Journey to Preterism — 2 Samuel 22

What does an Old Testament passage not about eschatology have to do with eschatology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I had that talk with two Preterists, I remember distinctly hearing about 2 Samuel 22. This is not a prophecy or a passage about eschatology. This is about the life of David and what happened during his days. So what on Earth does this have to do with eschatology?

Let’s look at the passage. We’re not going to go through the whole thing. It’s just going to be the relevant parts.

David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
    from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

Here, we can recognize a lot of poetic license going on. This is the ways of poetry and even the hardest internet atheist could understand that this is not to be taken literally. This is David talking about how he felt hopeless. Those Christians who say we should always take the Bible “literally” will recognize this as well.

But what happens when we get to the next part?

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Whoa. What happens with your interpretation here? This is quite an amazing  event in the life of David. David is surrounded by enemies and here comes YHWH flying out of Heaven on the backs of Gabriel and Michael. He is preceded by a massive earthquake and then YHWH starts shooting arrows at all of the bad guys.

This is a fascinating event and as we look back at the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, we find that this battle took place in…

Wait. I can’t find it….

It’s got to be here somewhere! An earthquake and then YHWH flying on angels shooting arrows at the enemies of David! Surely this would be worth mentioning! Where is it?!

Wait. Wait. You mean this whole chapter is poetic license? This is not a literal reading? This is David describing political events, such as ordinary battles and running from Saul, in cosmic language?

Who on Earth ever talks this way? Who uses over the top language to describe an event?

What? You mean a football team was described as destroying their opponents? That political announcement was said to be Earth-shattering? America’s story has a history of a shot heard around the world?

So you’re saying that if David is an Old Testament prophet, as is said in the New Testament such as in Acts 2, then maybe we should see this is how prophets spoke? Maybe prophets did use this kind of language regularly and it’s a mistake to take it “literally”?

It might be tempting to think this is an isolated incident, but it isn’t. There are several passages like this in the Old Testament. As we go through, we will find that this is the way that Jews spoke of events in their lives. Something literally happened, of course, but language used to describe it is often highly apocalyptic in nature. For us, a football team does get defeated, but the language we use is often very far from literal.

I had read this passage several times before and never considered it. This opened me up to a whole new way of reading the text. I had always understood it was poetic license, but I never had considered that this could be done in prophecy as well as the exact same language shows up there.

And as we’ll eventually see, the New Testament does the same, but that’s for the future.

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

Journey to Preterism — The Talk

What are the first steps in coming to Preterism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On my journey in eschatology, I had heard about Preterism before. The sad reality is, I did not know what it was. I thought I knew, but I didn’t know. I remained convinced that Preterists believed that everything had happened in the first century and that there was no resurrection and no return of Jesus. I’d see Christians I know who would have defenses of Preterism and I would just wonder about it. “Why would they do that?”

It’s not uncommon. I had someone leave a comment here recently asking if I knew any Preterists who held to the creedal statements of the church, especially on doctrines like the future resurrection of Christians and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I replied with what I now know to be the truth. All orthodox Preterists hold to those doctrines. That doesn’t make us partial-futurists. That makes us Christians.

This is also why I don’t call myself a partial Preterist. The idea of so-called Full Preterism is that everything has happened and I consider that a heresy since it can lead logically to the denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I think it has to even. It doesn’t work to change the rule and say Jesus is the exception. If we are raised like He was raised, then we are either both spiritual or both physical.

I am not a partial heretic. It’s my stance that so-called Full Preterism is denying the physical resurrection of Jesus at least implicitly and thus puts us in the area of heresy. That is also a term I do not use lightly. Not once in all of this have I referred to dispensationalists who I disagree with incredibly as heretics. They are my fellow Christians, all things being equal.

I am an orthodox Preterist instead, and what really led to me embracing that? It happened back in 2006, a year I can easily find out since I am wearing a t-shirt now for TheologyWeb convention 2006. TheologyWeb is a site I help moderate on and have my own section on.

You can come here if you want to join. You can find sections for debating every area of theology, other religions, atheism and agnosticism, politics and history, as well as areas just to have fun. There’s also a Deeper Waters section where you can interact with other people on the material that I write here. People of all faiths and no faiths are welcome. Also, after you’re done signing up, your breath will feel minty fresh.

