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Open Letter To: Hank Hanegraaff and Gary DeMar Part 1 – Daniel 12, Matthew 24-25, John 4 – 5, Romans 8 and 1 Thessalonians 4


(TLM – I am in the process of revising and editing this open letter to Hank Hanegraaff and Gary DeMar.  Please be patient with me as I get the revising, editing and bugs worked out).

An Open Letter To: Hank Hanegraaff and Gary DeMar Part 1: Daniel 12, Matthew 24-25, John 4-5, Romans 8 and 1 Thessalonians 4 

By: Michael J. Sullivan 

Dear Gary,

Your position of uniting Matthew 24-25 as fulfilled in AD 70 without being a Biblical or Full Preterist is puzzling to Partial Preterists, Full Preterists, and all futurist eschatologies.[1] Most of the Evangelical and Reformed world of eschatology, understands the coming of Christ in glory and judgment–to gather God’s elect in Matthew 24:30-31/Matthew 25:31f. to be addressing the one and final Second Advent of Jesus Christ. The consensus is that Matthew 24-25 forms the foundation to the rest of the New Testament’s understanding of eschatology. 

Gary you allow Matthew 24-25 to interpret all of 1 and 2 Thessalonians as fulfilled by AD 70 except 1 Thessalonians 4—(because of the resurrection), the very chapter where there are more parallels to Matthew 24 than any other place in 1 or 2 Thessalonians. You also allow Matthew 24 to interpret most (if not all) of the eschatology in Romans to have happened by A.D. 70, except the redemption of the body in Romans 8. You understand the imminent raising up of the dead “the salvation” “hour” and “Day” of Romans 13:11-12 to have occured by AD 70.  You also see the salvation and resurrection of all of Israel in Romans 11 as taking place by AD 70 as well.  Most Reformed and Evangelical views of eschatology correctly see these as descriptive of the one and only Second Advent of Jesus as described for us in the Olivet Discourse.  I had hoped that you were going to publish my article on the imminent redemption and glory of Romans 8 and Luke 21 on your web site, but perhaps it would be too controversial? If you don’t agree with the article and me building upon the exegesis of John Lightfoot (something you and Gentry do a lot of), please write a brief article explaining where you feel I made an error. 

Why don’t you allow Paul to use Matthew 24 to interpret the parousia, trumpet and “end” in 1 Corinthians 15–especially since 1 Corinthians 15 is dealing with the “end” and victory over “the law” (the Mosaic law)—1 Corinthians 15:54-56? Doesn’t “the [Mosaic] law” have something to do with the temples destruction and bringing an end to that Mosaic age?  Your failure to not allow Scripture to interpret Scripture on these passages is simply an embracement of Hyper-Creedalism.  Again, your views and exegesis (avoiding the analogy of Scripture) make no sense to any other eschatological paradigm except the one you are constructing (without embracing Biblical Preterism–Gospel Eschatology).    

Since you skipped over the harvest/resurrection of “this age” in Matthew 13 in developing the “end of the age” (as the Old-Covenant age) in Matthew 24:3 in your book, I was curious if you agree with Peter Leithart and James Jordan, that the end of the age and resurrection of Matthew 13 and Daniel 12 took place in AD 70? If so, then Matthew 24:30-31 is  the Second Advent and resurrection event that occurred at “the end” of the Old Covenant age in AD 70. The harvest gathering process of the Great Commission in Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 13 reaches its end at the OC age in AD 70. 

In your oral debate with Thomas Ice you stated that you knew Matthew 24:29 was not addressing a literal and global de-creation event because Jesus was referencing Isaiah 13:10 and that language was used by Isaiah figuratively to describe the downfall of Babylon.  So you are understanding Jesus using Isaiah as an anti-type fulfillment and seek to honor that OT context in order to understand Jesus’ meaning.  Well, according to cross-references and “common sense,” Jesus also draws upon Isaiah 27:12-13 to describe what He means by the use of the blowing of the trumpet and His “gathering” in Matthew 24:31.  Why not stay true to your hermeneutics and to the “context” of Isaiah 27:12-13 as discussing a corporate and covenantal death and resurrection for Israel from her Babylonian captors (cf. Isaiah 26-27:8-9) to help identify the trumpet and resurrection “gathering” of Matthew 24:31 for the Church?  If one of your published authors James Jordan, understands Jesus using Daniel 12 to describe the resurrection of Israel and the Church as a corporate resurrection out from the death of the tribulation period, then why is it so hard for you to see how Jesus is using Isaiah 27 to describe the resurrection in Matthew 24:31?  And not only do you not allow Isaiah 27 to help you understand Matthew 24:31, but you don’t allow Matthew 24:27-31 to interpret 1 Corinthians 15.  Nor do you seek to honor the spiritual, corporate and covenantal death and resurrection contexts of Hosea 13 and Isaiah 25 to help you interpret 1 Corinthians 15, as you allow Isaiah 13:10 to interpret Matthew 24:29.  Your hermeneutics are once again seen by futurists and Biblical Preterists to be creedally arbitrary.

On the issue of the thousand year millennium in Revelation 20, you have written to me in a public forum in the past that a “this generation” 40 year millennial period seems unlikely.  However, you agree that the Second Coming ends the millennium and yet the ONLY coming discussed in Revelation–is one that takes place “quickly” (Rev. 3:11; 22:6-7, 10-12, 20) of which you interpret as occurring by AD 70.  Everyone using the alalogy of Scripture understands the coming and judgment/rewards of Jesus in Matthew 25:31f. and Revelation 20-22 to be the same event except you apparently. 

Most reformed commentators understand that the book of Revelation is structured with recapitulation and that Revelation 20 is not isolated from this structure.  But of course since you take most (if not all) of Revelation 1-19 as fulfilled by AD 70, it is exegetically unlikely that the themes in Revelation 20 stand isolated from the rest of the “things” of the prophecy (singular) that would be fuflilled “shortly.”  The full number of the martyrs are vindicated and judged “in a little while” (Rev. 6:10-11) which you apply to AD 70.  This same motif is picked back up in Revelation 20. In fact you take all of the martyr vindication passages in the N.T. (Mt. 23; Luke 18; 2 Thess. 1:5-10) as taking place by AD 70 EXCEPT Revelation 20.  How hyper-creedal of you and a very “unlikely” interpretation indeed.  The judgment of “the dead” and the Most Holy Place (the ark of the covenant seen) is opened up when the Great City (Old Covenant Jerusalem) is judged in Revelation 11.  How is this a different judgment of the dead than described for us in Revelation 20?  How can the judgment of “the dead” take place without the resurrection of the dead taking place at the same time (cf. 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17 – “the time” “the judgment”)?  Revelation 11 is also addressing the blowing of the seventh or last trumpet, which everyone and their Grandma understands to be the same trumpet as the one described for us in Matthew 24:30-31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and 1 Corinthians 15:52 except you and the creedally arbitrary partial “preterist” view.   

As G.K. Beale and others have alluded to (such as Gill and Lightfoot), some Jews understood that when Messiah would come, He would have an interim millennial reign of another “new exodus” or literal 40 year “this generation” based upon such passages as Psalm 90:15 and Psalm 95:8-11.  Indeed it is Jesus’ “this generation” of which Moses, Jesus and Peter describe for us as the time frame in which the vindication of the martyrs and Second Coming will occur (Deut. 32:5, 20, 43; Mt. 23-24; Acts 2:40).  The 40 year “this generation” millennial period is substatiated using a grammatical/historical hermeneutic and most definitely uses the analogy of Scripture which is more than can be said of your eisegetically “unlikely” position.  The recapitulation structure of Revelation and the analogy of Scripture demand a “this generation” Second Coming of Jesus which brings an end to the millennium.  This is not difficult.   

Since there is nothing but eisegesis and a glaring inconsistent hermeneutic used by you, I can only conclude that the fear of man and a desire to please some of your friends (such as Gentry and North – who hate the truth and would cut you off in a heart beat) is what is in view here.  As you know, the Proverbs teach us that the fear of man brings a snare and that we are called to only fear and please God Himself.  I truly believe that this is what is at the heart of the matter here and would ask that you take it to the Lord in prayer. 

As we have interacted in the past, I don’t feel it is proper for you to be disappointed in John MacArthur’s unwillingness to accept the time texts of the NT, while you are unwilling to accept the time texts connected to the resurrection or address the analogy of Scripture in regard to the time frame of the resurrection.  Your exhortations to men like MacArthur and Ice are for the most part very good, but overall because of your compromise of the truth, they must be seen as hypocritical.  

Gentry, Bahnsen and North did a great job of demonstrating that classical dispensationalism and “progressive dispensationalism” are holding to contradictory propositions that create a “House Divided” and form an eschatological “schizophrenia.”[2] But how is it that Gentry and Mathison’s alliance with Amillennialists in When Shall These Things Be forms any less of a “House Divided” and eschatological schizophrenia than the one Dispensationalists have constructed?!? The propositions that the time texts of the of the Lord’s return in the NT “demand” a preterist interpretation (Gentry’s view), and yet the NT only addresses one future Second Advent (traditional Amillennial view), are contradictory.  We are seeing the “break-up” of both Dispensational and Reformed eschatology at the feet of Biblical Preterism–selah! Instead of men like you, Mathison and Gentry chiding MacArthur and other “Progressive Dispensationalists” to be more consistent by embracing Partial Preterist Reformed eschatology, you men need to take the plank out or your own eye and be more concerned with being more “progressive” and “consistent” in moving  from Partial Preterism into embracing Biblical Preterism—selah.

In the past when I have asked you to interact with me on the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 you claimed you didn’t have time and that you’re real focus was in refuting Dispensationalism. You claimed that since there were so many embracing Dispensationalism and that our view only had 300 or so, you didn’t want to give as much attention to our view. However, you have no problem selling The Parousia by Russell and interacting with some of his exegesis. I guess since he is dead and can’t interact with your arbitrary exegesis—he’s a safer work to publish for AV then say ours? But back to the point of you counting the noses of various eschatological positions–objection. In response, I pointed out that there are way more than 300 of us and that even if there were only 300, it only takes God’s selection of an army of 300 (of Sovereign Grace Preterists) to win the victory (cf. Judges 7).

In the past I have asked you what you thought of the Don Preston / James Jordan debate over Preterism and was totally floored that you hadn’t listened to the debate.  You know both of these men and it was a shock that you hadn’t listened to the debate.  If you have by now, would you please consider writing a review of the debate or offer the debate on your web site so people can judge for themselves which view is more exegetical and “trustworthy” (a term that is more elaborated upon in the rest of this letter)?  

Gary, I was disappointed to hear that you were not interested in publishing our book, because you were too busy publishing others such as John Bray’s. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was because you might be concerned that we take strong issue with and expose friends and authors you publish or sell (such as Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison) and point out the “House Divided” approach of reformed eschatology as a whole?   

Since Hank Hanegraaff and his assistant seem to have been greatly influenced by you, I have also addressed you in this letter in hopes that you will interact with me here in my comments of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 and my article of Romans 8 off of my web site. If you disagree with my exegesis, I would be curious to know why you do and offer an exegesis of your own.

