Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 4:56 PM
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
I have been studying the subject of eschatology lately, and it seems that most of the eschatological systems leave too many questions. However, as I have been studying Preterist writings, I have seen much truth in what I have read. If it is not asking too much, I would like to know how you interpret the following verses in light of Preterism:
Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you." (Matthew 11:20-24)
Thanks for your time and may God bless you,
Dear (name withheld), thanks so much for contacting us, and for your interest in the Lord’s Truth. I apologize for the delay in response, but, I have been just swamped with correspondence, and, I am trying to finish a book I am writing on 1 Thessalonians 4:13f.
Anyway, you ask a good question, so allow me to offer a few thoughts.
1.) Far too many people think that the judgment of A.D. 70 was a strictly "localized judgment." In my recent (July 2008) debate with John Welch in Indianapolis, Ind. Welch argued repeatedly that folks in Macedonia, Asia, and cities like Athens, Thessalonica, etc. would not have cared anything for the fulfillment of Old Covenant prophecies concerning the fall of Jerusalem because Jerusalem was hundreds of miles from them. My response was that the judgment on Jerusalem was not a localized judgment, but is described as a judgment coming on the whole world (Luke 21:25f)! Furthermore, I noted that the death of Jesus was a very localized event, and fewer people knew of that event than knew of the destruction of Jerusalem! So, it is not even the geographical size of an event that matters, it is the spiritual significance of that event.
2.) Note that Jesus specifically said that all of the blood of all the righteous shed on the earth– all the way back to Creation– was to be avenged in his generation (Matthew 23:29-36). Now, there is no way you can describe the judgment of all the blood of all the martyrs, all the way back to creation, as a local judgment!
3.) As a matter of fact, the cities that Jesus mentioned in the text that you cite were involved in the judgment of A.D. 70. For instance, Josephus, WARS, BK. III, CHAPTER 10:9, P. 253–says the whole lake was turned to blood in the only sea battle of the entire conflict.
So, we have both scripture and history that verifies that the cities that Jesus mentioned were involved. We have to keep in mind that what Jesus mentioned in Matthew 23 would have involved the realm of the unseen, although the visible sign of what was occurring was the judgment of those on the earth (cf. Revelation 6:9-11). A person would not have seen the actual "avenging of the blood" that the martyrs were praying for in Revelation 6, but, the military conflict and the destruction of the persecutors was the visible sign and proof that their prayer was answered.
I hope that this helps just a little.
Thanks again for contacting us. We truly appreciate it.
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston