Wayne Jackson is an esteemed brother in Christ, and one who has done invaluable work in the field of Christian Apologetics. I have respected him for years, and counted him as a friend. However, when it comes to eschatological matters we have little in common. Jackson is an ardent opponent of Covenant Eschatology. And while Jackson is normally a very careful and logical thinker, when it comes to his writings against Covenant Eschatology, it is sad to see his desperation.
It is my purpose to interact with his article The Menace Of Radical Preterism. I have "cut and pasted" the parts that I will respond to from that article. I urge the reader to read his entire article to see that I do not misrepresent what he says. For brevity we cannot respond to every false statement he makes. However, it is my intent to reveal some of the more glaring errors in his arguments against what he calls this menace.
"Radical preterism (also known as "realized eschatology" or the "A.D. 70 doctrine") is so "off the wall" — biblically speaking — that one wonders how anyone ever falls for it. But they do. And, as exasperating as it is, the doctrine needs to be addressed from time to time. One writer, in reviewing the A.D. 70 heresy, recently quipped that dealing with preterism is like cleaning the kitty litter box; one hates to fool with it, but it has to be done. He can just be thankful that cats aren’t larger than they are."
The fact is, that the reason Jackson does not like to deal with "Radical Preterism" is because in arguing against it, the inherent contradictions in his own paradigm are revealed. I urge the reader to examine some of the articles I have written in response to Jackson’s writings. It will soon become apparent that Jackson’s logic has abandoned him when he lashes out against Realized Eschatology. And, we might note, that to our knowledge, Jackson has never responded to a single one of our responses.
" A major fallacy of the preterist mentality is a failure to recognize the elasticity of chronological jargon within the context of biblical prophecy. It is a rather common trait in prophetic language that an event, while literally in the remote future, may be described as near. The purpose in this sort of language to is emphasize the certainty of the prophecy’s fulfillment.
Obadiah, for instance, foretold the final day of earth’s history. Concerning that event, he said: "For the day of Jehovah is near upon all the nations…" (vs. 15). This cannot refer to some local judgment, for "all nations" are to be involved. And yet, the event is depicted as "near."
Actually, it amazes me that Jackson continues to parrot this specious argument! I have shown elsewhere that this argument fails to consider the historical fulfillment of the passage. Let’s take a look at Obadiah, for it seems to be Jackson’s favorite court of appeal to disprove the objective nature of Biblical time stats.
The problem normally associated with this text is the referent to the judgment of "all nations" being "near." Since "all the nations," in the modern universal sense, did not occur, then the "near" statement cannot be objective. Jackson is guilty of the worst sort of inconsistency.
Jeremiah 25 gives the proper context for the fulfillment of Obadiah. A few thoughts to set the stage.
First, the language of the Day of the Lord, in Obadiah, is typically metaphoric and non-literal. Interestingly, on Matthew 24:29-31, Jackson argues that the language is typical OT language to describe a non-literal Day of the Lord. See his comments below. It is strange that in Matthew 24, Jackson appeals to figurative Old Testament language, and then, in the Old Testament, insists that the language is literal. See my Who Is This Babylon? for fuller discussion of the Day of the Lord language.
Second, Jeremiah provides a lengthy list of the "nations of the world" that were to come under the judgment of the invading Babylonians (25:15-26). It says it was to come on "all the nations." Edom is specifically included in the list. Does Jackson believe that this judgment was to be on all the nations of the globe? No, he can’t because Nebuchadnezzar was to bring this judgment on all the nations. (Jeremiah 25:9f, cf. Also chapter 51).
Obadiah was written sometime after the initial invasion of Jerusalem 606 BC, but before the final fall in 586. The Edomites failed to come to the rescue of their brethren. There is one tradition, perhaps questionable, but nonetheless indicative of the animosity between Edom and Israel, that says the Edomites actually burned the Temple when Judah was devastated by the Babylonians. Whether this story is true or not, the Edomites, rejoiced over the plight of Jerusalem, and consequently was to be judged along with "all the nations."
When Jerusalem fell (586 B.C.) it was only a short time before Nebuchadnezzar proceeded to conquer Edom, and in 583 B.C. she was destroyed by him. As the New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says, "While the 7th century B.C. saw the height of Edom’s prosperity, it also saw the beginning of its end. Edom, like Judah, was subject to destruction by the Babylonians in the 6th century B. C. (Jeremiah 27:2, 6; 49:7-22; Ezekiel 32:32. The oracle of Malachi 1:2-4 indicates that by the time of its writing Edom was in ruins."
