Friday, January 1, 2010

Roderick Edwards Refutes Roderick Edwards

As frequent readers of this website are aware, I am a FORMER hyperpreterist. A hyperpreterist is someone who believes & advocates 4 main heretical things:  

1) that Jesus came back once & for all in the first-century 
2) that the resurrection of the believers happened in the first-century & it was not physical 
3) that the judgment of the wicked & righteous happened in the first-century 
4) that there will be no culmination of the world & of God’s plan.
The first question should be, “How in the world does someone get into a belief like that?” The answer is that typically when people fall into such heresies it is due to their own private interpretations overriding everything else. And often, while such a person is espousing an aberrant belief such as hyperpreterism, they will claim they are simply reading the Bible for what it says. They may even use the motto, “Sola Scriptura” (Bible Alone) when really they mean their own private interpretation alone. So, I like many other perhaps well-meaning & some not so well-meaning people had fallen into the heresy of hyperpreterism by disconnecting myself from 2000 years of Christian interpretation & instead coming to believe wild theories that placed me outside of historic Christianity. In December 2007, I renounced my 15-year rocky association with the hyperpreterist movement (see account).

It was rocky because even while I was a hyperpreterist, I would spend much time disagreeing with the more radical & liberal elements within the movement. Originally, when I announced I was leaving the movement, some still within the movement claimed it was a ploy for attention, though I’m not certain why I would have wanted the kind of negative & hateful attention I would receive from my former associates — even death threats. During this process of removing myself from the movement & getting back to REAL Christianity, I sought to undo as much of the damage I could. I removed every hyperpreterist promoting article from my website. I asked every website that had carried my former articles to also remove them from their sites. Most complied. However, one website ran by a Romanian immigrant named Virgil Vaduva continues to periodically trout out some old article I wrote as if he owns the rights to my material (I think he still has his communistic mindset from when he was in Romania). Anyhow, he does this to try to rile me up, knowing full well I do not want to be the object that causes another person to buy into the lie of hyperpreterism. Recently, Vaduva republished what at the time I had considered perhaps my main case for hyperpreterism. The title of the article is The Eschatology of Jesus Christ. (EJC) It was written in 2005 & made into a 20 page booklet. I’d like to take this opportunity to refute my former belief by refuting what I had produced on it. I will indent the segmented content of EJC & comment immediately after.

Have you ever been asked what you believe in regards to something about the Bible? I hope you answered “Who knows and who cares”. I mean to say, that it doesn’t matter what you and I “believe” about what Bible is saying, but rather it matters what the Bible IS ACTUALLY saying. Perhaps someone would object by stating: “Well everyone has a different interpretation.”
But actually, it DOES matter what you believe, why you believe it, & how you came to believe it. Beliefs are NOT formulated in a vacuum. The more a person self-analyzes why they believe what they believe (religious beliefs or otherwise), the better they can pare away the inaccuracies or delusions within their beliefs. The concept about it mattering what the Bible is actually saying, is a noble concept except that again, the Bible is not a document meant for men & women to take up privately & interpret however they desire. The Word of God was given to a community. Jesus came to found THE CHURCH, not a bunch of disconnected private interpreters that can take the Bible however they please.
What then are we saying? That the Bible isn’t clear enough for the Christian to understand? And I hope you will not say the “Holy Spirit” guides us to understand – as it may be true but then a new problem arises. If two Christians are coming to differing interpretations then, which is being guided and which is not? (or perhaps neither)
Well, the Bible ISN’T clear enough if we allow for many of the individualistic interpretations of it to be considered as valid as 2000 years of UNITED Christian interpretation. What I mean, as it is in relation to this issue of the 4 main beliefs of hyperpreterism, hyperpreterism is rejected by the UNITED interpretation of Christianity. That is, whether we look at pre-Roman Catholic Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Greek/Eastern Orthodox, Syrian, Reformed/Protestant, Anabaptists, or Modern Evangelical; ALL of these expressions of Christianity AGREED on exactly the 4 points that hyperpreterism calls us to deny. so, the Bible is only “not clear” when people disconnect themselves from the community of saints & try to implement something “new” or something “different” than what has been believed by ALL Christians since day one.
I’ve said all of that by way of introduction to the title of this work. When it comes to eschatology – “end times”, there seems to be a plethora of differing “beliefs”, but what we want to know is what is the eschatology of the Bible, but more importantly, what is the eschatology of Jesus Christ? I make the distinction between the eschatology of Jesus Christ and the Bible not to say they are opposing or different but only that Jesus Christ’s eschatology is the revelation & fulfillment of things in the Bible that had for a long time been merely shadows, types, and copies of the actuality. And thus, when many people study eschatology they constantly refer to the shadow and type over Christ’s own clear teaching.