Background to my brief interaction and correspondence with
Hank Hanegraaff and his assistant Steven Ross: 

Prior to my conversation with Hank the only thing I knew of his new eschatological view (partial preterism) was that he was a partial preterist in seeing a pre-A.D. 70 date of Revelation and through rumors – that when full preterists called into his show, he stated that full preterism was not just another view within the orthodox eschatological positions, but rather, a major difference of opinion on the fundamentals of the Gospel was at stake in considering this view. Personally, I liked hearing that Hank sees that eschatology cannot be separated from soteriology or the gospel. And this is one of the major reasons that enforced the titled that I have given my book, Gospel Eschatology: A Better Resurrection. I agree with Hank’s observations and concerns, but the “gospel concern” shoe is on the other foot – since he nor Gary DeMar can prove from the Scriptures that a part of the hope of the gospel pre or post AD 70 includes:  

1) A future Second Coming post AD 70.

2) The burning up of the planet and a new or re-newed one taking it’s place.

3) A resurrection of physical corpses being united with spirits occurring for all humanity at the end of the planet and time. 

I had also heard that there may be a possible debate between Hank and the preterist position in the works after Hank had finished his book Exegetical Eschatology (which turned into THE APOCALYPSE CODE- AC). So I was curious as to just how much exposure Hank has had of the Biblical Preterist view.

I was visiting my Pastor friend Michael Wadhams in Charlotte, NC looking for employment in the area. I had turned in my resume, partial copy of the book I have been writing (Gospel Eschatology: “A Better Resurrection”) and a letter to C.R.I. requesting employment a couple of months before this visit. However, I was informed that after my book was reviewed by the research department that my eschatological views were not “orthodox” and not really in line with C.R.I.’s position. I was graciously told by Bob Eaton that this didn’t mean that he or C.R.I. thought I wasn’t a Christian though (boy big relief on my part!-lol). I struggled for a time hoping and really wanting someone from C.R.I. to explain to me what exegetical errors I had made and thus why I wasn’t “orthodox.” None ever came.  

Since I was in the area I thought I would stop by the studio. I was graciously given a tour and invited to sit in and watch the show – of which I did. Because of a severe rain storm I was the only one sitting in the audience. I asked the secretary if I could write a question or two down for Hank and have him answer it on the show. She replied, “Oh yes.” So my questions to Hank revolved around the “end of the age” as the old covenant age in (Mt.24:3), the temple being referred to as “heaven and earth” in (Mt.24:35), and how could he exegetically separate the tribulation and resurrection from Daniel’s “all these things” in (Dan.12:1-7) as all happening together in AD 70?  After Hank read the question, I was graciously told by an assistant that Hank was not going to answer these questions on the air but that he wanted to talk with me in person after the show.  

I was very excited to be able to talk with Hank. I do respect the man and we both have the same church background – Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA. I didn’t know how much exposure Hank had of the Biblical Preterist position and I wanted to answer any questions he had of my position and at the same time I wanted the opportunity to ask the “Bible Answer Man” some of my own.   The conversation went very well I thought and the two men were very gracious. It was an honor to be the first Biblical Preterist Hank had met and interacted with in person.    

I followed up our 2 + hour conversation with the letter below. I also told Hank that I would be sending him my book and asking Sam Frost to send him his exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 and his CD’s on Romans, Hebrews, and the millennium – which I highly recommended. Hank and his assistant were interested in reading and listening to these to better understand full preterism and hopefully by God’s grace embrace our view. I would confirm through Hank’s secretary and Steven Ross, that they had received my fuller version of the book I have been writing, Gospel Eschatology: “A Better Resurrection” my letter, and Sam’s material. After confirming that, I would give some time so that they could read my material and go over Sam’s. After about a month I called hoping to dialog with either of them on what they thought of the material. I also wanted to see if they would answer my question regarding Daniel 12 since they avoided it. I was told through the secretary (as a mediator of sorts?) that one of them would be calling me “shortly” and within a couple of days. Since that “couple of days” period has well gone by (it has turned into years at this point!), I felt a desire and need to extend my liberty in Christ and post this letter publicly hoping for a response if not a debate with Hank or his assistant Steven. 

Motives for this open or public letter:  

It is not my desire to embarrass or put Hank or his assistant on the defensive by posting this publicly. In fact it is my desire that they see the truth of Gospel or Real Exegetical Eschatology. I also think that since they have made some comments publicly about our view, that I reserve the right to address them in a public setting as well. I know Hank has a high regard for Scripture and our right as Christians to be Berean’s – so in that spirit I submit this letter publically.  

Michael J. Sullivan

51 Harding Lane

Cherokee, NC 28719


CRI Hank Hanegraaff & Steven Ross

P.O. Box 8500
Charlotte, NC 28271-8500

Dear Mr. Hank Hanegraaff and Steven Ross,                        Aug. 10, 2006 (revised 11/15/08)


Thank you once again for taking the time to speak with me after Monday nights show (8/7/06). You were both very gracious and I appreciate your zeal for God’s Word. Since the Lord has not opened up employment with CRI or anywhere else in Charlotte I remain in Cherokee until the Lord directs otherwise. I did want to go over some points on our conversation and suggest some material for both of your studies on Biblical or Full Preterism as you requested. At the same time I wanted to reiterate my answers to your questions and seek answers from you where there were none given.     

1) Matthew 24:3 and the “end of the age” 

I was glad to see that you don’t understand the “end of the age” here in (Mt. 24:3) as the Christian or new-covenant (NC) age or the end of the planet and time and that you ended up putting this conviction in your book (AC, 84ff). You appear to take the end of the age in Hebrews 9:26-28 as fulfilled in AD 70 as well. Doesn’t “common sense” (your term) teach then that the “SECOND” advent took place in AD 70 and is not future to use nor are we awaiting then a THIRD advent? 

However, like DeMar, I believe your position arbitrarily does not deal with the “end of the age” or “this age” in (Mt.13). On what hermeneutical grounds does Jesus or Matthew change the meaning of this phrase between Matthew 13 and Matthew 24?  Please read my series of articles on the Olivet Discourse off of my web site. Also, I was wondering if you divide Matthew 24 into two sections or do you follow DeMar’s exegesis here as well?  

2)  Daniel 12:7 

Let me know when you or your assistant Steven, have an answer for me on this text. And connecting this text in with point #1 above, you can see that Jesus references Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:43 regarding the resurrection/harvest at the “end of this age.” Point: If the “end of the age” according to Jesus’ teaching is the end of the OC age and Daniel foretold that “all these things” (including the resurrection) would occur when the Temple was destroyed, “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered,” then once again Scripture interprets Scripture and an A.D. 70 time frame for the end of the age and resurrection is established.  You claim to adhere to the principle of the analogy of Scripture or as you call it “Scriptural synergy.” So where is your “Scriptural synergy” here in Matthew 24, Matthew 13 and Daniel 12 in regards to the time frame of the resurrection? 

Hank I believe you are correct in seeing the time statements associated with Daniel and John’s prophecy as literal: 


Did God change His method of telling time

Between Daniel & John concerning the same subject matter?

1·   “Seal up the vision”
1·   “Don’t seal up…”

2·   Why? “the appointed time was long…” and


3·   “…the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

      (Dan. 10:1;14)

2·   Why? “…for the time is at hand.”
3·   “…for the time is near

      (Rev. 22:10 & 1:3)

4·   Daniel was told that he would not live to see this prophecy fulfilled.

      (Dan. 12:13)

4·   John was told that he could live to see the prophecy fulfilled.

      (Mat. 16:27-28, Mat. 10:22-23; Mat. 24:34; Jn. 21:18-22)


However, you have to remember that like John’s prophecy, Daniel foretold the judgment, resurrection, coming of the Lord, and tribulation. According to John all of these events would soon transpire. You eisegetically and arbitrarily decide that the resurrection is not a part of “all these things” or the “things” in Daniel 12:7 and in Revelation 1:1. Just as the end of “all things” in (1Pet. 4:7) in your and the partial preterist view apparently means “most” or “some” things and somehow is not concerning the “living and the dead” which is within the immediate context of Peter’s time statement (vss.5, 17)? Again that’s not Exegetical Eschatology it’s eisegetical eschatology. I hope you will address these texts in your book (note he doesn’t!) since everyone else – Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Keith Mathison, R.C. Sproul, etc. totally ignore them. You are not alone in not having an answer to Daniel 12:7 or these other questions. However, Reformed theologians such as James Jordan and Peter Leithart have conceded in their books on Second Peter and a commentary on Daniel, that the resurrection of Daniel 12 and the end of the OC age in Matthew 13 took place in A.D. 70.   

How is it that your own assistant (Steven) tells me he can’t find a single passage in the OT that teaches a biological resurrection of corpses at the end of time, and yet you feel free to call us heretics all the while not allowing us to debate or challenge you publicly? Not to mention Hank you gave us your word that you would debate our position after you finished your book and you broke your word and backed out of the debate! How can this be considered a righteous or moral judgment on your part?  In Acts Paul clearly tells us that he taught nothing else except that which was found in the law and the prophets—the “hope of Israel” (Acts 24-28). NT eschatology is the fulfillment of OT eschatology! “Common sense” (your term) tells us that if there is no biological resurrection of corpses referenced at the end of time found in the OT (Hos. 13; Isa. 25- per Steven), then there is none in the NT (of which Paul references in 1 Corinthians 15).  

I noticed that even after you didn’t answer my question on the radio about Daniel 12 or following up with me like you promised, you didn’t even address Daniel 12:1-7 in your book!  Daniel 12 should be important to you since that was the ONLY reference to a biological resurrection of the dead that you gave me while Steven was silent – having admitted he knew of NO OT passage that taught such a concept.  

3) Your admissions that time statements are to be understood literally, the Greek word mello, the creation groaning in Romans 8, and Genesis issues. 

Hank you likewise stated that the Greek word mello in Revelation was to be understood as imminence and referring to AD 70. Let me quote what your friend R.C. Sproul and Kenneth Gentry say of this word:  

“Let me give the reader another example of how futurists violate their own hermeneutics when it comes to the “at hand” kingdom “end of the age” harvest/resurrection that John and Jesus preached was coming and would occur at the end of their “this age.” R.C. Sproul agrees with futurist Kenneth Gentry about the traid of imminent statements in Revelation refering to a soon coming of Christ in A.D. 70. They are as follows: 

1) taxos word group – “shortly” or “quickly” (Rev.1:1; 2:16; 3:11; 22:6, 7, 12, 20).            

2) engus word group – “near” or “at hand” (Rev.1:3; 22:10).

3) mello word group – “about to” or “on the point of” (Rev.1:19; 3:10).

