Book Plunge: Not Afraid of the Antichrist

What do I think of Craig Keener and Michael Brown’s book published by Chosen books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I used to be a futurist pre-trib dispensationalist. I’m not proud of it. I grew up in the Bible Belt and I heard Southern Gospel music and I never heard any other view. Christians believe in the rapture. It wasn’t until I got the internet that I heard a contrary view.

And I went kicking and screaming into that contrary view. Who would want to disbelieve in the rapture? Who would want to go through a great tribulation and face the antichrist?

However, there were still questions I had. Eventually, I found my eschatological home. Today, I am an orthodox preterist. I realize Keener and Brown don’t come from this position, but I wanted to go through their book to see what they had to say about the dispensationalist position which is still extremely prominent in the church.

I describe them as firm and gentle. They start out telling their stories on how they came to believe in the rapture and then in how they came to disbelieve in the rapture. They have nothing but respect for their friends who are still dispensationalist and pre-tribulationists. They are just writing this to answer questions that they have often received.

Let’s also go with a positive. The application aspects of this book are excellent. Keener and Brown write about how Christians all over the world are already going through suffering. It can be comforting if you think you could be excluded from such suffering by a rapture, but no one is guaranteed this. Keener and Brown stress that even if Christians have to face the antichrist, they have nothing to be afraid of because Jesus is greater. With these, all Christians be they pre-tribulationists or orthodox preterists should say amen. I think all of us need to read this section of the book because many of us in the West don’t have any real idea of what persecution is like from experience.

When the pair look at the arguments, they are again firm, but gentle. Michael Brown specializes in Old Testament arguments. No. I’m not going to give his answers here, but he looks at questions like “Doesn’t God regularly deliver his people from suffering in the Old Testament such as in the case of the flood or Sodom and Gomorrah?” Keener deals with New Testament passages like 1 Thess. 4 and others.

They also stress that the Second Coming is a one-stage event. The idea of the rapture breaks the second coming into two different stages. It also has a problem with the idea of the resurrection being on the last day and then a resurrection happening before the last day.

That being said, I do have some criticisms. For one, preterism is nowhere mentioned in the book. Neither is futurism. I would like to know what reasons Keener and Brown have for not accepting this viewpoint.

Next, I think as a Preterist that while Keener and Brown rightly reject pre-tribulationism, they still have many of the ideas in it. For example, what about the antichrist. The term antichrist only shows up in the epistles of John, and yet the Beast in Revelation is thought to be the antichrist as is the Man of Lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians. That could be right, but it needs to be argued for.

I also think 2 Thessalonians presents a problem with this since we are told about this man entering the temple. There is no reason to think Paul has in mind a third temple that will supposedly be built sometime in the future. If that is the case, then that would mean the Man of Lawlessness has already come and if he has, then if he is the antichrist, then antichrist has already come.

Let’s also remember the Olivet Discourse. This begins with the destruction of the temple. It concludes with Jesus saying “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass until some of these things have taken place.” Oh wait. That’s not what it says. He says “All of these things.” That means the generation that sees these things start will see them end and how did the questioning start? The destruction of the temple. The generation that sees that will see the coming of Jesus.

By the way, let’s note in the passage it is about the coming of Jesus, but not to Earth. Jesus refers to Daniel 7. That shows Jesus coming to His throne in Heaven. The disciples asked Him for the sign of His coming, not knowing He would die let alone die, rise again, and then ascend into Heaven and return in the future.

I also think the authors assume a great tribulation. This is still like taking part of the pre-tribulation paradigm and running with it. We have a great tribulation referred to in Rev.7 and in Matthew 24, but why not think that that is the destruction of Jerusalem. Why assume a future event?

The authors also state that satan always has his antichrist ready for each generation since he doesn’t know the hour. I found this a very weak point. For one, satan would always be thinking that he is going to overcome the plans of God, such as in the crucifixion. Here, he is acting like he has to play along. Next, how could you establish this? How can we go and look in each generation in history and find someone who would be the antichrist of that time? Keep in mind I think this is the weakest argument in the book and I even hate having to mention it because the rest is excellent.

Again, the best part of this book is the section on overcoming suffering and being willing to for Christ. Even if pre-tribulationists disagree up and down with the rest of the book, they need to read that part. Every Christian does. I would be thrilled if future editions of the book would include more about this.