Once again, you can see my subtle chipping away at the reader’s confidence in God’s ability to maintain truth. As a hyperpreterist, I had to get the reader to first believe that there is chaos within Christianity & that basically they have been duped & I was about to offer them a correct & clear teaching. This is the overarching premise of hyperpreterism; that God/Jesus/the apostles/The Holy Spirit were all unable to maintain the most basic truth of eschatology & that the Church had so messed it up, that only after 2000 years of gross error are the hyperpreterists able to come & help guide the Church out of confusion. Sheer arrogance!!! Further, note how I was trying to disconnect the reader from the Church at large & make them think that somehow they weren’t honoring “Jesus’ own clear teaching”. This is a tactic of all cultic groups. The Mormons & the JWs & even the Muslims must try to get you to believe something went wrong & they alone are here to restore truth.
Allow me to elaborate a bit more before we begin in earnest. When Christ came to earth, He often corrected the suppositions of those who were the very keepers of “biblical principles”. For instance, Jesus corrected the Pharisees on the nature of divorce (Mt 19:3-9), even acknowledging that they had understood Moses correctly when Moses told them they could divorce their wives (Deu 24:1-4). But Jesus came to clarify. It should make you think of all the times that Jesus said: “You have heard it said… but I say…” So, we begin our examination of Jesus Christ’s eschatology with the understanding that Jesus Christ may clarify and complete “biblical principles” (including prophecy), especially knowing that Christ said: “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.” – (Lk 24:44)
I continued to separate the readers from historic Christianity by making him think that “well of course the Church can be wrong & they were majorly wrong on eschatology”. Mind you, I wasn’t conscious of what I was doing at the time. I’m sure, like many hyperpreterists today I thought I was sincerely trying to help people navigate the morass. I wanted to equate the Christian with the Jew in that the Jews missed their Messiah & somehow I wanted to claim that the Christian too had missed their Messiah…when He came a second time. It seems perfectly logical until we understand that the New Covenant isn’t like the Old. Jesus came to reveal what those FORMER types & shadows were (Heb 8:4-6). If Jesus came to merely add more types & shadows & leave the Church in as much darkness as the Jews were behind the veil of Moses, then the New Covenant isn’t any more “light” than the Old. (Heb 8:5-7). The hyperpreterist MUST get the potential convert to think he could be a confused as the Jews.
The eschatology of Jesus Christ is mainly to be found in what is called “The Olivet Discourse”, so called because He gave this discussion while seated on the Mount of Olives, which overlooked Jerusalem. (Mt 24:3, Mk 13:3, Lk 21:7) The scene starts with Jesus seated on the mountain with at least a few disciples. He had just pronounced so the so-called “Eight Woes” against the Jewish leaders. (Mt 23:13-39) At the end of the woes, Jesus tells the leaders, “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate” (vs 38)
Another thing that hyperpreterists do is make use of the general lack of knowledge within the Church today of how passages have been historically interpreted. As you can see, my presentation of the Olivet Discourse may seem unique when compared to the “Left Behindism” of men like Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey & others but if a person examines the historical commentaries on the Olivet Discourse, they will quickly see that this interpretation isn’t so new (see refs). What hyperpreterists do is take that general lack of knowledge within the Christian community today & parlay it into an argument that makes it look like Christianity in general has missed it. When the potential convert reads hyperpreterist material, he sees the correctness in the initial presentation but doesn’t realize the hyperpreterist has actually stolen the interpretation from historic Christianity & has not given credit to Christianity.
It is important to have that context because it frames what was discussed during The Olivet Discourse. The disciples had just heard Jesus declare that the Temple (house) was going to be left desolate (not typologically inhabited by God), thus they were concerned. Now, keep in mind that to a first-century Jew, the Temple was everything. It was their center of existence. It was the typological “presence” of God among them. It would have shocked even Jesus’ disciples to hear Him proclaim its destruction. So, His disciples wanted to make certain He meant what they thought He was saying, thus we see their inquiries: “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” — (Mk 13:1 see also Mt 24:1 & Lk 21:5) Jesus’ response didn’t comfort them, but only made clear that He had meant what they thought. Jesus said: “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” (Mt 24:2, Mk 13:2, Lk 21:6) Now, we take our minds back to the scene of The Olivet Discourse. Jesus just gave His most profound denouncement of the Jewish leaders. He had announced the destruction of the Temple and indeed the entire city of Jerusalem and now He and some of His disciples are sitting on the Mount of Olives. I can imagine there were quiet whispers among the disciples. “No, you ask Him…” But finally the awkward moment had to be confronted and we are told Peter, James, John and Andrew began to question Him privately saying: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?” (Mt 24:3, Mk 13:3-4, Lk 21:7) Have you noticed that when I’m speaking about The Olivet Discourse, I keep quoting from 3 different books in the New Testament? Obviously it is because all of these books give an account of the discourse. We should not think this an inconsequential thing that we have these triplicate accounts. They are not merely repeating the same thing but offering the reader a clearer picture into what is being said. The Bible is a remarkable book in that regard.
Here, I am about to make the classic setup from a hyperpreterist. I am getting the reader to see the force of the interpretation all without mentioning that historic Christianity has ALWAYS understood how these events pertained to the AD70 destruction of the Temple & of Jerusalem. But since many modern Christians sitting in pews in predominantly Dispensational influenced churches have only heard Mt 24/Mk 13/Lk 21 associated with some future revived Roman Empire destroying some restored Israel, the correct elucidation of the texts usually hits the unaware Christian as an “OH WOW!!!” moment. Many unsuspecting Christians from that moment on are prime for the hyperpreterist redefinition of Christianity.
