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(Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Joseph Addison
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Thomas Pyle
Maurus Rabanus
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Anne Rice
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(Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

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Edward Stevens

FULL PRETERIST: "Our NT teaches that the Parousia, the resurrection and the judgment were all interconnected events that would occur in the lifetime of those listening to Jesus."

Silence Demands a Rapture | Regarding "Annihilationism" | A Servant's View | A Response to "The A.D.70 Doctrine" | Problems with Stevens' Response to Gentry


(On Acts 1:11)
"The earthly temple was patterned after the heavenly one. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) in the earthly temple merely foreshadowed the work that Christ our true High Priest would accomplish in the "true" heavenly temple (Heb. 9:23–28). Edersheim does a great job of explaining the typology in his book on The Temple. He shows how the High Priest ascends the Temple mount and ascends into the Temple itself and even further on up into the Holy of Holies itself. It is "ascension" language. Before the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies to perform the blood spattering on the Mercy Seat, he has to first fill the temple with the cloud of incense. Once the cloud of smoke fills the temple (symbolizing the glory cloud Presence of God) he brings the blood of the bull and the goat into the Holy of Holies. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the ascension in Acts 1 is all about. Christ our true High Priest ascended into the heavenly Holy of Holies to present His sacrificial blood on the Heavenly Mercy Seat to make final atonement for us. Then He (like the earthly High Priest) would come back out of the Holy of Holies (cf. Heb. 9–10, esp. 9:26–28, and 10:37) to announce to His anxiously waiting saints that atonement had been fully and finally accomplished. Notice in the Heb. 10:37 text when this "descent" back out of the Temple was supposed to occur ("in a VERY little while")."

He left in clouds of glory, and He returned in the same manner in clouds of glory (cf. Acts 1:11)."

Acts 1:11 fits into the Preterist schema very neatly and consistently. It explains the Yom Kippur typology and quilts together many heretofore disjointed remnants of soteriology and eschatology into one seamless garment. Christ returned in AD 70 "in the same manner" in which He left. He ascended as High Priest into the glory cloud of the Father’s Presence, and He descended back out of that glory cloud as High Priest to announce to His waiting saints (in the outer courts of the temple) that His blood had been accepted and that reconciliation was complete and the Holy of Holies was open for them to dwell in. Christ’s descent (the Parousia) is the exact point at which soteriology and eschatology and Christology all coincide and mutually reinforce each other. Eschatology is the final events of soteriology which reveal and unveil Who Christ is and what He has done. The Parousia at AD 70 puts the focus on Christ, whom the Jews had rejected, and reassures Christians that He has redeemed us from Sheol. Acts 1:11 does not talk about some unrelated "ascension" of Christ into heaven. And the return it predicts cannot be some other Parousia than the one the apostles had been taught to expect within their lifetime. Acts 1:11 fits the Yom Kippur typology like a hand-tailored glove. No futurist interpretation of Acts 1:11 does justice to this glory-cloud Theophany and Yom Kippur "ascend/descend" typology that is prominently featured in this passage." ( Edward E. Stevens, Questions About the Afterlife (Bradford, PA: International Preterist Association, 1999), 44-46)

Jesus did not leave the spiritual realm to make His reappearance in the "air." He became visible ‘in the air’ above Palestine with His angelic armies, while remaining in the spiritual realm, just like angels have done many times in the past. Becoming visible in the sky above Palestine did not require Him to leave the spiritual realm. He did "descend" from the Holy of Holies part of that spiritual realm into the "air," but He did not leave the spiritual realm in order to make that reappearance in the "air." He ascended in the Glory Cloud of that same "air," and He returned in that same Glory Cloud in that same "air." It was an ascent in the Glory Cloud into the "air" originally, and was a descent in the same Glory Cloud into the same "air" again at AD 70. Both the going away and the return were "cloud comings" (theophanies) accompanied by angels. He left the same way He was to return (in clouds with the angels) to appear to his anxiously waiting disciples ("How long, O Lord?" and "O, our Lord, come!"). They expected that return before all of them in that generation died. Some of them were promised to still be alive and remain until His return (Matt. 16:27-28 and John 21:22ff). Since the ascension was a literal event, and was visible (to only His disciples evidently), the implication is that His disciples (some of whom lived and remained until AD 70) would also get to see and experience His return. This is exactly what the literal rapture view of Preterism is all about. …the living and remaining disciples literally saw Christ return and were caught up to be with Him in the same heavenly realm that they had seen Him go into at the ascension. (Personal Email to Mathison, Quoted: Acts 1:9-11 and the Hyper-Preterist Debate Page)

"If the angelic armies literally seen in the clouds at AD 66 were the fulfillment of ‘every eye shall see Him’ (Rev. 1:7) as Sproul has allowed as a possibility, then it was also the fulfillment of Acts 1:11!" (Foreword to the new edition of James Stuart Russell’s The Parousia (Bradford, PA: International, p. xii)

