist view
by a careful study of the historical record. It will show that
some of the earliest writers, most likely writing before the destruction
of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, were referring to the judgment coming of Jesus,
an event that the gospel writers tell us was to take place before that
first-century generation passed away (Matt. 24:34). Adding to the
confirmation of this view are the writings of the church’s first
historian, Eusebius Pampilus of Caesarea (c. 260–341), whose
Ecclesiastical History is a window on the first few
centuries of the church. "
END OF THE WORLD
FRANCIS X. GUMERLOCK
"One commentary, an Irish Book of Questions on the
Gospels, written about 725, interpreted Christ's coming
in Matthew 24 in light of the Judean war, as a coming in
judgment through the Roman armies."
FROM INSIDE FLAP
The Early Church and the End of the World
asks this fundamental question: What did the earliest of the
early Christian writers actually believe about prophetic events?
We can only answer this question by studying what they wrote.
Unfortunately, we do not have a complete record of the period.
Many of their surviving works are only fragments of larger works
no longer available to us. To make an historical
investigation even more difficult, there are translation issues.
Many of the works of those who wrote just before the destruction
of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and beyond have not been translated into
The Early Church and the End of the World seeks to remedy
some of these problems. Thomas Ice, in his book The End
Times Controversy, makes some bold claims that cannot be
supported when the historical record is actually analyzed.
The early church was not monolithic in its views of Bible
prophecy. There was no unanimous acceptance of
premillennialism, a distant futurism, or the peculiar
distinctives of dispensationalism.
The Early Church and the End of the World will show that
some of the earliest writers commenting on the Olivet Discourse,
most likely writing before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.
70, were referring to the judgment coming of Jesus, an event
that the gospel writers tell us was to take place before that
first-century generation passed away (Matt. 24:34). Adding
to the confirmation of this view are the writings of the
church's first historian, Eusebius Pampilus of Caesarea (c.
260-341), whose Ecclesiastical History is a window on the
first few centuries of the church.
Francis X. Gumerlock has undertaken the task
of translating a number of ancient and medieval commentators who
have written on Matthew 24 and Revelation. He shows that
many early and medieval Christian writers believed that these
prophecies had already been fulfilled before the "end" of
Jerusalem, that is, before its destruction by the Romans in A.D.
70 which resulted in the end of the Old Covenant world.
Gumerlock's chapters fill the gap in
historiography by providing English translations of a number of
preterist commentaries on prophecies in Matthew 24 by ancient
and medieval Bible expositors. Did other Christians, long
before Martin Luther, John Calvin, or Luis Alcasar,
interpret prophecies of Matthew 24 as fulfilled in connection
with the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans?
Matthew 24:4-14 records Jesus' prediction of
various signs that would take place before the end (24:6,14).
Not believing that these signs applied exclusively to the end of
the world, many early and medieval writers believed that they
had already appeared historically before the "end" of Jerusalem.
To illustrate their beliefs with regard to the content and
timing of these signs of the end, Gumerlock's chapters provide a
chain of comments from different Church Fathers upon the verses
that they expounded.
With respect to the generation that would see
all these things fulfilled (Matt. 24:34), several sources showed
that a preterist interpretation of the passage existed in the
early church. Concerning the "coming" of Christ, mentioned
many times in Matthew 24:27-51, most of the Church Fathers
referred this coming to His bodily coming at the end of the
world. But patristic and medieval Biblical expositors did
allow for it to be interpreted as a non-bodily advent, whether
that be His coming to take residence in one's heart, His coming
to receive one's soul at death, His continuous coming to the
Church for strengthening, or a "hidden" coming in judgment.
One commentary, an Irish Book of Questions on the Gospels,
written about 725, interpreted Christ's coming in Matthew 24 in
light of the Judean war, as a coming in judgment through the
The Early Church and the End of the World is a needed
addition to the discussion on what the earliest of the early
church believed on Bible prophecy.