The account that is most associated with the so-called “end times” teachings is Matthew 24:3. “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mt 24:3) Many so-called prophecy teachers will say the disciples were asking 3 distinctive questions, not really related. But you can look at Mark 13:3-4 & Luke 21:7 and you can clearly see that the disciples understood all of these questions to pertain to one event – THE ESCHATON, or rather what some refer to as the “end times”. These events weren’t understood as being some in the past and some in the future, but rather all were interrelated and connected. Some prophecy teachers will even admit this but then they will say the disciples were simply mistaken to connect the events together. (i.e. Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy pg 155) The problem with this supposition is that during the rest of the discourse, Jesus never corrects them – thus they were not mistaken to connect the events. Now, if the context for the beginning of the “end times” is the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, how then does it follow that we think the “end times” is a future earth-ending cataclysmic event? Let us continue to examine Jesus’ eschatology.
Notice how I continue to contrast the hyperpreterist interpretation (which isn’t really the hyperpreterist interpretation but actually mainly historic Christian interpretation), with the typical dispensational interpretation, even making reference to a dispensational book. But I add a spin to it. as a hyperpreterist I am doing what historic Christians did not do. I, like all hyperpreterists am lumping the historic interpretation in with a new heretical teaching — hyperpreterism & so I am using a legitimate interpretation to piggy back my heresy. Typical cultic behavior.
Jesus’ first response to their questions was: See to it that no one misleads you. (Mt 24:4, Mk 13:5, Lk 21:8) Notice the personal pronoun – YOU. Jesus wasn’t glossing over the disciples, but was warning them. They were to experience the events about which they were asking. But as we have stated, there is a reason the Bible gives more than one account. Let us look at Luke 21:8 And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near’ Do not go after them. (Lk 21:8) Someone may try to object about the contemporaneousness of Christ’s eschatology being set only in the first-century, by saying: “See, Jesus told them the time wasn’t near”. Perhaps the very next verse in Luke will help shed light on what Jesus meant by His warning. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately. (Lk 21:9, note also Mt 24:6 & Mk 13:7) Ahhh, so He was telling them there were more signs they must watch for BEFORE He would return. And notice the pronoun YOU, again. The disciples were to experience these “signs”.
Now I’m in full hyperpreterist mode, doing what is called time-texting. I am trying to limit the overall context to only the first-century. Realizing that the reader may balk, I even try to anticipate & answer that objection. I want to claim that there is no way that Jesus could be addressing the immediate commencement of events that would mark not the end of the world but the end of the Jewish Old Covenant age. I am lumping together, by way of using the erroneous dispensational interpretation both the historic events & the future culmination of God’s plan. Ultimately, as a hyperpreterist like all hyperpreterists I am ending the New Covenant at the very moment it started.
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. Next, we begin to see the details of what many prophecy teachers say are the “signs of the end times” – You know; “nation again nation”, earthquakes, increased persecution, a falling away, tribulation, false prophets, lawlessness, and betrayal. (Mt 24:7-12, Mk 13:8-12, Lk 21:10-17) I ask, which of these things DIDN’T happen to the disciples not too long after Jesus had warned them of these very things? So, we see that the disciples and first-century Christians were living in the “end times”. Wait, before you protest – “BUT, BUT, BUT, the end times couldn’t have happened yet because X Y & Z hasn’t happened yet”. Did we not agree that Jesus often corrected the suppositions of people? Could it be possible you are supposing something about the “end times” that Christ never taught?
As the hyperpreterist technique is, you can see I’m still comparing my hyperpreterism with dispensationalism. I’m still trying to undermine the reader’s trust in what he has been taught — as if he has been duped all this time. I am narrowing his vision down to the first-century.
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. We go now to Matthew 24:14 wherein we see this statement by Jesus: This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Mt 24:14) AH-HA!!! Proclaims the would-be detractors, thinking they have rebuffed the whole concept of the first-century “end times”. They will continue by saying the gospel was never preached to the whole world in the first-century, thus Jesus couldn’t have been speaking about the first-century end times. Really? If I were a non-believer, I might instead say Jesus was wrong altogether then. Certainly, up to this point it was obvious that the so-called “signs” were to be experienced by the disciples. So, if suddenly here we say this is all future, because we suppose that the gospel wasn’t preached to the entire world, then we make Jesus’ words out to be muddled.