Christians who are pre-tribulationists need to read this book to receive a kind criticism. People who are not can read this to realize why they abandoned it. Orthodox preterists like myself should read this to get the criticism and for the blessing at the end. In other words, read this book.

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

Reading Revelation

What’s the most important part of Revelation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many readers of this blog know about my fondness for debating eschatology. That includes the book of Revelation. I have also gone to a Bible study not so much from the Preterist view, which I hold, at an Orthodox Church Allie was attending for awhile. Not only that, but once we did a study through the book of Revelation like the one I am recommending on this blog.

Just last night I finished going verse by verse through Romans and I figured I would start going through Revelation. It would be interesting to go through it that way and I remembered the study I did years ago. That has taught me the most important lesson in reading Revelation.

Do not focus on end times when reading Revelation.

Now that seems shocking to people. Really? Isn’t that the purpose of the book? Well, that is certainly a purpose. We are to be shown what must soon take place. Now I will happily debate with dispensationalists and others on the interpretation of soon and I will debate with premillennialists and others I disagree with on the millennium, but there should be something that we all agree on and that something is the real focus on the book of Revelation.

That is to look and see what the book says about Jesus. The book begins as being described as the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Whatever your view on eschatology, you are supposed to see what you can find about Jesus.

In the book, Rediscovering Jesus, the authors imagine what would happen if we only knew what we know about Jesus through the book of Revelation. There would certainly be no gentle Jesus, meek and mild. This is a terrifying Jesus. This is a Jesus that is angry and He’s not going to take it anymore.

Fortunately, we do have more on Jesus in the Bible and when we study the book this way, we can consider so many odd messages. Think about the rulers of the Earth who went to be hidden from the wrath of the Lamb. What? How many of you have ever been terrified of a lamb?

If you have your eschatology timeline all filled out right and you have wrong who Jesus is, it will count for you for nothing. Make sure you get Jesus right. Try going through Jesus and don’t ask questions about eschatology, or at least primarily about eschatology. Ask about Jesus.

This book has a lot to say about Him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Please Stop Buying Books On Prophecy

Are we hurting the church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was going to do a book plunge today, but other events showed up in my own personal life and I had to talk about those. Yesterday at church, I hear some of the ladies in the row behind me talking about a book with such an excitement. Would that it was N.T. Wright or Mike Licona or Edward Feser or William Lane Craig or someone like that. Nope. It was the Harbinger.

I’m a member of Nextdoor, an online chat site where you chat with others in your community. Someone posted Jeremiah 29:11 for a new year and as we know, posting something from the Bible never stirs up controversy. In the thread, someone else recommends the Harbinger saying it is very prophetic.

Now I have reviewed the book here and definitely recommend David James’s excellent response to it here. (For those interested, James comes from the dispensationalist perspective and still has a problem with the book.) It’s an awful book and not only is it bad theology, it’s bad writing period. The Da Vinci Code was a load of nonsense, but at least it had an interesting story to it. The reporter in The Harbinger makes the staff at the Daily Planet look like Einsteins.

I don’t know if someone has happened recently to get people talking about this book again, but they are.

So what I want to say again to people is PLEASE STOP BUYING BOOKS ON PROPHECY! I would really love to see a day come when doctrines like the resurrection or the Trinity or the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) are taken as seriously as prophecy. Would that one day churchgoers would have discussion before church about various theories of the atonement instead of trying to figure out who the antichrist is.

The reality is, we’ve all been through it before. How many people were taking people like Hal Lindsey and Edgar Whisenant super seriously? How many people gave up all they had for Harold Camping? How many people bought into the Four Blood Moons material? How much of that material has lasted?

We rightly would hold a pastor accountable if they had a major moral failing, such as having an affair. Should we not do the same thing if they have a failing such as trying to claim God says X in prophecy and it doesn’t happen? This is why James 3:1 tells us few will should be teachers because they will be held to a greater accountability.

Honestly, being a prophecy expert would be a great position to have in Christianity. You are an expert just because you say you are and you write books and hold seminars that everyone takes seriously. Within your own lifetime often, you are shown to be wrong, but you wait a few years and publish another book with another interpretation and you’re still held to be an expert.

How many books are gathering dust in the back of Christian bookshelves for claiming XYZ is the antichrist and that person is dead now? There have been people who have claimed Trump was the antichrist. Some people claimed Obama was. No doubt, some people will claim Biden is or that Kamala Harris is. As the hype spreads, the rest of the world looks on and thinks we’re nuts.

