Preterism Refutation (Part 06) - The End of the World


VIII. The end of the world 1. Preterists claim that the end of the world either happened in 70AD or was a period of time beginning with the coming of Christ and ending in 70AD. 2. This belief is based on the false idea that the entire Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. A. Preterists assume that the end of the world happened when the temple was destroyed in 70AD because the disciples' questions about the destruction of the temple and the second coming of Christ and the end of the world were asked at the same time (Mat 24:3) in response to Jesus' statement regarding the stones of the temple being thrown down (Mat 24:1-2). B. See Section VI on The Olivet Discourse for a refutation of this idea. 3. Preterists claim that the "end of the world" was the end of national Israel or the end of the Old Covenant. A. They often claim that the "end of the world" should be translated "end of the age." i. This is how the new age perversions of the Bible such as the NIV translate that phrase. ii. When preterists resort to this argument, they have admitted that the word of God condemns their doctrine. iii. Rather than change their doctrine, they change the word of God (Rom 1:25). a. Here is an example of such wickedness. b. "The interpretation which we are discussing rests also upon an erroneous and misleading conception of the phrase 'end of the world' (age). It is not surprising that mere English readers of the New Testament should suppose that this phrase really means the destruction of the material earth; but such an error ought not to receive countenance from men of learning. We have already had occasion to remark that the true signification of (aion) is not world, but age; that, like its Latin equivalent aevum, it refers to a period of time: thus, 'the end of the age' means the close of the epoch or Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated." (James Stuart Russell, The Parousia, p. 41) iv. Rather than being reproved by the word of God, they instead condemn God's word and God himself (Job 40:8). v. They pervert the words of God to teach their heresy (Jer 23:36; Zep 3:4). vi. Those that do this had better beware what judgments await them (Pro 30:5-6; Rev 22:18-19). B. This refutation of preterism presupposes that the KJV is the preserved, infallible, inerrant word of God. i. If a preterist doesn't believe that, then he needs to study the doctrine of the preservation of the scriptures before he will understand the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. ii. See these sermons: 4. The following are the reasons why this is a faulty interpretation of "the end of the world." A. The definitions of the words 'end' and 'world' refute this interpretation. i. As the definition shows below, end refers to just what we would normally think it does: the termination or conclusion of a thing. a. According to the OED definition below, the phrase "end of the world" means "termination of existence; destruction, abolition." b. End n. - II. With reference to time or serial order. 7. a. The limit of duration, or close, of a period of time; the termination, conclusion, of an action, process, continuous state, or course of events; the terminal point of a series; the conclusion of a discourse, book, chapter, etc. 8. a. Termination of existence; destruction, abolition. (The early examples of end of the world should perhaps be referred to 7, as world may have been taken in its older temporal sense; cf. however Fr. fin du monde.) it isn't (or wouldn't be, etc.) the end of the world, it is not a calamity, it is not a matter of great importance. Also end-of-the-world used attrib. or as adj. ii. World can refer to several things, as the definition from the OED shows below. It refers to human existence, the earth, and the inhabitants of the earth. a. World - I. Human existence; a period of this. 1. a. Chiefly this world, the world: the earthly state of human existence; this present life. to (unto, OE. oð) the world's end: as long as human things shall last, to the end of time (with admixture of senses 7, 9). Similarly in phrases such as as long as the or this world lasts, and in this world. II. The earth or a region of it; the universe or a part of it. 7. a. The earth and all created things upon it; the terraqueous globe and its inhabitants. III. The inhabitants of the earth, or a section of them. 14. a. The human race; the whole of mankind; human society. b. So, putting it together and giving the sense of the words (Neh 8:8), "the end of the world" means the termination and destruction of human existence in this present life, the earth, and the inhabitants of this earth. c. This is exactly what the scripture teaches will happen at the end of the world. d. The heavens and earth which are now (this world) are going to be destroyed when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and melts them with fervent heat (2Pe 3:3-13). (i) That will be the end of this earth and human life and existence on this earth. (ii) Peter is not speaking figuratively or metaphorically. (iii) He is speaking