I just employed another tactic of hyperpreterism. What I’m doing here is more or less cornering the reader as if I’m saying, “You don’t want to disagree with Jesus do you?”. Of course they wouldn’t — the problem is, if what hyperpreterism claims is true, then 2000 years of Christian interpretation has disagreed with Jesus. This would mean everything we’ve know as Christian, since day one of the Church has been all wrong (not just eschatology). And surprisingly many people are okay with that. They think they can continue to claim God is sovereign yet at the same time claim His plan has utterly failed. That the Church has been duped perhaps worse than the Jews were when they missed the Messiah the first time around. Instead, we might want to look at traditional interpretations of Mt 24:14. (see Gill, Lightfoot reads: “Jerusalem was not to be destroyed before the gospel was spread over all the world”) So, the bigger question isn’t whether the gospel was or wasn’t preached in the whole world but why although the bulk commentators saw this as the spreading of the Gospel BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, YET they did not conclude a hyperpreterist interpretation. Were they really all duped??? Why doesn’t the hyperpreterist interact with this? Because it would show their overarching premise is that God failed. The Church failed. Christians for 2000 years have failed. It would show that hyperpreterism MUST replace the Christianity that has always been & replace it with something else.
How so you might ask? Well, let us look closer at the concept of THE END. Is Jesus here talking about an earth-ending end? As a matter of fact, during the entire discourse what does He mean by THE END? The end of what? Our context is in the very question of the disciples. As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mt 24:3) What age was Jesus talking about? What age was about to come? If the reader of this work is a Christian, then you must know that Jesus came to institute the New Covenant and the AGE of the New Covenant. Thus, Jesus was talking about THE END of the Old Covenant AGE. The most profound representation of the Old Covenant age, was the Temple and the entire Jewish system, which Jesus spoke about at the beginning of His discourse, and was the very subject that prompted the disciples to ask their questions.
As I continue to lead the reader along, I am playing on the typical dispensational interpretations. Again, you notice I have not yet revealed that everything I’ve said so far in favor of hyperpreterism is actually & simply, the historic Christian interpretation. But since my target as a hyperpreterist was the typical “Left-behinder”, I chip away at this.
Perhaps, some will attempt to insert another age, like a “Church Age” between the Old Covenant age and the New Covenant age. First off, the Bible only speaks covenantally about two ages; the one about to END & the one about to BEGIN. The question then to the reader is, which AGE are we in now? And if THE END referred to in The Olivet Discourse is the END OF THE OLD COVENANT AGE, then either Jesus was incorrect in Matthew 24:14 when He said the gospel had to be preached to the entire world OR we misunderstand what He meant by “all the world”. For those objecting to “all the world” merely being all the known world or the main sphere of influence, let us look at some other texts in the New Testament that uses this phraseology. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (Lk 2:1 KJV) Since no one doubts the timing of this event as occurring in the past, there is no dispute over the fact that Caesar Augustus DID NOT tax all the world, but merely those areas under Roman domination. Thus, when we see phraseology like this we need to be careful not to make it more than it is. For example, would it even be possible to preach the gospel to every single person while people are still having babies daily?
More playing on the readers’ dispensational concepts. We have already established that historic Christian interpretation did NOT follow the dispensationalism I’m using to contrast hyperpreterism. So, far as a hyperpreterist I’ve only built a strawman & set fire to it — in a very meticulous way, but fire none the less.
But in case there is someone out there still clinging to this one verse as their hold out against Christ’s own eschatology, let us give some more verses to help. because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; (Col 1:5-6) if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Col 1:23) Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; (Rom 16:25-26) How much clearer can a case be made for the gospel being preached in “all the world”, even so much that Paul states in Colossians 1:23 that it was proclaimed to all creation under heaven or as the KJV translation of the Bible says, “to every creature under heaven”.
Even though I was getting bolder with my assertions that the reader might be holding an eschatology that is not “Christ’s own eschatology”, I’ve really gained no ground here. I am still burning the same strawman & not revealing to the reader that the dispensational interpretation is not the only interpretation. Now, granted at the time I wrote this hyperpreterist article, I’m sure I didn’t intentionally try to deceive as I’m sure neither do SOME other hyperpreterist writers. But it is important that I conveniently left out the detail that historically, Christians have NOT interpreted the text as the dispensationalists have.
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. We now go to Matthew 24:15 Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), (Mt 24:15) Here again, the detractor of Christ’s eschatology will complain that the abomination of desolation did not happen in the first-century, thus they will say, Jesus wasn’t talking about the first-century. There is a problem with understanding this verse as future and it is found right in the very verse, with this phrase: “…standing in the holy place” When Jesus was speaking this verse, WHERE WAS THE HOLY PLACE???? Was it not in the very Temple that was about to be destroyed by the Romans? So, whatever the abomination of desolation WAS, it happened while the HOLY PLACE still existed – in the first-century. Many prophecy teachers will try to get around this by saying there will be a new temple (thus “holy place”) built in the future and it will be there that the abomination of desolation will stand. As intriguing as a rebuilt temple might sound, even if such a temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem, it would never be considered the “holy place”, because once that former temple was destroyed God was never again to dwell in a house made with hands as we see from these verses. an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:21-24) The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; (Acts 17:24) Do we really think God will go from the shadow and type of typologically dwelling in earthly-temples to dwelling among us and then back to the former and crude manner of dwelling in temples made with hands? No, the concept of a future rebuilt temple so that a prophecy teacher can make the abomination of desolation a yet future event is both an unwarranted and reckless way to understand the Bible.
