My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

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RickC
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My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by RickC » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:36 pm

A frequent reader but seldom poster (these days); I just want to do a thread on what I've been up to in The Eschatology Dept. (Our friend, Homer, was asking me about this too).

My eschatological history, so to speak, has been: raised dispensationalist (pre-trib, pre-mill), moving on to partial preterist & amillennial since the 80s, and "quasi-full-preterist" (I've called it) over the past 4 years or so.

Where I'm at now (basic premise): I'm convinced that the parousia (coming) of Christ is past, that he came in the judgment on Israel in the years proximal to 70AD. Essentially in the same manner that God judged His people in Old Testament times, i.e., never literally as a 'physical person'.

'Following the above' is where I'm sketchy on a lot of details.

Re: The Resurrection of the Dead
Scripture speaks of (at least) two primary resurrections:

1) Resurrection and/or rebirth of the nation, Israel (e.g., Ezekiel's valley of dry bones coming to life again). I think Jesus' referenced this in his dialog with Nicodemus. What was it every teacher in Israel should know? Certainly that the nation needed to be reborn. Bypassing detailed exegesis of 'born of water and the spirit'; when Jesus said 'You must be born again', the 'you' is plural, i.e., 'You all must be born again'. (I should note that I believed this when I was a partial preterist).

2) Personal/individual resurrection (there are several variations among full preterists here). I no longer accept my former (orthodox) view of literal, bodily resurrection. Currently I'm leaning toward 'IBD' -- Individual Body upon Death. If I understand the view, it says resurrection bodies are made of pneuma (spirit). Not mere disembodied spirits. Rather, bodies composed of spirit ('pneuma' as ontologically real substance). Difficult to wrap your mind around!

Otherwise, I'm not sure what to make of the controversial passage in Matthew where some of the deceased saints were seen resurrected in Jerusalem. This is probably linked to the resurrection of the nation in some sense and may well be a part of the rapture. Which brings me almost to the end of the post.

I tend to think 'the judgment seat of Christ' as an upcoming event happened around 70AD. That at this point in time God was separating the sheep from the goats, the loyal and apostate Jews. I'm leaning toward a view that each of us, upon death, will appear before the Lord to be judged. (Oddly, many 'born-again' evangelicals and probably a lot of Catholics believe 'you die and go to heaven' without giving much thought to the resurrection or resurrection bodies, etc.).

I don't have a position on the millennium; taking an almost Idealist view on the number 1,000. I, do, however believe Revelation was written before 70AD and describes the events surrounding the Great War.

Lastly, I have a hard time with feeling like I'm on the same page with a lot of full preterists. Many of them come from traditional Reformed or fundamentalist backgrounds and have held on to some of this 'baggage', as it were. I guess they think it's OK. Not for me though!

I have so much studying to do, my brain hurts!

Thanks for reading, :)
Last edited by RickC on Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:33 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by RickC » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:41 pm

Ooops, forgot to post the video (1 hour, 24 mins).

Made by a guy named Brian Martin. A kind of Bible study documentary of his journey into preterism. I've emailed him. Real nice guy. Admits he doesn't have all the answers. Vid has some really cool acoustic guitar riffs & a fair amount of humor. A very good Intro to Full Preterism, in my opinion.

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me . . . Right?

Even if you don't agree or understand Brian, the vid is [MUCH] better than the junk on TV!
Last edited by RickC on Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by Paidion » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:55 pm

Rick, did you ever read Josephus' account of the Jewish wars during the years around 70 A.D.? Josephus himself was involved in those wars. I have read his account. It doesn't sound like the judgment of God to me. It sounds like the struggles of man.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by RickC » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:22 pm

Oh yes, Paidion, I've read Josephus on this. There was one certain Jesus who prophesied for several years "Woe to Jerusalem! Woe to Jerusalem! Woe to me!" and was suddenly killed with a Roman arrow.

Brian Martin goes into Josephus some too.

Also, these 2 sermons are the best I've ever heard detailing the struggles in Judea in the first century up to 70AD. Text is Olivet Discourse. Josephus provides multiple confirmations of the same. (Morecraft is partial preterist, postmillenial).

PACKED WITH INFO!

