Truths are often learned in the context of debates with error.











Dedicated to the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland,

A good and faithful servant.











©2002 J. Parnell McCarter.  All Rights Reserved.

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The Puritans’ Home School Curriculum




I have written this critique of full preterism as part of my preparation for a public debate with full preterist Don Preston (minister and author) scheduled for August 18, 2002 on the nationwide Genesis Radio Network.  Its goal is to present in summary format an explanation of why full preterism, along with the general preteristic hermeneutic, should be rejected.  And while it is primarily a critique of full preterism, it is also a defense of historicistic post-millennialism.  For it is not sufficient simply to reveal the fallacies of preterism; it is necessary to present the alternative which properly interprets the eschatological prophecies of scripture.  For those who are interested in the discussion now underway between historicistic (aka historical) post-millennialists and preterists, I hope this treatment will at least be a helpful introduction.  It is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will prove expansive.


There is another objective, however, underlying this project, consisting of a public debate as well as this book responding to full preterism.  As Christians, we are called upon to defend the Christian faith.  It is a goal of The Puritans’ Home School Curriculum to equip our children to understand and defend the doctrines of scripture so excellently summarized in the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity.  Hopefully this book, and the project of which it is a part, will illustrate to children reading it just one example of how the reformed faith is being defended.  By reading this book, they should not only learn something about the issues involved on the particular topic, but also how one may apply knowledge of the faith in defense of that faith.  As parents, we should be building defenders of the reformed Protestant faith.



- J. Parnell McCarter






Since I have been invited to participate by John Anderson in a public discussion and debate on the “Voice of Reason” broadcast with preterist Don Preston, the question of whether I should really be the historicistic post-millennialist to do this has crossed my mind often.  Am I really the one to articulate the eschatological position which has been maintained by such notable theologians as Drs. John Owen, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Knox, the Westminster divines, Patrick Fairbairn, and Francis Nigel Lee, not even to mention the Apostles Paul, John, and so forth.  Well I want to concede at the outset what should be obvious to everyone: I am not the person most qualified to defend historicistic post-millennialism.  But I am reminded of the words in  I Peter 3:15 which say “[be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”.  I feel duty-bound to defend my Christian hope which is so eloquently expressed in the Westminster Larger Catechism thus:


in the second petition [of the Lord’s Prayer], (which is, Thy kingdom come) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate: that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted:  that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.


This is what I am here to defend to the best of my ability, however insufficient that may be.


Now this Biblical doctrine of hope is objected to by full preterists who deny Christ’s future second coming and by pre-millennial dispensationalists and other pessimistic futurists who deny our obligation and hope to establish Christian societies and governments before Christ’s second coming.  As I see it, these objectors to historicistic post-millennialism maintain a common fallacy: they try to impose a flawed and overly simplistic hermeneutic upon all the prophecies of scripture.  In the case of dispensational futurists, their flawed hermeneutic says we must in all cases impose a literalistic interpretation upon prophetic visions whenever possible.  So if the book of Ezekiel prophesies a future Temple where animal sacrifices are performed, then you can bet your bottom dollar that such a brick-and-mortar Temple will yet be re-built in fulfillment of the prophecy.  Never mind that Jesus Christ referred to Himself as the Temple who would be raised in three days and how that and other passages might affect how we should interpret the prophecy in Ezekiel.  “Ezekiel said it, and we are going to believe it,” so says the dispensational futurist.


Well, when we come to preterism we meet with a similar flawed and overly simplistic hermeneutic which - I hate to say- is shoved down the throat of scripture.  The partial preterist Dr. Kenneth Gentry has succinctly stated this full and partial preteristic hermeneutic thus: "I hold that passages specifically delimiting the time-frame by temporal indicators (such as "this generation," "shortly," "at hand," "near," and similar wording) are to be applied to A. D. 70." (July 1997 issue of Chalcedon Report,  in an article entitled "A Brief Theological Analysis of Hyper-Preterism) “So when we come to the book of Revelation and we read that ‘Jesus is coming shortly’, well that has got to mean that this reference to Jesus’ coming occurred within decades of when the prophecy was written,” so says the preterist. “After all,” the preterist says, “the Bible says it, and you can bet your bottom dollar that we are going to believe it.”  Never mind that within that same book of Revelation that coming of Jesus Christ is said to come after **at least** what it calls “a thousand years” have expired.  And never mind that it depicts kingdoms rising and falling in the intervening years, through the prophetic symbol of beasts.  And never mind that when it depicts what Christ’s coming Day of Judgment will be like, it presents an image of all the living and the dead who have ever lived standing together in front of their Judge, King Jesus Christ on that day, which never happened in 70 AD or any other year in the past history of mankind.  And never mind many other principles of sound interpretation of prophecy, which are simply washed aside by preterism.  “Jesus said He was coming soon, and we are going to believe it,” so says the preterist.


I would like to explain to both preterists and futurists why they should re-consider their methods. And specifically with regards to full preterism, I would like to present from scripture why we should believe in a coming Day of Judgment in which all the living and the dead will stand before their judge, King Jesus, who will then allow His elect to eternally reside with Him in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth while He sends the reprobate to eternally reside in Hell.  Also, I would like to outline the time indicators of the New Testament which suggested that the Day of Judgment was likely going to occur a long time after the Apostolic era; and I would like to rehearse some principles of interpreting prophecy from the Old Testament which we must apply to the New Testament as well.  Finally, I would like to answer, as time permits, some of the objections of full preterism.




What is historicistic post-millennialism and why does it matter anyway?


Before comparing historicistic post-millennialism with preterism, it is important first to explain clearly what historicistic post-millennialism is.  Historicism interprets the eschatological prophecies described in Revelation, II Thessalonians 2, Matthew 24 and other relevant passages as unfolding over the history of mankind, from the First Advent to the future Second Advent, just as it interprets the prophecies of Daniel as unfolding over a vast expanse of time.  This contrasts with futurism which tends to confine their fulfillment to some future time in a relatively short time frame, and it contrasts with preterism which tends to consign their fulfillment to the distant past, generally in the Apostolic era.  Historicism identifies that Man of Sin and Beast of Revelation with the Romish Papacy.  Post-millennialism interprets the millennium of Revelation 20 as following the diminution and eradication of  spiritual power of the Romish Papacy and her daughter whores, when reformed Protestantism will enjoy greater prosperity.  Historicistic post-millennialism has been the standard position of the Protestant Reformation, especially among reformed Christians, and it is implicit and explicit within the historic reformed confessions such as the Westminster Standards.


Before proceeding into a treatment of the issue, I would be remiss if I did not address one question often raised: why does this all matter anyway?  Well, I want to boldly say to such that ask this question: it certainly matters.  Indeed, it matters so much that those who deny historicistic post-millennialism and advocate against it, should be excommunicated in order to work repentance in them.  There are at least two reasons this issue matters and should be subject to excommunication:


·        First, an error on this issue, whether in the preterist direction or the futurist direction, is predicated upon a dangerous hermeneutic.  If this hermeneutic is logically and consistently applied, it will affect even doctrines as basic as those found in the Apostles’ Creed.  For instance, **if** the preteristic hermeneutic were correct and terms like “shortly” necessarily imply **all** fulfillment of the described event is in 70 A.D., then all of the events in the book of Revelation must have been ultimately fulfilled in 70 A.D., because the term “shortly” in Revelation 1:1 is descriptive of the whole of the revelation, and not just some parts.  But if all of its elements were ultimately fulfilled (including the millennium, Great Day of Judgment in Revelation 20, and the New Heavens and New Earth in Revelation 21), then it is simply erroneous to adhere to a future visible, universal Day of Judgment and Advent, because all of such elements would have been fulfilled in 70 A.D.  Simply put, full preterism is the logical end of the preteristic hermeneutic.  (And, in my opinion, a rationalistic conception of the new heavens and new earth is its final logical end. For in the description of the new heavens and new earth of Revelation 21, heaven comes down to earth and they meet.  So what we currently experience would be the new heavens and new earth, and there would be no more.)  And to take another example, that of dispensationalist futurism, Patrick Fairbairn is quite right that the logical end of its hermeneutic is Judaism.  **If** prophecies, like concerning the coming Temple prophesied in the book of Ezekiel, are to be interpreted literally,  then there will be animal sacrifices required in a literal Temple even after Christ’s First Advent, and the Apostles were deceptive liars to say otherwise.  Furthermore, it would imply Christ and His Apostles were frauds in the way they applied Old Testament prophecy, saying things like Jesus’ body is the Temple.  It should come as no surprise that there is even some movement of dispensationalists towards Judaism in our day.  Neither should it be a surprise that there is a movement of partial preterists to full preterism.  Too, it should be remembered that the same basic methodology by which we identify the Anti-Christ that is the Man of Sin and Beast of Revelation, must be employed to identify the Christ.  The two are not separated with regards to methodology.  So an error in the one will necessarily affect the other. 


·        Second, the word of God states that as the prophecies are fulfilled, Christ’s elect church will be able to do things like properly identify the Man of Sin and support the effort to establish the post-millennium through the instrumentality of preaching.  The Apostle Paul implies that Christians will be able to identify that Man of Sin described in II Thessalonians 2:3 when He comes.  And the book of Revelation implies that Christians will promote, and not oppose, that “the kingdoms of this world…become [the kingdoms] of our Lord”. They will not oppose the latter because of some false premise that reformed Christian nations with reformed established churches must wait until after Christ’s visible Second Advent.  (It is the instrument of the preaching of the gospel, also called the sword out of Christ’s mouth, which will usher in reformation and the millennium [see Revelation 14:6, 19:15,21], though finally the new heavens and new earth will be ushered in by Christ’s Second Advent.)  In these matters, “none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)  That does not mean every last detail of prophecy should necessarily be interpreted properly (for then probably none of us would qualify), but on the chief doctrines of eschatology and the identity of the Man of Sin which are laid out in the Westminster Standards, there should be no denial.




Other Critiques of Preterism


Previous to this critique I have already written two critiques of partial preterism.  One focused upon the book of Matthew, and the other focused upon the book of Revelation along with II Thessalonians.  For purposes of this critique, I will assume much of what I previously incorporated in those critiques.  While full preterism is certainly different from partial preterism, it shares many common features.  And much of my treatment on the New Testament books in those critiques is also relevant in this critique.  So I would encourage anyone interested in this topic to peruse those critiques as well, in order to have a fuller picture of my understanding on this topic.






That there is a Day of Judgment in which Christ will visibly come and judge all the living and the dead who have ever lived- sending the wicked into hell eternally and the righteous to reside eternally with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth- is a plain teaching of the Bible.  That full preterists reject this cardinal doctrine and great hope of the Christian faith is prima facia evidence that full preterism is erroneous.  And we need not be sucked into this error to explain various passages which preterists wrongly assert imply their position.


Rev. Brian Schwertley has outlined in his book The Pre-Millenial Deception  some of the many passages which testify of the coming Day of Judgment in which all men will be judged, the living as well as the dead, and he has shown that this Day of Judgment is the same as the future Second Advent:


1.      "On “that day” (singular), “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe” (2 Th. 1:7-10)."

2.      “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.... Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.... Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:23-25, 50-54)."

3.      "The Apostle Paul teaches that both the righteous and the wicked will be judged on the same day: “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath” (Rom. 2:5-8)."

4.      "The Apostle Paul always teaches in his epistles that the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, the reward of the righteous and the condemnation of the wicked occur on the same day—the day of the Lord. He says, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then suddenly destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief.... For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Th. 5:1-4, 9-10). “Paul associates the second coming with the resurrection and the ensuing glory of the saints and the sudden destruction of the wicked. Without the shadow of a doubt, that day has its reference to both parties:—believers are to look for it (1 Th. 5:4-10), for then they shall obtain salvation in all its fullness (vs. 9), then they shall ‘live together with him’ (vs. 10); while that same day will bring the false security of unbelievers to an end in their ‘sudden destruction.’”

5.      "The Apostle Peter fully concurs with Paul’s teaching regarding Christ’s second coming. In his second epistle he deals with scoffers who deny the second coming of Christ: “‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’... But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.... But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” (2 Pet. 3:4-12)."

6.      "Premillennialists teach that there is a 1000-year gap between the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked. They teach that the bodily resurrection of the wicked occurs at the end of the millennium. But the parables of Jesus Christ totally contradict premillennial doctrine. In the parable of the wheat and the tares Jesus said that both will grow together until the harvest: “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in a bundle to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Mt. 13:30). [6] The harvest obviously refers to the final judgment. “At last the separation shall be such that all the wicked shall be cast into hell fire, and the godly placed in heaven.”

7.      "In Matthew 25 Jesus instructed His disciples with regard to the second coming: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world....’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels....’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Mt. 25:31-46)."

8.      “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (Jn. 5:28-29)."

9.      "Listen to how Isaiah the prophet describes the second coming of Christ: “For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh” (Isa. 66:15-16)."

10.    "Paul teaches that when Christ returns it will be “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God” (2 Th. 1:8)."

11.    "Peter says, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10)."

12.    "Paul warns Christians that when Christ returns, their works will be tested by fire: “Each one’s work will become manifest; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:13-15)."

13.    "Thus, according to the abundant testimony of Scripture, Revelation 20:9 refers to the second coming of Christ."  [Note: it is to be a day when all the living AND THE DEAD are judged before Jesus Christ.]


We may rightly conclude then that the Westminster Confession chapter 33 accurately portrays the case with the Day of Judgment thus:


I. God has appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ,[1] to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.[2] In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged,[3] but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.[4]


II. The end of God's appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.[5]


III. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity:[6] so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.[7]


[1] ACT 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.


[2] JOH 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.


[3] 1CO 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? JUD 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 2PE 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.


[4] 2CO 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. ECC 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ROM 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. MAT 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.


[5] MAT 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. ROM 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: ROM 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. MAT 5:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. ACT 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 2TH 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe(because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.


[6] 2PE 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 2CO 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 2TH 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, LUK 21:7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. ROM 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.


[7] MAT 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. MAR 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. LUK 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they say open unto him immediately. REV 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.



In the face of such overwhelming evidence for a UNIVERSAL DAY (not days plural) of Judgment in which all the living and the dead will be judged, why do full preterists essentially deny it and associate its fulfillment with the judgment on the Judaistic Jews in 70 A.D. in Palestine?  They say the language of imminence often associated with scriptural descriptions of the Day of Judgment compels them.


To deny this final Day of Judgment in which all humanity will be judged, in order to explain the language of imminence often associated with this coming Day of Judgment, is unnecessary and unwarranted.  It is unnecessary, because scripture itself provides the reasons for this language of imminence, and it is not the reason assumed by preterists.  It is unwarranted because God’s word does not allow us to sweep under the rug the doctrine of the universal and final Day of Judgment of the living and the dead, which will usher in a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.


What clues are provided in scripture that the Day of Judgment would come long after the Apostolic era?  Here is at least a partial list:



1.      According to Revelation 20, the Day of Judgment accompanying Christ’s advent was to occur after a “thousand years”.  Now the term “thousand years” certainly suggests a long duration of time.  Even full preterists like James Stuart Russell have acknowledged that the millennium symbolizes a great expanse of time, but they have failed to acknowledge that the Great Day of Judgment follows the millennium.  Other full preterists have acknowledged that the Day of Judgment follows the millennium, but insist the millennium could have lasted a relatively short time.  In truth, the millennium is suggestive of an extended duration of time, which is to be followed by brief release of Satan, and then the Great Day of Judgment.

2.      According to Revelation, the Day of Judgment was to occur after many events which could not have occurred in a short span of time.  Rather, they are events which consist of the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms (aka “beasts), pestilences, famines, numerous wars, widespread deception within the church and apostasy, the nations and their governments becoming Christian, etc.

3.      II Peter 3 warns us that we should consider time indicators relating to the Second Advent in relation to divine time and not human time.  This at least hints that the Second Advent would be “soon” with respect to divine time, and not human time.

4.      II Thessalonians 2:2 suggests that the Second Advent was not then imminent.  It reads: “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”   The Authorized Version properly translates ‘enestaken’ as ‘at hand’ in this context.

5.      II Thessalonians 2:3-8 indicates there would have to be widespread apostasy associated with the Man of Sin (aka the Beast of Revelation) before the Second Advent.

6.      Matthew 24 contrasts the timing of the destruction of Jerusalem which was to occur in the Apostolic generation with “that day” of judgment.

7.      According to II Corinthians 4:17, the Apostle Paul describes our current sufferings before Christ’s Advent as being “but for a moment”, but he explains in the next verse what he means by this.  He says it is because this is temporal and bounded by time, but the future state will be eternal.  (“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “)  This implies language of imminence must be considered relative to eternity.

8.      According to Psalm 90:3-4, our judgments will come swiftly in divine time, even if in normal human reckoning they seem to come slowly (“Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.  For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night.)

9.      Luke 21:24, in combination with Romans 11, suggests that after Jerusalem is trodden down by the Gentiles (in 70 A.D.), that there will be a long duration “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”, and then many Jews will be converted, which shall usher in an era of great gospel prosperity on earth.  All of this is suggestive of a great amount of time before the millennial reign.

10.    The book of Revelation describes the coming experience of the Christian church to be in many notable respects a repetition of the experience of the Old Testament church, yet played out upon the world stage.  So the book of Revelation describes a wilderness experience the church must endure, apostacy and deception, a Babylonian oppression, and redemption.  The experience of the Old Testament church lasted for centuries, so we should not imagine the New Testament church would be any shorter.  Indeed, the wilderness experience alone of the New Testament church is to last a prophetic 1,260 years (according to the day-year principle) and the redemption period is described in terms of a millennium, according to the Revelation account. 

11.    The New Testament, and especially the book of Revelation, suggests many typological and provisional comings of the Lord before the coming of the Lord on the Great Day of Judgment.  This suggests an expanse of time to accomplish.


The great Scottish theologian Patrick Fairbairn, in his work The Interpretation of Prophecy, summarized the temporal indicators thus:


“…the day in question might, in perfect accordance with the general design and proper character of prophecy, be represented in apostolic times as “near,” as “drawing nigh,” as even “at hand;” for the church being then in the full spring-tide of its life and blessing, it might well seem, as if that mission were hastening to its accomplishment, and all things were becoming ready for the final harvest of the world.  Yet, it must have been impossible for any one to read with care some of the parables of our Lord, or even what was written by St. Paul of the great apostacy- to say nothing of the more lengthened and intricate plan of events prospectively delineated in the Apocalypse- without coming to the conviction, that there was still an implied alternative; namely, that if the church of Christ should degenerate in her course, if she should begin to slumber in the work given her to do, still more, if she should become adulterated by the carnal spirit, and the corrupt practices of the world, then the shadows of the evening should need to be lengthened out, and in the tenderness of his forbearance, as well as for purposes of trial and judgment, the Lord should have to protract the day of his appearing.” (p. 65)



God’s word itself provides us with reasons why a language of imminence is used with respect to the coming Day of Judgment; so we need not essentially deny the universal, visible, and final characteristics of the Day of Judgment presented in the Bible, due to the language of imminence often associated with it.  Let me now outline some of the reasons.