Jackson has adopted the millennial "gap theory" in order to make the Day of the Lord in Obadiah still future, and to destroy the objective imminence of the text. He interjects a span of 2500 years, and still counting, between the judgment on Edom, and the judgment of the nations. And what is his proof? The identical kind of proof the premillennialists offer to deny that the gospel has been preached into all the world! The millennialists ask, "Was the gospel preached in South America, was it preached in North America?" Jackson categorically refutes and rejects that argument in Matthew 24:14, see our citation of his writings elsewhere in this article, and yet employs it in Obadiah. He says, "The judgment of the nations did not occur soon, therefore at hand cannot mean at hand!"
In Ezekiel 35:14-15, parallel with Jeremiah 25, Jehovah said to Edom, "the whole earth will rejoice when I make you desolate." A careful reading of Jeremiah 45-51, where the judgment of "all the nations" is chronicled, reveals that the term "all the nations" "all the earth" etc. simply cannot be used in the modern geographical sense. Just as the Lord said "all the nations" would be judged in the Day of the Lord against Edom, He said that "all the earth" would rejoice at her judgment. The terms "all the earth" and "all the nations" are equal in their compass. Would Jackson argue that "all the earth" meant that citizens of North America would rejoice at the fall of Edom? Not for a moment…at least one would hope he would not be desperate enough to say this. And considering the fact that Edom no longer exists, then for "all the nations" in the modern Jacksonian definition of that text, to rejoice at the fall of Edom, Edom will have to be restored, and then destroyed by Babylon again. Wow — what a scenario!
Here is a final interesting and significant fact. In his attempts to destroy the imminence of the text, Jackson actually establishes it! On the one hand he says that "at hand" cannot mean near. Yet, Jackson must admit that Edom was judged within a short time of the prophec
y of Obadiah. Thus, Jackson actually has the term "at hand" meaning Edom’s judgment really was imminent as the words indicate, but the judgment of the nations was actually a long time away, in violation of the normal meaning of the words. Or, would Jackson try to convince us that the "at hand" referent in Obadiah did not refer to Edom at all? Does our brother really expect us to believe that the word "near" meant both "at hand," and "far off," in the same verse? What linguistic gymnastics we are asked to believe.
Babylon destroyed Edom in 583 B.C. Since Edom ceased to exist long ago, it seems prima facie evident that her judgment — and the judgment of all the nations — has therefore been fulfilled. The judgment that inspiration declared was imminent came, and it came soon.
"James (5:8 DKP) could not have been predicting the literally imminent return of the Savior, for such knowledge was not made available to the Lord’s penmen. Not even the Lord himself knew the time of his return to earth (Matthew 24:36)."
Jackson’s inconsistency, lack of logic, and desperation to mitigate the Biblical statements of imminence is glaringly obvious here.
First, the disciples certainly claimed that they had (inspired) knowledge that Christ’s coming was near. If the knowledge that the "end of all things has drawn near" was not "given" to the writers by the Spirit, where did they get the idea? Did they just make it up? Were they wrong? For someone to claim that they could not have made such statements is more than a little arrogant. The words are not uncertain, they are emphatic and clear "The coming (Greek, parousia) of the Lord has drawn near." Interestingly, the identical Greek word in the identical tense is used in this verse that is used in Matthew 3:2 "The kingdom of heaven is at hand", and Jackson, as we shall see, is adamant that the kingdom really was near.
Now, it is true that in Matthew 24:36, Jesus did not know the day or the hour of His coming. It is not true, however, that He did not know the generation. He emphatically stated the contrary, "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall by no means pass until all these things be fulfilled." And, the "all these things" included His coming on the clouds with power and great glory of verses 29-31.
Further, to appeal to Matthew 24:36 to prove that the time statements in the epistles were not true, is a denial of the revelatory work of the Spirit after Christ’s ascension. In John 16, Jesus told His disciples that there were many things He could not yet tell them, but that the Father would send the Spirit. When the Spirit came, He would reveal to the disciples "things to come" (John 16:7). The Spirit was to reveal to the disciples what Jesus could not reveal to them while He was on earth, and what was to be revealed was "things to come." In other words, what Jesus did not know while He was on earth, was to be revealed by the Spirit after Christ’s ascension! It is therefore, a denial of the revelatory work of the Spirit to insist that because Jesus did not know the time of His coming while on earth, that this same "ignorance" prevailed after His ascension, and the sending of the revelatory Spirit.
