Greetings to the owner(s) of Religiousdebates, its moderators, members, and to you Mr. Preston.
Proposition: Resolved: The Bible teaches that the Book of Revelation was written AFTER the fall of Jerusalem around A.D. 96.
Affirm: Dr. Olson
Deny: Don K. Preston
It is quite hilarious that Mr. Preston would call my common sense approach to God’s Word "DESPERATION!" I would call Preston’s response "AN EMBARRASSMENT." You’ll see how I arrive at this as I respond to Preston’s rather strange and fatally weak arguments.
Incredibly – unbelievably – Preston begins his response by complaining that I haven’t dealt with HIS arguments. Can you believe this?? Preston needs to remember that this is part 2 of our debate. I already debunked and buried his arguments in part 1 of our debate. Now, in this second part of the debate, I have the affirmative. Preston’s task, as the negative writer, is to deal with MY arguments! I do hope the readers have this simple fact figured out! Let’s see how Preston handled MY arguments!
I. External Evidences
My first argument was Israel. I showed how God promised them their land "FOR EVER" (Gen 13:14-16). God has established everlasting covenants with Israel (Gen 17:7-8) and with David (2 Sam 7:10-17). He will be faithful to His covenantal promises as long as we have a sun for light by day and the moon for light by night (Jer 31:35-37). Even in the NT, God repeats His covenantal faithfulness in Heb 8:8-12. Paul affirms Israel’s place in God’s plan even while they are ruled by the Romans (Rom 9-11).
Mr. Preston’s approach is to pit one set of Bible verses against another set and hope that his cries are louder. Let’s see whether any of his cries have any substance!
Cry 1. Mr. Preston quotes Isa 65:13f where it says the LORD GOD shall slay or destroy Israel. Verses 13-16 are God’s judgment upon Israel for their stubborn rebellion. But this is deception at its best example. Mr. Preston did not tell us about the very next pericope. Verse 17 begins an extended section of Israel’s blessings when God creates a new heaven and a new earth. The context speaks of the millennium where people will build houses (65:21), the wolf and lamb feed together (65:25), sacrifices will be re-instituted (66:3), and there will be peace like a river (66:12). The Book of Isaiah closes with God promising Israel that they will endure just as the new heavens and the new earth (66:22).
Sound exegesis does NOT mindlessly pit one portion of God’s Word against another portion of God’s Word. Sound exegesis pays attention to CONTEXT! But willful disdain of context has been the earmark of Mr. Preston’s posts throughout this debate. Had Preston used the context of Isaiah 65, he would not have used Isaiah 65 as a so-called proof of anything. So, Mr. Preston, because you don’t rightly use context, you are in fact a liar. Because you can use Scripture with
your lies, you are a very deceptive liar! But thankfully – God doesn’t lie or equivocate! His promises to Israel yet stand – and will endure for ever! His promises are as firm, stable, and trustworthy as the fact of the new heavens and the new earth (Isa 66:22).
Cry 2. Mr. Preston next says that Dan 9:24 "emphatically predicted that the holy city would be destroyed." These are your words Preston! Let the reader see what God’s Word actually says!
. . . "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and
. . . upon thy holy city"
Dan 9:24 doesn’t say the holy city would be destroyed! It only says that seventy weeks are determined upon Thy holy City. The word "destruction" is Mr. Preston dishonest alteration of God’s Word by forcing his own errant opinion upon the text. Yes! Jerusalem would be sacked, pillaged, burned. Yes! Many of the inhabitants would die of hunger and the sword. Yes! Many of the survivors would be carried away to distant lands. But this does not mean that the city was destroyed! The city was still standing in AD 71. The city is still standing today. God has promised that it will stand for ever.
Mr. Preston opened with deceptive manipulation through disdain of context. Now he adds willful alteration of God’s Word. This is bad – very bad!
Mr. Preston’s willful alteration of God’s Word is quite understandable given that he has embraced a view that seeks to transfer Israel’s promises to the NT Church. The destruction of Israel is part of this error. So he assumes that every citation of judgment is "destruction." This unfounded presumption is the basis of redefining every Bible verse that he uses. Yet – notice well – it is Preston who has the audacity to suggest that I am the one that forces an overarching perspective on the text! Everything in Preston’s system is upside down.
Preston tries this same unscrupulous tactic with Dan 12:7. Here, he doesn’t quote the verse. He just assumes that he is right and cries louder. Let’s see what God’s Word actually says!
