Coronavirus and vaccines.

Should you be scared of a vaccine? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There is a growing concern I see from some people on Facebook about the possibility of a vaccine for Coronavirus. Keep in mind nothing I say here is meant to be taken as medical advice. At this point, I am speaking only from the idea of Biblical interpretation and theology. If your concerns with the possibility of a vaccine are medical, I cannot speak to that.

Some people are posting concerns about a vaccine being related to the Mark of the Beast and government control. Now readers of this blog know that I think an eschatology that treats the Mark of the Beast as a real future event instead of being fulfilled in the time of Nero is highly incorrect. However, that is not the tact that I am taking here.

Some people think that if you get the vaccine then you are either taking the mark or at least preparing to take the mark. Even reading Revelation from a futuristic perspective, this is nonsense. People who take the mark do so willingly, yes, but they also do so knowing that they are doing it in service to the Beast. One does not accidentally get the mark.

The mark of the beast is also seen as something unforgivable. Does anyone really think that someone will take a vaccine and then God will never forgive them for that? Folks. It would be bad enough to have bad eschatology. That’s just bad theology. That’s saying God would rather condemn you than to forgive you even though you are repentant.

This is one of the big problems with bad eschatology. It eventually leads to bad theology. How you see God is influenced by your eschatology and if you see God as unforgiving to you because you took a mark that you didn’t really know was a mark and want to scare other people into thinking they could accidentally fall outside of the realm of God’s forgiveness, that is a huge problem.

Note that in all of this, I have not once said this is wrong because Preterism is true, although if Preterism is true, this is certainly wrong. I have strove to argue against this on the grounds of futurism. Some of you reading this I am sure are futurists and don’t go this route and I am thankful for that. Please keep an eye on your brethren who think otherwise.

If you have purely medical concerns, I cannot address those again. I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. From a theological perspective though, don’t let fear of the Mark of the Beast keep you from getting yourself treated.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Coming Kingdom

What does the Kingdom of God refer to? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the big debates in eschatology really centers around the Kingdom of God. This is something that I disagree with the way I see futurism and dispensationalism presented. The question is what does it mean for the Kingdom of God to come and then when does it begin.

I plan to look at various passages about the Kingdom of God, but mainly I want to talk about what it means. Even secular scholars today now agree that one of the main messages of Jesus was the Kingdom of God. One of the great gifts N.T. Wright has done for the church is to open our eyes to what this means.

When Jesus shows up in the Gospels even at an early point, aside from John which hardly mentions this, He is talking about the Kingdom of God. This would be significant because though Israel had returned to the land, the land wasn’t their home again entirely. After all, the Romans were ruling over the land. Israel was supposed to be sovereign over the land.

A number of figures rose up wanting to end Roman rule and claiming to be the Messiah. These figures were often going to bring an end to Roman rule. As you should know, none of them did. Jesus shows up and He claims the Kingdom of God, but He has something different in mind than booting out the Romans.

Jesus is saying that God is going to be king again. The true monarchy that God intended through David is going to be restored. David had been one king in history who had fulfilled three roles of prophet, priest, and king. His son, the Messiah, would fulfill those roles.

The true enemy though was not the Romans. It was sin. God was through Jesus proclaiming that His rule would begin and it wouldn’t be limited to just a piece of land in the Middle East. God was going to rule the whole world.

This then gets to a debate about when the kingdom of God began. For a Preterist like myself, when Jesus says “soon”, He means it. God is going to being His rule. He is going to defeat the devil. He is going to conquer. He will reclaim the world for Himself.

Thus, the question then is when did Jesus become king or when is He going to be king? For someone in my position, the answer is Jesus is king right now. Now I know some of you could be saying “Well if Jesus is king right now, then why is there still evil in the world?” That was answered in part in our look at Psalm 110:1 and we will see more of this in the Gospels. Jesus is reigning now and His enemies are being made a footstool for His feet. We are His ambassadors going around announcing the news that Jesus Christ is king of this Earth.