First, we should note that in the Greek language the idea of certainty and the idea of imminence meet in the Greek term “mello”, in its various forms.  So we find in Liddell and Scott’s An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (see Appendix 1) that the idea of certainty and the idea of imminence are listed as two separate definitions of the term, with the proper definition in a given case determined by context. Similarly,  The Analytical Greek Lexicon on p. 262 explains concerning this word: "to be about to, to be on the point of,...it serves to express in general a settled futurity...."  And The Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich, Second Edition on p. 500 states that it "denotes certainty that an event will take place," he then gives this "to be on the point of, be about to."  As Don Preston notes in one of his own articles (http://www.eschatology.org/articles/rebuttals/mello.htm), this does not mean the Greek word “mello” always means the event described by it will occur ‘soon’ in human time even though it is certain to occur (as we witness in Hebrews 11:8).  Nevertheless there is a close association in the Greek word “mello” between imminence and certainty.


There is not in English a word which joins these two ideas of “soon” and “certain”.  There is no necessary connotation of “soon” in our term “certain”, or vice versa.  But there are of course other words in English where two distinct ideas meet.  One such word in English is “hot”.  Sometimes this denotes ‘high in temperature’ (as in the sentence ‘It is hot today.’), and sometimes it denotes ‘full of zeal’ (as in the sentence ‘He is hot on the warpath to take revenge.’)  Given this association in English, we should not be surprised to find that someone may employ language regarding heat to convey the idea of zeal.


Similarly, the very fact that the two ideas of imminence and certainty are joined in one word in the Greek language suggests at least one reason why the Greek New Testament may more naturally employ a language of imminence with regards to the coming Day of Judgment: there is in the Greek language some association of the idea of certainty with the idea of imminence, at least in the commonly used Greek word “mello”.  


A second reason that the language of imminence seems to have been used with reference to the coming Day of Judgment by Christ is to stir our constant preparation for judgment.  As we read in Matthew 24:43-44,  “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”  So in order to effect our preparation, He employed language which would stir us to such preparation and kept us somewhat in the dark about which generation it would occur.


Third, scripture suggests such language is employed that we will not imagine our time perspective is the same as God’s (Psalm 90:4, II Peter 3 ).   This then drives us to be more like God in our perspective of time.  In other words, it works patience in us, even as it works watchfulness.


Finally, in certain instances the terminology of imminence is employed because a typical event was to be fulfilled near term, but its anti-type and ultimate fulfillment was yet in the distant future.  We witness an instance of how a type is to be fulfilled imminently, yet its anti-type in the distant future, in the prophecy of Haggai 2:6 (“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry [land];”). A.R. Faussett comments on this verse, and allusions to it in the book of Hebrews, as follows:


“6. Yet once, it is a little while--or, "(it is) yet a little while." The Hebrew for "once" expresses the indefinite article "a" [MAURER]. Or, "it is yet only a little while"; literally, "one little," that is, a single brief space till a series of movements is to begin; namely, the shakings of nations soon to begin which are to end in the advent of Messiah, "the desire of all nations" [MOORE]. The shaking of nations implies judgments of wrath on the foes of God's people, to precede the reign of the Prince of peace ( Isa 13:13 ). The kingdoms of the world are but the scaffolding for God's spiritual temple, to be thrown down when their purpose is accomplished. The transitoriness of all that is earthly should lead men to seek "peace" in Messiah's everlasting kingdom ( Hag 2:9 Hbr 12:27, 28 ) [MOORE]. The Jews in Haggai's times hesitated about going forward with the work, through dread of the world power, Medo-Persia, influenced by the craft of Samaria. The prophet assures them this and all other world powers are to fall before Messiah, who is to be associated with this temple; therefore they need fear naught. So Hbr 12:26 , which quotes this passage; the apostle compares the heavier punishment which awaits the disobedient under the New Testament with that which met such under the Old Testament. At the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, only the earth was shaken to introduce it, but now heaven and earth and all things are to be shaken, that is, along with prodigies in the world of nature, all kingdoms that stand in the way of Messiah's kingdom, "which cannot be shaken," are to be upturned ( Dan 2:35, 44 Mat 21:44 ). Hbr 12:27 , "Yet once more," favors English Version. Paul condenses together the two verses of Haggai ( Hag 2:6, 7 , and Hag 2:21, 22 ), implying that it was one and the same shaking, of which the former verses of Haggai denote the beginning, the latter the end. The shaking began introductory to the first advent; it will be finished at the second. Concerning the former, compare Mat 3:17 27:51 28:2 Act 2:2 4:31 ; concerning the latter, Mat 24:7 Rev 16:20 18:20 20:11 [BENGEL]. There is scarcely a prophecy of Messiah in the Old Testament which does not, to some extent at least, refer to His second coming [SIR ISAAC NEWTON]. Psa 68:8 mentions the heavens dropping near the mountain (Sinai); but Haggai speaks of the whole created heavens: "Wait only a little while, though the promised event is not apparent yet; for soon will God change things for the better: do not stop short with these preludes and fix your eyes on the present state of the temple [CALVIN]. God shook the heavens by the lightnings at Sinai; the earth, that it should give forth waters; the sea, that it should be divided asunder. In Christ's time God shook the heaven, when He spake from it; the earth, when it quaked; the sea, when He commanded the winds and waves [GROTIUS]. CICERO records at the time of Christ the silencing of the heathen oracles; and DIO, the fall of the idols in the Roman capitol.”


The events associated with the reconstruction of the Temple following the Babylonian captivity near Haggai’s day constitute merely the beginning or typical fulfillment of this prophecy.  As Calvin observes:


“…we have said that what the Prophet had in view was to show that the Jews were not to fix their eyes and their minds on the appearance of the Temple at the time: "Allow," he says, "and give place to hope, because your present state shall not long remain; for the Lord will shake the heaven and the earth; think then of God's power, how great it is; does he not by his providence rule both the earth and the heaven? And he will shake all things above and below, rather than not to restore his Church; he will rather change the appearance of the whole world, than that redemption should not be fully accomplished. Be not then unwilling to be satisfied with these preludes, but know what God's power can do: for though it may be necessary to throw the heaven and the earth into confusions, yet this shall be done, rather than that your enemies should prevent that full restoration, of which the Prophets have so often spoken." But the Apostle very justly says, that the gospel is here set in contrast with the law; for God exhibited his wonderful power, when the law was promulgated on mount Sinai; but a fuller power shone forth at the coming of Christ, for then the heaven, as well as the earth, was shaken. It is not, then, without reason that the Apostle concludes that God speaks now to us from heaven, for his majesty appears more splendid in the gospel than formerly in the law: and hence we are less excusable, if we despise him now speaking in the person of his only begotten Son, and thus speaking to show to us that the whole world is subject to him.  He then adds, I will move all the nations, and they shall come. “


We see the application of this principle in the New Testament especially with respect to the Second Advent.  Fairbairn describes it this way:


“There is a coming spoken of in New Testament Scripture which may be designated in the proper sense terminal, and therefore also visible; so that every eye shall see it, and every heart be filled either with joy or dismay on account of it.  And there are comings of a provisional kind, which all point toward the ultimate manifestation, and differ from it only in being less palpable in their nature, and less complete and lasting in their results.” (p. 449)


In some cases like the parable of the virgins the reference is clearly to the final coming; but in other cases like the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Mt 21:33-43) the coming is clearly to a provisional coming (in this case the judgment on Israel in 70 AD).  But in Matthew 24 “it is impossible altogether to separate between the immediate and the final coming.  To a certain extent, the two are intermingled together, and the one is contemplated as the type and presage of the other.” (p. 454)


The imminent language of examples like Haggai 2:6-7 as interpreted by Hebrew 12:27 thus reminds us of the danger of a preterist treatment with regards to time indicators.


So the fact that imminent language is employed with respect to matters relating to the coming Day of Judgment should come as no surprise to us.  And its occurrence in these instances is hardly arbitrary.  Generally speaking time indicators should be understood in human time, but with respect to matters relating to the coming Day of Judgment, we must understand them in divine time.  And we should not compromise our doctrine of the Day of Judgment to accommodate wrong notions about its imminence.





There are many possible hermeneutic formulae we could conceive to interpret Biblical prophecy.  Preterists employ a formula that says “soon” always equals 70 AD.  Dr. Kenneth Gentry explains this preteristic (whether full or partial) hermeneutic in the July 1997 issue of Chalcedon Report,  in an article entitled "A Brief Theological Analysis of Hyper-Preterism" :  "I hold that passages specifically delimiting the time-frame by temporal indicators (such as "this generation," "shortly," "at hand," "near," and similar wording) are to be applied to A. D. 70.  One could imagine someone else who had a formula like “soon” always equals 500 AD.  Etc.  Or someone might have a formula that said every prophetic symbol should be interpreted literalistically, unless noted as figurative in the immediate context.  But the real test of these multitudes of possible prophetic hermeneutic formulae is the Bible itself, and how scripture teaches prophecies should be interpreted.  Therefore, a key issue in a discussion between a preterist and a historicist should be how scripture interprets other scriptural prophecy.


Let’s follow one particular prophecy – that concerning the promised rest to the people of God- through scripture, and see what we learn from it regarding scriptural prophecy.   Now in Joshua 21:44-45 we read concerning this prophecy of rest: “And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.  There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”  And in Joshua 22:4 we read: “And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, [and] unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.”  So does that verse mean all those prophetic promises made to the fathers were completely fulfilled in every sense of the word, typically as well as antitypically?  After all, does not Joshua say he had done what he promised?  Well the answer is “no”, because we must not interpret Biblical prophecy in this way.  It becomes obvious the answer is “no” when we read Psalm 95 as well as Hebrews 4.  We may infer from Psalm 95 that there must be a remaining and greater rest which the Jews did not enter with Joshua, for in Psalm 95 the people are warned not to fall short of entering the rest, which must mean there is a higher rest than that of the typical Canaan.  Accordingly, we read in Hebrews 4:8: “For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”  If the rest of God meant merely typical Canaan, God would not after their entrance into that land, have spoken of another future day of entering the rest.


There are many interpretive principles we can learn from this example, but two lessons we certainly should learn from it include:


1.      Just because some promised condition is said to be fulfilled in a given time and place, we cannot assume that there is not a fuller sense in which it has yet to be fulfilled.  We must consider all of the scriptural evidence.


2.      Scriptural prophecy often incorporates typology, and we must ask if there is any fuller and more ultimate sense in which scripture would indicate a prophecy will be fulfilled.  We must not assume that even the New Testament with its prophecies does not include some of these typologies, for even then it could be said “now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)



Now, let’s consider another prophecy: the besiegement and desolation of Jerusalem followed by their gathering and redemption by God.


Deut 28:49-52 – “The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, [as swift] as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which [also] shall not leave thee [either] corn, wine, or oil, [or] the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.  And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.”


Deut 30:4-7 – “If [any] of thine be driven out unto the outmost [parts] of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.  And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.  And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.”


Jeremiah prophesied concerning the Babylonian captivity and the subsequent return of the Jews to Jerusalem:


Jeremiah 19:9- “And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.”


But should we think that the prophecies of Deuteronomy were really finally fulfilled when there was the return from the Babylonian captivity?  No, for we learn in Daniel that the Babylonian captivity and subsequent redemption are typical of even subsequent such events:


Daniel 9:27-  “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”


Daniel 11:31-  “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily [sacrifice], and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”


Daniel 12:11-  “And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”


Especially the Daniel 11 and 12 desolations have primary reference to what is recorded in I Maccabees 1:54; 6,7. But we read how it was typical of the besiegement of a later such desolation, for we read in Luke 21:20- “And when you shall see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is at hand.” 


Compare as well its parallel passages in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14.  This certainly has primary reference to the besiegement of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 AD, but it is in another respect merely typical of other typical besiegements such as that found in Revelation 11:2- “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months.”


But finally it will be yet once again fulfilled in the besiegement described in Revelation 20:9 which had been ultimately promised in Deuteronomy 28-30, and even earlier:


Rev. 20:9- “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”  Immediately after this besiegement will be the Great Day of Judgment which will usher in the new heavens and new earth, wherein will be the consummate fulfillments of the divine promises.


Here would be some questions I would raise with preterists from simply these first two examples:


·        When full preterists cite Pauline passages that indicate certain prophesied elements in Matthew 24 have been fulfilled, should we ignore principles learned from Old Testament prophecies (e.g,, concerning how God gave the Jews rest), suggesting there is yet a more ultimate fulfillment to come?

·        With the preteristic hermeneutic, would the prophecies of Deuteronomy 28 and 30 have been regarded as consummately fulfilled in Joshua’s day? Or with the return from Babylonian captivity?

·        Should we really believe that today they have been consummately and ultimately fulfilled, even though we grant they have already been fulfilled in remarkable ways?


A historicist would answer the question, “how do we know we have not come to the final fulfillment of what was promised in Deuteronomy 28-30 and that has been repeated in typical fashion so many times before?”  as follows:  we have never seen the fulfillment in its fullest expression, and there are scriptural indicators that there is such a full expression to come.  But I fear the full preterist method of handling prophecy would lead us to believe Deuteronomy 28 and 30 already have been fulfilled to their ultimate extent.



I have traced how certain Biblical prophecies were fulfilled, and derived certain principles from these instances; now let me posit additional principles and provide some scriptural evidence for them.  These principles are outlined in Patrick Fairbairn’s The Interpretation of Prophecy, and I have supplied some representative New Testament applications.


First, scriptural prophecy often announces “things to come under the formal aspect of a recurrence of those which had already happened, although the later proved not to be a repetition of the earlier, but only relatively alike.”  (Fairbairn, p. 165.)  This principle is illustrated in the manner in which Hosea foretold the coming captivity of Israel by representing it as a return again into Egypt.  He only later noted that it was not Egypt literally considered to which they would be taken captive, but only figuratively considered representing Assyria. Ezekiel maintains this same pattern when he speaks of David coming in the future as Messiah, who we know is Jesus Christ; and Malachi speaks of his fore-runner as Elijah, who we know from the New Testament is John the Baptist. New Testament prophecy maintains this pattern.  For example, Christ foretells the free intercommunion between earth and heaven which the people will soon enjoy, by describing it in words reminiscent of Jacob’s ancient vision: “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  And in the book of Revelation, terms such as Temple (as in the Temple described in Revelation 11) and Babylon (as in the Babylon which is said to have fallen) are not speaking of the literal Jewish Temple and ancient city of Babylon, but rather they should be understood symbolically. 


Second, much of scriptural prophecy comes in the form of typology.  “Type in the representative life of David and the history of Israel” prophesied of Christ’s future work and ministry, as Fairbairn notes (p. 169).  We witness this in Christ’s birth at Bethlehem, His asylum in Egypt, and the actual piercing of His side with a spear, to name just several.  And we should not fail to note such typological prophecies in the New Testament.  We have already pointed out how the local temporal judgments of Christ, such as the one chronicled under the second seal in Revelation 6:4 with Christ as the red-horse rider, as well as the fall of Babylon described in Revelation 18:2, are typical of the Great Day of Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15, which is said to take place at least after a millennium.


Third, there is an “aversion of prophecy to clearly defined historical periods- its tendency to exhibit coming events under relations in space or time, or, as successive only, without being on either hand definitely bounded” (p. 177).  Fairbairn cites the case of Isaiah 11, where Isaiah proceeds onto a description of Messiah after a description of the overthrow of the Assyrian power, with everything left indefinite as to time.  So too we find an indefiniteness in the time between the apostacy and coming of Christ described in II Thessalonians 2, as well as an indefiniteness in time between the “these things” in Matthew 24 versus “that day” of Christ’s Second Advent.


Fourth, Biblical prophecy manifests an “inter-connected and progressive character” (p. 182).  Fairbairn traces it from the promise to bruise Satan’s head.  He notes how “earlier developments become only the historical basis, out of which spring the announcement of more matured and diversified results.”  Thus, “as regards the great stream of prophecy, the past never properly dies; it is perpetually resumed and carried forward to the future.” (p. 188)  Accordingly, we find even the prophesied worship in heaven described in terms of the Old Testament Temple elements, and the people of God described there as Twelve Tribes.  And, accordingly, we find in the book of Revelation the most detailed account of the progress of Christ’s conquering the nations and defeating Satan.





It would not be an exaggeration to assert that one can have no proper understanding of scriptural prophecy without a sound understanding of its use of typology.  Scriptural prophecy is replete with types which foreshadow future events or persons.  It is fundamental to the argument of preterism that typology (or what full preterist James Stuart Russell sometimes calls “twofold reference”) has ceased in New Testament prophecy. (Russell described the preterist position this way: "There is not a scintilla of evidence that the apostles and primitive Christians had any suspicion of a twofold reference in the predictions of Jesus concerning the end." - The Parousia, p. 545)  For if typology were acknowledged, then a prophecy that has primary reference to the local judgment of 70 A.D. on Jerusalem could typologically foreshadow and reference a post-70 A.D. Great Day of Judgment.  So let’s consider this issue of typology in scriptural prophecy.


It would be helpful first to define our terms.  A ‘type’ is a figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, such as an event in the Old Testament that foreshadows and prophesies of another in the New Testament.  An ‘antitype’ is one that is foreshadowed by or identified with an earlier symbol or type, such as a figure in the New Testament who has a counterpart in the Old Testament.  And ‘typology’ is simply our theory or doctrine of scriptural types.


Let’s rehearse some types again that we find in scripture:


1.      The rest that the Israelites enjoyed in Canaan when they came out of Egypt is a type of the promised Sabbath rest believers will enjoy when they enter heaven, according to Hebrews 4.  And indeed the weekly Christian Sabbath is a type of this promised eternal Sabbath rest.

2.      King David, who the prophet Ezekiel prophesied would rule in the glorious days ahead, is a type of King Jesus.  Circumstances in David’s life foreshadowed and prophesied of circumstances in the life of the Son of David.

3.      The Old Testament Jewish Temple is a type of Jesus Christ Himself (see Hebrews 9:24).

4.      The Babylonian conquest in the Old Testament is a type of the Babylonian oppression described in the book of Revelation.

5.      Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel were a type of the Gog and Magog we find prophesied in Revelation 20, which even full preterist James Stuart Russell somewhat acknowledged with these words in his book Parousia: “There is an evident connection between this prophecy and the vision in Ezekiel concerning Gog and Magog (chaps. xxxviii. xxxix.)”

6.       The Old Testament church- in other words,  Israel - was a type of Christ, so that events described in its history foreshadowed and prophesied events in the life of Jesus Christ.

7.      The Old Testament church was a type of the New Testament church, so that events described in its history foreshadowed and prophesied events in the life of the New Testament church.