(On David Chilton)
"Within a few months after David Chilton wrote this Foreword, he had a second heart attack and passed on to the heavenly realm.  He was a very dear friend, and a real inspiration to a lot of us.  After his first heart attack he did not retreat.  He still read and analyzed large volumes of material quickly.  I could not send him books fast enough.  He plunged back into the deep end of theological study (eschatology).  He quizzed me relentlessly on the finer points of the Preterist view.  I learned much from him in the process.  He approached every issue in a presuppositional apologetic way.  And he was always concerned about applying new truths in practical and relevant ways to recontstruct our culture upon Biblical standards.  In the six months before his death, he became convinced of the full preterist view.  He was just beginning to write and speak about it when God took him Home.  His contribution to the development of preterist eschatology was considerable and outstanding.  His books, Paradise Restored, Days of Vengeance and The Great Tribulation will be most useful for students of Biblical eschatology for many centuries to come.  He wrote numerous articles, essays and books on many other Biblical, philosophical, political, moral, ethical, social and economic issues.  A few months before he passed on, he asked me to help him produce a Preterist Study Bible.  We were just in the planning stages of that when he passed on.  God willing, I hope to see that project become reality, and dedicate it to him.  Dave was a man after God's own heart."   (Foreword)

(On Definitions)
""Preterist" means past in fulfillment. Only those who take a past fulfillment of all the eschatological events (e.g. the return of Christ, resurrection, judgment) can rightly be called "preterist." Those who believe the major eschatological events (i.e. Second Coming, Resurrection, Judgment) are still future are really just another kind of futurist... The term "preterist" belongs to the "full preterist," not to the "partial preterist" futurists like Gentry." (Response to Ken Gentry; Bradford, PA: Kingdom Publications, 1997, p.2)

(On Eternal Torment)
"Now I wish there was some hermeneutical or exegetical way to physicalize or spiritualize this text out of existence, but the stark reality of a real eternal torment in a spiritual place called the Lake of Fire is too clear in this text.  Hell exists forever and ever, and the wicked and demons who go there will consciously experience the torment day and night forever and ever.  Scary, isn't it?  It should be." (Regarding "Annihilationism")

(Rapture View circa 1998)
"J.S. Russell, Milton S. Terry, Ernest Hampden-Cook, Richard Weymouth and other preterists have suggested that there was in fact a literal "catching up" of a limited group of saints (not everyone) in AD 70. Most other preterists, however, see this as just another way of describing the "gathering together" of both Jew and Gentile into the Kingdom of Christ. This latter view is probably the majority opinion. But there are some strong and ancient advocates of a literal "rapture" in AD 70. I am writing a chapter on the rapture in my resurrection book. I plan to present the evidence for both positions, point out what the issues are, what sources for information must be used, and let the reader do his own further research and make up his mind. On internal evidences, contextual and linguistic considerations, the rapture view is stronger. But it has some historical and external problems. It is not as easy to exegete as it looks. The place to start is in the whole 1 Thes. and 2 Thes. context. Then study the Greek word usage in the immediate (1 Thess. 4:13 -- 1 Thess. 5:10) context. Do an especially careful study on the Greek word for "caught up." Study the other verses in the NT which use this Greek word (harpazo). Ask yourself what the Thessalonians were really upset over, and what Paul was actually promising them, which would keep them from "grieving as do the rest who have no hope." What would they get that would solve their grief problem? Was Paul promising them an actual reunion with their departed brethren, or just a "positional" or "spiritual" union with them? Think about it. :-)" (Preterist Discussion List, 1998, quoted by Kevin Craig at Christmas Conspiracy)

(Rapture View circa 2002)
"I am not the first one to invent this rapture idea.  Four scholars a century ago (J.S. Russell, Milton S. Terry, Richard Weymouth, and Ernest Hampden-Cook) suggested the AD 70 rapture idea, and wrote several pages in defense of it in their books. They suggested that there may have been a rapture of the true Christians, so that the mere professing (but not true) "Christians" were left behind to carry on.  I am merely reminding all of us about their theory, and asking us to keep it in the back of our mind as the best way (maybe the only way) of resolving the "documentation problem."  (Silence Demands a Rapture)


"I was also reading Sam Frost's new book, Misplaced Hope, which is an excellent rebuttal against Jonathin Seraiah's critique of Preterism.  His book reminded me again of the extreme lack of writings by Christian leaders immediately after AD 70.  Indeed, Sam did a marvelous job of further minimizing the number of post-70 documents even more by suggesting that Barnabas and Clement may have been written before AD 70.  This makes the number of post-70 "Apostolic Father" writings even fewer.  It was not the purpose of Frost to solve the mystery of the post-70 silence, but rather simply to assume it as fact throughout his book.  And it is this silence, which all church historians acknowledge, that pushes me toward the rapture view." (Silence Demands a Rapture)

[QUESTION]   Do you think that Isaiah 65-66 and Revelation 20-22 are parallel passages?  Isaiah says the good people "die at the age of one hundred" or more, while John says there will be "no longer be any death."  Could you explain those two passages?  If Isaiah 65-66 and Revelation 20-22 are parallel passages, how do you reconcile their different descriptions of life (and death) in the new heaven and earth? 