. . ."when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven,
. . . and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a
. . . time, times, and an half; and when he shall have
. . . accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all
. . . these things shall be finished." Dan 12:7
Surprise! There is no reference to "destruction!" God’s Word says "scatter." The text also refers to a period of 3.5 years ("time, times, and an half") when the future antichrist will try to defeat God. Part of the antichrist’s plan to defeat God includes the total destruction of Israel (it seems as if Preston is in league with Satan on this point). However, all the devil can manage is to "scatter" Israel. The mighty Satan empowered antichrist cannot destroy Israel. Mr. Preston misuses everything he touches. His responses are laced with deception from misuse of context and open alterations of God’s Word (lies). The very quotes Preston wanted to use against my common sense position actually SUPPORT my position. Israel with stood the ravages of AD70. They are standing now against all the Satanic hatred of the Middle East. They will stand for ever.
Daniel unequivocally affirms my position. God’s Word bashes Preston’s preterit view!
Cry 3. Here Mr. Preston weeps about the 144,000 Israelites in Rev 14.
Notice his smoke screen argument here. He thinks that by admitting
that the Greek text says that they come out of the Great Tribulation that he has an answer to my point wherein God faithfully uses Israel even in that time! However, in that he affirms the enduring existence of Israel during the Great Tribulation, his answer verifies my point! Israel remains! God hasn’t given up on Israel. Israel will remain in God’s plan of world history. It isn’t very often that my opponents work so hard to prove my point! Thank you Preston for unwittingly proving my first point!
Cry 4. Deut 32 and Matt 23.
That Mr. Preston can use Deut 32 and Matt 23 to show Israel will be destroyed only shows that he has nothing with which to work. I fully debunked that errant argument in the first part of this debate. Let the reader scan my first affirmative. No where did I ever point to Deut 32 or Matt 23. Preston is living in some miserable pit of confusion. Preston’s job in this part of the debate is to answer MY arguments – not weep over the whipping he received in the first part. Digging up the bones of debunked and buried arguments is NOT A VALID RESPONSE in this part of the debate. Answer MY arguments. Stop living in the defeated past.
Cry 5. "Olam" = for ever.
Here Preston thinks that his view of "Olam" as for ever is a proof for the demise of Israel. Wrong-O! Let’s see why! Preston thinks God’s promise to Israel is good only UNTIL God had brought Jacob back
into Canaan. This is a wildly restrictive way to look at things. It totally ignores the future revelations where God extends His promises to Israel as a nation.
He points to Heb 7:12a – – "For the priesthood being changed" – – and thinks that the change in means the end of the eternal Levitical priesthood. Wrong-O! Again, Preston only quotes and uses the parts of the verse that seem to support his heresy. Reader beware! Note the verse as a whole!
. . ."For the priesthood being changed, there is made of
. . . necessity a change also of the law." Heb 7:12
A new law came but the old law but didn’t end! In Heb 8:13 it says, Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away." In the same way, the priesthood changed but didn’t end! Yes! They both are obsolete.
Preston ignores a common – even basic – understanding of the gospel. The gospel and the gospel alone saves. All other aspects to which Preston now points (the law, the priesthood, works in genera) are external. These externalities never saved a single sinner. They are invoked in perpetuity until the next advent of progressive revelation. We simply have to understand words in their CONTEXT. This failure to use context plagued Preston throughout the first part of the debate. Preston continues to base his theology and responses upon the splintering of God’s Word into verses, phrases and solitary words that can be redefined to support his overarching perspective that Israel was terminated in God’s plan of world history.
So Preston delights to force his opinion of one word ripped out of context of progressive revelation upon every instance of that word anywhere else in scripture. In the first part of this debate I showed Preston his faulty logic using the following sentences:
. . .1. Run to a dictionary.
. . .2. Run a race.
. . .3. Your nose is running.
. . .4. Run this problem to ground.
. . .5. Let me run this past the boss.
. . .6. Her hose is running.
. . .7. The clock is running.
. . .8. The ball ran away from him.
Each sentence showcases a different definition of the word "run." It is the height of folly to grab the definition of the word "run" from any one sentence and force it upon any of the other seven sentences. We native English speakers don’t get confused by the several possible definitions for we understand the definition of the word BY ITS CONTEXT. This is Mr. Preston’s error.
Here again, Preston mindlessly forces a dictionary definition from one context upon the entirety of God’s Word in total ignorance of CONTEXT and progressive revelation. Mr. Preston – you simply have to stop leaping to such absurd conclusions if you are ever to be able to rightly discern truth. Your approach to God’s Word is like that of a definition #2 forced upon sentence #4. Your theology is like a nose with legs running down the street. It is embarrassingly wrong.