8.      The shaking of the heavens and the earth described in Haggai 2:6 (in which we read these words: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry [land];”) was a type of the shaking of the earth accomplished in Christ’s First Advent, according to Hebrews 12:26b-28a (“but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace…”), and is a type of Christ’s Second Advent, which is described in Matthew 24:29 with these words: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”


Now let’s focus in on some of these types.  First, with regards to how Old Testament Israel was a type of Jesus Christ and in that way prophesied His life, we must first recall the words of Exodus 4:22-23, where God says of Israel: “"Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, My first-born; and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born."  By calling Israel His first-born son, God was in effect saying that the Old Testament church of Israel was a type of His true Son, Jesus Christ.  Thus we can learn how the history of Israel foreshadowed and prophesied the life of Christ.  For example, consider how that at an early age Jesus went into Egypt before returning to Nazareth, which Matthew 2:15 indicates fulfilled the Old Testament experience of Israel, “out of Egypt have I called my son.”  (Matthew Henry writes concerning this : The fulfilling of the scripture in a this—that scripture (Hos. 11:1), Out of Egypt have I called my son. Of all the evangelists, Matthew takes most notice of the fulfilling of the scripture in what concerned Christ, because his gospel was first published among the Jews, with whom that would add much strength and lustre to it. Now this word of the prophet undoubtedly referred to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, in which God owned them for his son, his first-born (Ex. 4:22); but it is here applied, by way of analogy, to Christ, the Head of the church. Note, The scripture has many accomplishments, so full and copious is it, and so well ordered in all things. God is every day fulfilling the scripture. Scripture is not of private interpretation: we must give it its full latitude. "When Israel was a child, then I loved him; and, though I loved him, I suffered him to be a great while in Egypt; but, because I loved him, in due time I called him out of Egypt.’’ They that read this must, in their thoughts, not only look back, but look forward; that which has been shall be again (Eccl. 1:9); and the manner of expression intimates this; for it is not said, I called him, but I called my son, out of Egypt.)


And we can see how the rest of Jesus’ life also was foreshadowed by the history of Old Testament Israel.  Thus, Israel was baptized in crossing the Red Sea according to I Corinthians 10, paralleling how Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.  And Israel endured and overcame a 40 year wilderness experience, as Christ endured 40 days in the wilderness tempted by Satan and overcame him.  And Old Testament Israel then endured many trials, tribulations, and vexations in Canaan, as Jesus did in His ministry as well.  And Old Testament Israel was destroyed in the Babylonian conquest, as Christ was killed by a mysterious manifestation of the Beast, the earthly Jerusalem.  (It was a mystery, because one would not have expected that the very professing church of God- which the earthly Jerusalem was at that time- would have killed one of its own.  But it was a type of Beast, as we can infer from Revelation 11:8, where the earthly Jerusalem [the city where Jesus was killed] is likened to the Beastly manifestations of Sodom and Egypt.)  Following the Babylonian captivity, we learn in Ezekiel 37 that Israel was resurrected from dry bones (Ezekiel 37:7-11: “…and Behold a shaking, and the bones came together…the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet…these bones are the whole house of Israel…”) in its restoration in Jerusalem and re-building of the Temple.  Similarly, Jesus the Son of God rose from the dead, and the Temple which was Himself was re-built.  So we witness how the Old Testament Church was a type of Christ.


But the Old Testament church was also a type of the New Testament church.  Just as Israel was baptized in crossing the Red Sea, the New Testament church was baptized by the Spirit at Pentecost, according to Acts 2. This New Testament church came out of the earthly Jerusalem, which unlike during Christ’s First Advent ministry when it had still been part of God’s visible church on earth, but due to its rejection of the Messiah Jesus Christ, its status as God’s firstborn child on earth was being taken away from it, and given to the New Israel, the Christian church. (As we read in Matthew 21:42-43: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”)     This transfer of billing was pre-figured by the taking away of the blessing from the first-born child Esau and giving it to Jacob, also called Israel- a type of both Christ and His Church.  As we read in Genesis 32:28, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”   In this transfer of blessing, the earthly Jerusalem ruled by Judaists henceforth took on the status of Egypt, as we read in Revelation 11:8 (“…Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified…”). These earthly Jerusalem mis-used the 70 weeks prophesied by Daniel (equivalent to 70 weeks of years, or 490 years, according to the day-year principle [see Appendix 2]) God had given it to repent and receive the Messiah.   And it was out of this figurative Egypt that the New Testament church came, just as the Old Testament church came out of Egypt.


And just as Israel went through the wilderness following its baptism, so we read in Revelation 12 how the New Testament church had a wilderness experience of 1,260 years (calculated according to the day-year principle as explained in Appendix 2). Just as Israel came through its wilderness and entered the Promised Land, and as Christ had overcome Satan after His wilderness experience, so the Christian church came out of its wilderness experience in the Protestant Reformation. Just as Israel went through many sore trials and tribulations even after its wilderness experience, so has the church.  And as Old Testament Israel was subject to Babylonian oppression, so Christ’s church we read in Revelation 17 was subject to a mysterious Babylonian oppression.  We read in Revelation 17:9 that its seat of power was in the city of 7 hills, which is Rome.  We read in Revelation 12 and 13 how it had oppressed Christ’s true church, becoming transformed from the Pagan-to-Papal Roman Empire, the Beast taking on Lamb-like characteristics.  It was a mystery, because one would not have expected that the very professing church of God- which the Romish church along with her daughter and fellow whores in the Christian church- would have oppressed its own.  But this Beast has the title ‘Son of Perdition’ (II Thes 2:3) – the very same title ascribed in scripture to the deceptive and  traitorous Christian Judas Iscariot (John 17:12).  Thus what entered the wilderness years as a virgin church (Rev 12:6), we find in the wilderness has played the harlot and become morally corrupted (Rev 17:3).   But just as the Babylonian oppression ceased for the Old Testament church, so we read it will cease some time in the future (for it has not yet been overturned) for the New Testament church.  And just as Old Testament Israel enjoyed a time of restoration, so we read the church will yet enter an era of post-millennial restoration, primarily through the instrumentality of the preaching of the gospel according to Revelation 14:6, 19:15, and 19:21, as well as II Thessalonians 2:8.  The nations then will be reformed and Christian, covenanted to Christ (Psalms 22:27, Zech 14:16, Rev 15:4, Isaiah 19:21-23).  Then as Magog was released against Old Testament Israel, the figurative Magog will be released upon the New Testament church.  But just as Christ came to the rescue of His Old Testament church in the First Advent, so Christ will come to the rescue of His New Testament church in the coming Second Advent.  And just as the First Advent ushered in a typical new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17), so the Second Advent will usher in the ultimate new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21).


Given that the Old Testament church was a type and foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, as well as a type and foreshadowing of the New Testament church, it should come as no surprise when we suggest that the life of Jesus Christ which He lived during His First Advent, is figuratively repeated in the history of the New Testament church.  We as the church walk in His footsteps, after His example.


And not only are there types which we must recognize in scriptural prophecy, there are types within types.  For example, the history of how Israel endured the wilderness experience and entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, we read in Hebrews 4 is not only a type of the whole history of Old Testament Israel, it is a type of all of human history, in which Jesus brings His elect church into the eternal Promised Sabbath rest.  We also learn in Hebrews 4 how the pattern of God’s Old Testament people of working 6 days and enjoying a Sabbath rest on the seventh day, is also a type of this.  And the New Testament people’s pattern of working 6 days and enjoying a first day of the week Sabbath is a type of it as well, which follows the pattern of Christ’s Passion week and resurrection Sabbath on the first day of the week, called the Lord’s Day.  Similarly, the period described in the opening of the 7 seals - which seems to describe the era up to the judgment on the earthly Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (though it could describe the era up to the Roman Emperor Constantine and the nominal Christianization of the Roman Empire) – is a type of the history of the New Testament church up to the post-millennium, as well as a type of the history of the New Testament church up to the Great Day of Judgment ushering in the new heavens and new earth, and finally is a type of the whole history of mankind post-Fall to the Great Day of Judgment ushering in the new heavens and new earth.


Now let’s return to our consideration of the prophetic type we find in Haggai 2:6, speaking of the shaking of heaven and earth.  The type itself concerns the restoration in Jerusalem and specifically the re-building of the Old Testament Temple then, following the Babylonian captivity.  When just this prophetic type is considered, it is certainly true that it was fulfilled in a very short time.  The prophet Haggai was part of the generation which returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity, and Haggai’s prophecies prompted the re-building of the Temple within a short time span, to great effect.  Hence we read in Haggai 2:6, “Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens…”  Now this re-building of the Temple in Haggai’s day was a type of Christ’s passion and resurrection on the third day, for Christ described that event too as a building of the Temple (which was Christ Himself), according to John 2:19-21 (“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…he spake of the temple of his body.”)  This rebuilding of the Temple of Christ’s body in His First Advent shook heaven and earth in typological fulfillment of the Haggai 2:6 prophecy, as we read in Hebrews 12:26-28 (“…Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace…”)  So Haggai 2:6 not only prophesied the re-building of the Temple in Haggai’s day, but also the work and resurrection associated with Christ’s First Advent, which was centuries later.  And as previously noted, it has typologically prophesied as well the yet future Second Advent, when the heavens and earth will again be shaken, and the Temple of Christ’s body will dwell with man in the New Earth.  Finally, as previously noted as well, we learn an important lesson from the Haggai 2:6 prophecy about prophetic interpretation.  A scriptural prophecy can employ language of imminence because the prophesied type itself is to occur shortly, even if the anti-type which it also prophesies occurs centuries later.  While I do not believe this is the only reason why we find language of imminence used in prophecy of the Day of Judgment and in the book of Revelation’s prophecies (and I have previously provided other reasons that this language of imminence was used), I think it goes a long way in explaining it.






As I stated in the introduction, much that needs to be addressed relating to the most pertinent New Testament sections of scripture were already covered in my critiques of partial preterism.  Therefore, I am not going to rehearse that material here.  Rather, I shall make some brief comments to supplement and reinforce the material there.



Matthew 24


First we should note that the term “the end of the age” throughout the book of Matthew refers to the coming visible Day of Judgment and Advent of Christ.  Until the end of the age therein described, the nature of Christ’s presence with His disciples is best described in John 14 thus: “16. And I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, and knoweth him not; but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18. I will not leave you orphans; I come to you.”  It is a spiritual presence.  This spiritual presence, as opposed to visible presence, did not conclude in 70 AD.  Nor was there a visible Great Day of Judgment of the living and the dead in 70 AD.  The term in Matthew “the end of the age” refers to that event described in Matthew 13:38-42: “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  This description admits nothing less than the Great Day of Judgment.


Second, in Christ’s response to the disciples He is contrasting the time of the destruction of the Temple with the end of the age.  The full preterist interpretation ignores this contrast, and so errs.  It is this contrast which lies at the heart of the disagreement with full preterists.  They deny the contrast.  But Rev. Brian Schwertley rightly describes the fundamental flaw of this interpretation in his book Matthew 24 and the Great Tribulation:


“Can one apply the fact that the day of Jesus' coming is totally unexpected to the coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70? It appears to be very difficult if not impossible to apply these passages to the destruction of Jerusalem because Christ gave the disciples a number of signs (i.e., a head-up alert) so that they could discern the coming judgment and avoid the devastation by fleeing to the mountains. This point has been used by a number of commentators and scholars to argue for a change of subject in verse 36. Note the following comments. Matthew Henry writes: "'Verily, I say unto you. You may take my word for it, these things are at the door.' Christ often speaks of the nearness of that desolation, the more to affect people, and quicken them for it....But as to that day and hour which will put a period of time, that knoweth no man, v. 36. Therefore take heed of confounding the two, as they did." (156) Spurgeon writes: "There is a manifest change in our Lord's words here, which clearly indicates that they refer to his last coming to judgment." (157) Lane writes: "In order to understand the relationship of this affirmation to the assurance given in verse 30 that the events preliminary to the destruction of the Temple will occur within the experience of that generation, it is necessary to give full force to the adversative particle in verse 32: 'I say unto you solemnly, this generation shall not pass away...As for you that day and that hour, on the contrary, no one knows...' While the parable of the fig tree illustrates the possibility of observing the proximity of the first event, another comparison is developed in connection with verse 32 that underscores the impossibility of knowing the moment of the Lord's return. Verses 30 and 32 concern two distinct events (the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, and the Day of the Lord, respectively)." (158)



Analysis of Mark Chapter 13


It is evident from the disciples’ questions that when they asked the questions they associated the “end of the age” with Christ’s coming. The parallel accounts in Mark and Luke especially make clear this idea of the disciples.   But it is equally evident from Christ’s answer that He corrected their error.  As Matthew Henry notes: “These verses seem to point at Christ’s second coming, to judge the world; the disciples, in their question, had confounded the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world (Mt. 24:3), which was built upon a mistake, as if the temple must needs stand as long as the world stands; this mistake Christ rectifies, and shows that the end of the world in those days, those other days you enquire about, the day of Christ’s coming, and the day of judgment, shall be after that tribulation, and not coincident with it. Let those who live to see the Jewish nation destroyed, take heed of thinking that, because the Son of man doth not visibly come in the clouds then, he will never so come; no, he will come after that.”



Analysis of Luke Chapter  21


There is not significantly more in Luke’s account that we have not already addressed in our examination of Matthew and our brief comment on Mark 13.   We should keep in mind the typology present in the account.  As Matthew Henry explains: “Having given them an idea of the times for about thirty-eight years next ensuing, he here comes to show them what all those things would issue in at last, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter dispersion of the Jewish nation, which would be a little day of judgment, a type and figure of Christ’s second coming, which was not so fully spoken of here as in the parallel place (Mt. 24), yet glanced at; for the destruction of Jerusalem would be as it were the destruction of the world to those whose hearts were bound up in it.”  Matthew Henry goes on to explain- “He foretels the terrible havoc that should be made of the Jewish nation (v. 22): Those are the days of vengeance so often spoken of by the Old-Testament prophets, which would complete the ruin of that provoking people. All their predictions must now be fulfilled, and the blood of all the Old-Testament martyrs must now be required. All things that are written must be fulfilled at length. After days of patience long abused, there will come days of vengeance; for reprieves are not pardons.”


One very interesting addition in Luke’s account concerns what will happen when the fullness of the Gentiles is ushered in.  The Commentary on Luke by David Brown reads: “that one day Jerusalem shall cease to be "trodden down by the Gentiles" ( Rev 11:2 ), as then by pagan so now by Mohammedan unbelievers; (2) that this shall be at the "completion" of "the times of the Gentiles," which from Rom 11:25 (taken from this) we conclude to mean till the Gentiles have had their full time of that place in the Church which the Jews in their time had before them--after which, the Jews being again "grafted into their own olive tree," one Church of Jew and Gentile together shall fill the earth (Rom 11:1-36 ).”



Analysis of Revelation


I will abbreviate my comments on Revelation and rather point the reader to my critique on partial preterism which focused on the book of Revelation.  The objections to the partial preteristic interpretation of this book would be virtually identical to objections that I would cite relating to a full preterist interpretation.  So my comments here will be of a miscellaneous nature, and fill in some gaps left in the previous critique.


Over history various schemes for interpreting the book of Revelation have been proposed.  But I believe the one exhibited in the following tables most accurately captures its true intent.  First, the following table presents a general outline of the book as a whole, as suggested in Revelation 1:19 (“Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”)  and confirmed in Revelation 4:1 (“After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”):


Section #

Chapters in Revelation

General Topic Covered



the things which thou hast seen


2 - 3

the things which are


4 – 22

the things which shall be hereafter



So I would outline Revelation as containing the three sections listed above.    This outline itself suggests that Revelation is organized basically in chronological order, an idea that is important to remember as we seek a detailed outline of the events described in chapters 4-22.


I would  divide the third section into sub-sections, for the account of “the things which shall be hereafter” presents itself in these sub-sections.  Furthermore, I believe these sub-sections should be interpreted as occurring in successive chronological order, and not synchronously occurring as some expositors have interpreted.  Those expositors who have interpreted some or all of these sub-sections as synchronously occurring have pointed to the repetition of certain features and events, such as the presence of the beast or the fall of Babylon.  But such an interpretation fails to take into account how each sub-section rather builds upon the previous ones, and often assumes the events described in the previous ones have already occurred.  Furthermore, it fails to take into account the very repetitive nature of history in general, especially in the history of redemption of God’s people.  Consider, for example, the repetition in history of this pattern:


1.      the suffering of God’s people, often due to sins

2.      their redemption by God

3.      rest as a result of redemption


Here are just some of the times this pattern has been repeated in history:


·        God’s people saved in the Ark with Noah after suffering through much sin and the Great Flood.

·        Lot saved from Sodom after much suffering.

·        The Exodus from suffering in Egypt followed by rest in Canaan.

·        The suffering of God’s people before God would raise up a judge in Israel to save the people (this pattern repeated often in the book of Judges).

·        The rescue of God’s people by King David after much suffering.

·        The rescue of God’s people by good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah after much suffering.

·        Return to Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity.

·        Rescue of God’s people under the Maccabbees after desolations under Antiochus Epiphanes.

·        Rescue of Christians from persecution by Judaists and 70 AD Roman siege of Jerusalem.

·        Christianization of Roman Empire under Constantine following severe persecution during the Empire’s pagan era.

·        Redemption from suffering and deception under the Papal Anti-Christ during the Protestant Reformation.

·        Currently we are suffering through the effects of the Enlightenment in which Romanism and pseudo-Protestant whores, as well as outright pagan Marxism and Fascism, wreak havoc on truth and God’s people.  But we have reason to believe these will be over-turned and usher in a post-millennium.

·        The future Second Advent and Day of Judgment will usher in the new heavens and new earth.


An outline of these chapters consistent with a successive interpretation would be as follows:



Sub-Section #

Chapters in Revelation

General Topic Covered

Period in History


4 – 8:1

Opening of the 7 Seals

Either the period up to 70 A.D. when Christians were saved from the Roman siege, or the period up to Constantine when the Roman Empire was Christianized and pagan persecution abated.


8:2 - 14

Sounding of the 7 Trumpets*

The rise of the Papal Anti-Christ and Islam, and redemption in the Protestant Reformation.  (This period lasts well over 1,000 years up to the 16th and 17th centuries.)


15 - 19

Pouring of the 7 Vials with the 7 Plagues

Rise of the ‘Enlightenment’ in which Romanism and other deceptions (whores) lead to much suffering, and God sends judgments like the world wars, AIDS, etc. which eventually overcome the Papal Anti-Christ and her fellow whore, especially because they are accompanied by the preaching of the gospel


20:1 – 20:10

The Post-Millennium

future period in which deception will be significantly lessened, followed by a brief period of significant Satanic activity



Great Day of Judgment

future Second Advent of Jesus Christ in which all are judged


21 - 22

New Heavens and New Earth

Future eternal state when Christ visibly reigns on new earth as well as heaven


* Revelation chapters 12 – 14 present themselves as a flashback to more fully describe what has occurred in the period of the sounding of the 7 trumpets (and perhaps the opening of the 7 seals as well).  In the course of explaining the sounding of the 7 trumpets, a beast and evil forces released from the bottomless pit was mentioned but not elaborated upon.  Revelation chapters 12 –14 elaborate upon them.