They already think that. We don’t need to give them more ammunition.

Not only that, but we miss the real messages of Scripture. We become focused on ourselves and think that Jesus is coming for us because, well, we’re just such a special generation. The fact that Jesus is going to return someday should give us joy, but it should also give us some degree of terror and urgency. What are we doing to spread the message? What kind of lives are we living?

I don’t know how many times I have to answer atheists who insist that Jesus said He would return soon and they use all the same texts to argue it. They insist, like everywhere else, on a hyper-fundamentalism that not even the most fundamentalist Christian I know of would accept. As I started Bart Ehrman’s book on Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, I made a prediction that he would never once mention Orthodox Preterism in his book. I wish I had made a public bet beforehand because my prediction was entirely accurate.

Folks. There are other doctrines in Christianity besides prophecy and considering how many people with a dispensationalist hermeneutic have got the interpretations wrong, you first off have to wonder why you should take this next guy doing it seriously. I would like you to go a step further. Why should you take the hermeneutic and even the mindset behind it seriously?

I’m not saying you have to jump immediately into the Orthodox Preterist camp, but please at least consider abandoning a bad prophecy hermeneutic today.

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

COVID and end times

Is this a judgment from God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s bound to happen. I’m sure it was going on before this, but I just hadn’t seen it. I’m talking about the idea that we are in the end times and that this is a sign of judgment and that the rapture is about to take place.

Now readers of my blog know that I think the rapture idea has no biblical basis whatsoever, but even if I did, this is the wrong way to present it. So many people start thinking that as soon as any crisis hits, that must be it. Jesus must be coming. I mean, Europe went through the Plague and we had the Spanish Flu a century ago that killed far more people, but as soon as COVID hits, boom. That’s it. It’s judgment.

Not only that, but you get the conspiracy theories flying around. Here’s one I saw last night that’s going around Facebook now.

“The vaccine that is coming…
As many of you heard Moderna is in stage 3 of their vaccine testing. If all goes well it’ll become federal law to get the vaccine.
Here’s something many of you don’t know, guess who the first CEO of Moderna was? A Cornell graduate by the name of Anthony Fauci, who was a roommate with none other than Bill Gates. Are you paying attention? It was at Cornell that Bill Gates designed the RFID (Radio-frequency identification) and patened it under US2006257852. Are you awake yet?
Now let’s really go down the rabbit hole. Moderna was a pharmaceutical company that started in Germany under the name IG Farben. IG Farben is infamous for it’s mass production of Zyklon-B, the primary gas used to kill millions during the Holocaust. After Germany fell, IG Farben was dissolved and its assets sold off by a Nazi turned American by the name of, you guessed it, George Soros. Soros rebranded the company as Moderna.
And who was the primary stockholder of Moderna until his death? Jeffrey Epstein. His role in Moderna is where he made his fortune and established his connections. Let that sink in.
Wake up people! You are being conditioned and controlled.”
Please copy and paste this, I did!

Yes. You did copy and paste it and apparently without researching it. Many of you know I think we’re being more hysterical about this virus than we need to be, but that doesn’t matter. I still want even intellectual opponents to be treated fairly.

Let’s look at a few things. Fauci was never a CEO of Moderna and he and Bill Gates went to separate schools anyway. They weren’t roommates. Gates also never designed the RFID. His company could use it, but he is not responsible for it.

As for IG Farben, I am skeptical of that claim entirely especially considering the idea of George Soros. I am not saying I support him, but when World War II ended, he was 14 years old. Really? A 14 year-old was given all that power to decide what to do with a company like that?

As a conservative, I find it irritating to see people do this. As a Christian, I find it shameful. Someone just saw this and hit copy and paste without bothering to check. The Bible has a term for that. It’s called bearing false witness.

Sometimes my wife reads the Bible around me and reads it out loud. Recently, she was reading Exodus 23. What did she come across? Don’t spread false rumors. One good way to make sure you don’t do that is to check on the rumors. If you are not sure, you can ask someone who knows better than you, but don’t just blindly share.

Of course, there was end times stuff with this. Every recent generation has been convinced Jesus will return in their lifetime. They have all been wrong. Prophecy experts keep being wrong over and over but this time, this time they’re correct. I don’t know why people keep listening to these experts over and over. It leaves me thinking about the scientist Jeff Goldblum’s character talks to in Jurassic Park 3: The Lost World.