Sproul summarizes Gentry’s case on these time frame references as clearly A.D.70 events and states:

“Gentry argues that commentators would render the term differently from the lexiographical consensus only if influenced by an interpretive controlling a priori.”[ii] 

Our point of interest here is the third word group listed above – mello “about to” or “on the point of.” Sproul quoting Gentry says of this word,

“Certainly it is true that the verb mello can indicate simply ‘destined,’ or it can be emplyed in a weakened sense as a periphrasis for the futre tense,” Gentry says. “Nevertheless, when used with the aorist infinitive –as in Revelation 1:19—the words predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev.3:10. The basic meaning in both Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”[iii]  

Well, just as Sproul and Gentry accuse other futurists as having a priori reasons for not taking the time texts throughout Revelation to be speaking to A.D.70 events, they likewise bring their hyper-creedal presuppositions to the book and pick and choose what texts they want to be A.D.70 fulfillments and which ones are allegedly 2000+ years removed! Nowhere does John say that “some or most of the things I am writing to you will shortly come to pass,” he states, “I am writing to you about things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev.1:1). It is only the judgment associated with the resurrection that apparently the time texts throughout the book do not address! Once again this is eisegetical eschatology that you have embraced. And when the same Greek construction that renders mello to have the “predominant usage” and “basic meaning” of “be on the point of, be about to” in the book of Acts concerning the resurrection preached by Paul — we don’t find any comment from Gentry, Sproul, or any partial preterist on these texts: 

1) ”because He has appointed a day on which He mello is about to judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

2) ”I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there (Greek mello)is about to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts.24:15)    

You don’t think that they themselves have any “a priori” creedal biases on the resurrection that cause them to contradict their previous statements about mello or that cause them to flat out avoid these passages–do you?!? This is a classic case of taking the eisegetical plank out of your eye first, before seeking to take it out of other eschatological views! Clearly the “kind” of resurrection/harvest associated with the kingdom and judgment John the Baptist was preaching to be “at hand” in (Mt.3:3, 10-12) and Jesus discussed to take place in his OC “this age” (Mt.13:49) is what Paul under inspiration understood to be “on the point of being fulfilled” in his day! Clearly when we don’t approach the Scripture with futuristic (no matter what brand it is packaged in – even partial “preterism”) “a priori” presuppostions, Scripture interprets itself. 

Steven you asked me about mello in Romans 8 when I brought this up: 

“For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us;” (Rms. 8:18 YLT) 

“Why, what we now suffer I count as nothing in comparison with the glory which is soon to be manifested in us.” (Rms. 8:18 WEY) 

Peter said the same thing about the glory “about to be” (Greek mello) revealed in (1 Pet. 5:1).  

Not only do partial preterists and futurists ignore mello in Romans 8, but R.C. Sproul tells us that the time statements in Romans 13:11-12 can “reasonably” (hermeneutically) apply to previous passages in Romans that don’t have explicit time texts:  

“…you are treasuring up for yourselves wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”… (Rom.2:4-6)

…in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” (Rom.2:16)

Paul refers to “the day of wrath” and “the day when God will judge the secrets of men.” Presumably both references are to the same “day.” Traditionalists see them as references to the yet future last judgment. Preterists like Russell interpret these references as they do all other references to the day of the Lord: this is the dark day of judgment that befell Israel in the destruction of Jerusalem.

Though the above texts lack time-frame references, they may reasonably be linked to later references Paul makes in the same epistle: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand…” (Rom.13:11-12)[iv]

Therefore, according to the partial preterist position: 1) mello is a time statement that needs to be taken literally and 2) the time statements in Romans 13:11-12 can “reasonably be linked” to Romans 8 (an earlier chapter). We appreciate some honesty taking place but on the one hand  there is clearly some man fearing and dishonest eisegesis taking place as well.  

Hank you had some questions on Romans 8 – please see my article on the time texts in Romans and my articles on the redemption of Romans 8 and Luke 21 along with the temple imagery in Genesis articles taken from my web site. I believe you are reading things into Genesis that aren’t there and then reading them into your faulty understanding of Romans 8 on top of it all.

 a)       Can you prove exegetically that had Adam not eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that he would have never physically died? I have seen both futurists and preterists use Young’s translation of (Gen.2:17) “dying you shall die” to prove either: 1) physical death was a part of the curse, or 2) he was already created a being already physically dying and would die spiritually the day he ate. But most commentators – futurist or preterist agree that Young’s translation is not supported by the way this phrase is used throughout the rest of the OT. The point is just that the day he ate he would die. Therefore, let’s just stick with the facts: 1) The day he ate he did not die physically so the curse of the “death” in transgressing the law was spiritual death NOT physical. 2) The day he ate his eyes were opened to his shame and guilt like the serpent told them.  

b)         Your position assumes that there was no physical death or decay of any created thing prior to Adam’s sin – thus animals and plant life are now “groaning” in Romans 8. Where are you getting this from in Genesis or Romans 8? This also assumes that all animals just ate vegetation. I prefer to stick to the text and see spiritual death being the issue, and (although this also may be an assumption on my part) that seeing physical death around him in the plant and animal kingdom – gave him a concept of what spiritual death was or would be – separation from one realm to another.        

c)         I think you prematurely jumped on me answering your point that “yes” physical death for Adam and thorns and briers were apart of the consequences of Adam’s sin. However, because I don’t share your assumptions your argument doesn’t hold water in the way you want it too. I don’t see from the text in Genesis or Romans 8 that prior to Adam’s sin that leaves didn’t fall from the trees, or that the entire planet was a lush like garden paradise, or that there was no biological death in Adam’s environment, etc. 1) The point of Adam’s biological death was that he would die in the place from where he was formed before he was “put” into the garden by God ie. – the dust outside the garden – away from God’s presence. 2) I understand the curse of the ground, thorns, and difficulty in labor in the Land of Eden, the same way I see God affecting the Promised Land for Israel in Deuteronomy 28. Actually, both are essentially the same geographical area marked off by the Northern river of Euphrates and the southern river of Egypt or the Gihon (Gen.2/Gen.15). It’s not as if this was the first time that a thorn or hardened land had ever been in existence or that areas less vegetated (“from the dust”) existed before the fall-outside the garden. 


d)          There are actually a lot of issues that partial and full preterists need to work through in Genesis in relation to how they see Revelation being fulfilled within the first century. When you start to say that the Greek NT word ge is “land” and not a global “earth” you will have to deal with it’s OT father erets. Also if you take the tribulation as a local event, other issues with the flood come to surface. Gary correctly writes, “The “coming” of “the Son of Man” is most often taught as a worldwide event since Jesus states that “all the tribes of the earth will mourn.” Again most Bible translations do not capture the true meaning of the Greek… The New Testament pattern follows the Old Testament pattern. The meaning of the Hebrew word erets is simply “the land” and not “the earth” as in most English translations. For the most part, it refers to a specific stretch of land in a local, geographical, or political sense. (Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid., 166). 

 I grew up under Chuck Smith’s view that the earth was 6,000 years old waiting the 7,000 millennial period (which was supposed to be us in 2000). I’m not sure the earth is 6,000 years old to begin with, and definitely know Smith and another popular Calvary Chapel Pastor–Jon Courson–who have tried to pawn this view off on their congregations are way out to lunch! 


4) The world, sin, and the return of Christ at the end of the 70 weeks


Since you still do not have an answer for me in Daniel 12, your points in Daniel 9:24-27 about you not seeing an end to sin in the world are moot. Daniel 12 is simply a recapitulation of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 which climax with the abomination of desoloation. Daniel and Jesus posit the “putting an end of sin” during a time associated with “your people” and the “Holy City”–when the 70 weeks prophecy would be fulfilled. Jesus says Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in “this generation” (Mt.24:15/34). Please pay close attention to the exegetical fact that the abomination and desolation is the “end” to the entire 70 week prophecy (Dan. 9:27). Therefore, Jesus put an “end to sin” in AD 70 and brought in “everlasting righteousness” and a NC world wherein dwells righteousness (Dan. 12:24/2Pet. 3:13/Rev. 21-22) at that point in time.  You claimed to take Christ coming as our High Priest a second time apart from sin in Hebrews 9:26-28 as fulfilled in AD 70, so you shouldn’t have any problem seeing how Christ has taken away the sins of His people in Daniel 9:24-27 at His parousia in AD 70. Forgiveness and salvation from sin is associated with Christ’s “in a very little while” second appearing apart from sin (Rms.11:26-27/Rms.13; Heb.9:26/Heb.10:37).  

After Christ returned in AD 70 and the “heavens and earth” of the OC law passed away, Christians are currently in the New Creation (Rev.21-22) enjoying Christ – the Tree of Life and the Living Waters (Ezk.47/Jn.4/Jn.7). No unclean thing enters the gates of this city/creation because we have been resurrected and the condemnation of the law and spiritual death (1Cor.15:56) through Adam and Israel have no hold on us. Hank and Steven you asked, “what do we have to look forward too – is this it?” Christ and the forgiveness of my sins are sufficient for me – I hope it will be for you.   

Please prove to me (form Scripture) that my physical flesh needs to be redeemed and raised before my salvation can be complete. Is there something sinful about my physical flesh? The fact that I age and will die physically – do these necessarily mean that there is something about my physical body that is evil or fallen? If so isn’t this Gnosticism? Why did Jesus age? Was He as “perfect man” sinful because He aged? No my body is just fine and “good” the way it is. And Peter’s “salvation of the soul” and Christ setting up His Kingdom “within” His people has been accomplished.  

You asked: “Is Jesus Still in His Physical Body?” 

I remember at Calvary Chapel Bible College the big debate was over – if Jesus still had His nail prints in His hands. Well, I think the debate is a little bigger than that J. I responded to both of you by saying that Scripture teaches that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom” and that we “no longer know Christ after the flesh.” Also Christ prayed to return to the glory that He had with the Father before He was incarnated into a human. Now according to your understanding of “flesh” I will let you deal with those passages and let me know what you come up with. 

Hank you referenced the resurrection in John 5 a lot in our conversation so here is some material I have on the coming hour of John 4 and 5—taken off of my web site for you to read.


1)  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is comingwhen you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:21-24)

Jesus is referring to the judgment upon Jerusalem when He mentions “an hour is coming” as the “not yet” of His eschatology in discussing a mountain and temple worship with the Samaritan woman.  Jesus’ answer is a post A.D.70 answer concerning a time when a localized place of temple worship will be meaningless (Jn.4:19-21; cf. Hebs.9:6-10; Heb.12).  There are other eschatological themes such as the harvest which brings with it the Great Commission and resurrection motifs as well in this chapter.  There is only one new-covenant “harvest” and it involves the harvesting of souls unto “eternal life” and would occur at the end of the old-covenant “this age” Jesus and His audience were living in (Jn.4:35ff./Mt.3:10-12/Mt.13:37-43).  There are not two different kinds of harvests, one evangelistic and spiritual and the other involving a literal resurrection of corpses at the end of time taught in John 4-5. 

John in Revelation describes the end of the same harvest as something that would “shortly” take place and was “at hand” (Rev.1:1, 3 <–Rev.14–> Rev.22:7, 10, 12, 20).  This gives “Scriptural synergy” to our preterist interpretation of the harvest in Matthew 13 as taking place at the end of the OC age in AD 70. Jesus also instructs us that “salvation is of the Jews” (Jn.4:22) therefore once again further confirming that the harvest/resurrection occurs at the end of “Jews” old-covenant age not the Christian NC age which is described in Scripture as having no end (Ephs. 3:20-21).  The resurrection/harvest theme is coinciding with the Bride theme that was introduced previously with John the Baptist.  Samaritans were “half-breeds” that were the product of intermarriage and a “scattering” and “sowing” that occurred with the Assyrian captivity. 