Jackson even seems to admit this in another article, where he is not writing against preterism, "Is it not rather ironical that Christ, who gave these "signs," (of Matthew 24, dkp), did not know (while on earth), (my emphasis, dkp) when his return would take place."
Thus, when arguing against Covenant Eschatology, Jackson says the NT writers could not have said the parousia was near, because that knowledge was not given to them, and cites Matthew 24:36 as proof. This indicates that he is claiming that even after Christ’s ascension, Christ did not know the time, and could not, or did not reveal it to the disciples. However, when not addressing the issue of time, he tacitly admits that while on earth, Jesus did not know the time. However, this certainly opens the door to the possibility that after the ascension He did know the time, and could have revealed it to the disciples. If it be admitted for even one moment that the time of the parousia was, or even could have been, revealed to Christ after His ascension, then the argument that the disciples, inspired by the Spirit sent by the Father, could not have known that the parousia was near, becomes a false argument.
Finally, if the disciples could not know that the parousia was at hand because that knowledge was not given to them, then on the identical basis, they could not know that the establishment of the kingdom was at hand either.
Jackson cites Matthew 24:36 to prove that the disciples — even after the ascension and sending of the revelatory Spirit — could not know the parousia was near. Well, in Acts 1:6f, the disciples asked Jesus "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus responded, "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons."
Now here is something strange. In Matthew 3, Luke 10, and other texts, the disciples proclaimed, "The kingdom of God is at hand!" (Luke 10:9). Jackson says "John the Baptizer, Jesus himself, and the twelve disciples, all preached that the kingdom of heaven is ‘at hand,’ literally meaning ‘has come near.’ (Compare Luke 21:30 for the meaning of ‘at hand.’) Thus, they preached the nearness of the kingdom of God, and such can scarcely be harmonized with the notion that it hasn’t come!"
Notice that Jackson says "at hand" literally means "has come near," and yet, as we have noted above, the exact same word and tense translated "at hand" in Matthew, Mark, and Luke 10, is used by Peter to say "the end of all things has come near," (1 Peter 4:7), and by James to say, "the parousia has come near" (James 5:8). Yet, Jackson says Peter and James could not have been saying that the parousia was literally at hand.
Jackson has not seen, or perhaps refuses to see, that while the "times and seasons" i.e. the "day and hour" for the establishing of the kingdom was not revealed to the disciples, what was revealed was that it had "drawn near." Brother Jackson, did the disciples declare the literally imminent establishment of the kingdom without knowing the times and seasons of its establishment? And, when was the "times and seasons" for the establishing of the kingdom revealed to the disciples? Was it not after the ascension, and after the sending of the revelatory Spirit? Yes, indeed. Well, if the "times and seasons" for the kingdom could, and was revealed to the disciples after Pentecost, what, in the name of reason, prevents us from concluding that the "day and hour" of the parousia was not likewise revealed, after Pentecost and the sending of the revelatory Spirit? After all, this is what Revelation 1:1-3 teaches.
The NT writers said "the coming of the Lord has drawn near." Jackson argues that they could not have predicted the literally imminent coming of the Lord because "that knowledge was not given to them." He says this is true because Jesus, at least while on earth, did not know the "day and hour" of his parousia. It is significant however, that Jackson, perhaps inadvertently, does admit that "There are passages which seem to speak of the nearness of the Lord’s coming–from a first century perspective." He says this in reference to James 5:8. One can only wonder, if the Lord intended for the first century disciples to believe that the parousia actually was near, would the words "the coming (parousia, dkp) of the Lord has drawn near" have been sufficient to convey that message? The words do more than seem to convey the idea of nearness, they expres
s nearness quite well, except to those whose minds are already made up.
The NT said "the kingdom of heaven has drawn near." Jackson argues that the disciples did predict the literally imminent coming of the kingdom, and this in spite of the fact that the knowledge of the "times and seasons" for the establishment of the kingdom, was not given to them.
If the disciples could not "truthfully declare the literally imminent return of the Lord," "for such knowledge was not given to them," then, for the exact same reason they could not "truthfully declare the literally imminent establishment of the kingdom, for such knowledge was not given to them." Jackson is emphatic that the disciples did declare the literally imminent establishment of the kingdom without knowing the day and hour of its establishment. Yet, he declares that the disciples could not declare the literally imminent coming of the Lord because they did not know the day and hour.