So as we look at eschatology, expect a lot of verses to look at the Kingdom of God. There’s more in there than you likely realized.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Brief Look At Psalm110:1

What does this verse have to do with eschatology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Before going further in the Gospels looking at eschatology and verses relating to the topic, it’s important to consider a passage that shows up repeatedly in the New Testament, at least seven times quoted and several allusions. That is Psalm 110:1 and it could be the most important verse to understanding eschatology.

“The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

In this verse, David speaks about the coming Messiah and the Messiah is, as Jesus pointed out, David’s son and yet also His Lord. This verse also introduces a possibility of a multiplicity in the Godhead with two beings addressed as Lord. It doesn’t necessitate that, but it works just fine with it.

This verse is about the kingship of the Messiah. In this passage, when the Messiah begins His rule, He will sit at the right hand of God. While He is sitting, God will be in the process of making His enemies a footstool for His feet.

Note this about the passage. While the reign of Messiah is going on, Messiah will still have enemies that are active. This can be problematic for a position that says that Jesus cannot be king right now because of all the evil that is in the world.

However, from an orthodox Preterist perspective, this is entirely possible. Jesus can be reigning and evil can still be roaming about. Jesus is going to reign in the midst of His enemies.

As the passage goes on, we find that this king is also a priest and one in the order of Melchizedek. What’s interesting about this is that there is one book that presents all of this and that is Hebrews. In Hebrews, Jesus is king at the start because at the start of the book, Jesus sits down at the right hand of God. Later in the book, Jesus is said to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek, which is interesting since there is nothing supposedly about priests coming from the tribe of Judah.

Jesus is then our priest and king right now. What that means is that if Jesus is our priest who provides atonement for us right now, then He is our king right now. If He is our king right now, then He is providing atonement for us right now. Both of them have to be here. If we want to say we are forgiven but there is no kingship, then we have to say that Jesus is not really king right now and if He is not, then how can it be He has sat down at the right hand as Hebrews say, but yet is not king and is still somehow priest? It doesn’t fit.

As an orthodox Preterist then, I do see Jesus as king and priest right now and He is reigning. God the Father is bringing all the enemies of Jesus under His feet and this is what we see going on. The Kingdom of God is spreading rapidly more and more with Christianity reaching more people all around the globe.

This will be important as when we look in the Gospels, we will find numerous references to the kingship of Jesus Christ. Even secular scholars agree today that Jesus taught the Kingdom of God. We will see what is so important about this and if Jesus truly is king right now or not. Psalm 110:1 is central to this and if your eschatology doesn’t have a place for this verse, you need to change your eschatology.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is Matthew 16:27-28 about the Transfiguration?

Is this passage about the Transfiguration? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Often times, critics will bring up this passage to dismiss the Bible. See here? Jesus was wrong about the time of His own return! What passage is it? Let’s take a look. It’s Matthew 16:27-28.

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

There are parallels in Luke 9:26-27

“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” “

and Mark 8:38

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Let’s start with something. Nowhere does this mention a return. It talks about a coming, but it says nothing about a return. This is being read into the text. A skeptic would need to show that the idea of the return of Jesus is identical to the coming of Jesus.

On the other hand, a lot of Christians think that this is about the Transfiguration. It’s not necessarily a horrible inference. After all, in each case, the Transfiguration takes place right after Jesus says this. However, the words in Matthew and Luke do indicate a prediction that if referring to the Transfiguration is not impressive.

As I write this, our world is in quarantine. Imagine if I went to a grocery store and got on an intercom system and said “Attention shoppers! I predict some of you will be alive eight days from now!” First, I would probably be escorted out of the store, but second, even with a virus being spread, it would not be a shock to most people that they would be alive about eight days from then.

What is going on with the Transfiguration I think is instead a hint at what is coming. Jesus made a glorious statement about Himself and who He is. The disciples are getting a foretaste of the Kingdom. Keep in mind also Jesus said some and while technically, three is some, talking to a crowd and saying some will see X and three see X is not that impressive.