A Samaritan woman who is ½ Jew and ½ Gentile is a fitting representation of the Bride of Christ – for He has reconciled the two into one new body.  The parallels of Jacob finding his wife with Jesus finding His are striking:  1)  Jacob left his home country to find a bride.  Jesus left heaven to find His Bride.  2)  Jacob had a dream of a ladder and anointed a stone.  3)  John the Baptist finds a stone (Jesus) and anoints Him – the very ladder Jacob dreamed of (Jn.1:51).  Jacob found his bride at this well at “high day.”   Jesus met with the Samaritan woman at the same well at the sixth hour or noon time.  4)  Jacob had 12 sons that comprised the old-covenant bride of Israel.  Jesus appoints 12 disciples representing the new-covenant and transformed Israel/Bride.  This woman is marred and has had 6 men in her life finding no rest and contentment until finding Jesus — the 7th.[2]  Shiloh/Jesus is the Sabbath rest who is beginning a “gathering” that will be completed at harvest time at His return in His contemporary generation (Gen. 49:1, 10; Mt. 24:30-31, 34; Hebs. 3-4, 10:25, 37).               

2)  “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice “and come forth––those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (Jn. 5:21, 24-29)

It has been creedally assumed by you and such men as Keith Mathison that Jesus taught two kinds of resurrections in John 5:  1) the first spiritual associated with the gospel in verses 25-27 because of Jesus’ statement of “the hour (or time) is coming and now is” and 2) a literal bodily one at the end of time because of Jesus’ statement “Marvel not at this: for the hour (or time) is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice…”  (WSTTB?, pp.172-173).  Mathison in n.20 on page 174 claims the same concept of a “spiritual already” and then a literal future “not yet” allegedly being taught by Jesus in (Jn.4:21-24) and thus the two should be considered parallel. We agree!  But we know the “not yet” of “the hour is coming” or “the time is coming” of John 4 is not refering to a 2000 + years away eschatological event, but when Jerusalem and the temple is destroyed in A.D. 70.  In fact Mathison’s co-author Kenneth Gentry sees Jesus’ “not yet” “the hour is coming” as we do – to be referring to the judgment upon Jerusalem and the destruction of her temple in A.D. 70.[3]  Therefore, Mathison’s paralleling Jesus’ statements in John 4 and John 5 combined with Gentry’s A.D. 70 fulfillment of John 4 makes our case.   

Jesus teaches us that He raises the dead just as He had seen His Father do (Jn. 5:21).  The Father had raised the dead in the Old Testament corporately, spiritually, and covenantally by bringing both houses of Israel back into her land under Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezk.37, Isa.26-27) which served as a type of the resurrection life Christ was bringing and would be imminently consummated.  Jesus is teaching two phases of one resurrection, not two different kinds (one spiritual and one literal) of resurrections!  In both passages marked “A” below, the “already” and “not yet” of eschatology are taught:

A)  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth (spiritual & “already”) my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life (spiritual & “already”), and shall not come into condemnation (spiritual “already” or “not yet”); but is passed from death unto life (spiritual & “already”).  25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, (a phrase connecting the same subject matter to what follows) The hour is coming (in the not too distant “not yet” of the spiritual resurrection described above), and now is (spiritual & “already”), when the dead (spiritual) shall hear (spiritually) the voice (spiritually) of the Son of God: and they that hear (spiritually) shall live (spiritually).   

Before picking back up the same subject matter of the spiritual resurrection, Jesus goes back to a theme in verses 21-22 of Him getting life from the Father and having the authority to not only give that life but render judgment upon unbelievers:    

B)  26  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27  And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.   

A)  28  Marvel not at this (that the Son has the authority to give life and judge): for the hour is coming, (the spiritual not to distant “not yet”)  in the which all that are in the graves (spiritually dead) shall hear (spiritually) his voice (spiritually), 29  And shall come forth (spiritually); they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life (spiritual “not yet”); and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection (spiritual) of damnation.   

B)  30  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.This is simple Hebrew parallelism:

A.     (verses 24-25) Two phases of ONE resurrection with an “already” and “not yet” of those coming out of a spiritual death into a spiritual life/resurrection.

B.     (verses 26-27) Jesus has the authority to give this spiritual life (as stated above) and render judgment because His authority comes from the Father.

A.     (verses 28-29) “Marvel not at this” – that the Son has this authority & the Messianic harvest of Israel is under way.  Jesus now is picking back up the same spiritual “already” and “not yet” resurrection in the previous verses.  Here there is an emphasis on the judgment aspect. 

B.     (verses 30) Jesus’ judgment in this resurrection is once again just, because it comes from observing the Father and having a dependence on Him.   

It is pure eisegesis to assume that the “hearing,” “everlasting life,” “shall not come into condemnation,” has “passed from death unto life” are all referring to a spiritual resurrection, but then what follows is a literal resurrection at the end of time.  Likewise the “the dead” “hearing” “the voice” and “will live” are all spiritual in verse 25, as are the “all that are in the graves” whom shall “hear” his “voice.”  The following context follows suite, “the dead” are equivalent to the same subjects as “all that are in the graves” (whom have done good or evil) with the “hearing,” “voice,” and “will live” being spiritual just as they were in the previous verses.  This is very simple but for Mathison and his creedal colleagues, the text “causes difficulty” because they can’t quite figure out which events are spiritual and which ones are allegedly literal.  The old testament background here to “the dead” and those in “the graves” would be (Ezk.37:12-13).  Because of the wicked among Israel and their abuse of the godly remnant and the Sabbath, Israel went eastward into slavery and death into the land of Babylon for 70 years.  The land would receive its Sabbatical rest for 70 years and then God called Cyrus to be the deliverer who would set the captives free at the end of those years to return to their land.  God would raise them up by calling Ezra and Nehemiah to call Israel to repentance and come back into the land and rebuild the City.  The Jews during the time of Jesus were still abusing the Sabbath and the poor (Jn.5:1-19) and as the Father had the authority to judge and raise them from the “graves” of the Babylonian captivity/death in verse 21, so too did the Son have the authority to set those free whom had been enslaved to sin!  

The 1 John 2:17-18 & Revelation 14 Connections 

Hank I see no comments in your book regarding the last hour of 1 John 2:17-18. Towards the end of John’s “this generation” (Mt.24:34), He wrote that He and his audience knew it was the “last hour” (1 Jn. 2:17-18).  In Gentry’s debate with futurists over the book of Revelation he accurately states, “Similar notes of the temporal proximity of divinely governed cries abound in the New Testament (see Matt. 26:64; Acts 2:16-20; Rom. 13:11-12; 16:20; 1Cor.7:26, 29-31; Col. 3:6; 1Thess.2:16; Heb. 10:25, 37; James 5:8-9; 1Pet.4:5, 7; 1John 2:17-18).  How else could the New Testament express nearness more clearly?[4] Since Mathison takes John’s “last hour” and stretches it 2000+ years post A.D.70, we shall let Mathison, Strimple, Kistemacker, and their co-authors answer Gentry’s question here.  Most commentators agree that the analogy of Scripture (“Scriptural synergy” as you put it Hank) parallels John’s teaching on the resurrection “the hour is coming” in John 5, with “it is the last hour” of (1 Jn.2:17-18), and with the “for the hour of his judgment is come:” in (Rev. 14:7).  Mathison doesn’t even touch Revelation 14 in connection with the resurrection of John 5 and the “last hour” of 1 John 2, and in another work this is all he has to say of the entire chapter of Revelation 14, “Chapter 14 is a vision of the fall of Jerusalem, referred to here as “Babylon the great” (14:8).  As we will see in chapters 17-18, the evidence that “Babylon” is a symbolic description of Jerusalem is compelling.  At this point, we merely note that this “great city” has already been identified as Jerusalem in 11:8; where she is referred to as Sodom and Egyp.  In chapter 14, she is also called Babylon.” (Postmillennialism, 152-153).   And somehow Mathison claims that we are the ones guilty of giving “shallow exegesis”?!?  Go figure. 

What Mathison creedally and conveniently fails to cover here is that the time of Jerusalem’s/Babylon’s destruction is the time when one like the Son of Man comes on a cloud to reap the great harvest/resurrection of the earth/land and judgment is rendered for the wicked and the works of the righteous follow them into God’s presence (14:10-20).  Mathison makes the parallel with Revelation 11 and 14 but once again fails to note that the time of the judgment of the city in chapter 11 is likewise the time of the judgment (thus the resurrection) “of the dead,” and thus access into God’s Most Holy Place presence is given (Rev.11:18-19; cf. Heb.9:6-10, 26-28).  Study Bibles and commentaries alike see the connection between the harvesting/resurrection of the wicked and their blood extending “outside the City” for “a distance of 1,600 stadia” in verses 19-20 to be descriptive of being “outside Jerusalem” (Heb.13:12) and the distance of Israel’s Land within the localized Palestinian region extending from North to South or from Tyre to the border of Egypt.[5] David Chilton correctly wrote, “…The whole Land of Israel is thus represented as overflowing with blood in the coming nationwide judgment.  The streams of running blood become a great Red Sea, reaching up to the horses’ bridles in a recapitulation of the overthrow of Pharaoh’s horses and chariots (Ex. 14:23, 38; 15:19; cf. the extensive use of Exodus imagery in the following chapter).”  And “The bloodshed covers the Land, yet it is outsde the City.  The historical fulfillment of this was, form one perspective, when “Galilee was all over filled with fire and blood,” as the troops of Vespasian and Titus overran the county.  The whole Land, except for Jerusalem, was covered with death and devastation.”[6]

Mathison, like yourself and Gary DeMar, instead of cherry-picking around Revelation needs to submit to the teaching of the prophecy and become a Biblical Preterist like Chilton did.  Obviously Mathison’s conscience is bothering him since he does not allow John to interpret John in the crucial texts on the resurrection.  Nor will he even reference or recommend David Chilton as one of the greatest postmillennial partial or full preterists that has ever been in print because he had the courage and honesty that Mathison obviously lacks (Postmillennialism, pp.52-53, 273-275).  The other eschatological themes involved here in regards to the resurrection and judgment of “the dead” in (Jn. 5/Rev. 11-14) and the 144,000 in (Rev.7:4-17), is that this takes place in a time frame synonymous with this group coming out of the great tribulation and the destruction of the City and temple as (Dan.12:1-7) so clearly teaches which again James Jordan (you Gary?) see fulfilled in A.D. 70.  We have allowed Gentry to ask a question on imminence in (1 Jn.2:17-18) to his co-authors, but I have some for him now in returning back to (Jn. 4-5; 1 Jn.2:17-18; Rev. 7-14; and Dan.12/Mt.24). 

1)  How does the eschatological “not yet” “hour is coming” in (Jn. 4) apply to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and then the same phrase “the hour is coming” as used by Jesus in (Jn. 5) get projected 2000+ years away when in fact the resurrection would occur when Jerusalem and the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 Dan.12:1-7/Mt.24:15, 30-31/Lk.21:22? 

2)  How does John’s “not yet” judgment and resurrection “the hour is coming” in (Jn. 4-5) not get fulfilled in his “it is the last hour” “clear nearness” A.D. 70 statement of (1Jn.2:17-18)? 

Simon Kistemacker makes the following parallels between John’s teaching on the resurrection in John 5 with that of Rev.20:    

Fourth Gospel

A. First Resurrection


A. First Resurrection


I most solemnly assure you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has everlasting life … has passed out of death into life. I most solemnly assure you, the hour is coming — yea, has already arrived! — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

“… and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded … and such as worshiped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.… This is the first resurrection.