To put it another way, if the disciples could declare the literally imminent establishment of the kingdom without knowing "the times and the seasons" then it is irrefutably true that they could likewise declare the literally imminent parousia without knowing the "day and hour" of its occurrence. Jackson’s inconsistency is truly lamentable.
The Components Explained and Refuted
Let us give brief consideration to the four eschatological events that are supposed to have occurred in A.D. 70 — the Lord’s Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, the day of judgment, and the end of the world.
Was there a sense in which Christ "came" to folks at various times and places? Yes, and no serious student of the Bible denies this. Jesus "came" on the day of Pentecost via the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Jn. 14:18). The coming was representative, not literal. The Lord warned the brethren in Ephesus that if they did not repent, he would "come" to them in judgment, and they would forfeit their identity as a faithful congregation (Rev. 2:5). In describing the horrible judgment to be inflicted upon rebellious Jerusalem, Jesus, employing imagery from the Old Testament, spoke of his "coming" in power and glory (Mt. 24:30). Again, this was a representative "coming" by means of the Roman forces (cf. Mt. 22:7). Verse 34 of Matthew 24 clearly indicates that this event was to occur before that first-century generation passed away. For further consideration of this point, see the essay on "Matthew 24" in our archives.
The Lord’s "second coming," however, will be as visibly apparent as his ascension back into heaven was (Acts 1:11). Indeed, he will be "revealed" (2 Thes. 1:7), or "appear" to all (2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 9:28).
It is a mistake of horrible proportions to confuse the symbolic "comings" of Christ with the "second" (cf. Heb. 9:28) coming. And this is what the preterists do.
Jackson’s problem(s) is that the texts he cites posit the parousia as imminent! Hebrews 9:28 must be seen in the context of Hebrews 10:37, "Now in a very, very little while, the one who is coming, will come and will not tarry!" Question: Do you suppose for one moment that if scripture had said, "Now in a very, very little while, the kingdom will come, and will not tarry!" that Jackson would argue that prophetic time statements are elastic?
Further, what hermeneutical key does Jackson use to delineate between the "figurative" coming of Christ, and what he calls the literal? An example: Jackson posits the Lord’s coming against Ephesus (Revelation 2:5), as a non-literal coming. And yet, in the letters to the seven churches, every blessing promised or threatened to the churches are related to what are normally associated with "Second Coming" blessings. In other words, Jackson says that the Lord’s coming against Ephesus was not literal. Yet, the coming against Ephesus is the coming that Revelation posits as "at hand," and the time of judgment, and Jackson says that coming is literal. Quite a conundrum here.
Another major problem for Jackson is his utter inconsistency. On the one hand he tells us that prophetic time statements are extremely elastic, and on the other hand he tells us that one way to tell for sure that the coming of Matthew 24:29-31 was spiritual is because of the time statement (i.e. "This generation shall not pass" v. 34).
He tells us that we can know that the kingdom was established in the first century is because, "John the Baptizer, Jesus himself, and the twelve disciples, all preached that the kingdom of heaven is ‘at hand,’ literally meaning ‘has come near.’ (Compare Luke 21:30 for the meaning of ‘at hand.’) Thus, they preached the nearness of the kingdom of God, and such can scarcely be harmonized with the notion that it hasn’t come!" So, per Jackson, time statements of imminence predicting the establishing of the kingdom must be taken literally, but time statements about the imminence of the coming of Christ are to be seen as elastic and without objective meaning! I smell a very messy cat box here, and it is not the preterist position.
It is utterly incredible that the preterists should deny the eventual resurrection of the human body — just as the Sadducees did twenty centuries ago (Acts 23:8). The entire 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians was written to counter this error: "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead [ones – plural]?" (15:12).
Actually, 1 Corinthians 15 is not written to counter the error of denying the resurrection of the physical body. This is the most egregious claim!
Jackson knows that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15 presented part of his argument through presenting a series of implications. That is, he took what the false teachers were saying and turned it on them by showing that if they were right, then other doctrines, that they did not believe, must also be true. What were some of those implications?
Implication #1 — If the dead (dead ones, as Jackson admits) are not raised then Christ is not raised. Now those who were denying the "resurrection of the dead ones" did not deny the resurrection of Christ. Thus, they were not opposed to the idea of resurrection.