Now what if Preterism is right? Then Jesus is talking about 70 AD and indeed, some people there likely did live to see 70 AD. This gives the prediction some weight and some credence to be taken more seriously. It’s easy to predict some people will see a major event in eight days. It’s another to say it will happen within a generation.

I plan to cover other such references in the Gospels before moving on to the epistles, but this is another one that seen through a Preterist lens just makes more sense.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Be Watching

Should a Preterist be watching for the coming of the Master? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So as we read through Matthew 24, we saw in much of the discourse, I think it has already happened. Around verse 35, a shift takes place, but am I being consistent? I mean, do I think there is something to look forward to, a coming of some sorts? Yes. Even in this part, we have a warning.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

For this, I do believe it refers to the physical return of Christ. It is consistent for me to look out the window in front of my computer here and ponder, “What if it was today?” In some cases, it could be more consistent for me to do that than a dispensationalist.

In that paradigm, there always seem to be signs about what is happening next. Maybe you need a red heifer for example, to which some people are actively trying to breed one because the Almighty obviously needs help with this one. Maybe you need a temple to be built. Maybe you need something going on with the nation of Israel.

For me as a Preterist, I have just one requirement. The Gospel needs to be being spread throughout the Earth. We need to be doing evangelism. There is a verse in 2 Peter 3 where it says that in doing this, we may speed His coming. I find that an amazing idea. You can do something to have it be that Christ will return sooner?

So we should be watching? Yes. Naturally, this doesn’t mean you don’t do anything else at all. The servant is to be watchful for his master returning to the house, but he’d better still keep taking care of the house! It won’t be fitting for him to be up on the roof (Which in those days was more acceptable) looking out and making the servants do everything else while he just watches for the master.

As a Preterist then, I indeed hope the Lord returns soon and I believe in watching. These are warnings still worth heeding today. Perhaps we would all do better if we lived with the future in mind some.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:36

Should you make a prediction? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have a contention that the Olivet Discourse has switched from a this to a that. I think it’s likely Jesus is talking about a return someday. At this verse, verse 36, I want mainly to put a call out to those who disagree with me. Let’s look at the verse.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

A lot of you will remain futurists and/or dispensationalists. That’s fine. I can’t convince everyone and there are good Christians on all sides. However, I beg you that if you want to remain in that camp, please do not be one of the people that either sets up a prediction on when Jesus is going to come or supports those who do. The moment you hear someone tell you when Jesus will return, disavow them immediately.

We have too many people that are waking up everyday and trying to interpret the Bible with the help of a newspaper. Please don’t do this. Every time someone has made a prediction so far, it has been wrong and it has just given more fodder to skeptics of Christianity. Jesus said no one would know and that should rule out any attempt to guess.

I have seen some people say “Well, we can’t know the day, but maybe we can know the year.” This is just being ridiculous frankly. The main thing Jesus tells us throughout this is to be prepared. Time spent trying to guess the date could better be spent in preparation.

It’s also pretty arrogant of you to think that everyone else in history who has done this has got it wrong, but you are the one who will get it right. Please do not try. If anything, I think many dispensationalists should be concerned about how past events were read as modern fulfillment only to be shown to be false later on. How many people have said XYZ was the antichrist only to have that person die?

And yes, this includes national figures. Personally, until we get some sort of public apology from John Hagee on his idea of the four blood moons, then we should not listen to him whatsoever. (Actually, that would be good practice in general) It would be interesting to take note in a Christian bookstore of all the books on prophecy and see how many of them are irrelevant just ten years later.

So yeah, no one knows. Please don’t even try. Be a dispensationalist or a futurist if you wish, but please do not go this route.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:35

How sure are the words of Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jesus here has a contrast. He is clear that this generation will not pass away, but He says Heaven and Earth will pass. He also says that His words will not pass away. While that could be a pointer to an inerrancy of His words, which I would accept even though this is not necessarily I think the best text for it, it’s more the idea of the certainty of the judgment. Of course, it would be. In Matthew 23 he had just lambasted the Pharisees and shared the certainty of judgment to them.

