Preterism Refutation (Part 10) - More Preterist Arguments Refuted


5. Argument #5: The bodily resurrection was spiritual. A. Preterists claim that the resurrection of the dead happened in 70AD, but it was not witnessed by anyone because it was spiritual and therefore could not be seen with the natural eye. B. "It is not improbable that traditional and materialistic conceptions of the resurrection, --opening graves and emerging bodies, may bias the imagination on this subject, and make us overlook the fact that our material organs can apprehend only material objects." (James Stuart Russell, The Parousia, pp. 210-211) i. The disciples were able to see the glorified body of Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (2Pe 1:16-18). ii. The disciples were able to see Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration even though his body had perished many years earlier (Mar 9:4-5). iii. Angels, which are spirit (Heb 1:13-14), can become visible to the natural eye (2Ki 6:17). iv. Resurrected bodies of the saints were seen after Christ's resurrection (Mat 27:52-53). C. The resurrection of the dead will be a resurrection of physical bodies (see Section III, 2) 6. Argument #6: It is senseless for Christ to have told His disciples to watch and wait for Him if He had not intended to return in their lifetime. A. Preterists say it would make Christ a deceiver by promoting false hope. B. But, announcements of things which would be fulfilled in the distant future are not overthrown because they did not occur during the lifetime of the prophet or his hearers. C. Observe these examples of seemingly imminent events whose fulfillment was much later: i. The coming prophet (Deut 18:15-19). ii. The virgin birth (Isa 7:10-16). D. Prophecies of judgment and destruction (such as Mat 3:10-12) may not necessarily be completely fulfilled in the immediate coming conflagration. i. For example, Micah prophesied of the overthrow of Jerusalem (Mic 3:12) prior to Nebuchadnezzar's ransacking. ii. But the "plowing of Zion like a field" did not occur until the days of the Roman empire AFTER the invasion of 70 AD, when Hadrian ordered it in 132 AD. E. In The Parousia, Russell mocks the idea that prophecies may be realized in stages (p.544-545). i. He rejected the idea that the overthrow of Jerusalem in 70 AD was a quasi-fulfillment of the final dissolution of heavens and earth. ii. But consider the Davidic covenant, realized firstly in Solomon, then ultimately in Christ (2Sa 7:12-14 c/w 1Ch 22:8-10; Heb 1:5). F. From Russell's view point, if the apostle's words concerning the return of Christ in judgment and fire were not fully realized in their lifetimes, then they were just deluded enthusiasts (p.544), teaching men to look for something they would never personally see. i. But what could be expected of them, for the time of His coming was not given unto them (Act 1:7)? ii. Nor was it even given to the Son of man Himself (Mar 13:31-32). iii. The apostles warned men of Christ's second coming and the final judgment because they knew that He was going to return, but they didn't know when. G. Likewise, Mr. Russell questions what value the book of Revelation would be to the seven Asian churches if its events were not to occur for hundreds of years in the future (p.366). i. But the same reasoning could be applied to Daniel's visions concerning Jewish history well beyond his days (or his contemporaries') hundreds of years later. ii. The same could be said of the prophecies made of the coming of the Messiah hundreds of years before His advent. 7. Argument #7: Heb 10:37 is a proof that the second coming must have been in 70 AD. A. Russell made this argument based on the fact that Heb 10:37 said that Christ would come in "a little while" (p.134). B. But, he also asserts that the parable of the talents (Mat 25:14-30) is referring to the same interval before Christ's 'coming' in 70 A.D. C. In Mat 25:19, the interval is termed "a long time." D. Which one would Russell maintain as his 'proof'? E. The same term is used in Luk 20:9 to represent probably 1500 years! F. 1500 or 2000 years is a long time to us, but a little while to God (2Pe 3:8). 8. Argument #8: Isa 13:11 refers to Babylon as "the world" which shows that the Bible uses the word "world" in a local judgment sense therefore allowing the possibility that the use in the NT may also be localized or not total destruction of the world/planet. A. Preterists claim that Jesus was quoting Isa 13:10 in Mat 24:29. i. First of all, there is no proof that Jesus was quoting from Isaiah in Mat 24:29. a. He didn't say that He was quoting from Isaiah as He did at other times when He was doing so (Mat 15:7-9). b. This is not proof that Jesus wasn't quoting from Isaiah, but the preterists can't prove that He was either. ii. When Jesus quoted Daniel in the Olivet Discourse, He said He was quoting from Him (Mat 24:15). iii. Jesus could have also been quoting from Eze 32:7 which was a prophecy of the destruction of Egypt (Eze 32:2). iv. It is quite possible and reasonable to conclude that Jesus was not directly quoting either Isaiah or Ezekiel, but was using similar, familiar, symbolic language that the prophets used to describe the overthrown and collapse of political systems. B. Since Isaiah 13 is a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon (Isa 13:1), they claim that this is further proof that Jerusalem was Mystery Babylon. i. It can't be proven that Jesus was quoting Isaiah 13 in Matthew 24 (see above). ii. Even if He was, He was not quoting it as a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy against Babylon because the prophecy was fulfilled hundreds of years earlier when the Medes and the Persians destroyed Babylon (Isa 13:17-22 c/w Dan 5:25-31). iii. Jerusalem is not Mystery Babylon (see Argument #2). C. They argue that since Babylon is referred to as "the world" in Isa 13:11, that this is evidence that "the end of the world" in the NT is referring to a localized event in the destruction of Jerusalem. i. Firstly, the New Testament should be used to interpret the Old Testament, not vice versa (2Pe 1:19; 2Co 3:12 c/w Hos 12:10; Mat 13:16-17). ii. Secondly, the end of the world is not a localized event. This was extensively proven earlier by comparing scripture with scripture and defining the words in their primary meanings (see Section XIII on the End of the World). iii. Thirdly, Babylon is called "the world" in Isa 13:11 because Babylon was a world empire at that time and was in control over all the nations of the earth (Jer 27:6-7; Jer 34:1; Dan 2:38; Dan 4:1), just like Rome later would become (Luk 2:1). a. Babylon reigned over all nations at that time which is why God said that He would "punish the world for their evil" when He was going to destroy Babylon (Isa 13:11). b. The same cannot be said of Jerusalem. c. Jerusalem or Judea in the 1st century could not be referred to as "the world" since it was a tiny piece of land that was not in control over any other nation in the world including itself. d. Rome was "the world" (Luk 2:1) in those days, not Jerusalem. e. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish economy was not the end of the world (see Section XIII on the End of the World).