I’m sorry reader, but as a hyperpreterist, I was STILL using dispensationalism to contrast hyperpreterism. Though I appeal to the reader’s probable association of the abomination as some future event, I never tell them that Adam Clarke, John Calvin, & others did NOT see this as some future event. Again, what hyperpreterists seem to never get around to telling us is how these many theologians could have seen so much of this as past events relating to AD70, YET they didn’t conclude anything like hyperpreterism.
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. We go back to our exposition of Christ’s eschatology by looking at Matthew 24:16-24 In these verses we see warnings to the local residences and those in the environs around Jerusalem, the city which Jesus declared would be soon destroyed in the first-century. Jesus tells them to flee to the mountains and hope that their journey was not in the winter, on the Sabbath, or while the women are pregnant or nursing. How would such a warning relate to some future-to-us event? But it makes perfect sense in the first-century context and with the context of the whole of The Olivet Discourse. For Jews and Christians alike were still at that time observing the Sabbath and to flee on that day would not get them far enough away from the ensuing destruction because the observance of the Sabbath required that a person not travel great distances, which would later be defined as no more than approximately 1 kilometer .
Again, (and I’ll keep saying it just to make the point) my above hyperpreterist explanation is ignoring that historically, Christian interpreters DIDN’T apply this to some “future-to-us event”. Do you see yet how I actually refuted my ENTIRE former hyperpreterist mentality shortly after I began this refutation?? Of course what remains is for us to lay out then (1) how Christians could see all of this as past & yet not conclude hyperpreterism (2) what then were the “consistent” conclusions of these interpreters (that will be a later article. Stay tuned).
We should take a moment to hone in on Matthew 24:21 because it is here where people whom have not been able to stand their ground on some of the other objections, decide to camp. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Mt 24:21) The would-be protester will decry, “See!!! That didn’t happen in the first-century destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple because there have been far greater wars like WW1 & WW2”. But when people so object they are thinking merely of quantities of destruction rather than qualities. I mean to say, what WAS EVER, or COULD EVER be worse than the complete casting off of the typological people, the typological city, and the typological house of God? You can combine all the wars of history past, present and future and nothing will compare to the utter effect of the destruction that occurred in the first-century to that entire typological system. It is a matter of WHAT happened, not how much happened. So, when you hear prophecy teachers speaking about THE GREAT TRIBULATION in the future and how some people think Christians will be removed from the earth before (pre-tribulation) or during (mid-tribulation), or after (post-tribulation) the great tribulation, you can be assured that this tribulation happened in the first-century and there was NO REMOVAL OF CHRISTIANS, as we see from Jesus’ warning, they fled to the mountains and surrounding areas. The destruction that came upon the city of Jerusalem and the environs of Judea was of such a magnitude that had it been any more thorough it would have been possible that the very existence of both Jew and Christian (since Christians in the first-century were considered merely a Jewish sect) would have ceased. Thus it is fitting what we see Jesus saying in Matthew 24:22. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Mt 24:22)
I have to admit here, that even some non-dispensational expressions of Christianity assume some catastrophic future tribulation is in store, however many historic Christian interpretations DO see the tribulation as the events that we coming upon the Jewish nation. (see ref) . Again, this would lead to a discussion of how these Christians have seen the Tribulation as past & yet not become hyperpreterists. It does NOT mean that we should accept hyperpreterism by default.
But what is more interesting is that verse 22 of the Luke’s account of The Olivet Discourse reads thus: because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. (Lk 21:22) What was this ALL THINGS WRITTEN? If we consider that the entire Bible is pointing towards the consummation we might say that “all things written” denotes the plan of the Bible was completed in those days of vengeance upon those ultimately rebellious people, people that typified general human rebellion again God. But if the reader rejects that conclusion they must at least accept that the “all things written” were at least the things written concerning the “end times” which was upon that generation of people.
I must apologize to the reader, for when I was challenged to refute my own former hyperpreterist teaching (which some had called “great”) I thought there would be more to it, but as I step through each line, I see I was merely repeating myself & making assertions without backing them up. I was building strawmen & ignoring that there is ANOTHER, more unified, historical Christian interpretation of these texts other than “Left Behindism”. The only thing I was doing as a hyperpreterist was using the “Left Behinder” mentaliy against people. It is sort of like a Muslim proselytizing a Mormon by telling the Mormon how false his view is. All things fulfilled means little when pulled out of its context. For example, Jesus said ““Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” — Mt 17:11-12 Did Elijah (i.e. John the Baptist “restore all things”?? I thought according to hyperpreterism, that was what Jesus would do in AD70. Further, we read: “Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. “Lk 18:31. Wait! according to how hyperpreterists want us to read the phrase “all things”, we MUST believe “all things” were fulfilled when Jesus went up to Jerusalem. I guess even the hyperpreterists are wrong to mark AD70 since “all things” were fulfilled before that. Whoops! back to the paradigm drawing board.