Joe Morecraft III -- Destruction of Jerusalem

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by dwilkins » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:08 am

I think the key to the resurrection piece is that starting immediately in post-scripture early Christian writings you have the work being done by people trained in Greek philosophy. There was very little Christian understanding of the classical way that Hebrews used the text. So, in 2nd Peter he says that the heavens will melt at the second coming. This matched almost verbatim the expectation of the Stoics and other Greek philosophers who expected the universe to melt in order to purify it. None of them seemed to notice that in Isaiah 34 we see the heavens melting when the Babylonians destroyed Edom, a real moment in history only seen on earth as "the struggles of man." In the Greek mind, the universe had to melt in order to purify it. In the Hebrew mind (no longer presented in much Christian writing) such language described the gravity of a terrible military disaster.

But, studying the Greek philosophers (specifically the Stoics) does give us a way to understand some of the New Testament resurrection language since theirs was the dominant system of physics taught at the time. Without it, I don't think you can make coherent sense of the passage below:

1Co 15:35 But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?"
1Co 15:36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
1Co 15:37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
1Co 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
1Co 15:39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
1Co 15:40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.
1Co 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
1Co 15:42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1Co 15:46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
1Co 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
1Co 15:50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

It's clear to me in this passage that Paul was trying to say that people are raised with bodies made of spirit, or pneumas. This can't be twisted into a gnostic claim since gnosticism was based on Neoplatonism, which hadn't emerged at the time of the writing of the New Testament. Instead, the Stoic view of pneumas was that it was an invisible, perfect gas like air. The Hebrews also considered the spirit, ruach, to be like air (cf. John 3). It was the invisible life force glue that held the universe together. The better or more complex the life form was, the better the quality of pneumas it had. God would naturally have a perfect quality of pneumas. When Paul talks about God putting his pneumas in believers he's saying that the believers have just been transformed and now transcended normal, fleshly humanity. And, since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, when the believer soul is raised from the Hadean realm it's his renovated pneumas bonded to God's pneumas that forms his new physical body. This high quality physical pneumas body is suited for heaven, which is the anticipated abode of believers after death.

You have to be dead to be resurrected according to Paul, so at the resurrection all of those who'd died up to that point were issued new, prefect pneumas bodies. This was invisible to living humans, but was very much a physical event. Those believers, along with all of the believers who've since died and been issued their new pneumas bodies, reside in heaven forever.

Without the insight that the Stoics preceded the gnostics (who didn't formulate a coherent doctrine until at least 50 years after the New Testament was finished), and that the Stoics demanded that pneumas be physical there was no way for the church to come up with a coherent doctrine on the matter. Murray Harris' book on the resurrection alludes to this in several places. The church's doctrine has always held a great deal of mystery (really, incoherence) because they couldn't make sense of spirit being physical, and the believer's new body being spirit.

Doug

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by RickC » Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:31 am

In reply to what Doug wrote: . . . But, studying the Greek philosophers (specifically the Stoics) does give us a way to understand some of the New Testament resurrection language since theirs was the dominant system of physics taught at the time (then you posted 1 Cor 15 & ff., etc.).
Thanks, Doug!

I'm not sure where or when I first became familiar with the concept of a pneuma-body. It may have been from a post you made some time ago(?).

In any event, I got a couple books on Paul and the Stoics about a year ago in order to follow up on this (and to learn more about how Paul and other NT writers spoke and wrote within their Hellenistic context).

'Unfortunately haven't been able to read them yet. I actually read more in the winter. Plus, I just got new glasses (and basically couldn't see well enuf to read till now)!

Thanks again! :)

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by TheEditor » Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:24 pm

You know it's interesting, when I was a JW this was the most natural teaching in the world. We (they) taught (teach) that those raised to heavenly life are raised with spirit bodies. There is a whole line of reasoning on it. I have never really divorced myself from that thinking, because I could never see a reason to. Most evangelicals I talk to are shocked and think it's heretical to suggest such a thing, and I can't see why.

