Scott Hedge, pastor of Willomore Baptist Church at Greensboro, NC, posted a Critique of Preterist View of Olivet Discourse.
Hedge identified Matthew 24:34 as the foundation of the preterist interpretation of the prophecy, but suggested that the preterist view involves a faulty understanding of the word “generation” (genea). He wrote:
When the disciples asked Jesus, “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” in Matthew 24, his immediate response was to list a series of events to set the scene, and to indicate both the scope, and the timeframe for events that he subsequently described. Events mentioned at the beginning of the prophecy, in verse 4-14, are listed in clear, unambiguous language, in contrast to events mentioned after verse 14 which are expressed in symbolic, prophetic terms.
Israel’s promised land, described as a land of milk and honey, and the seventh day sabbath, are both types of the rest that Hebrews 3-4 encourages believers to enter. Entering this rest requires belief.
After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they endured 40 years wandering in the wilderness. At the end of that period Joshua addressed them, and he spoke of their promised inheritance as rest. “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.” [Joshua 1:13]
David, Isaiah, Daniel, and other prophets asked God, “how long?” They looked for a time when God will no longer hide, [Psalm 13:1; 89:46] when the adversary would no longer reproach the saints, [Psalm 74:10], when God would turn away his anger, [Psalm 79:5] when the wicked would not triumph, [Psalm 94:3-4] when the land would no longer mourn, [Jeremiah 12:4] when the time periods of prophecy would be fulfilled, [Daniel 12:6] when God would save his people, [Habakkuk 1:2] and avenge the blood of the martyrs. [Revelation 6:10]
Scripture refers to light metaphorically, to represent spiritual knowledge and understanding. Darkness represents misinformation, superstition, delusion, or ignorance. Belief in the gospel is light, and unbelief is darkness.
John said, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5] Knowing the truth corresponds to day, and ignorance to darkness or night. Christ “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [John 1:9] He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16]
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. has discussed the dispensational interpretation of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy in a series of blog posts. In Dispensationalism’s difficulty with Daniel he points out that dispensational theology is dependent upon its position on the 70 weeks, which introduces uncertainty because Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is notoriously difficult to interpret.
Isaiah wrote about making a highway in the wilderness, and mountains being made low.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Interpreting the encoded message of prophecy correctly reveals the glory of God. In Isaiah’s prophecy the mountains are symbols of the prophecies and promises of scripture. Those who investigate Bible prophecy are a lot like explorers or mountaineers seeking a way through unexplored, rugged country.
An edited version of an article I wrote about the mount of Olives in the prophecy of Zechariah 14 has been posted on agnus dei – english + romanian blog, without proper attribution. The blog seems to incorrectly attribute some of my work to a person named Justin Taylor. Portions of my original article are omitted. I did not approve of the alterations, apparently made by Rodi Galis. In the post below, my article is reproduced and the portions missing in the unauthorized post are designated in quotes.
In August 2011 Mike Vlach posted a three part series of blogs on Zechariah 14. Part 1 was Zechariah 14 and the Timing of the Kingdom; part 2: Zechariah 14:10-21 and the Nature of the Coming Kingdom; part 3: Theological Implications of Zechariah 14. His concluding comments seem mainly intended to discredit the idea that Christ now reigns as king on the throne of David.
The theological position Vlach defends is dispensationalism, and his posts seem chiefly designed to prop up dispensational dogma, rather than to expound the true meaning of Zechariah’s prophecy. For example, he does not mention the significance of the day of the Lord at all.
When Zechariah wrote, “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains,” in Zechariah 14:5, it is as if he were to say, “And ye shall flee to the valley of promises,” as the mountains represent the promises of God to the saints in scripture. Read more…
Zechariah described a day that would be “neither light nor dark,” where light means the spiritual enlightenment in the church; there is error mixed with truth, in the teachings of leading scholars.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
Below is an example illustrating Zechariah’s prophecy; light on the nature of Christ’s kingdom shines in midst of darkness and gloominess, in a preterist exposition of Matthew 24. Read more…
In Matthew 24, when the disciples asked Jesus what would be the sign of his coming, and the end of the world, Jesus listed several events, that would lead up to the end of the world. Preterists filter everything said in this prophecy, and in other prophecies in the Bible, through their interpretation of verse 34, where Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Read more…
In Revelation 12, the woman, who represents the Church, is described fleeing to the wilderness in verse 6, and again in verse 14, she flies to the wilderness with eagle’s wings. A question arises, what is her destination? The Israelites, who escaped from Egypt, looked forward to dwelling in the land promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After 40 years wandering in the wilderness, the people crossed the river Jordan and took possession of the territory of the Canaanites, one city at a time.
When a futurist prophecy expositor becomes obsessed with some date for which he predicts an event which fulfills prophecy, it is usually one in the near future, and in his own lifetime. This tends to make their claims appear more sensational. As a rule, such proposed dates pass without anything happening. Then they are disappointed, humbled, and embarrassed for a time, and they are forced to revise their interpretations.
William Kelly (1820-1906) was an early dispensationalist and a friend of John N. Darby. He published many books on prophecy promoting dispensationalism. He viewed the Israel of prophecy as meaning the Jews, rather than the Church. Jerusalem meant the earthly city. In centuries of scholarly investigation, no plausible figurative interpretation of the cleaving of the mount of Olives, and the displacement of the two halves of the mountain towards the north and towards the south, as described in Zechariah 14:4-5, had appeared. Perhaps Kelly was comforted by this. He assumed that surely, that prophecy must be a literal one, and could only refer to literal earth movements yet to occur, at Christ’s coming.
Preterists misinterpret the teaching of Jesus in his Olivet Discourse. They insist that this prophecy was fulfilled in the first century. They delight in comparing their interpretations against those of futurists. Here the claims of preterists are compared with the teachings of Jesus.
In Bible prophecy, Jerusalem and its surroundings are prominent subjects. Several prophecies speak of dramatic changes in the land at Jerusalem, including vertical and lateral displacements.
The covenant that Christ confirms with his church includes the fulfillment of all the prophecies about the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. One of these prophecies, in Zechariah 14, says that he will stand upon the mount of Olives, and that the saints will flee to a valley that forms when the mount of Olives splits, and half of the mountain goes north, and half of it goes towards the south.
Preterists frequently point to Jews of the first century, saying that their sufferings in the Roman siege must have occurred because they rejected Jesus Christ, their promised Messiah. But if that is the case, what can we conclude from events during the history of the German nation during the last century, and of other nations, that seem equally horrible?
In preterist interpretations the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27, that Christ was to confirm for one week, is limited to the first century. Lutheran theologian K. A. Auberlen (1824-1864) supported that view. He wrote, “We must seek the second half of the last week, and thus the final point of the seventy weeks, in the apostolic age, between three and four years after the death of Christ. This point appears at first sight still more vague and obscure than the terminus a quo.“