Thus, while it is plausible that the period covered by the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 vials are synchronous rather than successive, it is less likely.  Even those who have argued they are synchronous have generally admitted that the focus of the prophecies of the events associated with the seven vials follows in time the focus of events described in the prophecies of the 7 seals and 7 trumpets. The typological nature of Biblical prophecy should be kept in mind as well.  While the sounding of the 7 trumpets, for example, I believe has primary reference to the time up to the Protestant Reformation, it typologically foreshadows the whole history of man up to the millennium, and even up to the new heavens and new earth. Therefore, the difference among historicistic post-millennialists between the successive versus synchronous frameworks can often be a matter more of form than substance.   But whether successive or synchronous, the historicistic post-millennial framework still holds.  For as the theologian Patrick Fairbairn so ably demonstrated, the elements of Revelation simply do not admit a short time frame for their fulfillment.


The beasts of Revelation should be understood as kingdoms, consistent with their meaning in the book of Daniel.  And the “kings” that are said to successively fall in Revelation chapter 17 should be interpreted as “kingdoms” as well, consistent with the use of a similar expression in Daniel to describe kingdoms.  The interpretation of the “kings” in Revelation chapter 17 as merely individual Roman emperors up to the time of 70 A.D. does not even accord with history.  Here is a list of men who could lay some claim to having been Roman “emperor” up to the time of 70 A.D.:


Pompey the Great Imperator, c. 81 - 48 B. C.
Sextus Pompey Imperatorial General, c. 45 - 35 B. C.
Julius Caesar Imperator & Dictator, 61 - 44 B. C.
Brutus Imperatorial General, c. 50 - 42 B. C.
Cassius Imperatorial General, c. 50 - 42 B. C.
Ahenobarbus Imperatorial General c. 42 - 32 B. C.
Marcus Antonius Imperator and General, c. 61 - 30 B. C.
Lepidus Imperator, c. 46 - 42 B. C.
Augustus (Formerly Octavian) First Roman Emperor 27 B. C. - A. D. 14
AgrippaImperial General c. 31 - 12 B. C.
Tiberius Emperor A. D. 14 - 37
Drusus Son of Tiberius, Murdered A. D. 23
Nero Claudius Drusus Brother of Tiberius
Germanicus Nephew and Adopted Son of Tiberius
Caligula Emperor A. D. 37 - 41
Claudius Emperor A. D. 41 - 54
Britannicus Son of Claudius
Nero Emperor 54 - 68
Clodius Macer Rebel against Galba A. D. 68
Galba Emperor A. D. 68 - 69
Otho Emperor A. D. 69
Vitellius Emperor A. D. 69
Vespasian Emperor A. D. 69 – 79


Even if the term “kings” in Revelation chapter 17 referred to individual monarchs, it would be a most unlikely proposition to say that in the Roman Empire five kings had fallen before Nero, and only 1 or 2 fell up to and including the time of 70 A.D.  No matter how you slice the above list of men, it just does not fit with what is said in Revelation chapter 17.  It is far more consistent with the nature of Daniel and Revelation to identify these kings as the 7 beastly kingdoms: Egypt, Sodom, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome, Papal Rome up to the time of the Protestant Reformation (the 7Th. Beastly manifestation), and Post-Reformation Papal Rome (the Whore and Mother of Harlots riding the Beast).


This Pagan-to-Papal Rome corresponds to the Little Horn which comes out of the Fourth Beast in Daniel 7:8.  Revelation chapter 13 describes it more fully.  There we witness a Beast which is said to reign 42 months (equivalent to 3.5 years [“time, times, and half a time”] = approximately 1,260 days).  In accordance with the day-year principle of prophetic time (see Appendix 2),  this would amount to 1,260 years, and the Geneva Bible rightly assigns it to the time from the foundation of the Christian church in the Apostolic era to the dawn of the Protestant Reformation with leaders like Wyckliffe and Huss.  Its pagan-to-papal character is exhibited by the lamb-like land beast which comes out of the wounded sea beast in Revelation 13.  The lamb-like land beast is especially deceptive, and “deceiveth them that live on the earth.”


The 1,260 years of tyranny upon the church under this Pagan-to-Papal Beast is variously described in Daniel 7:25, Revelation 11:2-3, Revelation 12:6, and Revelation 12:12-14.  It would seem that all of these passages refer to the same period of time, when Christ’s true church was sorely oppressed.  But through the preaching of the gospel this regime in many respects fell (Revelation 14:6-8).  And thus concluded the seventh manifestation of the beast which was to continue the “short space” of a “time, and times, and half a time” (compare Revelation 17:10 with Revelation 12:12-14).


And how do the books of Daniel and Revelation prophesy the Protestant Reformation, following a church wilderness experience?  According to Daniel 12:11, “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”  The abomination that maketh desolate refers to the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem and Temple in 70 A.D.  In 70 A.D. the church definitively left the figurative Egypt of earthly Jerusalem, and earthly Jerusalem ruled by Judaists was destroyed like Pharoah and his armies.  This was followed by the church’s wilderness experience according to Revelation 12.  Revelation 12 describes it as lasting 1,260 years (according to the day-year principle), while Daniel 12 describes it as lasting 1,290 years.  The difference is 30 years.  Now 30 years was the time from Christ’s birth to His public ministry, and it symbolizes the time of birth to public ministry in His prophets.   If we add 1,260 years to 70 A.D., we get 1330 A.D.  And 30 years later is 1360 A.D.   So who was born in 1330 A.D. and began his public ministry in 1360 A.D.?  John Wycliffe, the Morningstar of the Reformation.  Daniel 12:12 goes on to speak of the blessing of those who will make it to 1,335 years, which is 1405 A.D.  By 1405, the Reformation was firmly planted in the British Isles with the Lollards, and it had been planted in continental Europe with Huss.  But just as in Israel’s history, there remained and remains a long saga even after coming out of the wilderness.


So we should not be so naïve as to believe this marked the conclusion of the manifestation of Satan’s power on earth.  Indeed, even during the 1,260 years the church in the wilderness was in most respects transformed into the Mother of Harlots, also in the wilderness (compare Rev 12:6 with Rev 17:3).  The church played the whore, just as Israel of old had played the whore.  And she was the Mother of Harlots in that she has daughter whores scattered about even amongst Protestantism.  They too have embraced many of her foul doctrines, such as the denial of total depravity, unconditional election, perseverance of the saints, and justification through faith alone.  Thus it has been necessary for God to pour out his vials of wrath upon this human rebellion (see Revelation 15 and following). These vials consist of many punishments upon Enlightenment culture which has come to dominate modern civilization.  So we have witnessed the scourge of world wars, epidemics such as AIDS,  and Muslim and Communist terrorism.  It is in this general epoch of history that we find ourselves today.  How long will it last?  That is hard to say, but it is an epoch marked by a diminution in the power of the Papal Whore, largely at the hands of wicked rulers who have tired of Papal tyranny (Revelation 17:16).  Thus we see the diminution in Papal power with the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Technological Revolution.  We can look forward to the ultimate collapse of the Papal power, and finally even the flagrant manifestation of the Beast on earth (Revelation 19:20).  The spread of the gospel message will be the primary instrument for this to take place (Revelation 19:15). 


A prominent flaw in preterism is to assign the Man of Sin, Son of Perdition, Lamb-Like Beast, False Prophet and the Babylonian Whore to an entity outside professing Christendom.  This mis-identification fails to properly take into account the extent of deception involved.  It is much easier to identify that a Nero, a Stalin, a Judaistic High Priest, etc. are enemies of Christ.  Yet, when one comes with the name Christian, he is much harder to identify.  Is this not why Christ warned us: “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt 7:15)?   But even within the context of the book of Revelation, the truly elect body of Christians are described as virgins (Rev 14:4), whereas faithless and corrupted Christians are identified as whores and fornicators (Rev 2:14, 20, 22, 14:8).


Once Satan has been chained, we can anticipate a glorious period of gospel prosperity in the post-millennium, which will be followed by the Great Day of Judgment (Revelation 20).  And this will usher in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22), the ultimate fulfillment of the promise that Satan’s head would be crushed by the Seed of the Woman, that man may enter into God’s Sabbath rest.




As this treatment of full preterism was stimulated by a public discussion and debate, it behooves me to propose these cross-examination questions:


1. Does the term “thousand years” give any indication of length of time?


2. Do you believe Revelation 22:12 and Revelation 20:12 refer to the same event? which event?


Rev. 22:12- " And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. "


Rev. 20:12- "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."


3. Revelation 20:12 is part of Revelation 20:3-12 that reads as follows:


Revelation 20:3-12 – "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season…And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison…And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them…And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."


Is the term "thousand years" a temporal indicator, and if so, of what? 


4. Why should we not interpret the release of Satan, the Great Day of Judgment, and the new heavens and new earth as occurring after an expansive time (symbolized by the millennium)?


5.     Should we interpret the temporal indicator 'hastening unto' (which means ‘moving towards quickly) in II Peter 3:12 in accordance with II Peter 3:8 (ie, understood in terms of divine time) or not?  Why or why not?


6.     In II Peter 3:9, it reads that "the Lord is not slow concerning his promise".  Is "not slow" a temporal indicator?  Should we infer from this that the Lord is fast, but as measured by the divine time described in II Peter 3:8: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."


7.     Preterists like Ken Gentry assert this as their hermeneutic: ""I hold that passages specifically delimiting the time-frame by temporal indicators (such as "this generation," "shortly," "at hand," "near," and similar wording) are to be applied to A. D. 70."  Preterists allow for **no** exception to this hermeneutic with regards to temporal indicators.  Are you willing to stand by this hermeneutic with regards to temporal indicators in II Peter 3:12 and II Peter 3:9?


8. Were the ‘beasts’ of Daniel merely particular kings, or were they kingdoms? And should we not assign them similar signification in the book of Revelation, which is the New Testament sequel of Daniel?


9.     Since you and other preterists (incorrectly) render from the Greek construction in Revelation 13:18 that the beast is a [particular] man, are you willing to render from the same Greek construction in Revelation 21:17 that the wall is a [particular] man?  Why do you deny the more reasonable rendering that the number is a human number like the measurement of the wall is a human measurement?


10. Why do preterists refuse to relate Revelation 17:10-11 and Daniel 7:17?  Are the ‘kings’ referenced in Daniel 7:17 kingdoms or merely particular kings, as preterists seem to insist?


Revelation 17:10-11 reads: "… And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, [and] the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."




Daniel 7:17 reads: "These great beasts, which are four, [are] four kings, [which] shall arise out of the earth."

10. If you insist ‘beast’ means a mere king in prophetic revelation, then why does Daniel 7:23 read: "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth".


11. Most preterists like Gentry say Nero was the sixth "king" of Revelation 17:10, which would imply Caesar Augustus was the second.  Did Caesar Augustus really **fall**, or did he die after a long and prosperous reign?  Did the Babylonian, Persian, and Greek kingdoms fall?


12. Some preterists like Don Preston suggest Babylon in Revelation is Jerusalem.  But is Jerusalem really associated with 7 hills or mountains (see Revelation 17:9- “And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”) in contrast to Rome?

13. In the Bible is the term ‘the man of God’ a reference to one particular man or is it a title describing a group of men with certain common characteristics?   In the Bible is the term ‘the son of perdition’ a reference to one particular man or is it a title describing a group of men with certain common characteristics?  In the Bible is the term ‘the man of sin’ a reference to one particular man or is it a title describing a group of men with certain common characteristics?


14. Is one common characteristic of a ‘son of perdition’ that he deceitfully feigns to be a Christian while he is really not?  Was that true of Judas Iscariot?  Was that true of Nero? Was that true of some Judaistic High Priest in the first century? Is that true of the Romish papacy?


15.  In Revelation 18:4 Christians are told to come out of the compromising harlot.  How would this make sense if we conceive of the harlot as the pagan Roman Empire?



16.  The failure of preterism to adequately address the millennium and the Day of Judgment that follows it is a tremendous flaw of the entire preteristic interpretation of Revelation.  Here is what James Stuart Russell admitted in his Parousia:It is evident that the prediction of what is to take place at the close of a thousand years does not come within what we have ventured to call ‘apocalyptic limits.’ These limits, as we are again and again warned in the book itself, are rigidly confined within a very narrow compass; the things shown are ‘shortly to come to pass.’ It would have been an abuse of language to say that the events at the distance of a thousand years were to come to pass shortly; we are therefore compelled to regard this prediction as lying outside the apocalyptic limits altogether.”  Do you agree with the full preterist Russell?  Do you acknowledge that at least the elements in the book of Revelation that are said to follow the millennium occur long after 70 A.D.?  And if the millennium extends into the future  beyond the first century, why should we not believe the events which are said to follow it – like the Great Day of Judgment – are also in the distant future?

17.  The full preterist James Stuart Russell wrote concerning the account in Revelation 20 of what follows the millennium thus: “There is an evident connection between this prophecy and the vision in Ezekiel concerning Gog and Magog (chaps. xxxviii. xxxix.), which is equally mysterious and obscure. In both the scene of conflict is laid in the same place, the land of Israel; and in both the enemies of God meet with a signal and disastrous overthrow.”  So what do you believe is the connection between  what is prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39, and the event described in Revelation 20?  Is the former not a typological foreshadow of the latter?  (Matthew Henry writes concerning it: “Magog we read of in Gen. 10:2. He was one of the sons of Japheth, and peopled the country called Syria, from which his descendants spread into many other parts. Of Gog and Magog together we only read in Eze. 38:2, a prophecy whence this in Revelation borrows many of its images.”)   If not, why not?  If so, why should we not believe that New Testament prophecies concerning 70 AD do not foreshadow events associated with a future Great Day of Judgment?

18.  Luke 21:24 says, “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”  This is said to follow the time in 70 AD when “they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles.”   So when do full preterists believe this will take place and are any circumstances going to accompany it?

19. It seems in the book of Revelation that the virgin who flees into the wilderness due to the persecution by the beast (see Revelation chapter 12) plays the harlot and is thus transformed into a whore that we witness in the wilderness (see Revelation chapter 17).  Now most commentators agree that the virgin is to be identified with the church, so why should we not identify the whore in Revelation chapter 17 especially with the heretical Romish church which is based in the city of 7 hills?

20. Should we identify the judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15 with the judgment and destruction of Babylon described in Revelation 17-18, or is the latter typical of the judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15?  If you acknowledge it is typical, then why do you deny the future Great Day of Judgment, simply because you identify certain New Testament prophecies to 70 A.D.?  On the other hand, if you believe these prophecies refer to the same event, why is there so much evidence that wickedness persisted after the destruction of whorish Babylon (see Revelation 17:16-18 and Revelation 19), yet Revelation 20:11-15 describes an event with finality? (Even the Beast and False Prophet lived past the time of the destruction of Babylon.) Why should we not believe that Revelation 19:1-20:9 outlines events in between the destruction of Babylon and the judgment of Revelation 20:11-15?

21. How can we consider the millennium described in Revelation 20 as synchronous with the era outlined in Revelation 4-19, when the era described in Revelation 4-19 was a period characterized by widespread deception, yet the millennium is characterized by its absence?  Specifically within the context of Revelation, does it make sense to say Satan was bound in the bottomless pit throughout the period covered in Revelation 4-19?

22. Do you deny that the prophecy of Haggai 2:6 (“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry [land];”) was fulfilled at least in some sense in Christ’s First Advent, which occurred centuries after Haggai uttered it?  If so, how do you explain Hebrews 12:26-27? Do you deny any connection between Haggai 2:6 and the prophecy relating to the Second Advent in II Peter 3:10?

23. Do you acknowledge that within the context of the book of Revelation, the truly elect body of Christians are described as virgins (Rev 14:4), whereas faithless and corrupted Christians are identified as whores and fornicators (Rev 2:14, 20, 22, 14:8)?  If so, why should we not believe that the whorish Babylon in Revelation is also to be identified as such a traitorous Christian, instead of someone like Nero or the Judaistic High Priest?

24.  Given that scriptural prophecy is replete with typology, how can you deny it in New Testament prophecy about the future?  Do you deny that the Babylonian captivity in the Old Testament is typical of the Babylonian oppression of Christians we find in the book of Revelation?  If so, why do you not acknowledge that the judgment on the wicked in 70 A.D. is typical of the future Great Day of Judgment?

25.Do you deny that the judgment described in Revelation 6:15 is typical of the judgment described in Revelation 20:12?


26. Don Preston asserts that "Babylon in Revelation = Jerusalem".  This seems to imply that ancient Babylon was a type of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Now *if* that is the case, how do we know Jerusalem in 70 AD was not a type for a judgment in the future (i.e., after 70 AD)?  If he equates the fall of Jerusalem with the "fall of Babylon" described in Rev 18, then what does the Day of Judgment described in Revelation 20 refer to?


27. Since only the type was imminent in the Haggai 2 prophecy, how do you know just the type is not imminent in the NT prophecy, and the anti-type advent is centuries later?


28. In Daniel we read of events taking place 70 weeks (in other words, 490 days) later, 1290 days later, and 2300 days later, after certain specified events.  Should we interpret these according to the day-year principle?  If it took sometime after Daniel wrote this to the Apostolic era for the event which is to occur after the 70 weeks to be fulfilled, does it not stand to reason that the events which are to occur after 1290 days and even 2300 days will be significantly after the Apostolic era?




Addressing Certain Articles by Full Preterist Author and Minister Don Preston


Don Preston is a very capable proponent of the full preterist position.  Many of his articles on the topic can be found on the internet at url address http://www.eschatology.org/articles/articles.html.  I will here briefly address some of these articles.


In Those Days vs. That Day Don Preston argues against the contrast in timing between “those days” and “that day” in Matthew chapter 24.  He notes just some of the many commentators but disagrees with them:


“North says "verse 36 starts with the word 'but' suggesting a contrast with what has gone before. Before verse 34, moreover, Jesus uses the plural 'days' to refer to his major subject, while after verse 34 he speaks in the singular of 'that day.'" Jackson also notes this so-called distinction. Roy Deaver, says "Whereas the Lord has been discussing "those days," he now makes the reference to 'that day.' The Greek says, 'that day.' Obviously, this is a transition text." [emphasis his] Robert Taylor also believes "that day" is positive proof of a change in subject. The post-millennialist Kik also emphasized this distinction: "The expression 'that day and hour' gives immediate evidence of a change of subject matter.”


Don Preston makes many valid arguments against the standard partial preterist interpretation of Matthew 24, but his arguments fail to address the standard historicistic post-millennial interpretation of Matthew 24.  It denies that “those days” only relate to the Apostolic era; but it does recognize the distinction Christ is making between the timing of “these things” (i.e., the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.) and “that day” (i.e., Christ’s Second Advent).  There is a true distinction in timing of the two, and that full preterism denies it is one more significant objection to full preterism itself.