While we are still in Luke’s account, let us back up for a moment to verse 20. But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. (Lk 21:20) It is more than noteworthy to bring this verse to the reader’s attention. Remember, that Jesus is speaking with His disciples. He is giving them “signs” to know as they asked, “when all these things are going to be fulfilled”, and “what will be the sign when these things are about to take place” (Mt 24:3, Mk 13:4, Lk 21:7) It is then significant that we see this mention of the impending destruction of Jerusalem in the middle of all the other so-called “signs of the end times”. To try as some prophecy teachers do and segment some things as having happened in the first-century and others to happen in the yet future is a very dishonest approach to the plain reading of the text.
Now I really begin to display the over-arching premise of hyperpreterism — while not telling the reader that most historic Christian commentaries understood Lk 21:20 as speaking specifically of the events that would take place in AD70, the hyperpreterist approach (not just my own former approach) is to begin to equate historic Christiain interpretation with being “dishonest” & not understanding the “plain reading”. This means that 2000 years of Christians have been “dishonest” & have not understood the “plain reading” of Scripture. As I look back, I’m amazed at the arrogance it takes to hold to hyperpreterism.
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. We shall resume at verse 25 of Matthew 24. Behold, I have told you in advance. (Mt 24:25) Notice again the personal pronoun – YOU. Jesus was warning His audience, the disciples in advance, of the things many of them would experience. If they would not experience it, then why warn them at all? I have seen some detractors reply to this question by saying Jesus was warning the first-century generation and all ensuing generations just to “keep them on their toes”. So, the detractor would have us believe Jesus purposely was misleading people with false illusions? I’m sorry but that kind of reasoning not only does grave injustice to the entire text of The Olivet Discourse, but it undermines the credibility of Christ Himself.
Actually what undermines the credibility of Christ is to claim that He was unable to effectively relate His supposed hyperpreterist plan so that even a small group of Christians would continue to hold to it. But we see, immediately before & immediately AFTER AD70, no Christian of mention can be cited that held to anything like hyperpreterism. I have seen hyperpreterists & probably myself quoting theologians in a manner that make them seem to support hyperpreterism but I didn’t used to tell the reader that the theologians’ overall belief was ALWAYS against a hyperpreterist interpretation. Hyperpreterism not only REALLY undermines Christ’s credibility since it makes Christ an ineffective teacher, but hyperpreterism undermines God as being able to sovereignly bring about His plan, if it was a hyperpreterist plan. It undermines the apostles as teachers since apparently they would have been unable to relate a hyperpreterist view that would stick with those first Christians. It undermines the Holy Spirit’s outworking within the community of saints throughout the centuries. It undermines Christianity in general since it makes Christianity to be one big lie or at least one big long misunderstanding of major proportions. (which is actually the purpose of hyperpreterism — to undermine Christianity & replace it with something else).
Before we continue in Matthew’s account, let us look over on Luke’s account at verse 24. and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Lk 21:24) We ask again, did the people living in Jerusalem in the first-century “fall by the edge of the sword”? Were they led captive into all the nations? Was Jerusalem trampled underfoot by the Gentiles? – Indeed! Then why do so-called prophecy teachers keep telling people that these events are yet future?
Once again, my comparisons as a hyperpreterist were between hyperpreterism & “prophecy teachers” which means, “Left Behinders”. Perhaps in retrospect I should have named the essay, Refuting Dispensationalism By Using Historic Christian Interpretations But Pretending It is Just Hyperpreterism. Yeah, that title would have been too long & too revealing of what was really going on with the essay.
We now resume our exposition of Matthew’s account, starting at verse 26 through 27. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Mt 24:26-27) Jesus here continues to warn His disciples not to be fooled by “false christs”, for all during the first-century there were people claiming to be the Messiah. But Jesus goes on to tell His disciples that His coming would be as obvious as “lightning flashes”. How so? Well, did He not just give them very specific signs to mark His return? What is very striking is the very next verse. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. (Mt 24:28) Where have we seen this verse before and why is it plopped down in the middle of these signs? Let us look for a moment at Luke 17:22-37 Here is the account of Jesus telling His disciples about the coming Day of the Son of Man. In this account, Jesus compares Noah’s days and Lot’s days to the coming Day of the Son of Man. In the days of Noah & the days of Lot people went about their business and then destruction came upon them suddenly. The only ones “left behind” were Noah & his family in his days, and Lot & his daughters in his days (from Sodom & Gomorrah). Thus, we see Jesus telling how two people are in bed and one will be taken and the other left. Two women grinding grain and one will be taken and the other left. Two men in a field and one will be taken and the other left. These verses are often used by prophecy teachers to espouse an erroneous teaching called the “rapture”, wherein they say at the “end times” Christians will be whisked off the planet and non-believers will be left behind. But now we get to our verse in question. Verse 37. And answering they said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” (Lk 17:37) Compare this with Matthew 24:28 and it begins to come together. In neither instance was Jesus talking about a rapture or whisking of people off the planet, but as is clear from Luke 17:37, Jesus was talking about how some people would be taken in destruction. Just in case some detractor is still objecting, let us look more closely at the question the disciples were asking Jesus in Luke 17:37. Jesus had just finished talking about people being taken. The disciples were perplexed as to where these people were being taken. Now, if as the prophecy teachers want us to believe, these people were to be raptured to be with the Lord, you would think Jesus’ response would be something like: “They will be taken to be with Me & the Father in Heaven”. But instead Jesus clarifies the case when He says where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered. Or as we see in Mt 24:28, it says corpse. This is a picture of destruction. Those taken were taken in destruction and left to be picked over by vultures. Such was the case in Noah’s days, Lot’s days and in the Day of the Son of Man. But just in case there is yet one last person that refuses to let the plain text speak, we shall also look at Matthew 24:37-41 which is a parallel account of that in Luke 17. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. (Mt 24:37-41) Notice how it says “until the flood came and TOOK THEM ALL AWAY”. The reference of the taking away is to the people taken in destruction, and NOT to taking Noah & his family away, for Noah & his family never left the earth. The entire “rapture” concept is thus destroyed.