Chapter 1 - Biblical Minimalism and Bible Prophecy
Chapter 2 - The Proof of the Gospel
Chapter 3 - Preterism Among First-Century Writers
Chapter 4 - Premillennialism in the Early Church
Chapter 5 - Sola Scriptura and Bible Prophecy
Chapter 6 - The Olivet Discourse in Ancient and Medieval
Chapter 7 - The Date of Revelation in the Early Church
Chapter 8 - More External Evidence for an Early Date of
Chapter 9 - Blood, Fire and Vapor of Smoke: The A.D.70
Destruction of Jerusalem in the Ancient Exegesis of Acts 2:19-27
Chapter 10 - Irenaeus and the Dating of Revelation
"John C. Whitcomb, in his
article on "The Millennial Temple," writes that "five different
offerings in Ezekiel (43:13-46:15), four of them with
bloodletting, will serve God's purposes. These offerings
are not voluntary but obligatory; God will 'accept' people on
the basis of these animal sacrifices (43:27), which make
reconciliation [atonement] for the house of Israel (45:17, cf.
45:15)." This is an impossible interpretation for at least
three reasons. First, these sacrifices are said to be "for
atonement" (reconciliation) (Ezek. 45:15, 17) not, as Whitcomb
claims, "as effective vehicles of divine instruction for Israel
and the nations during the Millennial Kingdom." Second,
Jesus is the once for all sacrifice whose blood cleanses us from
sin (Heb. 7:26-27; 8:13; 9:11-15;10:5-22; 1 Peter 3:18).
Third, sanctification comes under the new covenant by "the
washing of water with the word" (Eph. 5:26) not by the washing
of blood from sacrifices. Those who dispute the
completeness of the new covenant promises are looking for the
Jews to return to the shadows of the Old Testament that Jesus
came to shed redemptive light on. They want to return to a
world that Jesus came to replace." (xiv)
Gary DeMar grew up in the suburbs of
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of
Western Michigan University (1973) and earned
his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in
1979. He has lived in the Atlanta area since
1979 with his wife Carol. They have two grown
sons. Gary and Carol are members of Midway
Presbyterian Church (PCA).
prolific writer, Gary has authored over twenty
books covering a full range of topics: The
three-volume God and Government series
(1982-86), Ruler of the Nations (1987,
2002), The Reduction of Christianity
(1988), Surviving College Successfully
(1988), Something Greater Is Here
(1988), You’ve Heard It Said (1991), America’s
Christian History: The Untold Story (1993),
War of the Worldviews (1994), Last
Days Madness (4th ed., 1999), Is Jesus
Coming Soon? (1999), Thinking Straight
in a Crooked World (2001), End Times
Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of the Left
Behind Theology (2001), The Changing
Face of Islam in History and Prophecy
(2002), and America’s Heritage (2002).
He is also the general editor and co-author of
A New World in View (1996) and
Reformation to Colonization (1997), the
first two volumes in the To Pledge
Allegiance history textbook series.
has been interviewed by Time magazine,
CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the
BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has
done numerous radio and television interviews,
including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank
Hanegraaff. Newspaper interviews with Gary have
also appeared in the Washington Times,
Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the
Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta
Journal/Constitution, and the Chicago
American Vision also publishes The Biblical
Worldview, a monthly magazine edited by
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Date: 06 Apr 2009
Preterism upends all of scripture, denoting all to mythical mind games,
including the glorious second coming of Christ. It is a most heinous
doctrine that undermines the faith of believers taking them from hope of
the resurrection to a belief much like Jehovah Witnesses who believe
that all we see is now on this earth. Where heaven went, I know not, nor
the New Jerusalem. All are merely illusions of the mind to the
preterist, in my opinion.
Date: 19 Feb 2010
i would like to read all his writings--he appears to be a first. class
scholar--Only today-2010-2-19 I hear about him. I am retired from Long
Island . Amityville- Suffolf Cty--but in China at the moment with my
wife Evelyn for howlong who knows????I am reading everyday Evangelical
thoughts and writings-- I cannot afford to pay for books or CDs--
firstname.lastname@example.org WE live in Guangdong Province--very much like
Florida.I want to read all of Gary De mar's works--How??
Date: 24 Jan 2011
The preterist view is supportable at least to some extent in the bible.
I can't help but feel disappointed in that the full preterist doesn't
believe that physical death will ever be abolished. Although Paul said
that our "vile" body would be made like unto his, the Lord's "glorious"
body. Not sure how they reconcile that. Also, in revelation that there'd
be no more pain, sorrow or crying. Pretty hard to explain all that away.