In How Heaven and Earth Passed Away  Don Preston argues that heaven and earth passed away.  He writes: “IF YOU BELIEVE THE OLD COVENANT HAS PASSED AWAY THEN YOU MUST BELIEVE "HEAVEN AND EARTH" HAVE PASSED AWAY! Please read the words of Jesus: "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law and the Prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until all be fulfilled". [Matthew 5:17-18]” 


But such an interpretation ignores the substance of what Jesus is teaching in the context of the Sermon on the Mount.  Notice the next verse in Matthew 5:19  - “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  Christ is teaching the enduring applicability of God’s moral law exhibited in the Law and the Prophets.  He is not discoursing on the abrogation of the Old Covenant in this context  – though it is true the Mosaic economy passed away as a result of Christ’s First Advent - but rather the enduring character of God’s moral commandments exhibited in the Old Testament. Luke 16:17-18 makes a similar point: “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.  Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from [her] husband committeth adultery.”   So Matthew 5:19 in no wise proves that heaven and earth passed away in the Apostolic era. 


In his tract How is this Possible? Don Preston asserts that the Authorized Version incorrectly translates II Thessalonians 2:2 (“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”), and that it should be rendered “that the day of Christ is present.”   And from this he asserts that the Thessalonians were expecting an invisible Second Advent, because they obviously knew it was not visible. 


The very conclusion that the full preterist arrives at is evidence enough to invalidate his proposed correction to the translation.  Nothing could be more plain from the Apostle Paul’s teaching in I Thessalonians that Christ’s Second Advent was to be visible.  For example, he writes in 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  How could this not be visible? 


Furthermore,  Don Preston fails to mention the universal aspect of the Second Advent which the Thessalonians expected.  They did not expect a Second Advent which was really only a local judgment upon the Judaistic Jews in Israel; they expected a Second Advent with universal scope.  And it makes no sense that they should be troubled by a judgment starting to happen upon the Judaistic Jews in Israel; but it makes much sense that they should be concerned by an imminent Day of Judgment in which all men will be judged.  This is why Paul consoles them with these words:


“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (II Thes. 1:7-10)


He did not say something to the effect that it was merely going to be a judgment upon the Jews in Israel.


It is true that the Greek term translated in the AV as “at hand” most commonly means present.  But as the commentator A.R. Faussett notes, while “the Greek is usually used of actual presence; but is quite susceptible of the translation, "is all but present."  And given that the Thessalonians were expecting a visible and universal Second Advent, which they could not have missed in Paul’s teaching, there is sufficient warrant in this context to render it as “at hand”.


In his article Babylon of Great of Revelation Don Preston contends that Babylon must refer to Jerusalem because only Jerusalem killed Old Testament prophets, and “prophets in Revelation must refer to Old Testament prophets.   “Revelation 16:6; 17:1-6; 18:20, 24 tell us that Babylon was drunk with the blood of the prophets. This is a critical point! The term "the prophets" appears 88 times in the New Testament. The overwhelmingly normal usage of the term refers to Old Testament prophets.” 


This argument of Don’s is a real stretch, because Revelation 18:20, to take but one example, evidently refers to New Testament Apostles and Prophets.  It reads: “Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”  And Revelation 11 speaks of the witnesses there prophesying, which is evidently in the New Testament era.  So to argue these are Old Testament prophets is quite implausible.


Furthermore, to identify the Babylon of Revelation with Jerusalem is implausible.  First, Jerusalem does not fit with the description in Revelation chapter 17 as the city on 7 hills.  In addition, Jerusalem did not come out of the Roman Empire, yet the little horn of Daniel (which is to be identified with Revelation’s Babylon) is said to come out of the Roman Empire (aka ‘the fourth beast).  Finally, the Babylonian whore in the wilderness in Revelation 17 seems to be a transformed version of the virgin in the wilderness, which was the persecuted church.  The term ‘virgin’ in the book of Revelation identifies elect Christians (see Rev 14:4); whereas the terms ‘whoredom’ and ‘fornication’ identify traitorous, corrupted Christians (Rev 2:14, 20, 22). In the context whoredom is not identified either with pagan Romanism or non-Christian Judaism.  It simply does not fit to identify Babylon then with Jerusalem, but it readily fits to identify it with the Romish church.


In Recorded in the Book of Life Don Preston argues that we must be now outside the last days because:


·        In the last days Christians will have miraculous gifts like prophecy, yet after the Apostolic era these gifts disappeared.

·        The Day of the Lord which concludes the Last Days according to Isaiah must be identified with 70 A.D.

·        Satan was to be bruised shortly (Romans 9:28 and Romans 16:20)


Regarding the first point, to say that these miraculous sign gifts will be present in the Last Days is not to say they will be present with everyone all the time.  Indeed, they were especially fulfilled on Pentecost Sunday.  Regarding the second point, it is overly simplistic to identify the term “day of the Lord” in Isaiah 2-4 with 70 A.D.  It actually has primary reference to the coming judgment of God upon the wicked Jews of that day through the Babylonians, though this typologically refers as well to 70 A.D. and ultimately to the Great Day of Judgment. 


It should be noted as well that according to Romans 11:24-25 many Jews will be converted when the time of the fulness of the Gentiles is complete.  But according to Luke 21:24 this must occur a considerable time after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D. 


A parallel passage to Romans 9:28 and Romans 16:20 is Revelation 12:10-11.  In Revelation 12:10-11 we read how Satan will be bruised  through the preaching of the gospel.  It is the preaching of the gospel which will ultimately overthrow the Beast (Rev 14:6-8, Rev 19:15,21).  But we should not mistake this with the Great Day of Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15.


So in answer to Don’s question (“Paul said that was being accomplished when he                    wrote, Romans 11:1ff; would be consummated at the coming of the Lord, 11:25-27; and would be accomplished in a short while, Romans 9:28. Can we extend that "short work" into two thousand years so far?”), our answer should surely be “yes.”


Don Preston has argued that Genesis 49 teaches that the Last Days ended in the Apostolic era, because the scepter departed from Judah then.  But he is wrong to say the scepter ever departed from Judah.  Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8 say that God made a “new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”, and Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  So Judah hardly ceased then, any more than Jesus and the New Covenant ceased then. 


In fact, the Last Days could not have ceased in the Apostolic era, because what Isaiah 2 says will happen in the Last Days has not yet ultimately occurred.  It says the people “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  This is a description of the post-millennium which has yet to occur.


Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8 say that God made a “new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”, and Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  So for Don to suggest Judah ceased during the Apostolic era is wrong.  And the term “until” in the phrase “until Shiloh comes” does not mean  "up to the point of and not after." In one of Don’s very own articles he admits that very often in scripture the word is used in a transitional sense without the sense of termination. In Matthew 11:12 Jesus said the kingdom had suffered violence "until now." Did the kingdom suffer no violence after the days of John the Baptist?… In Romans 5:13 inspiration says sin was in the world "until the law." Now was there no more sin after the Old Law came?”  So we should not imagine that Judah and the Last Days had to cease in the Apostolic era.


In fact, the Last Days could not have ceased in the Apostolic era, because what Isaiah 2 says will happen in the Last Days has not yet ultimately occurred.  It says the people “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  This is a description of the post-millennium which has yet to occur.


Finally, preterists such as Don Preston assert there are no types in the New Covenant era.  But our first day of the week Christian Sabbath, called the Lord’s Day, which is a type of the Promised Eternal Sabbath rest, is testimony against any such notion.






Verse-by-Verse Rebuttals


A preterist by the name of David Green has put together a list of 101 verses which he alleges are proof-positive time indicators that “the fulfillment of all prophecy was "at hand," "near," "soon," "about to be," etc. when the New Testament was written, and it was all to be fulfilled by the time the old covenant vanished and its temple was destroyed (in A.D. 70).”  (see http://www.strato.net/~dagreen/preterism101.html)   Here I will briefly comment upon each of these supposed proofs.  It should be noted that I reject the way in which full preterism so often tries to relate language of a ‘kingdom’ or a ‘coming’ with the 70 A.D. judgment upon Jerusalem, and not sufficiently to consider its fulfillment in other events, some before and many after 70 A.D.


1. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2)


We must keep in mind that when Christ was crucified and resurrected, His kingdom was established; He came and sat at the right hand of God the Father.  To use the words of Psalm 2, He was set on His holy hill of Zion.  This is confirmed in Acts 13:33 which reads: “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”  And this is why we read in Ephesians 1:19-21: “And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”  It did not even have to wait until 70 A.D.   This is why even before 70 A.D. Paul could say in Colossians 1:13 that Christ had “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.”


But Christ had indicated in parables such as the one of how a mustard seed grows into a tree, that the manifestation of His kingdom on earth would only progressively develop.  It will progress into what we find in the book of Revelation describing a post-millennium, and ultimately it will be fully manifested after a  Great Day of Judgment in a new heavens and new earth.  


So there is nothing in statements which imply Christ’s kingdom would be raised at the time of Christ’s resurrection that contradict the ultimate manifestation to be realized after the yet future Great Day of Judgment.  And there are a number of instances in the gospels where Christ’s coming refers to His coming to the Father to establish His kingdom upon His resurrection and ascension (see response to quote #7 below).  This is also consistent with the fact that in the very first seal opened in the book of Revelation, Christ is presented as coming as the White Horse Rider (Rev. 6:2), which is the same image we find of Him in Revelation 19. 

2. "Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?" (Matt. 3:7)


The Authorized Version rightly renders this “the wrath to come.”  It is an allusion ultimately to the Great Day of Judgment, which we discover in the book of Revelation is to occur at the conclusion of the post-millennium. Then all men will be eternally judged. However, it has secondary allusion to such temporal judgments as that in 70 A.D.  We should keep in mind that the book of Revelation describes a series of such judgments, all foreshadowings of the Great Day of Judgment.


The Greek term “mello“ [meaning ‘to come’] (as used in such verses as Acts 17:31 and Romans 8:18) often does not mean immediate in the human sense of time, but rather refers to the certainty of something to come.  An example of this is its occurrence in Romans 5:14, which reads “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  The term translated here ‘him that was to come’ is a form of the Greek word “mello”. Obviously, Christ in His First Advent did not come in human time soon after Adam.  Similarly, the Great Day of Judgment did not occur in human time shortly after the First Advent. 

3. "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees." (Matt. 3:10)


This probably refers to the coming judgment in 70 AD upon the Jews.  Christ’s kingdom was established at His resurrection, and most of the Jews rejected Christ and His kingdom, so they were punished in 70 A.D. by the local judgment of the Roman siege.  But we should not think this negates the reality of the future Great Day of Judgment, of which such judgments as that in 70 A.D. are mere types and shadows.  So we find in the book of Revelation a series of such

4. "His winnowing fork is in His hand." (Matt. 3:12)

Matthew Henry comments: “There is a day coming when the floor shall be purged, and the wheat and chaff shall be separated. Something of this kind is often done in this world, when God calls his people out of Babylon, Rev. 18:4. But it is the day of the last judgment that will be the great winnowing, distinguishing day, which will infallibly determine concerning doctrines and works (1 Co. 3:13), and concerning persons (ch. 25:32, 33), when saints and sinners shall be parted for ever.”


We should not reject the ultimate manifestation of the separation of wheat and tares simply because we acknowledge that in various local judgments in history this separation has partially been accomplished, and therefore serves as a foreshadowing of the ultimate.

5. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17)

See response to quote #1.


6. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 10:7)

See response to quote #1.


7. "You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes." (Matt. 10:23)


This ‘coming of the kingdom of God’ corresponds with prophecies such as Daniel 7:13-14, which reads: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.” Thus Calvin writes concerning Daniel 7:13-14:

“He came to the Ancient of days. This, in my judgment, ought to be explained of Christ's ascension; for he then commenced his reign, as we see in numberless passages of Scripture. Nor is this passage contrary to what the Prophet had previously said -- he saw the Son of man in the clouds. For by this expression he simply wishes to teach how Christ, although like a man, yet differed from the whole human race, and was not of the common order of men; but excelled the whole world in dignity. He expresses much more when he says, in the second clause,  He came even unto the Ancient of days.   For although the Divine Majesty lay hid in Christ, yet he discharged the duty of a slave, and emptied himself, as Paul says, (Philippians 2:7). So also we read in the first chapter of John, (John 1:14,) Glory appeared in him as of the only begotten Son of God; that is, which belongs to the only begotten Son of God. Christ, therefore, thus put off his glory for the time, and yet by His miracles and many other proofs afforded a clear and evident; specimen of his celestial glory. He really appeared to Daniel in the clouds, but when he ascended to heaven, he then put off this mortal body, and put on a new life. Thus Paul also, in the sixth chapter to the Romans, says, he lives the life of God, (Romans 6:10;) and other phrases often used by our Lord himself agree very well with this, especially in the Evangelist John, "I go to the Father." "It is expedient for me to go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I," (John 16:7John 14:28;) that is, it is expedient for me to ascend to that royal tribunal which the Father has erected for me by his eternal counsel, and thus the whole world will feel the supreme power to have been entrusted to me.”


That Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father to establish His kingdom was to be great comfort for those who labored to proclaim His gospel amidst persecutions.

8. "....the age about to come." (Matt. 12:32)

This is another instance in which a form of the Greek word “mello” is used, meaning ‘to come.’  The Greek term “mello“ [meaning ‘to come’] (as used in such verses as Acts 17:31 and Romans 8:18) often does not mean immediate in the human sense of time, but rather refers to the certainty of something to come.  An example of this is its occurrence in Romans 5:14, which reads “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  The term translated in Romans 5:14 as ‘him that was to come’ is a form of the Greek word “mello”. Obviously, Christ in His First Advent did not come in human time soon after Adam. 


Refer to Appendix 1 for additional information concerning this Greek term.



9. "The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds." (Matt. 16:27)


There are various reasons we should conclude that the coming here speaks of the same one as described in Matthew 13:38-43, for it describes a universal judgment of all mankind, with Christ accompanied by His angels.  The verse should be translated: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”  There was no universal judgment and complete separation of the tares from the wheat in 70 A.D.


Calvin comments: “27. For the Son of man will come. That the doctrine which has just been laid down may more deeply affect our minds, Christ places before our eyes the future judgment; for if we would perceive the worthlessness of this fading life, we must be deeply affected by the view of the heavenly life…”

10. "There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matt. 16:28; cf. Mk. 9:1; Lk. 9:27)


There are various reasons we should believe the coming spoken of in Matt. 16:28 is different from the one described in 16:27.  First, the one described in 16:27 was a universal judgment; the one in 16:28 is one where Christ established His kingdom.  (see answer to quote #7)


Calvin comments: ”28. Verily, I say to you. As the disciples might still hesitate and inquire when that day would be, our Lord animates them by the immediate assurance, that he will presently give them a proof of his future glory. We know the truth of the common proverb, that to one who is in expectation even speed looks like delay; but never does it hold more true, than when we are told to wait for our salvation till the coming of Christ. To support his disciples in the meantime, our Lord holds out to them, for confirmation, an intermediate period; as much as to say, "If it seem too long to wait for the day of my coming, I will provide against this in good time; for before you come to die, you will see with your eyes that kingdom of God, of which I bid you entertain a confident hope." This is the natural import of the words; for the notion adopted by some, that they were intended to apply to John, is ridiculous.

Coming in his kingdom. By the coming of the kingdom of God we are to understand the manifestation of heavenly glory, which Christ began to make at his resurrection, and which he afterwards made more fully by sending the Holy Spirit, and by the performance of miracles; for by those beginnings he gave his people a taste of the newness of the heavenly life, when they perceived, by certain and undoubted proofs, that he was sitting at the right hand of the Father.”

11. "'When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?'  '....He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.'  '....Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.'  ....When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them." (Matt. 21:40-41,43,45)

This verse started to be fulfilled as the Jews rejected the gospel before 70 A.D. but the Gentiles embraced it. 


Matthew Henry comments: “We have here the privileges of the Jewish church, represented by the letting out of a vineyard to the husbandmen; they were as tenants holding by, from, and under, God the great Householder. Observe, 1. How God established a church for himself in the world. The kingdom of God upon earth is here compared to a vineyard, furnished with all things requisite to an advantageous management and improvement of it. (1.) He planted this vineyard. The church is the planting of the Lord, Isa. 61:3. The forming of a church is a work by itself, like the planting of a vineyard, which requires a great deal of cost and care. It is the vineyard which his right hand has planted (Ps. 80:15), planted with the choicest vine (Isa. 5:2), a noble vine, Jer. 2:21. “


We should not identify every statement speaking of Christ’s coming as necessarily referring to one event.  Some refer to Christ’s coming in His kingdom at His resurrection.  (His coming in His kingdom did not wait until 70 AD, because we read in Mt 28:18, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”)  Some refer to 70 A.D. or other local judgments.  But those which speak of a universal judgment refer to the future Great Day of Judgment.



12. "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place." (Matt. 24:34)

In the context of Matthew 24, the “these things” is referring to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, but it is not speaking of everything in the chapter, and especially not of the Second Coming (“that day”), which Christ contrasts with “these things” regarding our knowledge of its timing.


13. "From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matt. 26:64; Mk. 14:62; Lk. 22:69)


This “sitting on the right hand of power” followed Christ’s resurrection, as we read in Ephesians 1.  The effects of this “sitting on the right hand of power” were displayed on Pentecost, in the miracles of the Apostles, in the spread of the gospel, in the 70 A.D. judgment, and ultimately on the Great Day of Judgment when all men will stand before Christ for judgment.  But none of this contradicts our doctrine of the future Day of Judgment.

14. "The kingdom of God is at hand." (Mk. 1:15)


See response to quote #1.

15. "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.  ....They [the chief priests, scribes and elders] understood that He spoke the parable against them." (Mk. 12:9,12)

See response to quote #11.


16. "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mk. 13:30)

This is the parallel passage to Matthew 24. See response to quote #12.


17. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Lk. 3:7)

See response to question #2.

18. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees. " (Lk. 3:9)

See response to question #3.


19. "His winnowing fork is in His hand…." (Lk. 3:17)

See response to question #4.


20. “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Lk. 10:9)

See response to question #1.


21. “The kingdom of God has come near.” (Lk. 10:11)


See response to question #1.

22. “What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others." …The scribes and the chief priests …understood that He spoke this parable against them.” (Lk. 20:15-16,19)

See response to question #11.

23. “These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:22)


We must understand “all things…be fulfilled” in light of the nearby verse which speaks of Jerusalem being trodden down by the Gentiles **until** the fullness of the Gentiles be brought in.  Such was long after 70 AD, and is even still future for us.  But there shall come a day when the fullness of Gentiles are brought in, and the Jews are converted to Christianity.  This will usher in the post-millennium.


As Matthew Henry records about Whitby’s position: “Jerusalem shall be possessed by the Gentiles, of one sort or other, for the most part, till the time come when the nations that yet remain infidels shall embrace the Christian faith, when the kingdoms of this world shall become Christ’s kingdoms, and then all the Jews shall be converted. Jerusalem shall be inhabited by them, and neither they nor their city any longer trodden down by the Gentiles.” 


We can look forward to a day when the Jews are converted to Christianity, when the fullness of the Gentiles are brought in: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)

24. "This generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Lk. 21:32)

”All things” here does not refers to the events associated with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, not events such as the fullness of the Gentiles being brought in and the Second Advent.