Anyway, at this convention, I did something unusual really. I joined in a talk where I sat down with two people who hold to Orthodox Preterism that they were giving and I listened and asked questions. What they said that I can remember, I will try to explain in future posts, but I want to get to this part first off.

If you want to know about a position, one of the best ways to do so is to just talk to someone who is informed on the position and holds it and ask honest questions. It’s easy to think the worst of your intellectual opponents at times. Generally, there’s a rule that if you can make a position look absolutely ridiculous, you probably haven’t understood it.

Years ago, TheologyWeb had a section for remedial Christian teachings where I would answer questions. Now what if someone wanted to hear an answer from the dispensational position? This was an easy chance for me if I wanted to take it to come up with an answer to make dispensationalism look really stupid and thus get more people to Preterism.

Never took it. Instead, I would find a well-informed dispensationalist that while I disagreed with, I knew had studied the issue, and asked them to give the best answer from their position. I want people to have informed opinions.

This works politically too. I remember reading a story and I think it was about Matt Damon about how he went and interacted with several Trump voters somewhere. He walked away saying “Those people really aren’t the way that I thought they were.” Now that doesn’t mean he went and put on a MAGA hat, but he did at least understand their reasoning.

The sad reality for me is I could have cut off years of time in my search if I had just done this. I just always assumed I knew what was meant by Preterism and what a shock to find out that I didn’t. That is why I say when I entered that talk, I was doubtful, but when I left, I had enough questions answered and no remaining doubts strong enough to overcome the conclusion that the Preterist position had the best arguments.

So over the next few posts, we’ll be talking about those arguments. For this one, I just want to encourage you to really listen to someone about a viewpoint. Ask questions, but try not to be antagonistic. Consider this a fact-finding mission, like being a detective. Maybe you’ll change your mind. Even if you don’t, you’ll at least have a better idea of what you disagree with and a better idea of why the other person holds what they hold.

Give it a try.

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

Journey to Preterism — Where is the Church Pushback

Is there a distinction between tribulation saints and the church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend of Deeper Waters left a message on our Facebook page about my post on where is the church? In this, I argued that the word church not being in Revelation does not indicate the absence of the church. This commenter left a reason why he thinks the tribulation saints aren’t the church.

For me the strongest argument for the church being a different group than the saints in Trib, is that Rev states that when Satan is cast out of heaven and sent down to earth to possess that false prophet/antiChrist it says “And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Re 13:4–8.
This seems to contradict Jesus’ statement that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church, that all authority has been given to the church and Satan has NO authority over the church.
It seems to me that Satan cannot be on earth at the same time as the church if Satan is given authority on earth. So this likely is a different group of saints.
This argument depends a lot on timing. For one thing, the objection here seems to assume that all of Revelation is future. I come from an opposite approach. Look at Revelation 12 where the dragon does appear. What do you see going on? A dragon about to devout a child that will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Biblically, the only conclusion I can reach is that this is the birth of Jesus.
I don’t see any reason to think that this event will happen again, so I take this to be a description of the birth of Christ. When that takes place, the dragon tries to devour the child, namely through the slaughter of the infants. What about Satan being on Earth though?
In Luke, Jesus says He saw Satan cast down from Heaven. (Luke 10:18) This was during His ministry. Is Satan however active while the Kingdom of God is active?
The answer from Scripture has to be yes. In Matthew 12, Jesus casts out a demon and the Pharisees tell the crowd that it is by Beelzebul that Jesus does that. Jesus says that if He casts out demons by the finger of God then the Kingdom of God is among you.
Did you catch it?
Jesus is on Earth and yet He is fighting against the devil. Jesus declares the Kingdom is right there, but so is the Kingdom of the devil. In Matthew 13 next, we are told that the Kingdom grows like a mustard seed or like yeast through dough. This means that the Kingdom of God will keep growing and if it is doing that, it has to be breaking into another kingdom pushing it out.
Any guesses which that is?
By the way, there’s no indication that the Kingdom of God will be removed from Earth and then started over during a tribulation period somehow. God is building up His army and there’s no reason to think that He’s going to remove it en masse at any time. Also, for those who say the Holy Spirit can’t be on Earth during the tribulation, kind of difficult for an omnipresent being to not be, you know, present.
I contend then that if the Kingdom of God is removed, that would be God giving authority again to the devil which would really be a case of a violation of Matthew 16 and the gates of Hell passage.
From my viewpoint, it’s straight through historical. The dragon falls and then not too much later, here comes Nero, who I think is the Beast, on the scene. When we get to the harlot later on in Revelation, who is that? Some of you might be surprised when I say that that harlot is Israel.
Does that sound anti-semitic?
If so, then the Old Testament must be a very anti-semitic book since it regularly depicts Israel as a harlot. This again makes the historical sense of what happened. For a time, the Jews could work with Rome to persecute the Christians, but then the Romans turned on the Jews as well and sought to kill them. That culminated in the fall of Jerusalem which is compared to Babylon in the book.
I wanted to answer this objection because I do try to take objections to my view seriously. I did give a little bit of commentary on Revelation as well. I won’t do this for every objection I get, but I wanted to address this one as it seemed more well thought-out.
In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Should Christians Support Israel?