Implication #2 — If the dead (dead ones) do not rise, those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished. The false teachers did not teach that Christians were denied resurrection life! Thus, they did not deny resurrection. They simply denied resurrection life to some class of "the dead ones." Who was that?
It was that class of "dead ones" of which Christ by his resurrection was the first fruit. It was that class of people that had died before Christ died (1 Cor. 15:20)! Now if the false teachers did not deny the resurrection of Christ, and did not deny resurrection life to Christians, but Paul said that Christ was the first fruit of those who were being denied resurrection, who was it? It was the OT saints of Israel. Those in Corinth were denying the salvation of OT Israel (see Romans 11). Jackson is guilty of very serious error to claim that those in Corinth were denying resurrection as a fact.
Further, for Jackson to lay the charge of Sadduceism on proponents of Covenant Eschatology is a gross misrepresentation. The Sadducees did not believe in life after death. They did not believe in the human spirit (Acts 23). I personally do not know of any preterists that espouse such views. I personally affirm that after physical death, man has a sentient existence in the presence of God. Perhaps Jackson can explain how that is Sadduceeism.
Finally, what is "utterly incredible" is that Jackson willingly aligns himself with t
hose who tried to kill Paul for his doctrine of resurrection. Jackson claims that the Pharisees and Paul both believed in the resurrection of the human body out of the ground. Well, if Paul and the Pharisees agreed on this doctrine, why did the Pharisees want to kill Paul for preaching the resurrection?
The record of Paul’s trial before the Sanhedrin is very revealing, and somewhat misleading if one does not follow up on that trial as Paul goes from there to be tried before Felix. While on trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul perceived the division between the Sadducees and Pharisees. He claimed belief in the resurrection, saying that he was on trial for his belief in the resurrection. As a result, the Pharisees wanted to release him, just to spite the Sadducees. Thus, ostensibly, Paul and the Pharisees believed the same thing! It looks at first blush like Jackson has a point. However, looks are often deceiving, as they say.
Just seven few days later, Paul is now before Felix. But something has changed. Now, the Pharisees, who just a few days before said "We can find no fault with this man!" are now crying for his blood! Incidentally, we know that it was not the Sadducees that wanted him killed because Paul said his accusers also had the hope of the resurrection (Acts 24:15).
Now if the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, and if Paul taught the same thing about the resurrection that the Pharisees believed, why were the Pharisees now wanting to kill him, especially after declaring him a fine fellow just a few days before? And isn’t it strange, and sad indeed, that Jackson continues to align himself with the Pharisees, claiming that they and Paul taught the same thing? Paul and the Pharisees clearly did not teach the same thing about the resurrection, or the Pharisees would never have tried to kill him.
Jackson affirms that the Pharisees taught the resurrection of the physical body, just like he does. He also claims that Paul taught the same thing. This is patently wrong! Just who is it that Jackson will continue to align himself with, Paul, or the Pharisees who wanted to kill Paul?
I suggest that just as the Jews wanted a kingdom, but rejected Jesus when they discovered the kind of kingdom he was offering, likewise, the Pharisees, who desired the resurrection, and initially welcomed Paul, rejected him when they discovered the kind of resurrection he was preaching.
Jackson’s doctrine simply has no proper explanation for the trial of Paul.
But those who subscribe to the notion of "realized eschatology" spiritualize the concept of the resurrection, alleging that such references are merely to the emergence of the church from an era of anti-Christian persecution. In other words, it is the "resurrection" of a cause, not a resurrection of people.
Jackson has set up another straw man. He knows, or should, that those who espouse Covenant Eschatology do not limit the resurrection concept to the resurrection of the body of Christ, the church, out of Israel. Jackson wants to deny that the church was in any state of "death" from which it needed to be raised. Yet he cannot explain with his literalistic paradigm the death and resurrection motifs in Romans 6, Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:10f, and other texts.
We could turn Jackson’s words around: "Those who subscribe to the notion of the "established kingdom" spiritualize the concept of the kingdom, alleging that the Biblical language that describes the kingdom is merely metaphoric and figurative."
The fact is, that the resurrection is of the same nature as the kingdom, the two concepts cannot be divorced from one another. The kingdom was to come at the time of the resurrection (Matthew 25:31f; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 15, etc).