… and (he) does not come into condemnation. (For the solemn introductory formula see on 1:51.)

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power.”

B. Second Resurrection
(unto judgment)

B. Second Resurrection
(unto judgment)


Stop being surprised about this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out: those who have done good, for the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil, for the resurrection of condemnation.

“And I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it.… And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works: And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.… And if any was not found in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”


We too make the parallels, but again we see two phases of ONE resurrection for “the dead” (both righteous and wicked) occurring at the end of the old-covenant age, not two kinds – one spiritual and one physical being taught by Jesus and John.  Possibly during Jesus’ ministry the “already” of the resurrection harvest had begun, but with the Holy Spirit being poured out on Pentecost, the “already” and “inauguration” stage of the new creation and “firstfruits” (Rev.14:4-20) resurrection had most definitely begun.  The “second” phase of the harvest/resurrection included the harvest “gathering” of these souls into the kingdom / new creation of God in a “end of this age,” “this generation,” “at hand,” “soon,” “some standing here,” time frame (Mt.13:39-43; 24:30-31, 34 –25; Rev.1:1, 22:12/Mt.16:27-28).  Since the resurrection includes the souls of those whom had died prior to A.D. 70, the continuity of a spiritual resurrection of souls remains the same.  In farming one does not begin with the firstfruits of grain and then at harvest time bring in something completely different such as bananas.  This was a resurrection of “souls” from the time of the firstfruits to the harvest! 

Hank, don’t you believe that the eschatological last “hour” John wrote of climax in AD 70 (1 Jn. 2:17-18/Rms. 13:11-12)? Shouldn’t we take this time text as literally fulfilled in AD 70–if not why not?  

6) The “we” in 1Thessalonians 4 and 1Corinthians 15 alongside the “you” of Matthew 24 

Here is some of my response to DeMar and Keith Mathison on 1 Thessalonians 4 that I have worked on since we last talked and which I hope and expect both of you to respond to.  

Some have argued that since Paul used the word “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 17, Paul expected the events of I Thessalonians 4 to occur within his lifetime. “The problem with this interpretation is that in several other epistles Paul talks as though he could die soon.” Therefore “Paul [was] simply using the pronoun ‘we’ in a general way to mean ‘we Christians.’” There was nothing that demanded that Christ return in Paul’s lifetime. (WSTTB, 194)


There is no reason to think that Paul assumed that he himself would be included in the group of believers who would remain alive to the coming of the Lord. If I were to say, “We who live long enough to see the year 2030,” there is no reason to think that I would be assuming that I myself would be among the living in 2030. My only assumption would be that some of us today would be alive in 2030. In the same way, Paul’s words imply that he knew that some of his contemporaries would still be alive when Christ returned, even as Christ Himself promised would be the case in Matthew 16:27-28.

According to Mathison, all of Paul’s “we,” “you,” and “our” statements in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refer to Paul’s own first-century audience and address Christ’s coming in A.D. 70 –except for 1 Thessalonians 4 (“the rapture”).[1] Mathison decides that “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4 means something other than what it means everywhere else in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Suddenly in chapter 4, “we” means Christians who potentially will not be alive for a million years yet.

Now let us move on from arbitrary Mathisonian constructs to a biblical look at “the rapture” passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.

A day was coming when Christ would deliver believers from their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6-7). When that Day came, the Lord descended from out of heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose. Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.” 

We can know that Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 are not to be interpreted literally (a literal trumpet, etc.) because the Scriptures tell us elsewhere not to interpret them literally:

In Exodus 19 and 20, the Lord came down in a cloud over Mount Sinai. He spoke with a loud voice. There was the sound of a loud trumpet. And Moses brought the people with him to meet the Lord at Mount Sinai. Then God established His covenant with His people.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that though the trumpet and the voice of the old covenant were literal, the “trumpet” and the “voice” of the new covenant are not literal (Heb. 12:18-19). Neither is the mountain (Mount Zion) literal in the new covenant (Heb. 12:18, 22). Therefore, neither is the cloud, which covers the mountain, literal in the new covenant. 

And since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18-22).

Therefore, what we have in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities –the profundities of Christological glory and exaltation in the consummation of the ages. 

If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal rapture of the church out of the world:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one (John 17:15).


The rapture passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4-14. There, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel. They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.


Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it, declares the Lord (Eze. 37:12-14).

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement. As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). 

The first fruits of the resurrection had been perfected. The harvest had begun. The God-imposed covenant of Sin and Death had reached its end. The Day of Atonement had come (Lev. 25:9).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 John 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, the heavenly Mount Zion, in the Spirit.

Since our Lord came with His saints and destroyed the earthly temple (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11-12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul said in Romans 14:8-9, “…Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Before leaving 1 Thessalonians 4 we need to point out that there are some major inconsistent hermeneutical issues that partial preterists such as Mathison, Gentry, DeMar and Sproul do not address. They are very creedally arbitrary in how they parallel Matthew 24 material to the rest of the New Testament.     

The 1 Thessalonians 4-5 & Matthew 24 Connections 

Gary, I was recently reading some of the articles off of your website, and was once again concerned with what I perceive to be a hypocritical judgment and approach by you in condemning Dispensationalism. Because Norman Geisler does not honor the audience relevancy issue of the “you” in Matthew 23 and 24 you conclude that Geisler is not a “trustworthy critic” of Preterism. And yet how many times have we approached you on the many parallels between the “you” and “we” of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4? What I wish to demonstrate is you’re arbitrary partial preterism is simply no more exegetically “trustworthy” in 1 Thessalonians 4, Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15 than Geisler’s “exegesis” of the “you” in Matthew 23-24. I am also disturbed with the writings of Keith Mathison and the authors of WSTTB which has to be one of the all time worst and definitely not “trustworthy” and “House Divided” criticisms of Preterism that has ever been written!  One would hope that you would deal with the inconsistencies in that book at some point.

There is a major inconsistency in your argumentation and the partial or creedal preterist view regarding the use of the second person pronoun “you” in Matthew 23-24, and the “we” and “your” of 1 Thessalonians 4, Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15.   

Hank, in addressing the importance of audience relevancy of the “you” in Matthew 23:35 you write,

     “As context makes clear, Jesus is not addressing a past generation, for he denounces as hypocrites the present generation of teachers of the law and Pharisees who say about themselves, “If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.  So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sins of your forefathers!” (Matthew 23:30-32). Nor is Jesus referencing a future generation, for he specifically says, “I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation (v. 36).”[2]

And of the “you” in Matthew 24 you write,

     “In the end it is safe to maintain that when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things happened” his disciples did not for a moment think he was speaking of his second coming or of the end of the cosmos. As conflicted as they may have been about the character of Christ’s kingdom or the scope of his rule, they were not in the least confused about whom he was addressing.”[3] 

While agreeing with you on the use of “you” in Matthew 23-24 and that the disciples were not confused on who Jesus was addressing and that the fulfillment of Christ’s return in Matthew 24 would come in their contemporary generation; I nonetheless believe it is you who is the one “confused” in trying to have Jesus and Paul teach two different comings of Christ – one in A.D. 70 and another alleged coming to raise biological corpses and bring an end to the world as allegedly taught in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.   Gary you seek to back Hank’s  exegesis of his and your “you” argument in Matthew 23 against the attacks of Norman Geisler and write,

“The latest attempt to save dispensationalism from its growing list of critics has come from Norman L. Geisler’s review of Hank Hanegraaff’s The Apocalypse Code. It’s not my place to answer Geisler for Hank, but I would like to respond to a number of issues raised by Geisler that I have raised and, if not refuted, are death blows to dispensationalism. The first is audience context, the use of “you” in Matthew 24. Here’s how Geisler states the argument:

Another argument for the preterist view is that “you” in many texts must refer to the immediate first century audience (7). They cite Matthew 23:35 as proof: “On you may come all the blood shed on the earth . . . .” Ironically, that very verse proves the contrary since a “you” is used in it of the people who slew Zechariah in the Old Testament who was long dead. So, “you” can be used historically to refer to “your ancestors” just as it can be used proleptically of “your descendants.” For example, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you” (Mt. 5:11) in the Sermon on the Mount is not limited to Jesus’ immediate audience but also for future generations.

Throughout the Olivet Discourse, Jesus continually uses the second person plural (“you”): (24:2, 4, 6, 9, 15, 20, 23, 25, 26, 32, 33, 34). When Jesus’ disciples ask Jesus about His coming, Matthew writes: “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you’” (24:4). There is no question that Jesus is addressing His present audience, the same disciples who “came up to point out the temple buildings to Him” (24:1) and those who asked Him “when will these things be?” (24:3). Geisler doesn’t say anything about how “you” is used in Matthew 24 and how the obvious reference to Jesus’ then present audience somehow shifts to a distant future audience. He’s not the only one to try this sleight of hand.
In Tim LaHaye’s Prophecy Study Bible, the editors admit that the use of “you” in Matthew 24:2, 4, and 6 refers to Jesus’ immediate audience, but then they see a change in audience reference at 24:9 where they maintain that “‘you’ must be taken generically as ‘you of the Jewish nation.’” There is no indication that the use of “you” in Matthew 24:9 and following refers to any other audience than the one to whom Jesus is speaking. Jesus is not laying down universal principles of behavior in the Olivet Discourse; He is outlining when certain events are going to take place and to whom. In Matthew 5:11, Jesus is telling His first-century audience how to live in the midst of persecution (cf. 5:10). Read Matthew 21:23 through 24:33 and see if you can find the places where the second person plural shifts to a future audience. The burden of proof is on Geisler and his fellow dispensationalists to prove otherwise, and as we will see, Matthew 23:35 doesn’t change a thing.”   

“In the New Testament, John the baptizer’s father’s name is Zacharias, but in Greek it’s spelled the same way as the Zechariah of Matthew 23:35. Could this be the Zechariah who Jesus said was murdered? Such a deed isn’t beyond the Scribes, Pharisees, and priests (Matt. 23:34). Consider how often they wanted to kill Jesus (John 11:53). Of course, we learn later that they did conspire to crucify Jesus (Mark 9:31; 14:1; John 5:18; 7:1). Killing a pesky priest who confirmed the work and ministry of Jesus fits with what we know about them. Of course, it’s also possible, because Zechariah was such a common name, that it could have been another Zechariah in the New Testament era who was murdered by these religious leaders.

Geisler’s argument on the second person plural does not stand up to exegetical scrutiny. By not dealing with the above arguments, he shows that he is not a trustworthy critic of the preterist interpretation of prophecy.”[4]  

Again, while agreeing with both of you for the most part in Matthew 23 and 24, I want to focus on answering two questions: 1) Are such critics of the Biblical Preterist view such as you Hank and say Mathison and Gentry “trustworthy critics” when you men claim the views of Full or Consistent Preterists are “heretical”? And 2) Are the arguments and hermeneutics of parallelism between Matthew 24 and other NT writings that Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison use consistently “trustworthy”? If it can be demonstrated that you are creedally arbitrary in your hermeneutical approach, then how are you any more “trustworthy” critics or exegetes in the area of eschatology than such writers as Norman Geisler or Thomas Ice–selah?  Let’s begin by studying Matthew 24 along side of 1 Thessalonians 4-5.  