In Isa. 65:20, Isaiah wrote:

"No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred, and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed."  (NAS95)

But in Revelation 21.3-4, John wrote,

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”   (NAS95)

..Isaiah states that the righteous will die and John stated that they won't.  I have held that John was speaking spiritually but Isaiah physically, but I could not reconcile that with the rest of the verse.  That just wasn't consistent and I got called on it.  Any insight will help!  Thanks.  --  Jack Gillespie

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[ED'S RESPONSE]  These are a couple of very interesting (and obviously related) passages.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to comment on them. 

Before giving my interpretation, I might simply note that these two texts present a bigger problem for the Futurist than they do for the Preterist.  Think about it.  If the futurist says that the "new heaven and earth" mentioned in both Isa. 65-66 and Rev. 21-22 are the same "new heaven and earth," then he needs to explain what Isaiah means when he talks about the righteous dying.  According to the futurist view, once the new heavens and earth arrive, the saints will have eternal life (never die).  So, the futurist has just as much a problem with physical death in the "new heaven and earth" as the preterist does.  Do the futurists believe that saints who are in the new heavens and earth will actually die physically? Where would they go at death?  To Hades again, to wait for another resurrection and another "new heavens and earth" to arrive in which there is no death?  This would mean that they would have to take Isaiah's "new heaven and earth" as a different "new heaven and earth" than the one John talks about in Rev. 21-22.  How many "NEW heavens and earths" are there?  Now that is a huge problem for the futurist.  You need to turn their argument right back upon them and ask them how they interpret it first, before you give them your approach.  How do they deal with continuing physical death in the "new heavens and earth"?  Do they conceive of two different "NEW heavens and earths," one with physical death still in it, and another with eternal life only?  Let's see if they have a better explanation.  I have a feeling they will withdraw their challenge when they realize their own dilemma is just as great or greater.  Now here's my explanation of the passage. 

The whole context of the last ten chapters of Isaiah is rich with Messianic Kingdom overtones.  Most Christians would agree with that, and especially all Preterists.  However, not very many of us preterists have looked carefully at the language in Isa. 65:20.  You have done me a favor by forcing me to take a closer look at it. 

Remember how Paul's letter to the Hebrews refers to the "better" country, and the "better" Jerusalem, and the "better" temple (Zion)?  We see a lot of that same kind of language here in Isaiah 53-66.  Because of our tendency as preterists to spiritualize all this language into "covenantal" or "positional" or "collective body" applications, we sometimes miss the actual meaning it had for the first century saints who were about to inherit the new heavens and earth at AD 70. 

We need to look more closely at the language Isaiah uses here in Isa. 65:20 to see how it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament.  Could Isaiah be talking about the Messianic Kingdom (the bride of Christ) as it is during the Transition period, before it was finished being built? And could John be looking at it at the end of the transition period during the great tribulation when it was either finished, or just about finished?  These two different vantage points of Isaiah and John may help explain the differences in their descriptions of the new heavens and earth.

Notice the mention here in Isaiah 65 of the "new" things that God is going to create in the days when the old heavens and earth are just about ready to be destroyed and removed.  In the previous three verses (Isa. 65:17-19) he mentions the new heavens and earth (v. 17) which is evidently where the new "Jerusalem" is (vs. 18-19).  This new Jerusalem was "created for rejoicing."  It is evident that there was not much "rejoicing" going on in the literal city of Jerusalem on earth after AD 70.  So this language in Isa. 65:19 has to be taken as a reference to the heavenly Jerusalem (the church, the kingdom), the new city in the heavenly realm.  But there are a couple of different ways this can be applied to the New Jerusalem by preterists:

1. Figuratively speaking of the saints on earth (who ARE the New Jerusalem) having spiritual joy in their hearts (even though their outside circumstances are not particularly joyful). 

2. Literally speaking of the saints in heaven in the heavenly Jerusalem rejoicing after AD 70.

3. Or maybe a combination of the two.  Both the saints on earth and the ones in heaven rejoicing together in the (unseen heavenly) spiritual kingdom of God. 

We preterists (myself included) have taken either the first or third approaches up until now, but as you know, the futurist is not much impressed with it (esp. here in Isa. 65:17-25) for all the reasons you have verbalized above. 