If it isn’t clear by now that this entire essay I did as a hyperpreterist is actually just a refutation of “Left Behindism”, is should be obvious now since I make the case against the typical rapture teaching. Historic Christianity ALSO concludes these verses DON’T talk about a rapture. (see ref)
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. We resume at Mt 24:29, Mk 13:24-25, & Lk 21:25-26 But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Mt 24:29) Now, here again the detractor may grumble saying this certainly did not happen in the first-century. But before we get caught up in their trap, let us remember we have already established that the “tribulation of those days” was the very tribulation that occurred to the first-century generation. Thus, if as the text says here, that IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION comes these events, we are constrained by logic and reason to place the events immediately within the first-century. What then do we say? Our response will not be lengthy, otherwise this could become a completely other subject. But merely we invite the reader to consider that prophetic language is commonly used by prophets and thus by Jesus. Some people have concluded that what Jesus meant to this cosmic reference was to say Jerusalem and the Temple, the “sun and moon” and light of the Old Covenant world was vanishing away to be replaced by the eternal light of the New Covenant – Christ Jesus.
Interestingly, if this essay WASN’T trying to get the reader to conclude a hyperpreterist interpretation, it could have stood on its own simply as a refutation of “Left Behindism” — well if I added more to it to explain how even though many things were fulfilled in the first-century with the destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple, that there remained a consummation of God’s plan. Maybe an essay for another day.
Next we see the glorious CLOUD COMING of Jesus Christ. It is here that most people object. For that say that people must literally and visibly see Jesus surfing on a cloud. Let us look closer at Mt 24:30, Mk 13:26, & Lk 21:27 wherein we are given this account. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (Mt 24:30) Here is the problem the detractor has to keep grappling with, that everything Jesus is addressing speaks directly to the disciples and expects them to be witnesses of these events. If the detractor keeps going “AH-HA! – That didn’t happen!” then the only thing the detractor is doing is undermining the credibility of Christ. So, when we come to a verse like Mt 24:30 we can either undermine like the detractor does or we can try to understand what is meant in the context of Jesus’ discourse with His disciples. We can do this by looking at other references to this same event (as mentioned by Christ Himself). We see such a mention during the High Priest’s interrogation of Jesus when Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin. The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” (Mt 26:62-64) As you can see, Jesus is here addressing the same cloud coming and He says pointedly that the High Priest would see Him coming on the clouds. How is it the High Priest would see such an event if it was not to happen until way in the future after the High Priest was dead & gone? We must keep in mind that in the Bible, “Cloud Comings” were denotations of comings in judgment. Is not that what all of The Olivet Discourse is about?
What I missed as a hyperpreterist was that Dan 7:13-14 sheds light on what Jesus ACTUALLY meant by His many mentions of “coming in/on/with the clouds”: “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” Notice where the Son of Man came to on the clouds — to or before the Ancient of Days, before the Father. Now, we are NOT saying that the cloud comings of Christ are merely about the ascension, but more about Jesus’ vindication as the Christ He claimed to be. This is the reason that in Mt 26:62-64 Jesus is telling the High Priest about this coming in the clouds — the High Priest is going to see Jesus vindicated as the Messiah. It ISN’T about Jesus coming in AD70 or the future…though Jesus certainly will come again, these verses aren’t about that.
Let us continue in the examination of Christ’s eschatology. Next we see Jesus talking about the gathering of the elect from the farthest end of the earth. (Mt 24:31 & Mk 13:27) Again, some prophecy teachers try to explain this as some sort of rapture, but rather we see that instead Jesus is simply saying that Christians will come from farthest end of the earth – Christianity will spread to many areas soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, and indeed that is exactly what happened. Now we look at the so-called parable of the Fig Tree. It is the faulty interpretation of these few verses that have dictated over a half-century of middle-east concept and policy. Let us quote the verse and then we’ll discuss it more. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; (Mt 24:32) What the prophecy teachers do is take this verse and say it speaks of the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948, saying the fig tree signifies Israel. Thus, they claim (even in light of everything else that speaks of a first-century context for the Olivet Discourse), that the bulk if not all of The Olivet Discourse is speaking of times starting at 1948. How foolish an interpretation, especially in light of the parallel account in Lk 21:29-30. Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. (Lk 21:29-30) You notice this account says, “and all the trees”. Jesus was not trying to signify anything more than that He was utilizing a common event such as the approach of a season being known by the budding of trees to show His disciples that they could know His coming was near by the “signs” He had given them. It is rather hypocritical for our detractors to lambaste us as overly spiritualizing the text, when they take such a simple verse as this and make it out to be referring to the re-establishment of Israel.