Gary, both you and Keith Mathison in your writings arbitrarily take every chapter concerning the return of Christ, the salvation for the church and vindication and judgment of their first century enemies as all referring to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.70, except one chapter—1 Thessalonians 4.  A creedal and career sustaining interpretation maybe, but an exegetical “trustworthy” one that seeks to honor God’s Word–by no means!  Mathison gives us the following interpretive options in 1 and 2 Thessalonians:

“1. All of the chapters refer to the second coming of Christ. This is the most popular option, and is found in all dispensational works and amillennial works.4 However, as we shall see, it requires a strained interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2.

2. All of the chapters refer to the coming of Christ in judgment upon Jerusalem. This position is rarely held, but it is gaining popularity among a small group of full preterist.5 Its primary weakness is its interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4.

3. All of the chapters except 2 Thessalonians 2 refer to the Second Coming. This appears to be the position of B.B. Warfield.6 Its primary weakness is that it requires Paul to change the meaning of the phrase “day of the Lord” between the writing of 1 Thessalonians 5 and the writing of 2 Thessalonians 2. That seems unlikely, in light of the existing Thessalonian confusion about this “day.”

4. All of the chapters except 1 Thessalonians 4 refer to the coming of Christ for judgment in A.D. 70. This is the position defended in the following pages.7[5]

Let’s get a bird’s-eye view of where everyone stands in 1 and 2 Thessalonians:

Biblical Peterist
Partial Preterist
Partial Preterist
Traditional Amillennial
1 Thess. 1-3
A.D. 70
A.D. 70
1 Thess. 4
A.D. 70
1 Thess. 5
A.D. 70
A.D. 70
2 Thess. 1
A.D. 70
A.D. 70
2 Thess. 2
A.D. 70
A.D. 70
A.D. 70

Hank you follow N.T. Wright’s Partial Preterist interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2 but do not comment on the rest of 1 and 2 Thessalonians very much (AC, 212-213).  Should I place you under the Partial Preterist position of Gentry or DeMar and Mathison in your understanding of the propehtic passages in 1 and 2 Thessalonians (see chart above)? 

It is probably a good idea to review some passages in 1 and 2 Thessalonians as we head into 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. 

1)      1 Thessalonians 1-3 – Mathison and DeMar:

Mathison gives contradictory views on his interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 1:10 because in his work defending his Partial Preterist Postmillennial view, he believes this coming took place in AD 70, but when debating with us in his book, When Shall These Things Be? (WSTTB), he decides he wants to place this text among other “indefinite” time references for a future Second Coming.[6] The text reads, “And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” The analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation begs Mathison to answer, “why is this coming of the Lord “from heaven” not the identical coming of the Lord “from heaven” to render wrath and salvation to the same first century audience who were awaiting and expecting His return in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 or even Acts 3:19-23 for that matter”?!?

Mathison is clearer in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 and finds the passage fulfilled in AD 70. Here he correctly identifies the Jewish persecutors of the first century church to be the object of Christ’s return and His “wrath”[7]

Since Mathison takes (1 Thessalonians 3:13) as Christ’s return in AD70, let’s briefly analyze the wording of the passage, “so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” In seeking to refute Dispensationalism’s version of a two second comings one “for” the saints (the “rapture” coming) and then one “with” the saints (the second coming), as apparently being worse than his own version of a two second coming theory, Mathison writes,

“Dispensationalists argue that since the Bible talks about Christ’s coming “for” the saints and “with” the saints, that implies two comings. The rapture, it is argued, is Christ’s coming for His saints, and the Second Coming is Christ’s coming with His saints. It is said that the difference between His coming for and His coming with the saints dissolves if the rapture and the Second Coming are simultaneous. Therefore the two comings must be kept separate.

If we examine the Scripture closely, however, we will see that the two words for and with present no real problem. Christ comes with the saints who have already died and for the saints who are still alive. The two occur at the same time, as a close look at 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 reveals. Verse 14 tells us that “God will bring with Him [Christ] those who have fallen asleep”; and verse 17 teaches that Christ comes for those “who are alive and remain.”” (Dispensationalism, p.120, ibid).

Again, it is more than difficult to understand how Christ coming “with all His saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 is Christ coming in A.D.70, and then in the next chapter Christ coming with His saints is an allegedly 2000+ years removed coming–wrenched from its previous A.D. 70 context!  According to Mathison’s logic, both texts should be referring to the resurrection because in both passages Christ comes “with” the saints He raised first.  

 2) The 1 Thessalonians 4-5 & Matthew 24 Connections

Virtually every commentator agrees that Paul is using Matthew 24 as the foundation for his teaching concerning the Lord’s return throughout the Thessalonian epistles. Unfortunately for men like you two and Mr. Mathison (but providentially for us), the connection becomes the clearest in the one chapter you do not want to talk about when it comes to making parallels to the Olivet Discourse—“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord…” (1 Thessalonians 4:15). Virtually every commentator and cross reference system correctly parallels 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 with Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. You men only want to make 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 parallels and connections while avoiding Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 parallels (WSTTB? 193-194). You make creedally selective parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 and some between Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 1-2 in demonstrating A.D. 70 fulfillments, but again, avoid making any parallels to 1 Thessalonians 4. Let’s take a look at some of these parallels and ask some pertinent exegetical questions that arise from Mathison and DeMar’s arbitrary hermeneutics.

“The language used in 1 Thessalonians 5 is also used in passages describing the coming of Christ for judgment in A.D.70. We have already mentioned that the term “day of the Lord” (5:2) is used in 2Thessalonians 2 in a passage that refers to A.D. 70. Another interesting parallel is found in verse 3, where the coming of this destruction is compared to “birth pangs.” The same phrase is used in Matt. 24:8 to describe the judgments leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.”[8]

Mathison here has no problem paralleling similar “language” and “phrases” in 1 Thessalonians 5 with that of the Olivet Discourse. But did you notice that Mathison dishonestly left out the comparison of Christ coming as a “thief” in (1 Thessalonians 5:2) in paralleling it with the Olivet Discourse? Why? It is Because Mathison incorrectly takes Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24:43 as the alleged end of time (“second section” of the OD) coming, while taking Christ coming as a thief here in 1Thessalonians 5:2, as the A.D. 70 coming. To bring attention to this would be to expose his artificial division and two second comings theory of the Olivet Discourse so he avoids the comparison and hopes no one will notice it.

Unlike Mathison, Gary you are a much more of a “progressive preterist” who does not divide Matthew 24-25 into teaching two comings of the Lord so you don’t have the same problems in harmonizing Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24:43 with 1 Thessalonians 5:2 as the same AD 70 coming of the Lord. But lets examine your “you” argument once again,

“While [the Jews of the first century living in Jerusalem] are saying, “Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (5:3; cf. Matthew 24:15-25). The Thessalonians had been warned of this coming judgment: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief” (5:4). Paul had told the Thessalonians that certain indicators were available to them that would prepare them for the “day of the Lord.””[9]   

I will return to making the Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 parallels but I want to give another example of the hermeneutics employed by Mathison and you Gary before we make our more “trustworthy” ones in 1 Thessalonians 4. Another example of Mathison and you making creedally selective parallels between Paul in Thessalonians and Jesus in Matthew 24 can be seen in your Preterist interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:

“Some of these parallels are:

a. a coming of our Lord (2Thess.2:1; cf. Matt.24:27, 30),

b. a gathering together to Him (2Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt.24:31),

c. apostasy (2Thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),

d. the mystery of lawlessness (2Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),

e. satanic signs and wonders (2Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),

f. a deluding influence on unbelievers (2Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24).”[10]

Apparently Mathison has been influenced by you Gary,  

1) 2Thess. 2:1 = Mt. 24:31
2) 2Thess. 2:1-2 = Mt. 24:27,30; Lk.21:27
3) 2Thess. 2:3 = Mt. 24:12; Mk. 13:14
4) 2Thess. 2:4 = Mt. 24:25
5) 2Thess. 2:7 = Mt. 24:12, 15
6) 2Thess. 2:8-12 = Mt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22
7) 2Thess. 2:13 = Mk. 13:27; Lk. 21:8
8) 2Thee. 2:15 = Mk. 13:23,31.”[11]

I appreciate both of your Preterist interpretations of 2 Thessalonians 1-2. We should point out that Paul’s Preterist eschatology is Jesus’ when he quotes Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21 in 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 as this judgment and Day of the Lord would be fulfilled in AD 70 (cf. Isaiah 2:19 / Luke 23:30).   But notice Paul in both of these chapters identifies the coming of the Lord with God being glorified “in” His people and they in Him —1 Thessalonians 1:10-12, 2:14. Both Mathison and you Gary passed over the parallels of Christ coming “in glory” to “gather” His elect with God being “glorified in” His people–Matthew 24:30-31/1 Thessalonians 1:10-12, 2:14; cf. John 14:2-3, 23 – note the “you” in vs. 29). Most commentators and cross reference systems understand the reception of this “glory” to be the resurrection event or the glorification of the Church and correctly apply these passages to the coming of the Lord and resurrection in glory to 1 Thessalonians 4, Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20-22:12. Romans 8:18-23YLT is very clearly a parallel Pauline passage indicating the time frame and location of this glory or the redemption of the body – “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us.” 

Instead of me making the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 that I and other Biblical Preterists have done in the past, which I know must make you and Mathison very uncomfortable, I will allow another Reformed theologian to do it for me: 

“…4:15-17 describe generally the same end-time scenario as 5:1-10. Specifically, Paul narrates the resurrection at the end of the age and then recapitulates in chapter 5 by speaking about the timing of this event and about the judgment on unbelievers, which will happen at the same time. That both 4:15-18 and 5:1-11 explain the same events is discernible from observing that both passages actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24, as apparent from the chart…”

1 Thessalonians
Christ returns
From heaven
Accompanied by angels
With a trumpet of God

Believers gathered to Christ

24:31, 40-41
In clouds
Time unknown
Coming like a thief

Unbelievers unaware of impending judgment


Judgment comes as pain upon an expectant mother

Believers not deceived

Believers to be watchful


Warning against drunkenness


Comparison of 1 Thessalonians 4—5 with Matthew 24

“Other significant parallels include: the use of the word parousia for Christ’s coming, reference to Christ’s advent as “that day” (Mt.24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1Thess.5:2); and a description of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou, virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt 25:6; eis apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1Thess 4:17; see further Waterman 1975).[12]

G.K. Beale further tightens the connection of 1Thessalonians 4-5 together by demonstrating that chapter 5 is also continuing the theme of the resurrection:

“Within the larger context, 5:9-10 (appointed to receive salvation…so that…we may live) provides the basis for being self-controlled 5:8, the main point thus far in 5:8-10. Being self controlled because of the prospect of salvation and resurrection culminates in the goal of 5:1-10 to which Paul has been aiming at throughout: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. The nearest thought sparking this final exhortation to encourage is the just mentioned consummated resurrection existence of God’s people who will join fellowship with the resurrected Christ 5:10. That the phrase we may live in 5:10 alludes to the resurrection of God’s people is borne out by observing the parallels between 5:10-11 and 4:13-18, which show that Paul has returned to the earlier theme of resurrection as the basis for encouragement:


(1) “Jesus died and rose” (4:14)

(1) “he died for us” (5:10)

(2) “the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive…will be caught up together with [hama syn] them. …And so [in this manner of resurrection existence] we will be with the Lord forever” (4:16-17)

(2) “Whether we are awake or asleep [a metaphor for living and deceased saints] we may live together with [hama syn] him” (5:10)

(3) “Therefore encourage each other [parakaleite allelous]” (4:18)

(3) “Therefore encourage one another [parakaleite allelous]” (5:11)[13]


Gary, you are in error when you interpret the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:30 and Matthew 25:31 as an alleged ascension “coming” of Christ. The context of Matthew 24-25 is not on the ascension but on the Second Coming event that occurs at the end of the old-covenant age. Paul and the analogy of Scripture clearly view these texts to be addressing the Second Coming and resurrection event.   