I don't think this section in Isaiah 65:17-25 is speaking exclusively of the church on earth, nor exclusively of the church in heaven, but rather the whole church in both the renewed HEAVENS and the renewed EARTH.  It seems as if Isaiah is focusing his attention primarily on the transition period, and the results of that kingdom-building activity on earth.  He does mention what it would be like in heaven afterwards, but it seems to me the focus is on the building activity of the apostles during the transition period.  Let me explain more fully what I mean.

In regard to the life spans mentioned in Isa. 65:20, we need to take a look at the way this language is used elsewhere in the Old Testament Hebrew.  Here are passages which use the same Hebrew phrase "ben-me'ah" ("son of a hundred") in a similar way:  (note especially the connotations of blessing attached to a life span of 100 or more years in Deut. 34:7 and 2 Chron. 24:15) --

Gen. 11:10 These are the records of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old [lit. "a son of a hundred years"], and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood;
Gen. 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old [lit. "a son of a hundred years"]? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
Gen. 21:5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Gen. 50:26 So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Deut. 31:2 And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’
Deut. 34:7 Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.
Josh. 24:29 It came about after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred and ten years old.
Judg. 2:8 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of one hundred and ten.
Is. 65:20      “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred, and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.
2Chr. 24:15 Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death.

It would have been thought a curse in the days before the Flood to have lived less than a hundred years.  Such an untimely death would have been considered "dying young."  It was a blessing to "live long and prosper" and a curse to "die young."  This phraseology was used to indicate the blessed (or cursed) condition of the people under consideration.  You will notice in all the passages listed above that it was a blessing for all these folks to have lived for a hundred or more years.  Notice Moses lived 120 years, but Joshua only 110.  There is a subtle pecking order here.  The length of years was an indication of God's assigned position within the kingdom.  Moses had a higher leadership position in Israel than Joshua, however Joshua was also a "son of a hundred" just like Moses was.  They both lived beyond that "100 year limit" for blessedness.  They weren't cut off in their prime before they accomplished all their heart's desire.

Isaiah is using terminology which speaks of God's blessings on a particular group of people.  They wouldn't die young.  They would live a full life and accomplish all of God's assigned commission to them.  They would have God's protective and providential hand upon them (the Comforter or Holy Spirit) during the transition period.  They would live long and prosper in their efforts to build the kingdom.  I believe this refers primarily to the apostolic generation who had God's protective hand upon them to accomplish the great commission, so that they would not be killed prematurely while still in their preliminary stages of building Christ's church. 

The Jews and Romans tried to destroy the church and utterly lay it waste, and kill all its teachers, preachers, leaders and apostles while it was still in its INFANCY and YOUTH.  But God protected them and allowed them to live long enough to build the kingdom.  They lived long fruitful lives and accomplished the great commission, in spite of the Jewish attempts to make them "die young" and "kill them before they multiplied."  They lived out their days to the fullest, and then when their mission was complete, they either died in martyrdom or "lived and remained" to witness the return of Christ, when He was unveiled before their very eyes, and in whose presence they would glorify Him on that day and marvel at Him in the assembly of all who had believed their gospel. (2 Thess. 1:10)

In the past, I simply looked at Isaiah's words here as a reference to "eternal life."  But it may be referring to the apostolic generation "living and remaining unto the age (about) to come."  At least some of them would "live long and prosper" to see it arrive.  It was a great blessing to live in that transitional generation and "not die until the (arrival of) the age (about to come)."  Jesus and the apostles (the cornerstone and the foundation stones) definitely did "build a household, and vineyards" (Isa. 65:21-23) for the kingdom in heaven, and they did live in those mansions after they were built (either by dying in martyrdom at a "ripe old age" or by being taken there at the parousia).  Jesus went to heaven and prepared those dwelling places, and then came back to "receive them" (John 14:3) into those dwelling places.  In the mean time, during the transition period, they lived a long, full, productive, "son of a hundred" life span.  They didn't all die young without seeing the great commission accomplished. 

Isa. 65:22 is interesting when it says "as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people."  This means that they will live from generation to generation and from age to age (like cedar trees do, many hundreds or as much as a thousand years).  This is another way of saying they will live forever (in heaven after the transition period is over).  In verse 23, God declares that the efforts of the apostles to build God's house "will not be in vain."  God's glorious gospel message will not return to Him void of fruit.  They will not die young and fail to accomplish the great commission.  They will live to a ripe old age, full of years, seeing all their efforts bear fruit. 

So, I would simply see this section of Isa. 65:17-25 as a reference to the whole kingdom of God (on earth and in heaven) as it was being built in the days of the apostles, and afterwards in heaven when they had finished their work and were taken to heaven to live in their "houses" and "vineyards" that they had constructed by their gospel work.  The converts that the apostles taught are their "houses" and "vineyards" that they continue to live in and care for as the ages roll on throughout eternity.  These households are continually expanded as new Christians are born into that family by believing the inspired written words of the apostles and Christ.