Then Preston writes that Israel is under a PERPETUAL REPROACH (Jer 18:16) as a result of disobedience to the MOSAIC COVENANT? Again, this is linguistic confusion. If there was only one verse to go on, Preston would have a good argument. However, the very Book from which he quotes also shows that things will change in the days when the LORD will raise up to David a righteous Branch (Jer 23:5). Isaiah shows that under His reign things will change (Isa 54-66).
Where once God’s hand was against them, God will bring them back with deep compassion (Isa 54:7). Where once God rebuked them, He will never rebuke them again (Isa 54:9). His covenant of peace shall not be removed (Isa 54:10). Even Paul, in Rom 9-11 (compare Zech 3:9 to Rom 11:26) foretells of the day when all the remaining individuals of national Israel will be saved in a day.
What Preston misses is the Second Advent of Christ and His millennial reign where all things where:
. . ."Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon
. . . thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an
. . . end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to
. . . bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision
. . . and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." (Dan 9:24)
Words only have meaning in CONTEXT. It is wrong to take the meaning of a word from one context and ignore the rest of the scriptures. God defines perpetuity for Israel’s disgrace and judgment to be perpetual – until Christ comes and changes things. Even then it could be argued that the memory of their failures will never end.
Mr. Preston, you must honor the totality of God’s Word and not slice it up into itty-bitty pieces only to choose the few parts that seem to support your feeble views. The definition of the word "Olam"
depends on CONTEXT. It does NOT mean "for ever" as you want it to mean when God Himself provides new progressive revelation as to the certainty of Israel’s perpetual existence. Words only have meaning in their CONTEXT. The same word can have different meanings. When you continue to violate this very basic principle of linguistics, then you continue to make these absurd and wildly wrong leaps to errant conclusions.
Cry 6. Genesis, the Abrahamic promise,
With respect to Gen 17, you simply vacillate! Here you fully and openly admit that God gave Israel the land "forever." This is YOUR statement. Reader take note! Preston has just made a big point on how the word "Olam" has a mindless meaning of "for ever." Yet in his very next argument, he works hard to show that "for ever" does not mean "for ever!" I find it rather odd that Preston would rip my words out of context and point the finger of accusation and then nonchalantly disagree with his own previous argument. I can defend myself using CONTEXT. However, here Preston only puts his foot deeper into his mouth since he ignore context.
Preston continues his argument by making a very errant appeal to circumcision. He rightly notes that the sign and seal of God’s promises was circumcision. But he leaps to the errant conclusion that the abolition of physical circumcision means that land promises are abolished. Not true at all!
This means that Preston has confused the sign of the physical covenant with the heart attitude of the eternal covenant! Preston points to Gal 5:1-6 to show that the abolition of physical circumcision has terminated God’s enduring faithfulness to national Israel. But Gal 5 only says that the argument of circumcision (for or against) doesn’t count for anything! Per norm in Preston’s upside down theology, he takes this to mean that it avails for something. It isn’t surprising that the very text he quotes disproves his own argument! That’s because Preston used just a sliver of the text where I used the verse in context. CONTEXT rules! Let’s examine the context!
The context of Galatians shows the importance of justification by faith (Gal 2:15-16). Paul then asks how they can get saved by faith and then think that works will keep them saved (Gal 3:1-5). Paul then contrasts the law and the promise. The law cannot overturn the promise (Gal 3:6-14). This brings Paul to show that the blessings given through Abraham would be received by promise – not by the law – not by circumcision. The law (given 430 years after the promise) cannot undo the promise. Inheritance depends on the promise – not the sign. Paul uses Hagar and Sarah as examples of law and promise. When we get to chapter 5, circumcision is seen as an aspect of the law that cannot undo the eternal gospel promise.
The first fatal flaw in Preston’s argument is a misunderstanding of the Book of Galatians.
The second fatal flaw in his argument is that the real circumcision that counts is that of the heart.. . ."For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but
. . . if thou be a breaker of the law, thy c
ircumcision is made
. . . uncircumcision." Rom 2:25
Paul goes on to show that the true Jew is one who has been circumcised in the heart (Rom 2:28-29). Preston has confused the sign of the covenant with the real circumcision of the heart.
Physical circumcision has stopped. But the covenant given to Abraham has now been extended to the entire world. The physical sign of circumcision has been upgraded to the spiritual circumcision of the heart (Rom 2:25-29, Col 2:11-13). Preston simply hasn’t noticed the change from the old law to the new law. This is why Preston embarrasses himself by saying that Dispensationalism cannot deal with the Biblical doctrine of circumcision. Only a Christ-denying self-righteous doctrine of law keeping is interested in circumcision. So, the land promise and physical circumcision are NOT inextricably linked.
Any girl quickly and clearly sees the folly of Preston’s argument. Physical circumcision simply isn’t required to be a follower of Christ. Although Christ never changes, he changes His mode of
operating with His people. These different modes are called dispensations – a very biblical word! So again, Preston makes several critical mistakes. He first fails basic linguistics. He then fails the test of progressive revelation. He finally confuses the physical sign of the covenant with the inward attitude of the eternal gospel.
Cry 7. The Gospel replaced?
Look at the wild rabbit trail Preston goes down here. He asks:
. . ."will the gospel be replaced in the millennium with a
. . . covenant that demands circumcision, again?"
What a foolish question! I would be embarrassed to even ask such an inane question. What sensible Christian would suggest that the gospel would ever be replaced? The different administrations of God’s history never replace the gospel. Every dispensation has depended upon the gospel for justification (the new birth). The different requirements of each dispensation deal with issues of sanctification –not justification.
Then Preston asks another humiliation:
. . ."Will he [meaning me] adopt John Hagee’s view, and say
. . . that the Jew does not need Christ or the gospel?"
This question surfaces yet two more embarrassing aspects to Preston’s theology. First, like Calvinists, Preston confuses the nation of Israel with the people of Israel. His question links national Israel
(God’s chosen people) with the gospel (which can only be believed by individuals). Clearly, Preston’s theology is very weak here.
Second, I’m quite sure John Hagee has never written anything stating that the Jew does not need Christ or the gospel. I challenge Preston to provide a valid reference from one of John Hagee’s book or Internet website that says this very thing. It would be very embarrassing to me to openly make such a deliberate and blatant lie about any of my opponents. I would to rightly quote my opponents so that my position looks the best. Preston’s unethical stoop to wild unfounded attacks makes his position look very bad. If you wish to disagree with me – find. But at least be ethical in the way that you disagree.
I think at this point it is more than clear that Preston has tried to respond to a biblical concept with the folly of a rabbit trail, inane questions, and sadly lacking ethics.
At this point we reach yet another significant conceptual flaw in Preston’s theology. Preston has embraced heretical preterism and chooses to defend it by erecting a bogus straw man. This is more of the same unethical tactics that he used concerning John Hagee. Apparently, Preston thinks he can freely say anything about anyone and look good by destroying the fairy-tale straw man. Let us look at the spurious straw man he has erected concerning Dispensationalism.
He starts out well by saying, "the body of Christ is what Abraham and Israel foreshadowed and anticipated." However, everything else he writes after that is sadly and embarrassingly wrong. Preston’s view of Dispensationalism is so horrendously false that it isn’t recognizable to anyone but to himself. I know of no dispensationalist that writes as Preston has charged. Let me begin exposing Preston’s unethical charges but first looking at two of his statement regarding preterism.
P1. Preston boasts that preterism is right because it makes Israel "a temporary role in God’s scheme." This is why I made Israel the first point of my affirmative. The reader should recall Preston’s violent
abuses of context and logic that have been exposed to this point in the debate. This statement is the summary of all those errors. If God will one day save all Israel (Zech 3:9, cf Rom 11:26), and if Jesus
will one day rule the world for 1000 years from Jerusalem, then preterism is clearly false.
P2. Preston then says that preterism teaches that God kept His promises to national Israel but then will not honor the mountain of scriptural evidences that God yet has future plans for national Israel. The essence of preterism is that the "carnal gave way to the spiritual." While this statement is true in general it is totally false when applied to national Israel. One cannot rip even generic truths out of CONTEXT and misapply them. Scripture repeatedly affirms Israel’s existence and share in God’s plan of world history.
At this point Preston turns to building a totally false straw man about Dispensationalism. I don’t know how he got Dispensationalism so wildly wrong. In theology, the honorable way to defend your personal theology is to rightly represent your opponent’s view. By doing this, when you debunk your opponent’s view your own personal view looks all that much better! Preston has not chosen the honorable road. He has shamefully misrepresented Dispensationalism for the ignoble purpose of making indefensible preterism look and sound spiritual. Perhaps this dishonorable tactic is applauded in the Churches of Christ. I partly believe it for there is no other reasonable defense of preterism. Cults are well known for their extreme unbiblical methods used in defending their beliefs.