25. "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'” (Lk. 23:28-30; Compare Rev. 6:14-17)


This seems to refer to the 70 A.D judgment., but this in no wise contradicts the coming Great Day of Judgment.

26. "We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel.” (Lk. 24:21)

The Authorized Version has properly translated this verse: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”  They probably did believe, however, that Jesus would then redeem Israel, because His disciples were slow to understand the plan, as their very discussion with Jesus indicates.

27. "I will come to you. …In that Day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.' …'Lord, what then has happened that You are about to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?'" (Jn. 14:18,20,22)

As John Calvin points out,This passage shows what men are, and what they can do, when they have been deprived of the protection of the Spirit. They are orphans, exposed to every kind of fraud and injustice, incapable of governing themselves, and, in short, unable of themselves to do any thing. The only remedy for so great a defect is, if Christ govern us by his Spirit, which he promises that he will do. First then, the disciples are reminded of their weakness, that, distrusting themselves, they may rely on nothing else than the protection of Christ; and, secondly, having promised a remedy, he gives them good encouragement; for he declares that he will never leave them. When he says, I will come to you, he shows in what manner he dwells in his people, and in what manner he fills all things. It is, by the power of his Spirit; and hence it is evident, that the grace of the Spirit is a striking proof of his Divinity.”


The immediately preceding verse reads: “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, and knoweth him not; but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”  This is the nature of Christ’s coming and presence with the saints following His resurrection and ascension.


28. "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" (Jn. 21:22)


As John Calvin wrote:


22. If I will that he remain. It has been customary to take this sentence as detached, and to read the former clause affirmatively, I will that he tarry till I come; but this has been done through the ignorance of transcribers, not through the mistake of the translator; for he could not have been mistaken about the Greek word, but a single letter might easily creep into the Latin version, so as to alter the whole meaning. 1 The whole sentence, therefore, is a question, and ought to be read in immediate connection; for Christ intended to put his hand on his disciple, in order to keep him within the limits of his calling. "It is no concern of yours," says he, "and you have no right to inquire what becomes of your companion; leave that to my disposal; think only about yourself, and prepare to follow where you are called." Not that all anxiety about brethren is uncalled for but it ought to have some limit, so that it may be anxiety, and not curiosity, that occupies our attention. Let every man, therefore, look to his neighbours, if by any means he may succeed in drawing them along with him to Christ, and let not the offenses of others retard his own progress.

29. “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'And it shall be in the last days…'” (Acts 2:16-17)


The term “the last days” is found in Isaiah 2:2 (“And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”)  This period certainly began with Christ’s resurrection, but it shall not end until all those elements which characterize it are fulfilled (e.g., the fullness of the Gentiles brought in, the conversion of the Jews, the millennium, etc., all to be consummated with the Great Day of Judgment).  Isaiah 2 suggests some of these elements: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”  These elements are progressively realized over history, and were not all realized in 70 A.D.


John Calvin wrote concerning this verse:

17. It shall be in the last days. By this effect he proveth that the Messiah is already revealed. Joel, indeed, doth not express the last days, (Joel 2:29;) but for as much as he intreateth of the perfect restoring of the Church, it is not to be doubted but that that prophecy belongeth unto the last age alone. Wherefore, that which Peter bringeth doth no whit dissent from Joel's meaning; but he doth only add this word for exposition sake, that the Jews might know that the Church could by no other means be restored, which was then decayed, but by being renewed by the Spirit of God. Again, because the repairing of the Church should be like unto a new world, therefore Peter saith that it shall be in the last days. And surely this was a common and familiar thing among the Jews, that all those great promises concerning the blessed and well-ordered state of the Church should not be fulfilled until Christ, by his coming, should restore all things. Wherefore, it was out of all doubt amongst them, that that which is cited out of Joel doth appertain unto the last time. Now, by the last days, or fullness of time, is meant the stable and firm condition of the Church, in the manifestation or revealing of Christ.

30. “He has fixed a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness…” (Acts 17:31)


The Greek term “mello“ (as used in such verses as Acts 17:31 and Romans 8:18) often does not mean immediate in the human sense of time, but rather refers to the sureness of expectation and occurrence.  An example of this is its occurrence in Romans 5:14, which reads “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  The term translated here ‘him that was to come’ is a form of the Greek word “mello”. Obviously, Christ did not come in human time soon after Adam.  


The Authorized Version is correct in translating the verse thus: “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

31. “There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15)


The Greek term “mello“ (as used in such verses as Acts 17:31 and Romans 8:18) often does not mean immediate in the human sense of time, but rather refers to the sureness of expectation and occurrence.  An example of this is its occurrence in Romans 5:14, which reads “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  The term translated here ‘him that was to come’ is a form of the Greek word “mello”. Obviously, Christ did not come in human time soon after Adam.  


The Authorized Version is correct in translating the verse thus: “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”

32. “As he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment about to come…" (Acts 24:25)


This is another instance of the Greek term “mello”.  See response to question #31.

33. “Not for [Abraham's] sake only was it written, that [faith] was reckoned to him [as righteousness], but for our sake also, to whom it is about to be reckoned.” (Rom. 4:23-24)


This is another instance of the use of the Greek term “mello”.  Imputation of righteousness did not wait until 70 A.D. Rather, the term “mello” is used to describe its certainty.

34. “If you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die.” (Rom. 8:13)

This is a very obvious case where the term “mello” must be interpreted as ‘certain to die’ and not ‘about to die.’   The Greek term “mello“ (as used in such verses as Acts 17:31 and Romans 8:18) often does not mean immediate in the human sense of time, but rather refers to the sureness of expectation and occurrence.  An example of this is its occurrence in Romans 5:14, which reads “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  The term translated here ‘him that was to come’ is a form of the Greek word “mello”. Obviously, Christ did not come in human time soon after Adam. See Appendix 1.


35. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)


The Greek term “mello“ (as used in such verses as Acts 17:31 and Romans 8:18) often does not mean immediate in the human sense of time, but rather refers to the sureness of expectation and occurrence.  An example of this is its occurrence in Romans 5:14, which reads “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”  The term translated here ‘him that was to come’ is a form of the Greek word “mello”. Obviously, Christ did not come in human time soon after Adam. See Appendix 1.


36. "It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand." (Rom. 13:11-12)


John Calvin comments on this verse:

“The import then of the words is this, "Since we know that the seasonable time has already come, in which we should awake from sleep, let us cast aside whatever belongs to the night, let us shake off all the works of darkness, since the darkness itself has been dissipated, and let us attend to the works of light, and walk as it becomes those who are enjoying the day." The intervening words are to be read as in a parenthesis.

As, however, the words are metaphorical, it may be useful to consider their meaning: Ignorance of God is what he calls night; for all who are thus ignorant go astray and sleep as people do in the night. The unbelieving do indeed labor under these two evils, they are blind and they are insensible; but this insensibility he shortly after designated by sleep, which is, as one says, an image of death. By light he means the revelation of divine truth, by which Christ the sun of righteousness arises on us. 1 He mentions awake, by which he intimates that we are to be equipped and prepared to undertake the services which the Lord requires from us. The works of darkness are shameful and wicked works; for night, as some one says, is shameless. The armor of light represents good, and temperate, and holy actions, such as are suitable to the day; and armor is mentioned rather than works, because we are to carry on a warfare for the Lord.

But the particles at the beginning, And this, are to be read by themselves, for they are connected with what is gone before; as we say in Latin Adhoec -- besides, or proeterea -- moreover. The time, he says, was known to the faithful, for the calling of God and the day of visitation required a new life and new morals, and he immediately adds an explanation, and says, that it was the hour to awake: for it is not cro>nov but kairo<v which means a fit occasion or a seasonable time. 2

For nearer is now our salvation, etc. This passage is in various ways perverted by interpreters. Many refer the word believed to the time of the law, as though Paul had said, that the Jews believed before Christ came; which view I reject as unnatural and strained; and surely to confine a general truth to a small part of the Church, would have been wholly inconsistent. Of that whole assembly to which he wrote, how few were Jews? Then this declaration could not have been suitable to the Romans. Besides, the comparison between the night and the day does in my judgment dissipate every doubt on the point. The declaration then seems to me to be of the most simple kind, -- "Nearer is salvation now to us than at that time when we began to believe:" so that a reference is made to the time which had preceded as to their faith. For as the adverb here used is in its import indefinite, this meaning is much the most suitable, as it is evident from what follows.

12. The night has advanced, and the day, etc. This is the season which he had just mentioned; for as the faithful are not as yet received into full light, he very fitly compares to the dawn the knowledge of future life, which shines on us through the gospel: for day is not put here, as in other places, for the light of faith, (otherwise he could not have said that it was only approaching, but that it was present, for it now shines as it were in the middle of its progress,) but for that glorious brightness of the celestial life, the beginnings of which are now seen through the gospel.

The sum of what he says is, -- that as soon as God begins to call us, we ought to do the same, as when we conclude from the first dawn of the day that the full sun is at hand; we ought to look forward to the coming of Christ.

He says that the night had advanced, because we are not so overwhelmed with thick darkness as the unbelieving are, to whom no spark of life appears; but the hope of resurrection is placed by the gospel before our eyes; yea, the light of faith, by which we discover that the full brightness of celestial glory is nigh at hand, ought to stimulate us, so that we may not grow torpid on the earth. But afterwards, when he bids us to walk in the light, as it were during the day time, he does not continue the same metaphor; for he compares to the day our present state, while Christ shines on us. His purpose was in various ways to exhort us, -- at one time to meditate on our future life; at another, to contemplate the present favor of God.”

37. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Rom. 16:20)


John Calvin comments:


“20. What follows, God shall bruise Satan, etc., is a promise to confirm them, rather than a prayer. He indeed exhorts them to fight manfully against Satan, and promises that they should shortly be victorious. He was indeed once conquered by Christ, but not in such a way but that he renews the war continually. He then promises ultimate defeat, which does not appear in the midst of the contest. At the same time he does not speak only of the last day, when Satan shall be completely bruised; but as Satan was then confounding all things, raging, as it were, with loose or broken reins, he promises that the Lord would shortly subdue him, and cause him to be trodden, as it were, under foot. Immediately a prayer follows, -- that the grace of Christ would be with them, that is, that they might enjoy all the blessings which had been procured for them by Christ.”

38. “The time has been shortened.” (I Cor. 7:29)


John Calvin rightly comments:


“29. Because the time is short, etc. Again he discourses respecting the holy use of marriage, for the purpose of repressing the wantonness of those who, when they have married, think of nothing but the delights of the flesh. They have no remembrance of God. Hence he exhorts believers not to give way to unbridled desire in such a way, that marriage should have the effect of plunging them into the world. Marriage is a remedy for incontinency. It has really the effect, if it be used with moderation. He therefore exhorts married persons to live together chastely in the fear of the Lord. This will be effected, if marriage is made use of by them, like other helps of this earthly life, having their hearts directed upwards to meditation on the heavenly life. Now, he draws his argument from the shortness of human life: "This life," says he, "which we are now spending is frail, and of short duration. Let us not therefore be held entangled by it. Let those accordingly who have wives, be as though they had none." Every one, it is true, has this philosophy in his mouth, but few have it truly and in good earnest impressed upon their minds. In my first translation, I had followed a manuscript, to which (as I afterwards discovered) not one of the many others gave any countenance. I have accordingly deemed it proper to insert the particle because, to make the meaning more apparent, and in accordance also with the reading in some ancient copies. For as in those cases in which we are deliberating as to anything, we look to the future rather than to the past, he admonishes us as to the shortness of the time that is to come.”


We should not interpret this “shortly” as referring to the 70 A.D. judgment upon Jerusalem;  this book was not even especially written to those in Jerusalem, but those in Corinth.

39. “The form of this world is passing away.” (I Cor. 7:31)

Calvin comments on this verse:


“For the fashion of this world passeth away. By the term here used, the Apostle has elegantly expressed the vanity of the world. "There is nothing," says he, "that is firm or solid;5for it is a mere show or outward appearance, as they speak." He seems, however, to have had an allusion to theatrical representations, in which, on the curtain being drawn up in a single moment, a new appearance is presented, and those things that held the eyes of the spectators in astonishment, are immediately withdrawn from their view. I do not see why it is that Erasmus has preferred the term habitus (form.) He certainly, in my opinion, obscures Paul's doctrine; for the term fashion is tacitly opposed to substance.6


40. “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (I Cor. 10:11)


A.R. Faussett comments on this expression “the ends of the ages” thus:


“the ends of the world--literally, "of the ages"; the New Testament dispensation in its successive phases (plural, "ends") being the winding up of all former "ages." No new dispensation shall appear till Christ comes as Avenger and Judge; till then the "ends," being many, include various successive periods (compare Hbr 9:26 ). As we live in the last dispensation, which is the consummation of all that went before, our responsibilities are the greater; and the greater is the guilt, Paul implies, to the Corinthians, which they incur if they fall short of their privileges.”


We are not forced by this term to assume that in 70 A.D. we somehow came out of the “ends of the ages.”

41. “We shall not all fall sleep, but we shall all be changed, in 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 shall be changed.” (I Cor. 15:51-52)


The event described in I Corinthians 15 as the end and Christ’s coming cannot apply to 70 AD,  for the following has not yet been accomplished: “Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death.”  There is yet death and open enemies on this earth.



42. "Maranatha!" [The Lord comes!] (I Cor. 16:22)

The localized judgment of 70 AD was directed at the Judaistic Jews in Jerusalem, but this serves as a warning to those who are in Corinth.

Matthew Henry comments on this verse: “"Let him be Anathema, Maran-atha, lie under the heaviest and most dreadful curse. Let him be separated from the people of God, from the favour of God, and delivered up to his final, irrevocable, and inexorable vengeance’’ Maran-atha is a Syriac phrase, and signifies The Lord cometh. That very Lord whom they do not love, to whom they are inwardly and really disaffected whatever outward profession they make, is coming to execute judgment. And to be exposed to his wrath, to be divided to his left hand, to be condemned by him, how dreadful! If he will destroy, who can save? Those who fall under his condemning sentence must perish, and that for ever.”

43. "...not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.” (Eph. 1:21)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

44. “The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:5)

Calvin explains: “
The Lord is near to all that call upon him. The meaning therefore is,-- "Miserable were the condition of the pious, if the Lord were at a distance from them."But as he has received them under his protection and guardianship, and defends them by his hand, which is everywhere present, let them rest upon this consideration, that they may not be intimidated by the rage of the wicked. It is well known, and matter of common occurrence, that the term solicitudo (carefulness) is employed to denote that anxiety which proceeds from distrust of Divine power or help.”

45. "The gospel …was proclaimed in all creation under heaven." (Col. 1:23; Compare Matt. 24:14; Rom. 10:18; Col. 1:5-6; II Tim. 4:17; Rev. 14:6-7)


The fact that even in the Apostolic era the command was being fulfilled, does not mean it has been entirely fulfilled in every respect, any more than the rest during Joshua’s day fulfilled all of God’s promises concerning a rest.

46. “…things which are a shadow of what is about to come.” (Col. 2:16-17)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

47. “…we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord… …We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds… …You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.” (I Thess. 4:15,17; 5:4)


Calvin comments;


“We who live. This has been said by him with this view--that they might not think that those only would be partakers of the resurrection who would be alive at the time of Christ's coming, and that those would have no part in it who had been previously taken away by death. "The order of the resurrection," says he, "will begin with them: 3 we shall accordingly not rise without them." From this it appears that the belief of a final resurrection had been, in the minds of some, slight and obscure, and involved in various errors, inasmuch as they imagined that the dead would be deprived of it; for they imagined that eternal life belonged to those alone whom Christ, at his last coming, would find still alive upon the earth. Paul, with the view of remedying these errors, assigns the first place to the dead, and afterwards teaches that those will follow who will be at that time remaining in this life.

As to the circumstance, however, that by speaking in the first person he makes himself, as it were, one of the number of those who will live until the last day, he means by this to arouse the Thessalonians to wait for it, nay more, to hold all believers in suspense, that they may not promise themselves some particular time: for, granting that it was by a special revelation that he knew that Christ would come at a somewhat later time, 4 it was nevertheless necessary that this doctrine should be delivered to the Church in common, that believers might be prepared at all times. In the mean time, it was necessary thus to cut off all pretext for the curiosity of many--as we shall find him doing afterwards at greater length. When, however, he says, we that are alive, he makes use of the present tense instead of the future, in accordance with the Hebrew idiom.”

48. “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:23)

Matthew Henry comments: “Where the good work of grace is begun, it shall be carried on, be protected and preserved; and all those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus shall be preserved to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And because, if God did not carry on his good work in the soul, it would miscarry, we should pray to God to perfect his work, and preserve us blameless, free from sin and impurity, till at length we are presented faultless before the throne of his glory with exceeding joy.”  


This is an exhortation relevant for all men, because the dead as well as the living at the time of the Great Day of Judgment will have to stand before the judgment seat.

49. “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.” (II Thess. 1:6-7)

He is not saying that Christ’s Second Advent was then about to happen.  We know this from the next chapter in II Thessalonians, where we read: “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 


50. “Godliness …holds promise for the present life and that which is about to come.” (I Tim. 4:8)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

51. “I charge you …that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Tim. 6:14)

Calvin comments:


“Till the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible to tell how necessary it was to all the godly, at that time, to have their mind entirely fixed on the day of Christ; because innumerable offenses existed everywhere in the world. They were assailed on every hand, were universally hated and abhorred, were exposed to the mockeries of all, were oppressed every day with new calamities; and yet they saw no fruit of so many toils and annoyances. What then remained, but that in thought they should fly away to that blessed day of our redemption?

Yet the same reason is in force with regard to us in the present day, and indeed applies equally to almost every age. How many things does Satan constantly present to our eyes, which, but for this, would a thousand times draw us aside from the right course! I say nothing about fires, and swords, and banishments, and all time furious attacks of enemies. I say nothing about slanders and other vexations. How many things are within, that are far worse! Ambitious men openly attack us, Epicureans and Lucianists jeer at us, impudent men provoke us, hypocrites murmur at us, they who are wise after the flesh secretly bite us, we are harassed by various methods in every direction. In short, it is a great miracle that any man perseveres steadfastly in an office so difficult and so dangerous. The only remedy for all these difficulties is, to cast our eyes towards the appearing of Christ, and to keep them fixed on it continually. 8

15. Which in his seasons he will show. We are commonly hasty in our wishes, and not far from prescribing a day and hour to God, as if we should say, that he must not delay to perform anything that he has promised; and for that reason the Apostle takes an early opportunity of restraining excessive haste, by expecting the coming of Christ. For that is the meaning of the words, "which in his seasons he will show." When men know that the proper time for anything is not fully come, they wait for it more patiently. How comes it that we are so patient in bearing with the order of nature, but because we are restrained by this consideration, that we shall act unreasonably, if we struggle against it with our desires? Thus we know, that the revelation of Christ has its appointed time, for which we must wait patiently.”