But let’s return back to our topic of the “you” and “we” of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5. How is that Gary you can emphasize the contemporary and first century “you” of 1 Thessalonians 5 along with the same parallel prophetic subject matter in Matthew 24 with Jesus’ first century “you,” audience, but then you refuse to address the same prophetic parallels and the first century and contemporary “we” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15 – We who are still alive and remain…”? How can you appeal to the “some standing here” of Matthew 16:27-28 to interpret the “you” of Matthew 24’s coming of Christ in judgment, and not at the same time understand the “some standing here” of Matthew 16:27-28 to be the “we who are still alive and remain…” of Pauline eschatology? Again, Keith Mathison writes of the “we”, 

“So it is best to understand that in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 17, Paul is simply using the pronoun “we” in a general way to mean “we Christians.” As far as Paul knew, Christ could have returned in his lifetime, but there was nothing that demanded he do so.”[14]

Paul “knew” Christ’s Second Coming and the resurrection event “could” occur in his lifetime because this is what Jesus and Paul himself taught (cf. Matthew 16:27-28; 24:30-31, 34, 25:31; Romans 8:18-23YLT; Acts 17:31; 24:15YLT)! Mathison and DeMar have no problem seeing the “we,” “you” and “our,” statements concerning the coming of the Lord everywhere else in 1 & 2 Thessalonians as applying to Christ coming in A.D.70, so there is simply no exegetical evidence demonstrating that Paul has now switched to a 2,000+ years “generalization” of these first century contemporary pronouns!   Let’s not forget Gary the “burden of proof” argument and challenge that you gave Norman Geisler concerning the “you” in Matthew 21-24, “Read Matthew 21:23 through 24:33 and see if you can find the places where the second person plural shifts to a future audience. The burden of proof is on Geisler and his fellow dispensationalists to prove otherwise,…” Well, Mr. Mathison and Mr. DeMar my response is the same–read 1 and 2 Thessalonians and see if you can find the places where the first and second person pronouns shift to a future (2000+ audience). The burden of proof is on Mathison and DeMar and their fellow Reformed Partial Preterists to prove otherwise.

In demonstrating consistently the parallels between 1 & 2 Thessalonians with that of Matthew 24, Mathison and DeMar need to be more concerned about becoming more “progressive preterists” than in exhorting men such as my former Pastor John MacArthur out of their “progressive dispensationalism” into Reformed eschatology – selah. Until there is more “progression” from men like you, Hank and Mathison, within your Partial Preterist framework, you need to be considered no more “trustworthy” of a “critic” of Biblical Preterism than Geisler, Ice or MacArthur are of your views. If you continue in your hardened understanding concerning the analogy of Scripture (Scriptural synergy) when approaching such texts as 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 in the light of Matthew 24, again, you need to be considered no less “trustworthy” than Geisler and Ice – sela.  

An exegesis of 1Thessalonians 4:15-17

At this point the reader is saying, “well, makes sense so far, but give me an exegesis of the church being “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and explain how this was fulfilled by A.D. 70.” Fair enough. 

“we…shall be caught (Grk. Harpazo) up together with them…”

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving a theological connection to the eschatological gathering of Matthew 13:39-43; 24:30-31 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.” The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament renders a good definition of harpazo as, “of an ecstatic vision or experience catch up or away (2C 12.2).”[15]

Thus one could be “caught up” with visions or “caught up” in having a joyful “experience” associated with Christ’s return that did not necessitate a physical removal from the planet or a biological change in DNA! If Mathison and DeMar can understand the “gathering” of the church in Matthew 24:30-31 as a non-literal non-biological reception into God’s kingdom along with God being “glorified in” the church in 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12-2:14 as a non-literal transformation of God’s people being received into God’s kingdom at His return; THEN they should understand this “catching away” as a non-literal transformation and reception into God’s kingdom at His return from heaven as well! The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament gives the meaning to a word related to harpazo–harpagmos,


“The word then took on the sense of the more common ρπαγμα and came to mean b, “what is seized,” esp. plunder or booty. Like ρπαγμα, it then came to be used in such related expressions as ερημα, ρμαιον, ετύχημα, ρπαγμα, ρπαγμόν τι γεσθαι, ποιεσθαι, τίθεσθαι. These mean c. “to take up an attitude to something as one does to what presents itself as a prey to be grasped, a chance discovery, or a gift of fate, i.e., appropriating and using it, treating it as something desired and won.” “The figurative element in the expression still remains, and a οον or σπερ is often put before it.[16]


The Liddell and Scott Lexicon render harpazo as to,

“3. seize, overpower, overmaster, 5. grasp with the senses, 6. captivate, ravish,”[17]


We use the word having a “figurative” meaning even today–“As I gazed upon her beauty while she was reading her vows to me, I was so captivated with the thought of taking her to myself shortly, and being enraptured with her love, that I did not even hear the Pastor prompting me that it was my turn to give my vows.” (cf. Proverbs 5:19 KJV).


We understand harpazo to mean that the Christians were “captivated” “figuratively” and inwardly with the joyful ecstatic experience of knowing through the outward sign of the destruction of old-covenant Jerusalem (the first adulterous wife) meant Christ had now come and consummated His marriage union with the church and thus glorified and cleansed her from sin.  Christ coming for His Church is used of Him coming as a glorious Groom taking full possession of his bride and ravishing her with His love or as a mighty King seizing and overpowering Satan in taking back His people/slaves from his enemies. In comparing other Pauline letters we know the enemies were Satan who would be crushed “shortly” (Rom. 16:20) and “the [spiritual] death” that came through Adam which was magnified through “the law” (1 Cor. 15:56). Christ was the valiant Last Adam/Warrior that had plundered the souls of men from the strong man. Adam originally had not guarded the garden against the serpent, and as a result became the slave and spoil of him! But now by the Last Adam, and through Christ’s return, the bride/spoil/slaves/captors would experience ecstatic joy in being received into the Groom’s presence thus being delivered and set free from the bondage of her previous master of Satan and the persecutin power of the adulterous Old Covenant Jerusalem (Romans 7:1-6; Matthew 22:7, Revelation 17-21).

In the gospels, Jesus said that when the kingdom would come at His return, that it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—Luke 17:20-37; Mark 9:1. The realm of the “snatching away” was an “experience” and “attitude” “within” Christians. They “grasped” and were “captivated” and had “seen” and “perceived” in their hearts and minds what Christ had done for them physically and most importantly “in” them in purifying their conscience and taking away their sins. The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

In Revelation one of the descriptions of the Churches “rapture” or “resurrection” is described by the two witnesses (described as Moses–the law & Elijah–the prophets) being received up into a cloud Revelation 11:12. This is the consummation and the Church being raised and caught up into the presence of God–the fulfillment and climax of everything taught in the Law and the Prophets. Those that did not heed her message and testimony were assured of imminent destruction. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament gives the concept of the cloud as referring to a Theological “revelation,” “Mark 9:7a, b par. Matt 17:5a, b / Luke 9:34a, b, 35 contain the idea of the cloud of revelation, or the theophany motif, in the account of the transfiguration.[18] In our study of Matthew’s gospel and the transfiguration event, this is what we “saw/understood” the coming of the Lord being all about – the passing glory and fulfilling of the law/Moses and the prophets/Elijah with the emphasis being on listing to the new-covenant teachings and abiding glory of Jesus being that which will continue. We looked at the realm of this transformation in 2 Corinthians 3 & Romans 12 and it had to do with a spiritual transformation of the mind and heart from old covenant glory to the new covenant glory and way of living. Unlike the Judaizers whom were “waterless clouds” (Jude 12) and could not give doctrine or revelation resulting in the salvation of the soul, the Christians were and remain a heavenly people full of living water ready to rain down the righteousness of Christ upon thirsty souls through the preaching of the gospel (Isa. 45:8/Jn. 7:38/Ezk. 47/Rev. 22:17).

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)? This word is defined as, “space inhabited and controlled by powers (Eph 2:2; 1Th 4:17; Rev 16:17)[19] Another reference works says of Ephesians 2 –

“This ruler appears as the aeon of this world, or, one might say, his atmosphere (air) allows the world to appear as Aeon, the god of eternity, whose false claim brings death to humankind (H. Schlier, Der Brief an der Epheser [1958] 102f.). From the perspective of the history of religion this represents a combination of the Empedoclean and Pythagorean worldview, according to which the air is full of souls which cannot yet rise to the ethereal world (E. Schweizer, The Letter to the Colossians [1982] 128–34), and Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons (Billerbeck IV, 516).[20]

Prior to AD 70, demon’s “possessed” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. This is consistent with the word harpazo as meaning “seizing” or “possessing” one inwardly. Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind the hearts and minds of people in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds in producing an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (cf. 2 Corinthians 3; Galatians 4:17-18; Romans 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the spiritual darkness and death of this kingdom realm into His Ephesians 2:1-10. And remember Jesus clearly associated the arrival of His Kingdom at His Second Coming to be an event realized spiritually “within” and “in” the soul and not something that could be seen with the eye–Luke 17:20-37; John 14:2-3, 23, 29. Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” or spiritual realm of her heart, soul and mind, when the victory came and He said, “It is finished” Revelation 16:17/Hebrews 9-10/1 Corinthians 15! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in A.D.70 for His Church. The early church did ecstatically experience the joys of this event while on earth, and as Mathison admits, of our interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4 – our “numbers keep growing”! 

“The Day of the Lord has ‘already come.’” (2 Thessalonians 2:2)

Before leaving the contemporary audience and eschatological themes of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, I believe it is extremely important to examine Mathison and DeMar’s preterist reasoning when it comes to some having taught and believed that “the Day of the Lord” had “already” occurred (pre-A.D. 70) and then compare their argumentation here with how he addresses the Hymenaeus and Philetus teaching that the resurrection had “already” taken place in (2 Timothy 2:18). Note Mathison’s logic,

1. “As in the case of 1 Thessalonians 5, no commentator who approaches this text under the assumption that it refers to the events surrounding the Second Coming has ever been able to offer an even remotely plausible explanation for the belief of the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord had already come. If we grant the assumptions of these commentators, then Paul has already told them in his first epistle that this event would involve the bodily resurrection of the dead and the “catching up” in the air of those who would still be alive to be with the Lord forever. Unless one concludes that the Thessalonians were profoundly oblivious to reality, there is no explanation for why they would have believed that this had already taken place.