Straw man (SM) #1. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "replaces the blood bought body of Christ with a nation ordained by the blood of animals." Preston is a raving madman. Dispensationalism does NOT replace the blood of Christ with anything. This is a major misunderstanding. I challenge Preston to produce one Dispensationalist writing that says this. Use an Internet source so we all can test this madness. No wonder Preston is so confused. He can’t rightly defend his own theology and certainly he doesn’t know Dispensationalism.
SM2. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "replaces the gospel of Christ, which took away those bloody sacrifices, and restores them!" This is more unscrupulous madness. Dispensationalism does NOT replace the gospel of Christ by restoring sacrifices. The restoration of sacrifices during the millennial rule of Christ is done as a memorial. Even in the OT under the Mosaic Covenant, sacrifices never replaced the gospel. The gospel does not change in any dispensation. The NT gospel is the same as the OT gospel (Heb 4:2). The way of salvation has always been by faith without anything else. If anything is wrong, it is the preterist addition of water baptism to the unchanging gospel. Since OT justification came without water baptism, then so also does NT justification (Abraham is the case in point in Romans 4). Remember, the saving gospel of the OT is the same saving gospel of the NT (Heb 4:2).
SM3. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "replaces the circumcision of the heart, with the circumcision of the flesh!" This is hilarious. Let the reader recall that it was Preston who made physical circumcision the basis for God to release His promises to national Israel and transfer them to the NT church. The reader should recal
l how (see Cry 6 above) I dismissed Preston’s argument by appealing to heart circumcision in Rom 2:25-29 and Col 2:11-13. The reader should notice how Preston goes from "Yes" to "No" whenever he feels that it suits his purpose. This is a standard practice for cultic hermeneutics.
SM4. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "assumes the spiritual priesthood of all believers with the old exclusive priesthood." Where did Preston dream up this laugher? Again, all I ask is a valid quote
from a dispensationalist writer. Again, make it an Internet reference so we can all see the veracity of your confusion!
SM5. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "replaces the equality of all men in Christ, with the restored distinction between Jew and Gentiles." Here Preston has not adequately defined "equality." If it is inequality with respect to the gospel, then he simply has no basis for such an outlandish remark. If it is inequality with respect to nations, then we need to note that it is God (Zech 14:15-18) Who has
placed Israel in world wide prominence during the Millennial Reign of Christ. How many verses would you like to see on this? I can give a dozen really easy! I just now think of Psalm 110! After all, Peter used it in his Acts 2 sermon. It is part of the reason why water baptism has no support in Acts 2.
SM6. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "replaces the True Tabernacle, with the Old, which was only a shadow of the True." Here is another preterism fairy-tale. Again, I simply challenge this foolishness by asking for one Internet Dispensationalist source that says this. Please! Don’t go running to a preterist web riddled with errors.
SM7. Preston writes: Dispensationalism "replaces the inclusive body of Christ with the distinctive nation of Israel." This is another unprincipled misrepresentation. Dispensationalism believes that the body of Christ is in parallel with the nation of Israel. The body of Christ pertains to individuals who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. National Israel pertains to a nation which cannot receive the gift of eternal life. This is why I made Israel my first point. God has future plans for the nation of Israel. There will come a time when the individuals of that nation will believe in Jesus and be raised to a position of worldwide prominence during the reign of
SM8. Hebrews 8. Preston thinks that "Hebrews 8 affirms that Christ was already in the process of establishing that promised New Covenant, and it is the gospel!" Wow. What sacrilege! The gospel was first established by God in Gen 3:15. The covenant to Israel in no way eliminates this worldwide unconditional promise. God can add a covenant with national Israel without compromising the gospel promise given to humanity. Preston’s weak theology limits God to doing one thing at a time.
SM9. Preston writes: "The New Covenant would come when the Old passed away. Hebrews emphatically says the Old was, when he wrote, ‘ready to vanish away’ (Hebrews 8:13)." Here Preston shoots his own foot off – again! Preston has confused the covenant given to national Israel with the promise given to the entire race (Gen 3:15). No covenant adds to or changes the gospel promise. Covenants change the way God deals with people or introduces differing administrations of His grace. Preston’s confusion stems from a failure to see two things at once.
The advent of the New Testament did not do away with the law. The purpose of the law still stands – to drive us to Christ (Gal 3:24) that we might be justified by faith without water baptism. The law is still as perfect as the Perfect Law Giver! The Old Covenant could
never save anyone at any time.