Keep in mind you can disagree with me on my assessment of COVID and it doesn’t change the point. You can also, thankfully, be a dispensationalist and not go down this route, and if you are one who doesn’t go down this route, please do something about your fellows who do this.

Try and be a bit more sane people. This fear is not of God. Spreading false rumors definitely isn’t.

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

Vote For Jesus

What does it mean to repent? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Matthew, shortly after the baptism, Jesus is going around the area of Israel telling people everywhere to repent. After all, the Kingdom of God is at hand as is said in Mark. So what is Jesus telling the people to do with this?

Often, we think it means that Jesus is telling people to turn from their sins and accept Him as their Lord and savior. In an individualistic culture, that makes sense. He means something else though. What is He asking for is loyalty. He is the Messiah of Israel and is asking people to show that they are loyal to Him.

The message of the Kingdom of God includes the forgiveness of sins, but it is not limited to that. The message is about God in Christ and not about us. The emphasis on the Kingdom is not what God does for us, but rather it is what we do for God.

When we repent, we are really saying that we are in the wrong and Jesus is in the right and we are going to be loyal to Jesus. We realize that as Paul says, we are not our own but we are bought with a price. We belong to God in Jesus.

The closest parallel I can make is to a political campaign. Jesus is in essence going around asking people to choose Him as the Messiah of Israel. Of course, Jesus knows that this will not happen ultimately, but He still makes the offer.

Repentance is then realizing that God is proclaiming Himself king through Jesus and that we are to submit to Him. This entails forgiveness for we have to admit that we are in the wrong and God is in the right and come and side with Him. God will then pronounce us to be in the right. If God is our king through Jesus then, then we are to remain loyal to Him.

This is certainly eschatological. After all, the pronouncement of God’s king has ramifications for today. One of the main points of Preterism is that we are not waiting for Jesus to be the king. Jesus is already the king. We do evangelism to spread the message of king Jesus.

When you see a call to repent in the Bible, it is much more than just you. It is about the message that Jesus is King and we are to live in submission to Him. His kingship is not waiting for 2,000 or so years though. He is king right now. We are to submit to Him right now.

In other words….

Repent.

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

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

Moving Into Part 2 of the Olivet Discourse.

Where do we go from here? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Verse 34 wraps up the first part of the Olivet Discourse. From there on, the terminology shifts. We go from “this generation” to “that day.” There is debate among Preterists even about whether this is still first-century or if it refers to later events. Thus, for this brief interlude, I want to speak more about other matters.

I really want to finish other statements in the Gospels. For instance, there is the saying that some here will not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God coming in power. This is often taken by skeptics of the New Testament as a failed prophecy of the return of Christ, which is odd since it nowhere says anything about a return, and it is taken by most Christians to refer to the transfiguration, which is not much of a prophecy because saying some people hearing Jesus would still be alive a week later isn’t too awe-inspiring. There are also passages such as not finishing going through all of Israel until the Son of Man comes or Jesus’s words before Caiaphas and others. I really want to finish as much of the Gospels as I can before moving elsewhere.

There are also a few places in Acts to cover. I am thinking of the disciples’ asking if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. Not only that, believe it or not, there is some important eschatology to cover in Stephen’s stoning.

Some Old Testament verses will have to be covered. The most important one is Psalm 110:1. If you do not understand this verse, you will not understand eschatology. If you think this verse is not important to the New Testament, then you will have a major problem because this is the most quoted Old Testament verse in the New Testament.

A good friend of Deeper Waters has asked about Paul and James, naturally. After all, Paul pretty much had his PhD in the Old Testament so how did he supposedly miss what Jesus was saying? This is important to consider so we will look at passages about the resurrection to say what is being talked about and when and where Paul got His information from.

Finally, we will do some looking at Revelation, though to be extensive with that one would be difficult. We will discuss some matters such as the antichrist (Who is never specifically mentioned in the book. Consider that.) and the Beast and 666. We will also discuss how apocalyptic works should be read.

I hope this will be further informative for me as well. There are many secondary areas of Christianity I don’t care to discuss, but for some reason, I thoroughly enjoy eschatology and orthodox Preterism. I hope even if you disagree with my view, you have come to see how it is that someone can hold to it.

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