Isa. 65:25 is merely a reference to Jew-Gentile unity in the Kingdom of God (compare with Eph. 4).  Before Christ abolished the dividing wall and united both Jew and Gentile into one body, there were enemies of the flock in God's pasture.  In the Old Testament days, the Jews were considered to be the flock of sheep in God's pasture (the clean animals), and the Gentiles were the wolves, lions, bears, snakes (unclean animals).  After the Messiah builds His kingdom, the Gentiles will be one with the Jews in it.  No longer are the Gentiles excluded.  They both have equal rights to the gospel.  And both will inherit the blessings of the Kingdom together as one new people.  The formerly unclean animals will lie down together and eat together in the Kingdom. 

This text is inseparably connected to Isa. 65:17-25.  It talks about the same "new heaven and earth" that Isaiah did.  But this time John is describing it from the perspective of its completion (or near completion) and what it would be like to live in the heavenly realm after it was finished being built during the transition period. Isaiah was focused more on the building process (during the transition period), while John is looking more at how it will be after the groom has finished his preparations, and "the bride" (Rev. 21:2) has finished her "adornment," and the groom comes to take her away to dwell in the finished house that He has prepared for her in heaven (compare this with John 14:3, same writer about the same subject, except in a little more literal language). 

The picture described here in Rev. 21:3-4 is of the finished dwelling places in heaven, where the bride is taken when the bridegroom comes for her.  In heaven now (in John's vision here), that "bride" who had suffered so miserably during the transition period and the great tribulation to get the gospel proclaimed and written down for all posterity, was now being rewarded for her faithfulness in preparing herself.  That bride was adorned with all her jewels of righteous acts and faithful converts.  She was presented to Christ by the apostles at His coming.  It must have popped the buttons off the apostles' shirts as they placed the hands of their converts into the hand of Christ when the bridegroom came to get His bride and take her to the dwelling places He had prepared for his bride in heaven.  What a glorious wedding celebration that must have been, and what a blessed honeymoon they must continue to enjoy in heaven together as they see multiple generations of spiritual children constantly being added to their covenant household in heaven.  That marriage will keep on bearing children for all eternity to come.  A great household of offspring, unable to be counted, "just like the sands of the seashore" or "the stars of the sky."  "Of the increase...there shall be no end." (Isa. 9:6-7)  That is a "far greater" and "better" new heavens and earth to live in, than the physical paradise on earth which the Premils, Chiliasts, Dispensationalists, and other futurists are expecting.  They need to set their affections on the things above, where Christ and His wife and covenant children are, not on the things here on earth. 

(Rapture View From Various Publications)
09 May 2002 Time: 10:42:30

From: - PretCosmos Daily Digest
Subject: Butchering the rapture text!

[FROM ED STEVENS] Harden & Curtis have taken a position that can not be defended exegetically. The text clearly says that the "catching up" (whatever it is) was something that would happen to those who "live and remain until the parousia."

If Harden and Curtis' view was correct, it would mean that Paul was saying something radically different -- that those who "die after AD 70 would be caught up to heaven at their death." Can you see the problem? Paul is not talking about what would happen at death to saints after AD 70. He is talking about a "catching up" that would occur AT the parousia to those living saints who "live and remain until the parousia." This idea has not been fairly dealt with by Harden or Curtis.

They have stedfastly refused to acknowledge this clear language in the text, even though I repeatedly asked them to deal with it. However you define the "catching up" (whether it is a "spiritual gathering into the heavenly holy of holies" or a "rapture"), it clearly was something that would occur AT the parousia to "living and remaining ones" who would "live and remain until the parousia." It is not something that would happen to dead folks after AD 70. Dead folks were raised. The living would be "caught up" at the parousia. It was not those who died after AD 70, but those who "lived and remained until the parousia." Look at the text carefully. Don't read into it what you want to be there. Follow closely what the text actually says. You can take another position besides the rapture without distorting the text. I took the other position ("spiritual gathering into the heavenly holy of holies") for the first 20 years of my preterist ministry. There is nothing wrong with that non-rapture position. It honors the language in the text.

There is no need to butcher the text in order to avoid taking the rapture position. All I'm doing is taking another possible meaning of "caught up" and applying it to the correctly exegeted text. If you don't like the rapture concept, simply take the other "spiritual gathering" concept approach. But don't murder the text by trying to make it say something that it cannot possibly say. Check the commentaries on this! Don't butcher the text!