God’s purpose with national Israel has not ceased just because of the First Advent of Christ. We need to reject any theology that limits God to one action at a time. This means preterism which cannot figure out how God can offer individuals justification through His Gen 3:15 promise while offering national Israel a special place in world history. The two events are mutually exclusive.
This ends Preston’s responses to my first point on Israel. Every issue he has raised has been debunked and buried. But just because Preston wrote a pile of words doesn’t mean that he said anything of substance. Preston’s responses didn’t answer my first point.
Preston failed to address the following aspects of my first point:
1. Jer 31:35-37. Has the sun stopped giving light? If not, then Israel is yet part of God’s plan in world history. Have you looked outside during the day at any time in your life Preston? If so, did
you see sunlight? If you did, then your theology is wrong. What is the common sense answer here?
2. Romans 9-11. There Paul promised that the people of national Israel would in the future be saved in one day.
3. I now add a few promises of Israel’s certain unending future from the writers of the OT. If Preston is right, then the OT is wrong. Now what is the common sense judgment here? I will stick with the OT being right and Preston being wrong! Let’s see some of these other references:
3a) Amos 9:11-15 foretell of a day when the Tabernacle will be raised up when God will bring again the captivity of Israel such that they shall no more be pulled up out of their land.
3b) Zechariah 3:9 agrees with Paul in Romans 9-11 in that Israel will be saved in one day. Zechariah goes on to show that Israel will be restored after their dispersion (8:1-23, 10, 6-12). It is Zechariah that shows that God places Israel ahead of the rest of the nations of the world (14:16-19).
3c) Daniel 12:1 agrees with Paul in Romans 9-11 in that Israel will be saved in one day. Note that it is at that time that judgment happens. For Preston’s view to be right, judgment must have already occurred. Are we in heaven now? Common sense should provide a ready answer her.
3d) Isaiah 66:23 shows that God sets Israel before the nations of the world because they will have to make a trip to Israel to worship the LORD. Note again the promise is as sure as the new heavens and the new earth (66:22).
3e) Rev 21 shows a New Jerusalem. God is forever faithful to Israel!
If Preston is right, God is a liar.
Preston has totally failed to answer why God will be faithful to Israel all the way to the New Jerusalem – until the sun stops shining. Note that all his answers were hopeless corrupted with disdain of context, deliberate misrepresentation of common sense definitions, and willful alterations of God’s Word. Preston ended point 1 with a dishonest unscrupulous misrepresentation of Dispensationalism. Now you understand why his first negative is an EMBARRASSMENT!
I. External Evidences
I.B. Early Church Fathers
In my first affirmative I brought quotes from Irenaeus (120-202), Eusebius (263-339), Victorinus in a comment to Apollinarius (40-120), Clement (150-220), and Jerome (347-420).
Preston’s response is yet another embarrassment. He writes of Irenaeus as a lunatic and implies that we should not believe anything this man wrote. He makes a cavalier dismissal of Apollinarius’ factual historical statement simply because he wasn’t a Christian.
The best of his inadequate responses comes from the fact that Nero was also called a tyrant. At best this means that we have two candidates, two dates for the writing of the Book of Revelation. This doesn’t prove an early date. It just adds supporting material to the late date.
Preston’s response to Clement totally ignores the comment that any reader can see.
. . ."The objection to this (not by any means conclusive) is, that
. . . it does not specify the end of the period. The first 15 years
. . . of the life of our Lord were the last 15 of the reign of
. . . Augustus; and in the 15th year of the reign of his successor . . . Tiberius our Lord was baptized. Clement elsewhere broaches
. . . the singular opinion, that our Lord’s ministry lasted only a
. . . year, and, consequently that He died in the year in which He
. . . was baptized."
[Clement, "The Stromata," Book 7, chapter 17, fn 3699
So do you think this ridiculous statement nullifies his other clear statement about being an old man?? Do you think he was an old man before AD 70? Such is Preston’s weak response. Common sense must reign!
Let’s summarize the early church fathers.
ECF1 – Irenaeus. "towards the end of Domitian’s reign." Preston dismissed him as a madman.
ECF2 – Eusebius. "It was at this time [Domitian] that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus." Preston totally skipped this.
ECF3 – Victorinus. "Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God." Preston dismissed this simply because he wasn’t a Christian.
ECF4 – Clement. The story of John as a very old man.
Preston points to a quote but ignored the footnote that overturned his point!