Some could think that this verse could indicate the destruction of Earth. I do not think that anymore than God needs to destroy the Heaven that He dwells in, as if it’s somehow impure. The same would refer to the sky. If anything, I think this would indicate more of a purification. The way the universe is today will pass away. God has always been about redeeming the Earth just as He has been about redeeming the human body, hence the incarnation.

At this point also, I think there is a decided shift in the discourse. Jesus is now wrapping up talking about an event that is coming on the first-century audience. Now, He will shift towards later judgment. At the same time, it is a present judgment. These are immediate calls to repentance for the people, which would also make sense since he has told the people now that judgment is coming on them soon, or at least His disciples who will bring this message to the people.

This also should be our message when it comes to judgment. Repentance. We need to be teaching that constantly. Is it foolish to say something like Covid-19 is a direct judgment of God? I think so. Does it mean we shouldn’t tell people to repent? Absolutely not. If anything, disasters should always show us the things that we take for granted.

Jesus’s audience was indeed living on borrowed time. Who else is? You and I are. None of us is guaranteed another day, let alone another minute. That generation did not pass away before the judgment came, but we know some passed away before that judgment and faced their own personal judgment then. The same could happen to you and I. Odds are you won’t die of Corona. Seriously. You likely won’t, all things being equal. Still, you could die in a car accident today. Anytime you hear a story on the radio of someone dying in a car accident, unless it was a suicide attempt, most of them had no plans to die that day and yet it happened.

As we go forward, we will see warnings of judgment and how we could be judged at any time. Be watchful. You don’t know when your time is.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:34 Part 3

Does generation really refer to race? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One possible way that some people look at Matthew 24:34 and explain it is by saying that generation refers to a specific people and race, namely the Jewish people. It’s saying that the Jewish people will not pass away until all of these things take place. This might possibly avoid the timing aspect as you can say that things started in the first century and will continue until things predicted in the later verses of the passage covered happen in a literalistic way. That can sound plausible, but it doesn’t really work.

For one thing, if you do a word search of the word genea which is translated as generation, every time it is used in the New Testament it refers to people of a specific time. If anything, just doing that will show how important it was to not be a part of this generation. This doesn’t mean in the sense of a people group, but of a mindset. After all, consider what Peter says in Acts to the Jews from all over the world in attendance. Let’s look at 2:40.

And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Is Peter telling them to cease being a part of the Jewish race? Not at all. Peter is telling them to separate from the wickedness of the people of the time. We could say he’s telling them to be part of the remnant well-known from the time of Elijah, a righteous minority that has always existed in Israel.

Further, if this generation will not pass away until all these things happen, does that mean that this generation, the Jewish race, could pass away after that? If so, then that presents a problem for Jews being there at the end of the millennium and any possibility that the covenant could come to an end.

But let’s return to the remnant. Consider near the end of Matthew 23.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

The “you” here is quite pointed. Jesus is pointing to the Pharisees and scribes and others. They are the ones who will be judged. If you make it a race, then someone is saying that Jews of all time are guilty of the death of the Messiah and all Jews are going to be receiving this judgment.

There is an easy way to avoid this. Just simply embrace Orthodox Preterism and accept that Jesus is talking about the generation that He was with.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:34 Part 2

Could this passage refer to a future generation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There are some people who see the language of this generation in Matthew 24:34 and think that it has to refer to a future generation. What Jesus is saying is that “This generation that sees the start of these things will also see the end.” Is this really a convincing way to look at the passage?

Well, no. For one thing, if Jesus was referring to a future generation, He could have easily said “that generation.” He never did. As I shared last time, in Matthew, this generation always refers to the present generation that is with Jesus. Matthew 23 ends with a message of judgment for this generation and all the righteous blood that will come on them. Why? Because they committed the ultimate evil of murdering their Messiah.

Now if the futurist reading is correct, it is not the generation that murdered the Messiah that will be punished for His murder. It is a future generation that had nothing to do with it. If my reading is correct, we could see both references to “this generation” as bookends.