"As usual, when only bits and pieces of a theological position are  heard, misunderstanding and misrepresentation will always occur. That is the  case here with the Rapture view. Everyone is rushing to MIS-judgment about  something they have only heard bits and pieces of. Wait until the book comes  out (pretty soon). Read it. Then make your judgments after you have the  facts. NO, I absolutely am NOT "saying that in AD70 everything was done, including the Kingdom." That is a HUGE misrepresentation of my position.  Please, everyone, simply get the book and examine the position before flaming it and trashing it.  You may wish later that you had taken a careful look at it.  You don't want to be guilty before God of "falsely accusing" your brother.  (

"Can you imagine how they would have felt immediately after AD 70 if they had not witnessed Christ's parousia, nor marveled at Him in his coming, nor been "gathered" to Him in any visible, tangible sense?  Disillusionment is not the word for it.  Outrage or indignation would be more like it.  They would have been screaming "foul" at the non-fulfillment, or the false expectations they were given by Paul!  They would have joined the chorus of the "mockers" in 2 Pet. 3:4 who were singing:  "Where's the promise of His parousia?"  Why don't we hear some complaints after AD 70?  Why are they so silent?  Were they "gathered to Him" just like Paul promised?  Is that the "upward call" (Phil. 3:14) that Paul was looking forward to?  Was that the time when their old bodies would be exchanged, or "changed" (1 Cor. 15:51), or "transformed" (Phil. 3:21) to be like Christ's glorious immortal body?"

"For non-rapture preterists, I would contend that the way they explain the lack of documentation for the parousia is the same way I would explain the lack of documentation for a rapture.  But absence works better for the rapture view than continued presence does for the non-rapture position." (Silence Demands a Rapture)

(On Max King)
"Gentry was present at the "Covenant Eschatology Symposium" in Orlando in 1993 where Max King presented his view to a dozen or more Reformed theologians, including R.C. Sproul.   King taught on that occasion that the "general resurrection" event in AD70 was the faithful remnant of Christian Jews being raised out of the dead "body" of OT Judaism into a new "body" (the Church)." (
Questions about the Afterlife, p. 29)

"And I need to make it abundantly clear here that I do not apply King's "collective body" idea to the 1 Corinthians 15 context.  I believe that view suffers from grammatical, contexual, and exegetical problems, some of which Dr. Robert Strimple clearly pointed out in his presentation." (ibid., p. 31)


Keith Mathison (2003)
Edward Stevens’ explanation of Acts 1:9–11 draws on larger biblical themes and does not focus as much on the specifics of the text itself. According to Stevens, Acts 1:9–11 is best understood in terms of the imagery found in the Day of Atonement rituals. His interpretation is outlined in some detail above. Therefore, rather than restate his views, I will simply respond at this point to some of his basic arguments. Regarding the connection with the Day of Atonement ritual, Stevens asserts that Jesus ascension was his ascension into the heavenly Holy of Holies in order to present his sacrificial blood and make final atonement for his people. After he has completed this ritual in the heavenly Holy of Holies, he will come back out to appear to his awaiting saints in the outer courts of the heavenly Temple (cf. Heb. 9:26–28). According to Stevens, the incense cloud involved in the Old Covenant Day of Atonement ritual is a type of the glory cloud that appears at Jesus’ ascension. Several observations are in order. First, it should be noted that there is nothing in the text of Acts 1:9–11 itself indicating that it should be understood as a fulfillment of the Day of Atonement ritual. Stevens says that the Yom Kippur imagery is "prominently featured," but there is no mention of sacrifice, or blood, or the heavenly temple anywhere in Acts 1:9–11. There is a cloud, but there is nothing in the text indicating that the cloud is the anti-type of the cloud of incense in the Day of Atonement ritual. In our outline of the various hyper-preterist views above, we observed that Stevens says the incense cloud symbolizes "the glory cloud Presence of God." The most serious problem with this idea is the fact that in the Day of Atonement ritual, the cloud of incense was to be created inside the Holy of Holies where the glory cloud of God was already present. The glory cloud of God was present in the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34–38), and it was present in the Temple (1 Kings 8:10–11).113
The Day of Atonement ritual outlined in Leviticus 16 assumes that the glory cloud of God is actually present in the Holy of Holies. The cloud of incense is not created to symbolize something that is already there in reality. It is created to protect the High Priest (cf. Lev. 16:13).