52. “…storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for that which is about to come, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (I Tim. 6:19)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

53. “In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self… …Avoid these men. For of these are those who enter into households and captivate weak women… …These also oppose the truth… …But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all…” (II Tim. 3:1-2,5-6,8-9)


See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”.


54. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead…” (II Tim. 4:1)

This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

55. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (Heb. 1:1-2)


See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”.

56. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who are about to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

57. “He did not subject to angels the world about to come.” (Heb. 2:5)

This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

58. “…and have tasted …the powers of the age about to come.” (Heb. 6:5)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

59. "For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near a curse, and it's end is for burning.” (Heb. 6:7-8)

This very real threat is true in all ages, for judgment is nigh since all will die and face judgment.


60. “When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (Heb. 8:13)

The new covenant was established at the First Advent, and the Old Covenant administration was replaced.  The judgment in 70 A.D. was merely the last nail in the coffin.


61. “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way of the [heavenly] Holy Places has not yet been revealed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (Heb. 9:8-10)

Calvin remarks: “10. Until the time of reformation, etc. Here he alludes to the prophecy of Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 31:31.)2 The new covenant succeeded the old as a reformation. He expressly mentions meats and drinks, and other things of minor importance, because by these trifling observances a more certain opinion may be formed how far short was the Law of the perfection of the Gospel.3


62. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things about to come…” (Heb. 9:11)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.  The “good things to come” in fact refers to the redemption He purchased on Calvary, as is evident from the following verse (Heb. 9:12):


“12. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].”

63. “Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin.” (Heb. 9:26)


See response to quote #40, which employs similar phraseology.

64. “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things about to come…” (Heb. 10:1)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

65. “…as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25)


John Calvin opines:


“Were any one to ask, how could the Apostle say that those who were as yet afar off from the manifestation of Christ, saw the day near and just at hand? I would answer, that from the beginning of the kingdom of Christ the Church was so constituted that the faithful ought to have considered the Judge as coming soon; nor were they indeed deceived by a false notion, when they were prepared to receive Christ almost every moment; for such was the condition of the Church from the time the Gospel was promulgated, that the whole of that period might truly and properly be called the last. They then who have been dead many ages ago lived in the last days no less than we. Laughed at is our simplicity in this respect by the worldly­wise and scoffers, who deem as fabulous all that we believe respecting the resurrection of the flesh and the last judgment; but that our faith may not fail through their mockery, the Holy Spirit reminds us that a thousand years are before God as one day, (2 Peter 3:8;) so that whenever we think of the eternity of the celestial kingdom no time ought to appear long to us. And further, since Christ, after having completed all things necessary for our salvation, has ascended into heaven, it is but reasonable that we who are continually looking for his second manifestation should regard every day as though it were the last.3

66. “…the fury of a fire which is about to consume the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:27)

This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

67. “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” (Heb. 10:37)


Calvin remarked: “He that cometh will come, and will not tarry. Here are two clauses: by the first we are taught that God will come to our aid, for he has promised; and by the second, that he will do so in due time, not later than he ought.2

68. “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is about to come.” (Heb. 13:14)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

69. "Speak and so act, as those who are about to be judged by the law of liberty." (Jms. 2:12)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

70. “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. …It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (Jms. 5:1,3)


Calvin wrote: “Ye have heaped treasure together: These words may also admit of two explanations: -- that the rich, as they would always live, are never satisfied, but weary themselves in heaping together what may be sufficient to the end of the world, -- or, that they heap together the wrath and curse of God for the last day; and this second view I embrace.3

71. “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” (Jms. 5:7)


Calvin notes about this verse:


“7. Be patient therefore. From this inference it is evident that what has hitherto been said against the rich, pertains to the consolation of those who seemed for a time to be exposed to their wrongs with impunity. For after having mentioned the causes of those calamities which were hanging over the rich, and having stated this among others, that they proudly and cruelly ruled over the poor, he immediately adds, that we who are unjustly oppressed, have this reason to be patient, because God would become the judge. For this is what he means when he says, unto the coming of the Lord, that is, that the confusion of things which is now seen in the world will not be perpetual, because the Lord at his coming will reduce things to order, and that therefore our minds ought to entertain good hope; for it is not without reason that the restoration of all things is promised to us at that day. And though the day of the Lord is everywhere called in the Scriptures a manifestation of his judgment and grace, when he succors his people and chastises the ungodly, yet I prefer to regard the expression here as referring to our final deliverance.”

72. “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (Jms. 5:8)

This is another instance in which a language of imminence is used with respect to Christ’s Second Advent.  We have already addressed the reasons why such language was employed.

73. “…salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:6)

See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”, which is similar to this term “last time”.


74. “He …has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (I Peter 1:20)

See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”, which is similar to this term “last time”.



75. “They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (I Peter 4:5)

This is another instance in which a language of imminence is used with respect to Christ’s Second Advent.  We have already addressed the reasons why such language was employed.


76. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” (I Peter 4:7)


This is another instance in which a language of imminence is used with respect to Christ’s Second Advent.  We have already addressed the reasons why such language was employed.

77. "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” (I Peter 4:17)


Faussett comments on this verse:


“judgment must begin at the house of God--the Church of living believers. Peter has in mind Eze 9:6 ; compare Amo 3:2 Jer 25:29 . Judgment is already begun, the Gospel word, as a "two-edged sword," having the double effect of saving some and condemning others, and shall be consummated at the last judgment. "When power is given to the destroyer, he observes no distinction between the righteous and the wicked; not only so, but he begins first at the righteous" [WETSTEIN from Rabbins]. But God limits the destroyer's power over His people.”

78. “…as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is about to be revealed.” (I Peter 5:1)


This is another instance where a form of the Greek term “mello” is used.  See response to quote #8, as well as others.

79. “We have the prophetic word …which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (II Peter 1:19)


See response to quote # 82.

80. “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (II Peter 2:3)


See response to quote #82.

81. “In the last days mockers will come. …For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (I Peter 3:3,5)


See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”.


82. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (II Peter 3:10-12)

We must interpret the passages of imminence concerning the Judgment Day in light of  II Peter 3:7-8 – “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”


83. “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (I Jn. 2:8)


Calvin comments: “Because the darkness is past. The present time is here instead of the past; for he means, that as soon as Christ brings light, we have the full brightness of knowledge: not that every one of the faithful becomes wise the first day as much as he ought to be, (for even Paul testifies that he labored to apprehend what he had not apprehended, (Philippians 3:12,) but that the knowledge of Christ alone is sufficient to dissipate darkness.”

84. “The world is passing away, and its desires.” (I Jn. 2:17)


Calvin comments:


17. And the world passeth away. As there is nothing in the world but what is fading, and as it were for a moment, he hence concludes that they who seek their happiness from it, make a wretched and miserable provision for themselves, especially when God calls us to the ineffable glory of eternal life; as though he had said, "The true happiness which God offers to his children, is eternal; it is then a shameful thing for us to be entangled with the world, which with all its benefits will soon vanish away." I take lust here metonymically, as signifying what is desired or coveted, or what captivates the desires of men. The meaning is, that what is most precious in the world and deemed especially desirable, is nothing but a shadowy phantom.”

85. “It is the last hour.” (I Jn. 2:18)

See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”, which is similar to this term “last hour”.


86. “Even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (I Jn. 2:18; Compare Matt. 24:23-34)

See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”, which is similar to this term “last hour”.


87. “This is that of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (I Jn. 4:3; Compare II Thess. 2:7)


Faussett writes in his commentary on I John: “      TO WHOM ADDRESSED.--AUGUSTINE [The Question of the Gospels, 2.39], says this Epistle was written to the Parthians. BEDE, in a prologue to the seven Catholic Epistles, says that ATHANASIUS attests the same. By the Parthians may be meant the Christians living beyond the Euphrates in the Parthian territory, outside the Roman empire, "the Church at Babylon elected together with (you)," the churches in the Ephesian region, the quarter to which Peter addressed his Epistles ( 1Pe 5:12 ). As Peter addressed the flock which John subsequently tended (and in which Paul had formerly ministered), so John, Peter's close companion after the ascension, addresses the flock among whom Peter had been when he wrote. Thus "the elect lady" ( 2Jo 1:1 ) answers "to the Church elected together" ( 1Pe 5:13 ). See further confirmation of this view in JF & B for Introduction to Second John. It is not necessarily an objection to this view that John never is known to have personally ministered in the Parthian territory. For neither did Peter personally minister to the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, though he wrote his Epistles to them. Moreover, in John's prolonged life, we cannot dogmatically assert that he did not visit the Parthian Christians, after Peter had ceased to minister to them, on the mere ground of absence of extant testimony to that effect. This is as probable a view as ALFORD'S, that in the passage of AUGUSTINE, "to the Parthians," is to be altered by conjectural emendation; and that the Epistle is addressed to the churches at and around Ephesus, on the ground of the fatherly tone of affectionate address in it, implying his personal ministry among his readers. But his position, as probably the only surviving apostle, accords very well with his addressing, in a Catholic Epistle, a cycle of churches which he may not have specially ministered to in person, with affectionate fatherly counsel, by virtue of his general apostolic superintendence of all the churches.

      TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING.--This Epistle seems to have been written subsequently to his Gospel as it assumes the reader's acquaintance with the Gospel facts and Christ's speeches, and also with the special aspect of the incarnate Word, as God manifest in the flesh ( 1Ti 3:16 ), set forth more fully in his Gospel. The tone of address, as a father addressing his "little children" (the continually recurring term, 1Jo 2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28 3:7, 18 4:4 5:21 ), accords with the view that this Epistle was written in John's old age, perhaps about A.D. 90. In 1Jo 2:18 , "it is the last time," probably does not refer to any particular event (as the destruction of Jerusalem, which was now many years past) but refers to the nearness of the Lord's coming as proved by the rise of Antichristian teachers, the mark of the last time. It was the Spirit's purpose to keep the Church always expecting Christ as ready to come at any moment. The whole Christian age is the last time in the sense that no other dispensation is to arise till Christ comes. Compare "these last days," Hbr 1:2 . Ephesus may be conjectured to be the place whence it was written. The controversial allusion to the germs of Gnostic heresy accord with Asia Minor being the place, and the last part of the apostolic age the time, of writing this Epistle.


Calvin comments: “We must understand the design of the Apostle, that he calls that the last time, during which all things shall be so completed, that nothing will remain except the last revelation of Christ.  Even now are there many antichrists. This may seem to have been added by way of correction, as they falsely thought that it would be some one kingdom; but it is not so.  They who suppose that he would be only one man, are indeed greatly mistaken. For Paul, referring to a future defection, plainly shows that it would be a certain body or kingdom. (2 Thessalonians 2:3.) He first predicts a defection that would prevail through the whole Church, as a universal evil; he then makes the head of the apostasy the adversary of Christ, who would sit in the temple of God, claiming for himself divinity and divine honors. Except we desire willfully to err, we may learn from Paul's description to know Antichrist. That passage I have already explained; it is enough now touch on it by the way.  But how can that passage agree with the words of John, who says that there were already many antichrists? To this I reply, that John meant no other thing than to say, that some particular sects had already risen, which were forerunners of a future Antichrist; for Cerinthus, Basilides, Marcion, Valentinus, Ebion, Arrius, and others, were members of that kingdom which the Devil afterwards raised up in opposition to Christ. Properly speaking, Antichrist was not yet in existence; but the mystery of iniquity was working secretly. But John uses the name, that he might effectually stimulate the care and solicitude of the godly to repel frauds.”



A.R. Faussett comments: “These "many Antichrists" answer to "the spirit of lawlessness (Greek) doth already work." The Antichristian principle appeared then, as now, in evil men and evil teachings and writings; but still "THE Antichrist" means a hostile person, even as "THE Christ" is a personal Saviour. As "cometh" is used of Christ, so here of Antichrist, the embodiment in his own person of all the Antichristian features and spirit of those "many Antichrists" which have been, and are, his forerunners. John uses the singular of him. No other New Testament writer uses the term. He probably answers to "the little horn having the eyes of a man, and speaking great things" ( Dan 7:8, 20 ); "the man of sin, son of perdition" ( 2Th 2:3 ); "the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit" ( Rev 11:7 17:8 ), or rather, "the false prophet," the same as "the second beast coming up out of the earth" ( Rev 13:11-18 16:13 ).”

88. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation. …About these also Enoch …prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly…'” (Jude 1:4,14-15)


See response to quote #87, in which we find similar language.

89. “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, 'In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.' These are the ones who cause divisions…” (Jude 1:17-19)


See response to quote #29 concerning the term “last days”, which is similar to this term “last time”.


90. “…to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” (Rev. 1:1)


The time indicator of Revelation 1:1 is grammatically worded in such a way as to embrace the whole of the Revelation account.  But the whole simply does not lend itself to be interpreted as literally being fulfilled in the first century, as preterists would ask us to conclude.  Even full preterists such as James Stuart Russell have had to admit as much, at least with respect to the millennium and its aftermath.  But this admission only serves to point out the very real flaw in the preteristic hermeneutic of insisting time indicators like ‘quickly’ and ‘soon’ must refer to 70 A.D.

91. “The time is near.” (Rev. 1:3)


See answer to #90.

92. “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.” (Rev. 2:25)


See answer to #90.

93. “I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.” (Rev. 3:10)


See answer to #90.

94. “I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 3:11)


See answer to #90.

95. “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” (Rev. 12:5)

Ruling the nations with a rod of iron is certainly an allusion to Psalm 2.   At Christ’s resurrection He became the rightful Messianic ruler of the nations (see Ephesians 1: [“.  But as we also learn from Psalm 2, this does not mean all opposition to His rule was immediately vanquished.  Christ is exacting judgments upon His opponents, and in so doing is ruling with a rod of iron.  But there is a progressive aspect to the manifestation of His kingdom, even as implied by Christ’s parables about a mustard seed becoming a great tree and leaven ultimately leavening the whole.  So we should not assume that such statements in Revelation imply a fully developed manifestation of Christ’s kingdom.


96. "And in her [the Great City Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth." (Rev. 18:24; Compare Matt. 23:35-36; Lk. 11:50-51)


“Babylon” in Revelation most likely refers to Rome and not to Jerusalem.  In Revelation 17 we read that the Beast resides in the place of 7 hills, which seems to be an allusion to Rome.

97. “…to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Rev. 22:6)

See answer to #100.


98. "Behold, I am coming quickly. " (Rev. 22:7)


See answer to #100.

99. "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." (Rev. 22:10; Compare Dan. 8:26)


In order to understand why the prophecies of the book of Revelation were unsealed at its conclusion, while in contrast the book of the prophecies of the book of Daniel were to remain sealed at its conclusion (12:9- “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”), we must look to Revelation 5:9 (“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”)  It could only be unsealed once the Messiah had come, died, and was resurrected, so as to conquer the nations for Christ.  No longer did the world have to wait for the Messiah.  He had now come to conquer.  But this does not mean that all of the events prophesied in Revelation were to be concluded in the first century.

100. "Behold, I am coming quickly ; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev. 22:12)

In order to properly interpret the meaning of Christ’s coming in the instances described in Revelation 22 and throughout Revelation, it is important we keep in mind that various types of His coming are described in the book.  Some appear to be localized judgments (as the threatened coming to judge the wickedness in   [Rev  ]), some appear to be His spiritual presence in bringing the gospel to many lands and spiritually vanquishing many enemies, and the coming in Revelation 20:12 refers to the future Great Day of Judgment [i.e., Christ’s Second Advent] after the thousand years have expired.  So we should not rashly conclude from these statements in Revelation 22 that the Second Advent happened in the first century.


101. "Yes, I am coming quickly." (Rev. 22:20)



See answer to #100.





Much more could be said and perhaps should be said on this important eschatological topic.  But I would simply close by saying there is very good reason that the Christian church has for so long embraced the future visible Advent of Christ and the Day of Judgment.  The scripture offers abundant testimony of its veracity.  And that the preteristic hermeneutic leads to a full preteristic interpretation of the book of Revelation and II Thessalonians 2, which in turn has significant consequences upon one’s interpretation of II Thessalonians 1 and I Thessalonians and Matthew and other books, is testimony of the significant flaw in the preteristic hermeneutic itself.  There is no sound basis for abandoning historicistic post-millennialism for such a flawed conception of Biblical prophecy.








Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon. (see http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?layout.refembed=2&doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0058%3Aentry%3D%2320710&layout.reflookup=me%2Fllwn&layout.reflang=greek&layout.refwordcount=1)




1.      I. to think of doing, intend to do, to be about to do, with inf., mostly inf. fut., tach' emelle dôsein he was just going to give, Il.; melleis aphairêsesthai aethlon thou thinkest to strip me of the prize, id=Il.; often with ouk ara, as, ouk ar' emelles lêxein; did you not think you might stop? could you not stop? Od., etc.; to be about to do (on compulsion), to be destined to do or to be, ta ou teleesthai emellon which were not to be accomplished, Il.; mellen oikos aphneios emmenai the house was destined to be wealthy, Od.; ei emellomen anoisein if we were able to refer, Plat.

2.      2. to express a certainty, mellô apechthesthai Dii it must be that I am hated by Zeus, Il.; mellô athanatous alitesthai I must have sinned against the immortals, Od.

3.      3. to mark a probability, when it may be rendered to be like to do or be, or expressed by an adv., ta de mellet' akouemen belike ye have heard it, Hom.; melleis idmenai thou art like to know of it, Od.; emellet' ara pantes anaseiein boên aye, all of you were like to raise (i. e. I thought you would raise) a cry of submission, Ar.

4.      II. to mark mere intention, to be always going to do without ever doing, and so to delay, put off, hesitate, scruple, mostly with inf. pres., ti mellomen chôrein; Soph.; often followed by ou or , ti mellomen prassein; Eur.

5.      2. mellô often stands without its inf., ton huion heorakas autou; Answ. ti d' ou mellô; why shouldn't I have seen him? i. e. be sure I have, Xen.; ouden epathete oude emellêsate (sc. pathein) Thuc.:--so, when mellô seems to govern an acc., an inf. is omitted, to mellein agatha (sc. prassein) the expectation of good things, Eur.: hence

6.      3. the part. mellôn without an inf. (where einai or gignesthai may be supplied), ho m. chronos the future time, Pind., Aesch.; esp. in neut., to mellon, ta mellonta things to come, the event, issue, future, Aesch., etc.:--so in Mid., ta ischurotata elpizomena melletai your strongest pleas are hopes in futurity, Thuc.

7.      III. mellomai as Pass., hôs melloito ta deonta that the necessary steps might not be delayed, Xen.; en hosôi tauta melletai while these delays are going on, Dem.



Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2366174)


mellô , impf. emellon and êmellon (v. infr.), Ep. mellon Il.17.278 , Od.1.232, 9.378, B.12.164; Ep., Ion. melleskon Theoc.25.240 , Mosch.2.109: fut. mellêsô D.6.15 , Ev.Matt.24.6: aor. emellêsa Th.3.55 , X.HG5.4.65, etc., and êm- (v. infr.):--Pass. and Med., v. infr. v.--Only pres. and impf. in Hom., Hes., Lyr., and Trag.: aor. only in Prose (exc. Thgn., v. infr.): the impf. êmellon with long augm. is established by the metre in Hes.Th.898, Thgn.906, Ar.Ec. 597, Ra.1038 (both anap.), A.R.1.1309 (cf. Sch. ad loc.), Call.Del. 58: aor. 1 êmellêsa Thgn.259 ; êmellon is not found in earlier Att. Inscrr., but occurs in Pap., as PPetr.2p.146 (iii B. C.), Phld.Rh.1.145 S. (but emellon Hyp.Ath.7 , Arist.Ath.25.3).

I. to be destined or likely to, indicating an estimated certainty or strong probability in the present, past, or future (cf. Aristonic. ap. Sch.Il.10.326, 11.817, 16.46,al.): a. c. pres. inf. (or its equivalent), of a probability in the present, hothi pou mellousin aristoi boulas bouleuein where belike the best are holding counsel, Il.10.326; hôi melleis euchesthai to whom thou doubtless prayest, 11.364; melleis de su idmenai doubtless thou knowest, Od.4.200; ta de mellet' akouemen belike you have heard it, Il.14.125, cf. Od.4.94; houtô pou Dii mellei hupermeneï philon einai Il.2.116 ; olbon de theoi mellousin opazein methinks it is the gods who give wealth, Od.18.19; ei d' houtô tout' estin, emoi mellei philon einai you may be sure it is my good pleasure, Il.1.564. b. c. aor. inf., of a probability in the past, mellô pou apechthesthai Dii patri I must have become hateful to father Zeus, 21.83; keleusemenai de s' emelle daimôn a god must surely have bidden thee, Od.4.274; pollaki pou melleis arêmenai you must often have prayed, 22.322; mellô athanatous alitesthai I must have sinned against the immortals, 4.377; allote pote mallon erôêsai polemoio mellô at any other time rather than this I may have drawn back . . , Il.13.777; mellei men pou tis kai philteron allon olessai before now, no doubt, a man has lost . . , 24.46, cf. 18.362; tou d' êdê mellousi kunes tachees t' oiônoi rhinon ap' osteophin erusai Od.14.133 ; of a destiny in the past, emellen hoi autôi thanaton . . litesthai he was fated to have been praying for his own death, Il.16.46; epei ouk ar' emellon hetairôi kteinomenôi epamunai since I was (i.e. am) not destined to have succoured my comrade when they were slaying him, 18.98: c. pres. inf., ouk ar' emelles analkidos andros hetairous edmenai he was to turn out no helpless man whose comrades you ate, Od.9.475. c. c. fut. inf., of a destin y or probability in the future, ha rh ou teleesthai emellon which were not to be accomplished, Il.2.36; tacha d' anstêsesthai emellen ib.694; epei ouk ar' emellon egôge nostêsas oikonde . . euphraneein alochon 5.686 , cf. 12.113, 22.356, Od.13.293,384; mellon eti xunesesthai oïzui pollêi 7.270 ; peri tripodos gar emellon theusesthai they were to have run . . , Il.11.700, cf. E.HF463; chronôi emelle s' Hektôr . . apophthisein S.Aj.1027 ; emellon ara pausein poth' humas tou koax Ar.Ra.268 ; pheugeis; emellon s' ara kinêsein egô Id.Nu.1301 , cf. V.460, Pl.103, Ach.347: c. pres. inf., kai gar egô pot' emellon en andrasin olbios einai I had a chance of being, might have been . . , Od.18.138; mellen pote oikos hod' aphneios kai amumôn emmenai, ophr' eti keinos anêr epidêmios êen 1.232 : c. aor. inf. (cf. infr. 11), oudeis an oude mellêseie genesthai agathos Arist.EN1105b11 : with inf. understood, [ta men] paschousi, ta de mellousi [paschein] A.Pers.814; all' ouch houmos touto peponthen bios ou ma Di' oude ge mellei no, not likely! Ar.Pl.551; ouden . . oute epathete oute emellêsate Th.3.55 ; out' eme apephênen boulê out' emellêsen Din.1.49 .

d. in ei clauses, ei mellei polis einai if it is to be a city, Pl.Prt.324e: c. fut. inf., ei emellomen . . anoisein if we were to refer . . , Id.Phd.75b: c. aor. inf., ei mellomen . . dêlôsai Id.Lg.713a , cf. Smp.184d, Plt. 268d, al.: so in part., tên mellousan oikêsesthai polin kalôs Arist. Pol.1261a3 , etc.

e. in final clauses, xunepimelesthai hêi mellei arista hexein, = hêi arista hexei, Th.8.39; eichomen an . . epistatên labein . . hos emellen . . poiêsein Pl.Ap.20b , cf. App.Syr.46, etc.

f. in questions, the inf. being understood, ti ou mellô (melleis, etc.); why shouldn't I? why is it not likely that I should?, i. e. yes, of course, ton huion heorakas autou; Answ. ti d' ou mellô (sc. heorakenai); of course I have, X. HG4.1.6; ti d' ou mellei, eiper ge drai auto; Pl.R.605c; pôs gar ou mellei; Id.Phd.78b, etc.; alla ti mellei; what (else) would you expect? i. e. yes, of course, Id.R.349d, Hp.Mi.373d.

II. to be about to, in purely temporal sense, c. fut. inf., Hektora dion etetmen adelpheon, eut' ar' emelle strepsesth' ek chôrês Il.6.515 ; ho men min emelle geneiou . . hapsamenos lissesthai (perh. pres. inf.), ho d' auchena messon elasse 10.454 ; aleison anairêsesthai emelle Od.22.9 , cf. Il.23.544, 2.39, 6.52,393; deipnêsein mellomen, ê ti; Ar.Av.464, cf. Eq.931 (lyr.), Th.2.8, etc.: c. pres. inf., ti melleis dran; Ar.V.1379,Th.215, cf. Ec. 760, Ach.493, Av.498, al.; mellô mainesthai Lyr.Alex.Adesp.1.23 : more rarely c. aor. inf., pathein A.Pr.625 ; ktanein S.OT967 (nisi leg. ktenein); analabein, lipein, thanein, E.Or.292, Heracl.709, Med.393; apolesai, labein, Ar.Av.366, Ach.1159 (lyr.); prostheinai Th.3.92 ; oude emellêsan oude dienoêthêsan enthesthai D.35.19 : Phryn.316 wrongly condemns this constr.--The inf. is sts. omitted, to mellein agatha (sc. prassein or praxein) the expectation of good things, E.Or.1182, cf. IA1118.

III. to be always going to do without ever doing: hence, delay, put off, freq. in Trag. (also in Med. mellomai, v. infr. IV fin.): in this signf. usu. folld. by pres. inf., S.OT678 (lyr.), OC1627, etc.; tous xummachous . . ou mellêsomen timôrein: hoi d' ouketi mellousi kakôs paschein we shall not delay to succour our allies, for their sufferings are not being delayed, Th.1.86: freq. with ou, A.Pr.627, S.Aj.540: with , ti mellomen . . prassein kaka; E.Med.1242: rarely folld. by aor. inf., Id.Ph.299 (lyr.), Rh.673: inf. is freq. omitted, ti melleis; why delayest thou? A.Pr.36, cf. Pers.407, Ag.908, 1353, S.Fr.917, Th.8.78, etc.; makra m. S.OC219 (lyr.); Arês stugei mellontas E. Heracl.723 ; iômen kai mellômen eti Pl.Lg.712b ; mellon ti . . epos a hesitating word, which one hesitates to speak, E.Ion 1002; mellôn sphugmos a hesitating pulse, Gal.8.653.

IV. part. mellôn is used quasi-adjectivally, ho m. chronos the future time, Pi.O.10(11).7, A.Pr. 839, Arist.Top.111b28: Gramm., ho mellôn the future tense, D.T.638.23, A.D.Synt.69.28, etc.; m. autou dunamis his future power, Pl.R. 494c; m. phulaxasthai chreos Pi.O.7.40 ; ton m. blaston (karpon codd.) Thphr.HP4.15.1: esp. in neut., to mellon, ta mellonta things to come, the future, Pi.O.2.56, A.Pr.102, Th.1.138, 4.71, Pl.Tht.178e, etc.; opp. to what is simply future ( [to esomenon] ), Arist.Div.Somn.463b29, cf. GC337b4; eis to mellon (sc. etos) Ev.Luc.13.9, cf. PLond.3.1231.4 (ii A. D.), Plu.Caes.14:--also in Med., ta ischurotata elpizomena melletai your strongest pleas are hopes in futurity, Th.5.111:-- but

V. Pass. mellomai, hôs melloito ta deonta that the necessary steps might not be delayed, X.An.3.1.47; en hosôi tauta melletai while these delays are going on, D.4.37: fut. mellêsomai dub. l. in Procop. Goth.2.30: pf. part. memellêmenos, = mellôn, sphugmos Gal.9.308.



We should interpret the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24 (“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”) as Seventy Weeks of years (490 years), as most expositors have historically interpreted it.  This conforms to its use in Leviticus 25:8 (“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.”)


The day-year principle for interpreting prophetic time  is well founded in scripture.  Two additional places where we find it explicitly declared, besides Leviticus 25:8, are Ezekiel 4:6 (“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”) and Numbers 14:34 (“After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, [even] forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, [even] forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.”).  It is an important principle for interpreting the “1,260 days” (or “42 months”) in the book of Revelation, and is but one other reason we must reject the preterist interpretation of this Apocalyptic book., which would seek to compress its prophetic events into the first century.


The 70 weeks of years must begin with the decree of Cyrus to re-build the Temple, and concludes in the years shortly after Christ’s resurrection, when the main body of Jews had not repented of their sins received Jesus as Messiah.  The anointing of the most Holy (Jesus Christ), which is within the 70 weeks of years, most surely refers to the baptism of Jesus;  Jesus Christ was anointed by the act of baptism for His great work. 


John Calvin offers a most insightful explanation of this 490 year period prophesied in Daniel, which he views as expiring in the years immediately following Christ’s resurrection.  Here is an extended excerpt from Calvin’s Commentaries relating to the Seventy Weeks described in Daniel 9:24ff:


…There is no difference between us and the Jews in numbering the years; they confess the number of years to be 490…

…No other interpretation can possibly be received than that which refers it to the advent of Christ, and the entire restoration of the Church of God….

Daniel here repeats the divisions of time already mentioned. He had previously stated seventy weeks; but he now makes two portions, one of seven weeks, and the other of sixty-two. There is clearly another reason why he wished to divide into two parts the number used by the angel. One portion contains seven weeks, and the other sixty-two; a single week is omitted which will afterwards be mentioned…

I confess the impossibility of finding any other exposition of what the angel says -- until Christ the Leader, unless by referring it to the baptism of Christ.  These two points, then, in my judgment, must be held as fixed; first, the seventy weeks begin with the Persian monarchy, because a free return was then granted to the people; and secondly, they did not terminate till the baptism of Christ, when he openly commenced his work of satisfying the requirements of the office assigned him by his father…

I stated that we must begin with the monarchy of Cyrus; this is clearly to be gathered from the words of the angel, and especially from the division of the weeks. For he says, The seven weeks have reference to the repair of the city and templeWhen, therefore, he puts seven weeks in the first place, and clearly expresses his reckoning the commencement of this period from the promulgation of the edict, to what can we refer these seven weeks, except to the times of the monarchy of Cyrus and that of Darius the son of Hystaspes? This is evident from the history of the Maccabees, as well as from the testimony of the evangelist John; and we may collect the same conclusion from the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, as the building of the Temple was interrupted during forty-six years…If we reckon the years from the reign of Darius to the baptism of Christ, sixty-two weeks or thereabouts will be found to have elapsed.

… In the last Lecture we explained how Christ confirmed the covenant with many during the last week; for he gathered together the sons of God from their state of dispersion when the devastation of the Church was so horrible and wretched. Although the Gospel was not instantly promulgated among foreign nations, yet Christ is correctly said to have confirmed the covenant with many, as the nations were directly called to the hope of salvation. (Matthew 10:5.) Although he forbade the disciples to preach the Gospel then to either the Gentiles or Samaritans, yet he taught them that many sheep were dispersed abroad, and that the time at which God would make one sheep-fold was at hand. (John 10:16.) This was fulfilled after his resurrection. During his lifetime he began to anticipate slightly the calling of the Gentiles, and thus I interpret these words of the Prophet, he will confirm the covenant with many. For I take the word "many" here, Mybr, rebim, comparatively, for the faithful Gentiles united with the Jews. It is very well known that God's covenant was deposited by a kind of hereditary right with the Israelites until the same favor was extended to the Gentiles also. Therefore Christ is said not only to have renewed God's covenant with a single nation, but generally with the world at large. I confess, indeed, the use of the word many for all, as in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and in other places, (Romans 5:19,) but there seems to be a contrast between the ancient Church, included within very narrow boundaries, and the new Church, which is extended over the whole world. We know how many, formerly strangers, have been called from the distant regions of the earth by the gospel, and so joined in alliance to the Jews as to be all in the same communion and all reckoned equally sons of God.

The Prophet now subjoins, He will make to cease the sacrifice and offering for half a week. We ought to refer this to the time of the resurrection. For while Christ passed through the period of his life on earth, he did not put an end to the sacrifices; but after he had offered himself up as a victim, then all the rites of the law came to a close. By the words "sacrifice and offering" the Prophet implies all ceremonies, a part being put for the whole; as if he had said, after Christ had offered up one eternal sacrifice, all the customary ceremonies of the Law were abolished; for otherwise Christ's death would have been superfluous, had he not put an end to all the old shadows of the Law. Although the sacrifices were continued for many years after Christ's death, yet we can no longer call them "legitimate," for no reason can be offered why the sacrifices of the Law should be pleasing to God, except their reference to that heavenly pattern which Moses saw on the mount. (Exodus 25:40.) Hence, after Christ had appeared and expiated all the sins of the world, it became necessary for all sacrifices to cease. (Hebrews 8:5.) This is the Prophet's intention when he says, Christ should cause the sacrifices to cease for half a week. He embraces two points at the same time; first, Christ really and effectually put an end to the sacrifices of the Law; and secondly, he proved it to the world in the preaching of the Gospel by his Apostles. We observe, then, the sense in which God testified by his Prophet the cessation of sacrifices after Christ's resurrection. The veil of the temple was then rent in twain; true liberty was proclaimed; the faithful might then feel themselves to be full grown men, and no longer subject to that government of childhood to which they had submitted under the Law.

The second clause of the verse now follows: we have read it before, but we now repeat it to refresh the memory. And over the extension, or expansion, of abominations he shall cause astonishment, or stupefaction; and even to consumption and determination he shall pour himself upon the desolator. Some translate, It shall be poured or shall distill: we shall treat the words afterwards. The passage is obscure, and may be rendered in a variety of ways, and consequently interpreters differ much from each other. Some take Pnk, knaph, "a wing," for a "cherub;" then they change the numbers from singular to plural, and think the Prophet alludes to winged cherubim. This gives those who adopt this rendering a two-fold method of explaining it. Some say the abomination shall be above the wings, that is, the ark of the covenant, because the temple was profaned, and the abomination was so ruinous that it destroyed even the very cherubim. Others take it causally -- the abominations shall be for the sake of the cherubim. But I leave these subtleties, as they do not seem to me to have any solidity. Others, again, follow the Greek version, as quoted by Christ in the 24th chapter of Matthew (Matthew 24) and elsewhere, although Christ seems rather to refer to the 12th chapter of our Prophet. But as these two passages refer to the same abomination, I will not insist on this point; I will only remark upon the translation of one word. Those who translate "the abominations of desolation" treat the words of Daniel too carelessly, for there is no grammatical dependence of one word on the other, or, technically speaking, no state of regimen. The preferable opinion is that which considers the word "wing" to mean extremity or extension. Others, again, treat "extremity" as if it meant a state of despair; as if the angel had said, on account of the extremity of the abominations, as evils should accumulate upon evils without end till matters came to the last pitch of despair. Others, again, explain "the wing of abominations" more simply for the expansion itself, as if the angel had stated, the temple shall be openly profaned, and the pollution shall be apparent far and wide.

Interpreters differ again about the words Mmsm, rmesmem and Mms, sem-em usually translated "make desolate," and "desolation." Some take the former transitively, and others as neuter; the latter signifies to destroy and lay waste, and also to wonder and be astonished. I think these two words ought to be used in the same sense; as if the Prophet had said, all shall be astonished at the extent of the abominations; when they shall perceive the temple worship, swept away as by a deluge, then they shall be mightily astonished. He afterwards adds the calamity which commenced when God shewed the pollution of the temple shall distill or pour itself upon him who is astonished. We will treat the occurrence itself to enable us to understand the sense of the words better. I have no hesitation in stating God's wish to cut off all hope of restoration from the Jews, whom we know to have been blinded by a foolish confidence, and to have supposed God's presence confined to a visible temple. As they were thus firmly persuaded of the impossibility of God's ever departing from them, they ought to be deprived of their false confidence, and , no longer deceive themselves by such flattering hopes. Thus the temporary pollution of the temple was shewn by Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 10:18.) For when the prophets constantly proclaimed the approach of their enemies to destroy both the city and temple, the greater part of the people derided them. In their opinion this would overthrow all their confidence in God, as if he had been false to his word, in promising them perpetual rest on Mount Zion. (Psalm 132:14.) Here Ezekiel relates his vision of God sitting in the temple -- he then vanished, and the temple was deprived of all its glory. This was but temporary.

But we are now treating of a profanation of the temple, which should prove, if I may use the phrase, eternal and irreparable. Without the slightest doubt, this prophecy was fulfilled when the city was captured and overthrown, and the temple utterly destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. This satisfactorily explains the events here predicted. Some consider the word "abominations" to be used metaphorically, and to signify the overthrow of the city; but this seems to me forced. Others explain it of the statue of Caligula erected in the temple; and others again, of the standard of Tiberius, who ordered the eagles to be placed on the pinnacle of the temple. But I interpret it simply of that profanation which occurred after the gospel began to be promulgated, and of the punishment inflicted upon the Jews when they perceived their temple subject to the grossest forms of desecration, because they were unwilling to admit the only-begotten Son of God as its true glory. Others, again, understand the impious doctrines and superstitions, as well as the perverse errors with which the priests were imbued. But I think the passage marks generally the change which took place directly after Christ's resurrection, when the obstinate impiety of the people was fully detected. They were then summoned to repentance; although they had endeavored to extinguish all hope of salvation through Christ, yet God stretched forth his hand to them, and tried whether their wickedness was curable or not. After the grace of Christ had been obstinately rejected, then the extension of abominations followed; that is, God overwhelmed the temple in desecration, and caused its sanctity and glory to pass utterly away. Although this vengeance did not take place immediately after the close of the last week, yet God sufficiently avenged their impious contempt of his gospel, and besides this, he shews how he had no longer need of any visible temple, as he had now dedicated the whole world to himself from east to west.