The text also says that “all these things” will take place.” It is not some. It is all of them. The generation that sees it start is the same one that sees it end. This would include the destruction of the temple which means that whatever generation it is that sees the destruction of the temple, that is the generation that is being talked about.

Which one is it? It’s the one that saw it in 70 AD which would be the one responsible for the death of the Messiah. There is no reason to think that Jesus is talking about a third temple that will be built and then destroyed. When His disciples come to Him, they are asking about the temple that is before them and that is the one that He talks about.

Not only that, but as I showed throughout this, much of this only makes sense in the first century. Today, a siege would not mean as much when it is much easier to airdrop food into a city and there are nations all around the world that are willing to do so. There is no need to try to argue a future fulfillment when a past one works just fine with the text.

As a reminder at this point, this is about the coming of Jesus to His throne. This is not about the future resurrection of the dead. There are other passages that speak about the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns, but this is not one of them. The disciples did not even understand that He was going to die at this point, let alone leave and return sometime in the future, but they did understand that if He was the Messiah, that He would be king and that if He said the temple was being destroyed, that must mean the age of His reign had begun.

But maybe generation doesn’t refer to a time frame. What if generation refers to a race? What if it means that the Jewish people will not pass away until this takes place? We’ll explore that next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:34 Part 1

When did Jesus say His coming would take place? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Here we have come to one of the key verses for Orthodox Preterism. When did Jesus say His coming would take place? Note that this is not talking about the return of Christ. For the orthodox Preterist, this is talking about the coming of Jesus to His throne. The return of Christ and the bodily resurrection with it are future events.

Let’s look at the verse.

“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

This part is multi-faceted, so in this section I am going to only talk about the positive case for my position. I will be dealing with other interpretations in future posts. Let’s start with seeing how Matthew uses this generation in the rest of the Gospel.

Matthew 11:16

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,”

Matthew 12:38-45

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

Matthew 23:36

Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Now if you go and check all of these references, you’ll find that this generation in each case is the present generation that Jesus is talking with. The last one in Matthew 23 is especially fitting. In this one, Jesus is talking about the evil that the generation He is with has done and He says at the end that all the judgment He has spoken of will come upon this generation.

Notice also that Jesus says “This generation.” He does not say “That generation.” What is being said by those denying this interpretation is that a future generation will be punished for killing the Messiah when it was the generation at the time of Jesus that was guilty of that crime. Only the generation of Jesus could be justly accused of personally rejecting the Messiah in His ministry.

Jesus also told Caiaphas at the time of his trial that he would see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Father and coming on the clouds of glory. This fits entirely with this happening in the lifetime of Caiaphas. It’s a stretch to say that Caiaphas would see this in death.

Before the transfiguration, Jesus tells the people that some of them will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God coming in power. This is usually thought to refer to the transfiguration since that event occurs always right after that. The problem is that it’s not much of a stretch to say something like that. Even with this virus going around, I could post on the Facebook group of my apartment complex and say “Many of you will still be alive eight days from now.” If I come back correct and say, “You should all accept me as a prophet now” I will probably be thought to be crazy.

Not only that, the transfiguration was not a public event. It involved only three other people who saw Jesus. How could these people be seeing the transfiguration and thinking that that is the kingdom of God coming in power? (Note also that this does not say they will see Jesus return. It says they will see the Kingdom of God come with power.)

Also, historically, we know that the destruction of the temple happened in 70 A.D. That would be a sign that God had abandoned that temple and the people had abandoned the covenant. Jesus died between 29-33 A.D. 70 A.D. would easily fit within a generation. God is giving them as much time as possible to repent.

For these reasons, I consider it best to interpret Matthew 24:34 in a very straightforward sense. It’s hard to think of a way Jesus could have been more clear about time. Matthew has used this generation consistently to refer to the generation of judgment and this is the great granddaddy of judgment. This is the judgment Matthew thinks Jesus is saying will come on the nation of Israel that rejected Him.

Next time we cover this topic, we will look at other possible interpretations.

In Christ,
Nick Peters