Another apparent problem with Stevens understanding of the cloud typology is the difference in its location in Leviticus and Acts. In Acts 1:9–11, the cloud is apparently located in sky and is apparently visible to the apostles. In the Day of Atonement ritual as outlined in Leviticus 16, however, the incense cloud is created inside the Holy of Holies itself.114 If Acts 1:9–11 is to be understood in terms of the Day of Atonement imagery, it would seem that the cloud should be inside the heavenly Holy of Holies (rather than in the earthly dimension outside of the heavenly Temple), and it should be invisible to the apostles. Another difficulty involved with pressing the details of the Day of Atonement ritual too far is the fact that in the ceremony itself, the High Priest entered and exited the Holy of Holies more than once.115 After bringing the incense and the blood of the bull into the Holiest place (Lev. 16:12–14) and sprinkling the blood on the Mercy Seat, the High Priest kills the goat of the sin offering (at the brazen altar), brings its blood inside the Holiest place, and sprinkles it on the Mercy Seat in the same way that he sprinkled the blood of the bull (16:15). If Christ entered the heavenly Holy of Holies in or near A.D. 30, and if his exiting the Holy of Holies in or near A.D. 70 was the Second Coming, then what are the other entrances and exits from the Holy of Holies? Why press a detail such as the incense cloud but not the repeated entrances into the Holy of Holies?116 Another serious problem with Stevens’ application of the Day of Atonement imagery becomes apparent when we examine the book of Hebrews. According to Stevens, Christ ascended as our High Priest into the Holy of Holies around A.D. 30. While in the Holy Of Holies, Christ presents his sacrificial blood and completes our atonement. Once the atonement is fully and finally accomplished, Christ comes back out of the Holy of Holies to announce that the atonement has been completed. This, according to Stevens, occurred somewhere around A.D. 70. There are a number of " (Acts 1:9-11 and the Hyper-Preterist Debate Page)


Ed Stevens, and ordained minister who was a pastor for nine years, is the founder and publisher of Kingdom Publications and the Kingdom Counsel Newsletter. He likes to refer to himself as "a lousy sinner saved only by the skin of his teeth by the fathomless grace of God." He is the author of the books "What Happened in AD 70?" (an introduction to the Preterist view) and "Who do you Say I Am?" (a defense of the Diety of Christ). Also to his credit are a response to Dr. Ken Gentry (a written defense of Preterist Eschatology, as challenged by Reconstructionism), and many articles for various publications. International Preterist Association offers a wide selection of books and articles dealing with the Full Preterist view of Biblical Eschatology.

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16 Jan 2004


I am not a theologian, I have not been to seminary. I am or maybe was just a simple man wanting to know more. But the more I read preterist material, the more my faith in the bible is challenged. Basically, to truly understand the bible, (the way preterist present it) you need to be nothing short of a Jewish Rabbi, and Greek Philospher. To put it simply, to prove your point(s) you have to shred and desecrate the holy scriptures, and minimize it to just a historical, Jewish historical calendar.

30 Jan 2004


To the Writer on 1/16/2004: The great Apostle Paul told his young partner Timothy "Study to show yourself approved unto God." This is especially true today as we are over 2,000 years from that writing, which forces good Bible students to study history and the Greek language. It is by this commitment to advanced study that believers can recognize the absolute mindless babblings that form the foundation the Left Behind (LaHaye), futurist dispensational, or Amillenial theology. Jesus said the truth would make us free. He also challenged the spiritual leaders of His day with the fact they errored by not understanding the very Scriptures they taught. Study is more spiritual than fiction. RW San Diego

07 Apr 2004


Dear Ed, My name is Sandy Nelson and I live in Bly Oregon and communicated briefly with you about 3 years ago telling you I would get back to you on some comments concerning various preterist views. So I am back. The reason for my long silence is that I felt a bit intimidated to enter the great debate without doing my diligence and homework.

 I have read several preterist and partial preterist books and commentaries and am now comfortably persuaded toward full preterism with only a couple of enigmas remaining.

I would like to submit some comments for your response that are not particularly aimed as response to any other comments other than voicing my views based on my independent study of scripture regarding 1 Cor 15 and 2 Thes 4.

When last I spoke to you over email I had just read Russell's Parousia and was very interested in his comments on a 1st century rapture and you said you also were giving consideration to that notion. I see from your website that it has become quite the hot topic. Myself, I have pretty much junked the theory for practical reasons. I do not see anything scripturally based to mandate that conclusion other some tidbits that suggest its possibility, most notably the rapture of Enoch and maybe Elijah if you consider his exit as being a rapture. Paul's comments though are specifically aimed at the "dead in Christ", or so he said. I find it curious why there is so little teaching in the present day church about the issue of the dead or for that matter even among preterists relating the status of the dead from Adam 'till Christ. These matters were well understood during the time of biblical Isreal as evidenced by Josephus comments in his dissortation on Hades. The non canonical writings of Peter also deal with the issue in great detail so I'm told but I have yet to get my hands on a copy to investigate for myself. Since all schools of thought on the subject of eschatology are considered "views" and one tends to "see" things according to the information given it seems to me to be highly relevent that more devotion be given to the biblical subject of the status of the dead mainly because when they are kept in view then it becomes obvious (to me at least) scriptures which are pertinate to them.