Ok sooooo Hyperpret Roderick? All you’ve done is go on & on against “Left Behindism”, but you really haven’t done anything to establish hyperpreterism except steal historic Christian interpretations & claim they are hyperpreterist interpretations. I can’t really disagree with much I’ve said, BUT I do disagree with my hyperpreterist conclusions.
We will conclude our exposition of Jesus Christ’s eschatology at His own conclusion of His eschatology. so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Mt 24:33-34, Mk 13:29-30, & Lk 21:31-32) Notice again, the use of the personal pronoun – YOU. Were the disciples supposed to disregard this direct statement to them? Further, Jesus says THIS GENERATION, the very generation that He was addressing; the first-century generation would not pass away until all these things (everything in The Olivet Discourse) took place. Now, as I am concluding, you may be wondering why I have not quoted from Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Jeremiah, or even the book of Revelation. Well, as the title of this work states, I wanted to address the eschatology of Jesus Christ and it is here in The Olivet Discourse where Jesus lays out His eschatology from His own mouth. There is no shadow and type of all those Old Testament books to wrangle with. If the Old Testament interpretations don’t correlate with Jesus’ own clear words here in The Olivet Discourse, I will assume I’m only looking at a veiled image in the Old Testament texts. I would rather stick with Jesus Christ’s clear account than speculate about shadows and types.
And indeed, that generation DIDN’T pass away before it saw the destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple, the vindication of Jesus as the Messiah as His “cloud coming” manifested, the realization of the kingdom which ever expands. When hyperpreterists try to use the phrase; “this generation shall not pass away until all these things take place”, the hyperpreterists plays fast & loose with what was going on. They take a hyperbole out of context & try to apply it to everything else. And since many of the hyperpreterists’ targets are “Left Behinders”, they are left without a very good defense against the “logic” of hyperpreterism. But in the quote from the essay, it its telling how a pit the O.T. against the N.T. — Dan 7:13-14 revealed a lot about what Jesus meant about His cloud comings yet I in the hyperpreterism mode simply dismissed it.
As for the book of Revelation, that book does indeed give details about the end of the age events BUT… if in an attempt to interpret the events spoken of in the book of Revelation, a prophecy teacher contradicts the plain eschatology of Jesus Christ in The Olivet Discourse, then that prophecy teacher ought to be rejected. Indeed, many prophecy teachers speculate so much that they turn mention of chariots and scorpions into tanks and helicopters. The wild speculations of prophecy teachers and “end times” series authors are of such affront to the plain eschatology of Jesus Christ that it is sad how easily any Christian can consume their nonsense. I urge the reader of this work to consider more closely and intently the eschatology of Jesus Christ over and above anything they or anyone else might “believe”. If Christ’s own words in The Olivet Discourse are made out by the prophecy teachers to be so unclear, then there is not hope or reason to wade and speculate on the shadows and types of the Old Testament or the highly figurative language of the book of Revelation. Who cares what you and I “believe” about the “end times”, what did Jesus actually teach?
So, I conclude my hyperpreterist essay as I had begun it; urging the reader to disconnect from historic interpretation & instead narrow down their interpretation on the Olivet Discourse. I continue right to the end to compare hyperpreterism to Left Behindism. Folks, this is how hyperpreterism typically operates — it high jacks legitimate interpretations/concepts & claims they are “preterist” & then gets the reader/potential convert to work within that framework. Well if there was only “Left Behindism” or hyperpreterism to choose from, I think I’d be an atheist (as many former hyperpreterists become), since both “Left Behindism” & hyperpreterism are demonstrably false (it was not the intention of this refutation of Roderick Edwards the Hyperpreterist to lay out all the basis for historic interpretation — but merely to show how faulty my reasoning/tactics were while I was under the influence of hyperpreterism).
Much of hyperpreterist arguementation is like this; if you didn’t know better it would simply sound like a classic proposition of historic Christian interpretation — except hyperpreterists go HYPER (above & beyond the original intent & scope) & interpret the text in a way Christianity has NEVER interpreted it. In effect, hyperpreterism is NOT Christian. And THAT is why I am no longer a hyperpreterist. I hope this refutation of my former essay helps a person come out of hyperpreterism or keeps someone from falling into it.
Unfortunately, you may see some of my former hyperpreterist material posted around the Internet, especially by bitter hyperpreterists that like to post my material to try to stick it to me; almost as if saying, “Ha Ha! Roderick, you hate hyperpreterism but lookee, you are actually STILL creating hyperpreterists with your writings.” First off, these hyperpreterists that post my former articles do so against my wishes. I have repeatedly told them I alone own my material & they do not have right to republish it, yet they have no morals or ethics & continue to do whatever they want. Keep this in mind if you ever see them posting one of my articles. I can almost promise you they WON’T publish this on their sites.

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