Regards, Brenden.
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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by dwilkins » Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:49 pm

I think the emphasis on the "flesh and bone" resurrection grew out of Jewish influence in the church. They tended to be very literal about everything, which is why they missed the point of almost everything Jesus taught. Early on, the chiliast movement was deeply affected by them. The following is a quote from Lapide on the topic:

“Cerinthus with his followers are meant here. He was the first heresiarch after Simon Magus to deny, in S. Paul's time, the resurrection. See Eusebuis (Hist. Lib. Vii. c. 23, and lib. Iii. c. 28) and Epiphanius (Hares. 28). Cerinthus was a champion of Judaism, and, founding his opinions on Jewish traditions, he referred all the prophecies about the Church and the Gospel law to an earthly kingdom, and to riches, and to bodily pleasures. In the same way he afterwards perverted the meaning of Revelation xx. 4, and became the parent of the Chiliasts, or the Millennarian heretics.”

If you combine this with a switch to Platonic cosmology that was ascendant just about when the patristics started writing, it's no wonder that they wanted a flesh and blood "physical" resurrection. From the Platonic point of view, pneumas is a paranormal or unreal thing. It had to be so in order not to be polluted by the nature of physical matter. The gnostic system was developed under Platonic cosmology, so they adopted this view of an inherently polluted physical creation. This is not a Hebrew idea. And, at least on this point, it's not a Stoic one either. As theologians working under Platonic cosmology developed their theories, they never stopped to consider that this system of physics wasn't what the Hebrews and the writers of the NT would recognize.

Doug

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by robbyyoung » Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:08 pm

dwilkins wrote:I think the emphasis on the "flesh and bone" resurrection grew out of Jewish influence in the church. They tended to be very literal about everything, which is why they missed the point of almost everything Jesus taught. Early on, the chiliast movement was deeply affected by them. The following is a quote from Lapide on the topic:

“Cerinthus with his followers are meant here. He was the first heresiarch after Simon Magus to deny, in S. Paul's time, the resurrection. See Eusebuis (Hist. Lib. Vii. c. 23, and lib. Iii. c. 28) and Epiphanius (Hares. 28). Cerinthus was a champion of Judaism, and, founding his opinions on Jewish traditions, he referred all the prophecies about the Church and the Gospel law to an earthly kingdom, and to riches, and to bodily pleasures. In the same way he afterwards perverted the meaning of Revelation xx. 4, and became the parent of the Chiliasts, or the Millennarian heretics.”

If you combine this with a switch to Platonic cosmology that was ascendant just about when the patristics started writing, it's no wonder that they wanted a flesh and blood "physical" resurrection. From the Platonic point of view, pneumas is a paranormal or unreal thing. It had to be so in order not to be polluted by the nature of physical matter. The gnostic system was developed under Platonic cosmology, so they adopted this view of an inherently polluted physical creation. This is not a Hebrew idea. And, at least on this point, it's not a Stoic one either. As theologians working under Platonic cosmology developed their theories, they never stopped to consider that this system of physics wasn't what the Hebrews and the writers of the NT would recognize.

Doug
Hi Doug,

This is the inherent problem in churchianity today, the majority of western believers have no idea what your talking about or anyone else going beneath the surface of their faith. Unfortunately, the majority just don't care enough to study and challenge what they are told to believe. Preterists are by default historians of the 1st century relevance question. We have to be, for the text demands this understanding and does not shift this responsibility otherwise. If so, the N.T. Writers would have said so, but they didn't. Their message was 1st century orientated.

God Bless.

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Re: My Preterist Journey (so far + video)

Post by RickC » Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:57 am

Brief note on a busy day (just thought of something).

Acts 13 (NASB)
34As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.' 35"Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY' [Ps. 16:10]. 36"For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay. (NLT v. 34 reads: Another psalm explains it more fully: 'You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave').


Some time ago I read that Jews in the first century believed that one's soul remained in the body until the fourth day. At which point one was officially and fully dead.

Think: Lazarus, who had been dead four days. One of his sisters said "There will be a stench" and so on.

Note: Jesus' body (if this belief of the Jews is/was correct) did not undergo decay or corruption; Lazarus' body already had.

The resurrection that refers to anyone other than Jesus', i.e., those who have perished (died, undergone decay) is different than Jesus'. His physical body, not having been abandoned to the grave, was brought back to life.

1 Cor 15 (NASB)
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.


Just some thoughts, thanks! :)

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