What I have come to see is that the parousia transpired exactly when and how and WHERE it was supposed to. Jerusalem's destruction in A.D. was a coming of the Lord to judge the guilty nation for its wickedness and rejection of Christ in the form of the Roman armies much the same as the various comings of the Lord in judgement in the Old Testament, i.e. Psa 96:13, 98:9, Isa 26:21, Micah 1:3 etc... however I believe in the literal coming of Christ with a shout and sound of the trumpet with his angels and the whole bit took place there in Hades and not up here top side as so many expect to be the case some day. Heb 9:27 says you gotta be dead first to be judged. So it would make sense that said judgement would take place where the dead are. Scripture repeatedly says that judgement will "come" and that Christ will "come" to judge and give each his reward. I like John Noe's treatment on the subject of the world Beyond the End Times.

If there is no biblical end of the planet earth or its inhabitants in sight then it is reasonable that the white throne judgement has to happen sometime during the coarse of human history and not at the end since there is no end. When we look at the cross which can be located somewhere on the calendar and realize that that event affected everyone before, during and after, why should we have difficulty conceptualizing that God could accomplish a judgement that would be located somewhere on the timeline but not be bounded by time. If God could save you and I before ever we were born why could He not also judge us. Calvinists should have no problem with that concept but Armenians will chafe at the suggestion, but why? Even if everything is up to our choice there is no reason that those choices could not have been judged already meaning once we are finished here in this life we enter that judgement.

As children of the light don't we already know the outcome of it based on scripture? Name in the book OK, name not in the book, not cool (literally). I like to point out the enigma most futurists create when one of their saved loved ones depart this life and I ask them how can they be in the presence of the Lord and yet still be waiting judgement for which Heb 9:27 says we all have an appointment. Either they are somewhere else "sleeping in Christ" waiting for the final resurrection or they are with Jesus. Most insist they are with the Lord (and I agree) but become befuddled when they try to work out the judgement issue.

As I said I have junked my linking a rapture of the saints theory for practical reasons being it is conjecture pure and simple and Paul's comments in 1 Cor 15 apply better to our being "caught up" when we die in light of all his previous remarks from vs 20 culminating with vs 50 before showing us the mystery in vs 51-57. For the sake of teaching I think it best to stick with what we know rather than musing alot on speculation. I point out that IF there is a rapture for the church biblically then it to must be bounded timewise there in the 1st century with all the other fulfilled prophesies and therefore can only be of historical interest to us and we should look to our future making burial plans and preparing to leave a good and Godly legasy to our posterity. I mentioned that there remains for me some enigmas for which I can't explain. Mainly where is Lucifer these days? In the lake or alive and well on planet earth as Hal Lindsay suggests. Truth be told I suppose it really doesn't matter much because if he's here than nothing I think will change that and if he's already been cast in the pit or consigned to the lake eternally or whatever than nothing I think can change that either, him not being omnipresent or omniscient as some suppose.

I believe I'm correct in observing that evil and temptation are ever with us still and we pretty much have the same wherewithal to deal with it as the 1st century church. I have been re-assembling my theology for the past 5 or 6 years and expect to continue for a good while to come but I can say that I am coming full circle in this process. Being saved in a non-denominational pentacostal futurist (foaming at the mouth variety) church, at first I was angy and resentful at the things I was taught. I felt my mission in life was now not only to reach the unsaved of the earth but to fix the church which was in a total state of disrepair. The only thing I achieved was becoming desparate and despondate at being overwhelmed.

 I have since come to hope for something although lofty, more realistic. I have managed to convince my Assembly of God pastor to buy a copy and read Revelation, Four Views by Steve Gregg which is a parallel unbiased commentary that examines the book of Revelations vs by vs, with the thought that at some time we teach that approach in the church allowing people to sort through things for themselves as opposed to telling them how to think and depriving them of the knowlege of different opinions. If this goal is realized it will restore my faith in God's ability to do miracles. That many will care or put forth the effort to study the matter is more than I dare hope for. Exaspating ignorance was prevalent in Jesus ministry and Paul's also so what makes me think I'm capable of convincing the masses that "everything they know is wrong." (quote from Happy Harry Cox, a character from Firesign Theater) But I do pray for a climate in churches today to be willing to at least consider all the information in hopes of becoming less radicalized and alarmist in Her eschatology and stop canonizing doctrines that are mostly based on opinions, conjecture and supposition. I have decided I can co-exist in a world filled with futurists if only they would be exposed to other opinions and restrain themselves from frying the futures of people and discourage opposing views held by respected scholars throughout history. Well this has turned out to be quite an epic so I'll end for now by inviting your comments pro or con in the hopes of hearing from you and the promise that it won't be another 3 years before you hear from me. (unless, of course, the rapture occurs, ha ha)

Your brother in Christ, Sandy Nelson

Date: 04 Oct 2005
Time: 23:06:40



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