ECF5 – Jerome. "banished by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr for the Lord." Preston ignored this.
Thomas Ice. Preston pulls out a real laugher here. He has been in several debates with Thomas Ice and I assume lost every one by the way he responds in our debate. Then (I assume Preston thinks he is providing a valid rebuttal) Preston points to the view of Thomas Ice holds in that Israel will converted at the second coming. Then Preston proudly declares that this is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. He cites Deut 30 as additional proof. Again, this was discussed, debunked and buried in part 1 of the debate. The reader can easily go to those debates and see how wrong Preston is.
Preston’s move to reuse debunked material from part 1 of the debate is not a valid response to Ice’s quote about the early church fathers in this part of the debate. Preston needs to wipe his eyes, blow his nose, and get on with finding a wannabe valid response to MY arguments.
Preston has not addressed the cumulative weight of quotations from the early church fathers. His response is to ridicule the early church fathers, ignore important footnotes, and blissfully disregard the writings of five important early church historians.
Yes! This is yet another aspect of an embarrassing response.
I. External Evidences
I.C. The Tyrant
Buried in Preston’s responses to the early church fathers above was one pathetic move to obfuscate the discussion. This pathetic smoke screen is the best part of his defense.
II. Internal Evidences
II.A Revelation 1:19
Preston’s response is yet another way that affirms the three part division of the book. He points to Blass-DeBrunner but fails to draw a conclusion. Anybody can aimlessly quote someone else. What conclusion do you draw from this aimless quote?
Next, Preston points to Rev 6:9f where the wording is, "that were slain." This phrase comes from the perfect passive participle of sphadzo. Rather than address the verse Preston leaps to Matt 23:36, an argument that was easily debunk and buried in part 1 of this debate. The perfect tense from a distant future reference easily handles a future time period for us.
His reference to Matt 23:36 ignores the CONTEXT of the verse. There Jesus referred to all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. Preston ignores the phrase "upon you" in the beginning of the verse. The temporal reference is the Israel of Christ’s time upon which the AD70 judgment would fall. Notice that the phrase "all the righteous blood shed upon the earth" ignores all the righteous blood shed upon the earth AFTER the AD70 judgment. This cannot possibly refer to all the shed blood throughout the whole course of world history. Preston needs to awaken to the temporal sequence here.
This was debunked and buried in part 1 of the debate. I only bring it up to show Preston yet again how he is embarrassing himself with this type of contextual and logical violation of common sense.
II.B Revelation 12
Preston knows no limit to self-embarrassment. Here he sees that Rev 12 describes the great dragon’s attempt to kill the man-child (Jesus!). Anyone reading this with common sense knows that verse 4 is an historic review of Satan’s fall. At that time, he took a third part of the angelic hosts with him. Verse 4 and 5 are the historic review of Jesus’ birth as He fulfills the gospel (Gen 3:15).
Verse 6 takes us back to the future. That there is a parenthetic historic review does not change the general outline given in Rev 1:19. Chapter 12 is still future. A discussion of the future can have
parenthetical historic reviews.
It is the height of ridiculousness to suggest that Jesus’ birth is future because a historic review is included in a passage devoted to the future. Preston has moved way beyond "Embarrassment."
II.C Rev 14Preston thinks that this chapter is a description of "what HAD BEEN." Preston gets this from verse 3 which describes how the 144,000 had been redeemed from the earth. This is a perfect tense. It points to the present continuance of a past action. The past action from a future time reference of the Great Tribulation is still future for us!
This is rather simple. Let me rehearse chapter 14 using CONTEXT – something Preston evidently refuses to do. Chapter 13 describes the future time of the antichrist who will kill all who refused to worship his image. Chapter 14 is a look at the 144,000 who lived during that time of Great Tribulation. John sees these 144,000 and simply comments that at some prior time they had been redeemed. The effects of their past actions of faith in Jesus Christ continued into the future time of John’s vision.
This doesn’t sound hard to me. We can talk about the past with an embedded future parenthesis. We can talk about the future with an embedded past parenthesis. How much English does Preston need to learn before he can understand something so simple?
Preston thinks it is important to show that this vision meant that the fulfillment of the Great Commission was near. First, this has nothing to do with an early date of the Book of Revelation. Second, the Great Tribulation is very near only to the Second Advent. After that important historic fact there will be yet another 1,000 years after this where the Great Commission will not be fulfilled. Preston’s whole argument hangs on the completion of the Great Commission.