Is Israel the nation to support? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Israel is facing trouble again and that means Christians in America have taken sides, as well as no doubt many other places in the world. However, America has a strong connection to futurism and dispensationalism especially. We often see ourselves as a chosen people and our ability to function is somehow tied to Israel. After all, aren’t the Jews the people of God?

Now in this, I am not going to even begin to recommend solutions regarding conflict between Christians and Palestinians. I know some Christians who do think Palestine has a case and they are not anti-Semitic. That’s something else that needs to be said. Just because someone thinks the Jews could be in the wrong does not mean you can go and kill all the Jews you want and treat them horribly.

A few weeks before this all broke out, I remember being on Facebook and seeing a post asking something along the lines of how Christians should see Jews today. I answered, “People who need Jesus just like everyone else does.” I stand by that 100%. Jews need their Messiah.

However, any support I would give to Israel is not for theological reasons. Again, it seems to need to be constantly said that just because you do not support for theological reasons does not mean that you cannot support for any other reasons. It also doesn’t mean that you immediately jump over to the other side and think they’re all just fine.

Modern end-times people have often tried to connect end-times prophecy with the formation of the state of Israel, but that has not been too successful. Some were speculating it would be within a generation, vis a vis the “this generation” prophecy of Jesus, of the founding of Israel that the “rapture” would take place. Well, that hasn’t happened. Then it was the Six-Day War which turned out to be a swing and a miss. So far, this hasn’t worked well.

But isn’t Israel in the land? That means God was behind it. Right?

I find it strange that the people in end-times circles who want to take the Bible so “literally” often ignore how the text makes repentance a constant requirement for returning to the land.

Deuteronomy 4

25 “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Deuteronomy 30

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

1 Kings 8

46 “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, 47 yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 48 if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, 49 then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause 50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are your people, and your heritage, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace). 52 Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you. 53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”

Has anybody seen the nation en masse turning to Jesus as Messiah? I know several Jews are, but for the most part, Israel is still a secular nation. Now if you want to take the text literally, then that would indicate God is not the one directly behind this. That does not mean that you cannot support Israel. You can do so for other reasons. For example, I think Israel is a helpful buffer to have against Islam in the Middle East. Before anyone asks, I have not looked at the conflict between Israel and Palestine so I have no opinion on that one.

We should also see if our interests are in line with Israel or not. Do we have the same goals? Are we truly friends or not? If Israel was doing something that was wrong, would we support them because they are Israel? Let’s suppose for some reason Israel had invaded Kuwait instead of Iraq around 30 years ago. Would we be supporting Israel then and attacking Kuwait? Would we ignore an SOS from Kuwait asking for help because Israel are our allies?

None of this is also to speak ill of my dispensationalist friends. Most know that I don’t consider the view to have any Biblical credibility, but I am thankful for my brothers and sisters who hold this position not because they hold it, but because we’re all one in Christ. I also recommend they go and look at the passages about returning to the land and see how often repentance is mentioned.

By all means also, pray for Israel if you desire, but I would also add to pray that everyone over there, Jew and Gentile both, come to Messiah Jesus.

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

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)
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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