in plain, ordinary language referring to the physical earth (2Pe 3:6-7). iii. Where does the Bible define "the world" as being national Israel? a. The unbelieving Jews are called "the world" (Joh 15:18 c/w Joh 15:25). b. But this is not referring to national Israel as a whole because the disciples were part of national Israel and they were not of "the world" that Jesus spoke of in John 15 (Joh 15:19). c. I can find no place in the Bible that refers to national Israel as "the world." d. God's coming judgment of "the world" was NOT the judgment of the nation of Israel (Act 17:31). (i) It would make no sense to tell pagan Greeks in Athens to repent because there is a day coming when God is going to destroy the nation of Israel in Jerusalem. (ii) God is coming to "judge the earth" (including the heathen) when He comes to "judge to world" (Psa 96:10-13). (iii) The judgment of the world is going to be the judgment of the world. iv. Where does the Bible define "the world" as being the Old Covenant? a. It doesn't. b. This is merely something that preterists have made up. v. A plain reading of the phrase "the end of the world" would conclude that it means the end of the world. vi. The onus is on the Preterist to show that the words don't mean what they say. B. The "end of the world" is clearly identified with the last day of time when Jesus Christ returns to resurrect the dead (Joh 6:39-40; Joh 11:24), judge the wicked (Mat 13:37-43; Mat 13:49-50; Mat 25:31-46), and destroy the heavens and the earth (2Pe 3:10-13). C. The following are all of the places in the Bible where the phrase "the end of the world" is used. i. The phrase is only used twice in the Old Testament, both of which refer to the geographical end of the world (Psa 19:4; Isa 62:11). ii. Mat 13:39 - "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels." iii. Mat 13:49 - "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just," a. In both of these verses, Jesus is explaining parables about the second coming. b. The "end of the world" in both verses is the "end of this world" (Mat 13:40) which is the end of this earth and human existence on it as opposed to the heavenly state in the world to come after the resurrection (Luk 20:34-36). c. The "end of the world" in Mat 13:39 and Mat 13:49 is clearly speaking of the end of time when Christ returns with His mighty angels (2Th 1:7 c/w Mat 13:41, 49) to judge world and cast the wicked into the lake of fire (Mat 13:37-43; Mat 13:49-50; 2Th 1:7-9; Mat 25:41, 46; Rev 20:10-15). iv. Mat 24:3 - "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" a. See Section VI (the Olivet Discourse) of this outline where I carefully showed that Jesus was answering two separate questions in Mat 24: one dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem, and one dealing with His second coming at the end of the world. b. Also, see the 4-part sermon series called The Olivet Discourse. v. Mat 28:20 - "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." a. Jesus Christ will be with His disciples (in spirit as He reigns from heaven) on earth until the end of time when He returns to resurrect the dead at the last day (Joh 6:39-40, 44; Joh 11:24) and take them with Him to heaven (1Th 4:16-17). b. If the end of the world happened in 70AD, then that means that Jesus is no longer with His disciples on this earth. vi. Heb 9:26 - "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." a. This is the only place that the phrase "the end of the world" does not refer to the last day of time in the New Testament. (i) We know this because Christ did not appear on the last day of time to sacrifice Himself. (ii) This verse does not help preterism though because preterism teaches that the end of the world was in 70AD, but Jesus was not sacrificed in 70AD. b. "The end of the world" in Heb 9:26 is set in contrast to "the foundation of the world." (i) The time that began when Christ came was the "last time" (1Jo 2:18). (ii) Therefore, His first coming could be said to be at the end of the world (in contrast to the beginning of the world), even though it would be "a long time" (Mat 25:19) until the last day at the actual end of the world. c. "The end of the world" in Heb 9:26 is referring to the last period of time in the existence of this world which (the last period) began at the first coming of Christ and will end when this world ends at Christ's return. (i) The "world" in Heb 9:26 clearly refers to the earth and human existence on it because "the end of the world" is set in contrast to "the foundation of the world". (ii) "The foundation of the world" in Heb 9:26 obviously refers to the creation of the world we live in, not to the nation of Israel or the Old Covenant. (iii) Therefore, the "world" in the phrase "the end of the world" in Heb 9:26 refers to the world that we live in, not to the nation of Israel or the Old Covenant. vii. Those are all the usages of the phrase "the end of the world" in the Bible. a. Not one of them refers to 70AD. b. All but Heb 9:26 refer to the literal end of the world at the last day when the resurrection and the final judgment happen.