Further, the kingdom was to come without observation (Luke 17:20f), and the resurrection was not to be a physically discernable event either (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:6)! Speaking of the resurrection change Paul emphatically said, "We do not look on the things that are seen, but that are unseen." Jackson must demonstrate why the kingdom was/is spiritual in nature, and yet demands a physical parousia and resurrection.
The theory is flawed in several particulars, but consider: The Scriptures speak of the "resurrection" as involving both the good and the evil, the just and the unjust (Dan. 12:2; Jn. 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). Where, in the preterist scheme of things, is the resurrection of "evil"? Was the "cause" of evil to emerge at the same time as the "cause" of truth?
As a friend of mine is wont to say, "What’s the problem?" Does Jackson not know that most preterists believe that all the wicked that were in Hades were raised from there and sentenced to Gehenna? What Jackson sets forth as a serious flaw in Covenant Eschatology is no problem, except to Jackson.
In debating, what Jackson has done is called creating a Straw Man. You create a fictional problem and ascribe it to your opponent. You show, or claim, that the problem is insurmountable. It matters not that your opponent does not believe what you are saying he does. Likewise, Jackson says that preterists have no explanation for the resurrection of the wicked. His straw man, is no problem.
Further, note that Jackson cites Daniel 12:2 as a prediction of a yet future resurrection of the dead. Jackson has completely ignored the context. It certainly is true that verse 2 predicted the resurrection. However, Jackson has refused to acknowledge the "when" of the text. Before turning to an examination of Daniel, it is important to note that Jackson sees Daniel 12, John 5, Acts 24, and of course, 1 Corinthians 15, as all parallel texts. This is significant, because if it can be shown that one or more of these texts contain a definite time indicator for when the resurrection was/is to occur, then that time statement is the controlling factor for all of the texts cited.
In verses 6-7 of his vision, Daniel saw two angels. The one asked the other, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" The wonders to which he refers definitely includes the resurrection of v. 2. The other angel responded by saying, "When the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be fulfilled." There is no other event in history that qualifies as the destruction of the power of the holy people as does the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Jackson, therefore, cannot extrapolate the resurrection beyond that event. The very passage that he offers as proof for a future resurrection contains an irrefutable time statement that is not vague, ambiguous, elastic or plastic! It refers to a definite known juncture in history, and that juncture is the very one emphasized by those whom Jackson calls a "menace." Perhaps Jackson can explain how a doctrine can be a menace when it accepts as divinely authoritative the very passage (s) that Jackson proffers.
The Bible speaks of a coming "day of judgment" (Mt. 11:22). Preterists limit this to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. But the theory simply does not fit the facts. The devastation of A.D. 70 involved only the Jews. The final day of judgment will embrace the entire human family— past, present, and future (Acts 17:31). The citizens of ancient Nineveh will be present on the day of judgment (see Mt. 12:41), as will other pagan peoples. But these folks were not in Jerusalem in A.D. 70. How can clear passages of this nature be ignored?
Here is an interesting thought. When Paul defended his case before the Roman governor, Felix, he spoke of "the judgment to come," and the ruler was "terrified" (Acts 24:25). Why would a Roman be "terrified" with reference to the impending destruction of Judais
m — when he would be on the winning side, not the losing one?
Jackson likes to make the point that the judgment of A.D. 70 was a localized judgment that would hardly have been of any interest or significance to those outside Judea. He likes to ask, "Were the people in South America judged in A.D. 70? By the way, what would the destruction of Jerusalem have meant to those people who were living in Athens, Greece? Paul says, ‘Gentlemen, you had better repent.’ Why? ‘Because Jerusalem, hundreds of miles away is going to be destroyed in A.D. 70’ They likely would have said, ‘So what! What does that have to do with us?"
The folly of Jackson’s logic should be apparent. Let’s just change one or two words in his argument that he considers so devastating: "Are the people in South America judged by the death of Jew in A.D. 33? By the way, what would the death of a Jew in Jerusalem have meant to those people who were living in Athens, Greece? Paul says, ‘Gentlemen, you had better repent.’ Why? ‘Because this Jew was crucified in Jerusalem.’ They likely would have said, ‘So what! What does that have to do with us?" Jackson’s argument is that unless something was universally apparent then it had no universal significance and meaning. This is pure foolishness.
Further, this argument overlooks the fact that Jesus himself said that the judgment of A.D. 70 was a universal event. Read Luke 21:25f:
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth (Greek ge, DKP) distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, (Greek, oikoumene, DKP) for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."