2. Futurists interpreters have also failed to offer a plausible explanation of Paul’s argumentation in 2 Thessalonians 2. If the “coming” of Christ, our “gathering” to Him, and the day of the Lord in this chapter refer to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, then it is necessary to explain Paul’s method of proving that these things had not yet occurred. Why would Paul have tried to convince a group of believers that the Rapture and the bodily resurrection of all believers had not yet occurred by arguing that the apostasy and revelation of the man of lawlessness must coming first? If this chapter is referring to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, the proof that these things had not yet happened would have been far more simple and obvious. The entire argument of 2 Thessalonians 2 could have been reduced to the single question, “Are you still here?[21]

And now Gary your comments on this passage who unlike Mathison, take a Preterist interpretation of the “Day of the Lord” in 2 Peter 3 (as did John Owen, John Brown and John Lightfoot),

“If the “day of the Lord” were the dissolution of the physical heavens and earth, again, how cold the Thessalonians have thought that it had already come? There is no way they could have missed it. Supposedly the end of the world will occur when the physical “elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its elemements will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10), events that will be impossible to ignore. In fact, no one will be on the earth to wintess these events since, according to dispensational premillennialism, they follow the earthly millennium. Dispensationalists try to get around this timing factor by giving a specialized meaning to the “day of the Lord.” Literalism is once again abandoned for the sake of a preconceived system of theology.

Dispensationalists have a difficult time trying to reconcile the ways “day of the Lord” is used by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, and by Peter in 2 Peter 3:10. They tell us that while the Thessalonian “day of the Lord” refers to events prior to the thousand years of Revelation 20:4, Peter’s “day of the Lord” refers to events following the thousand years.”[22] 

“It is obvious that Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and Peter in 2 Peter 3:10 are speaking of the same day since they both use the metaphor “like a thief in the night.”[23]    

These comments by you and Mathison are right on target, but where is this interpretive reasoning and logic in addressing the error in 2 Timothy 2:18 in which there were those who taught that the resurrection had already taken place prior to the “Day of the Lord” in A.D. 70? Paul tells us at the beginning of his letters to Timothy that the cause of this growing and increasing apostasy of the “perilous times” in which they were living, had to do with the Judaizers influence surrounding “fables,” “endless genealogies,” and “idle talk,” of which these men sought to be teachers of “the law” 1 Timothy 1:4-7. The issues contributing to the apostasy here revolved around the Judaizers and “the law” not Gnosticism! They were seeking to command Christians to legalistically adhere to their traditions about abstaining from marriage (similar to the Jewish sect among the Essenes) and eating certain foods that no doubt surrounded the Levitical dietary laws–1 Timothy 4:3. Unlike Paul and Timothy, who could rightly divide the Word of Truth, Hymenaeus and Philetus could not in teaching that the resurrection had “already” taken place (2 Timothy 2:18). Our Futurist critics simply assume what they need to prove when they slanderously apply the doctrine of these false teachers to us and that we are somehow guilty of overthrowing the faith of the church.[24] It might have been a good idea for some of these critics to listen to their own editor before applying this text and these false teachers to our position, 

“It would have to be demonstrated that hyper-preterists are saying the same thing that Hymenaeus and Philetus said with the same meaning.” “…If Paul wrote 2 Timothy before A.D. 70, then the teaching of Hymanaeus and Philetus would have been wrong from either a futurist or a hyper-preterist perspective.”[25] 

If Paul had been teaching a corpse resurrection and a literal catching away at the end of time per the beliefs of you two and Mathison, then Paul would simply have said, “How can you believe the resurrection has already taken place? Look around, we are all still standing here aren’t we? Have the elements of the planet earth been burned up yet?!?” In other words, why doesn’t Paul refute Hymenaeus and Philetus with Mathison’s same “single question, ‘Are you still here’?” that he argues with in defense of Paul’s method of apologetics in addressing the Thessalonian error? Are these professing Christians and tempted Christians in 1 and 2 Timothy any less “oblivious to reality” for succumbing to this false teaching than the ones addressed in the Thessalonian epistles?

Since the Judaizers (Hymenaeus and Philetus) were always challenging Paul’s authority and seeking to deceive Christians to go back into the Mosaic law Paul makes a reference to Numbers 16 as an apologetic against them. In essence Paul is killing two birds with one stone in appealing to this historical and theological situation. The issue with the rebellion of Korah had to do with a doctrine of turning back to Egypt as the “land flowing with milk and honey” and not God’s Promised Land of Canaan Numbers 16:13! Their desire was twofold: 1) They wanted to return back to the bondage of the Egyptians and not continue in the Exodus and inheritance promises of God. And 2) They did not want to continue under Moses leadership and sought to challenge it. As God had destroyed Korah and his want to be “leaders” along with those whom sought to go back into the Egyptian bondage, so too God was “…about to judge the living and the dead, and by His Appearing and His Kingship” to destroy the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus. These men sought to enslave the Church to go back to being in bondage to the Law of Moses and challenge Paul’s authority as an Apostle. But Jesus and the Apostle Paul through the new exodus, were seeking to deliver them out from the curse and the death of that old-covenant age (2 Timothy 4:1 WEY, YLT, DARBY, Galatians 3-5; Romans 5-8; 1 Corinthians 15).  

Concluding thoughts on the Partial Preterist  

Untrustworthy Exegesis In 1 Thessalonians 4

Paul specifically tells us that he was getting his teaching of the Lord’s return in 1 Thessalonians 4 from Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse. Everyone agrees with this “common sense” (to use the phrase you use Hank) parallel except the untrustworthy eisegesis of the Partial Preterists. Once again we have successfully exposed Mathison’s arbitrary eisegesis and creedal schizophrenic reasoning as to why Matthew 24 and 1 & 2 Thessalonians are not discussing two second coming events. Mathison has set himself up as a critic of the Biblical Preterist view of Bible prophecy and we have found him to be no less of a “trustworthy critic” than Norman Geisler is of Partial Preterism! And Gary your silence on the lack of other “obvious” parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 along with Jesus’ use of “you” and Paul’s “we,” places your interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4 as no less “trustworthy” than  Geisler’s interpretation of Matthew 23-24 – selah.   

We agree with Mr. Mathison’s reasoning that his Amillennial futurist colleagues should answer the questions he has raised as to how the Thessalonians could have believed an end of the earth “Day of the Lord” could have already happened pre-A.D. 70. Strimple is forced to shoot Mathison in the back while aiming at us because Mathison has used “Hyper-Preterist” reasoning along with us here in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (WSTTB, 313). But why doesn’t Mathison use this hypothetical and argument from silence reasoning when it comes to the heresy of Hymenaeus and Philetus with the resurrection being “past already”? If the “Day of the Lord” “catching away” and “resurrection” of believers in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter 3, and 2 Timothy 2 were literal and cosmic events to occur at the end of history, then how could these Christians believed they “already” happened? If these events were as futurist claim they are, Paul’s apologetic would have been much different per the reasoning and admissions of Mathison and DeMar. Our exegesis of 1 Thess. 4:15-17 has the support of lexicons, uses the analogy of Scripture accurately, and follows Paul’s reasoning and logic as to how it could have been possible for Christians both in the Thessalonian epistles and in 2 Timothy to have understood that the “Day of the Lord” and the resurrection had taken place before A.D. 70.

The analogy of Scripture destroys the hyper-creedalism of your partial preterism Hank, along with Keith Mathison and Gary DeMar’s view. When we get into a comparison of Matthew 24 with 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15, your claim to believe in “Scriptural synergy” (Apocalypse Code, 9) is no less of a “trustworthy” exegesis than the futurist “exegesis” of Norman Geisler in Matthew 23-24!  At which point you will say, “Haven’t you made that point several times now in this letter?”  And of which I respond, “Yup, it must be an important point for you to sincerely meditate upon.”  

Hank, I too stand in line as a Biblical Preterist ready to debate you.  I have questions regarding your futuristic hope that as a Christian and as “The Bible Answer Man” you simply have not answered (1 Peter 3:15)–some 2 years now and counting!  Let me know where and when you plan on keeping your word in answering my questions.  If you continue to:  1)  Filter your questions on the radio in hopes of covering up your inconsistent “preterist” hermeneutic, 2)  Not keeping your word to get back with me in regards to answering some questions I asked about your inconsistent hermeneutics, or ducking and breaking your word to bebate Biblical Preterists, then 3)  You sincerely need to consider finding another title for yourself and ministry–selah.  

This concludes part 1 of the letter.

In Christ (2 Cor. 1:20),
Mike Sullivan


[1] Mathison, Postmillennialism, ibid., 224-225. 



[3] Hanegraaff, Ibid. 86

[4] Gary DeMar, Norman Geisler, “You,” & “Zechariah the Son of Berechiah”7/9/2007,


[5] Keith Mathison, Postmillennialism An Eschatology of Hope, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 224-225, (bold emphasis added).

[6] Keith A. Mathison, WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS BE? A REFORMED RESPONSE TO HYPER-PRETERISM, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), 202.  

[7] Mathison, Ibid., WSTTB, 202 n. 64.

[8] Mathison, Ibid., Postmillennialism, 226.

[9] Gary DeMar, LAST DAYS MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, Inc., 1994), 327. 

[10] Mathison, Ibid., Postmillenialism, 230.

[11] DeMar, Ibid., 325.

[12] G.K. Beale, THE IVP NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY SERIES 1-2 Thessalonians, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2003), 136-137. It may be possible to translate the “bright light” of astrape as referring to the “sun” coming from the east and shining to the west in Mt.24:27 and not “lightning.” If so another parallel can be made of Mt.24:27 with the return of Christ being associated with the “Day” “daylight” and being “sons of the Day” in 1Thess.5:1-8.

[13] Beale, ibid. 155 (emphasis added).  

[14] Mathison, Ibid. WSTTB, 194.

[15] Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 75, emphasis added.

[16] Kittel, Gerhard (Hrsg.) ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (Hrsg.) ; Friedrich, Gerhard (Hrsg.): Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans, 1964-c1976, S. 1:473

[17] Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon.

[18] Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 2:464

[19] Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. GGK113 Billerbeck (H. Strack and) P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum NT aus Talmud und Midrasch I-IV (1922-28).

[20] Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 1:34


[21] Mathison, Ibid, Postmillennialism, 229, (emphasis added).

[22] DeMar, Ibid., 327-328.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Kenneth Gentry, Chuck Hill, Robert Strimple, Ibid., WSTTB, 2 n. 3, 89 n. 64, 313-314. See also John MacArthur, THE SECOND COMING Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, (Wheaton Illinois: Crossway Books, 1999), 219.

[25] Mathison, WSTTB Ibid., 194

[i] Gary DeMar, Tommy Ice and Dispensationalism Under the Microscope – Again (see our brief exchange under the “comments” section of Gary’s article here) 

 Mike Sullivan, Worlds Apart From Partial Preterists 

Mike Sullivan, Gospel Eschatology: A Better Resurrection

[ii] Sproul, ibid, p.188


[iii] Sproul, ibid, p.139-140 emphasis MJS


[iv] Sproul, ibid., p.99, emphasis MJS


[1] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness OBSESSION OF THE MODERN CHURCH, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1999),  189-201. 

[2] Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth Gentry, HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UP OF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY, (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).