Anyone with common sense would know that there has currently been nearly 2000 years after AD70 where the Great Commission was not fulfilled and the end of our dispensation was not near. Yet Preston’s argument doesn’t adhere to such simple common sense.
Next, Preston dares quote Irenaeus! This is the man whom Preston labeled "eccentric at best, and historically unreliable!" If you think he is eccentric at best and historically unreliable, then why would you ever dare quote him? Notice reader now how Preston, like the chameleon who changes his spot to suit his surrounding, changes his opinion of Irenaeus to suit his needs. This is an excellent example of the double minded man who says both "Yes" and "No."
Next, Preston dares to say, "Iranaeus agreed with Paul! He believed that the great commission had been fulfilled! (Against Heresies, BK. III)." I searched the Christian Classics Ethereal Library and could not find a reference to the word "commission" in Irenaeus’ Heresies, Bk III. I cha
llenge this. I ask for the Chapter and Paragraph reference to such an outlandish statement! Let’s see if Irenaeus really did make such a statement! Perhaps Preston has quoted from another CoC’er who hasn’t done the proper research. Let’s see what reference Preston can drum up for yet another potentially embarrassing statement.
I challenge this open lie in yet another way! I ask for Book and Verse from the Bible where Paul made such a statement! While I could wink at poor scholarship that writes what it wishes, I hold all statements from the Bible at the highest possible opinion. When I did a search on the word "commission" in the Blue Letter Bible Project, I found only one verse; Acts 26:12 that used this word. Let’s see how Preston builds to this outlandish statement!
One must be able to prove what you say or be known as a deceiver!
II.C Rev 17-18 Babylon
Preston’s argument here is pure fantasy. Watch this! He writes, "Babylon had already killed the prophets (Revelation 16:6f)." But if we look at the CONTEXT, we find that this is the third bowl
judgment where an angel empties a bowl on the rivers and springs of water. In verses 5-6, the angel pronounces judgment upon "them." So who is the "them?" Again, if we use CONTEXT and turn to verse 1 of chapter 16 we see that the "them" is the whole earth. CONTEXT proves Preston wrong! Rev 16:6 isn’t writing about Babylon. It is writing about the world in general! So Babylon had not killed the prophets as Preston wants us to believe.
When we turn to Rev 17-18 we find that the woman is named, "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev 17:5). The woman is not one city. The woman is a world wide system empowered by Satan himself. Chapter 17 describes the city of seven hills from which the antichrist rules. Notice that this is the distant future just before the Second Advent.
Now watch Preston’s argument disintegrate! The capitol city of the world wide system is destroyed in chapter 18. Notice how this is a different destruction than that which happened in AD 70!
The future Babylon is destroyed such that its riches and splendor have departed and "thou shalt find them no more at all" (18:14). The AD 70 pillage of Jerusalem was not this total destruction. We can today order something from Jerusalem via the Internet. The two destructions are different because the two cities are different!
The future Babylon is destroyed with such violence that it "shall be found no more at all" (18:21). The AD 70 rape of Jerusalem was not this total destruction. We can go to Google Maps and easily scroll to Jerusalem. The two destructions are different because the two cities are different!
The future Babylon is merely the capitol city of the world-wide MOTHER OF HARLOTS empowered by Satan. Satan’s system is guilty of "the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth" (Rev 18:24). Jerusalem is not guilty of the blood of all men. Only fantasy fairy-tale logic could make this connection. Jerusalem is NOT the capitol of Satan’s world-wide dominion.
II.D THE NICOLAITANS
In my first affirmative, I showed Preston that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans had to deal with the "destruction of people." This doctrine is also mention to the Church in Pergamos, which accepted
this perversion. It is a name that describes a hierarch of a ruling class over the rest of the people. We see this development in church history as leading to the Roman Catholic system of priests, bishops, cardinals and popes.
How did Preston respond? He thinks it has to deal with the eating of meats sacrificed to idols. What nonsense. The etymology of the word is clear and easy to trace: "niko" means victory and "laos" means people. Thus the word "nikolaitan" means "victory over the people," "destruction of people," or "conquest of the people."
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans dealt with the development of church superstructure which ruled overthe people. We know this today as the Roman Catholic hierarchy of priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes. This superstructure was not blooming in AD70. It is a far more apt description for AD 96 when the Roman church had already named popes as successors to Peter.
Preston’s link to Balaam is a spurious failure to comprehend the Greek words "houtos" (thus) and "kai" (also) in Rev 2:15. Both of these words together mean that the doctrine of Balaam is a different matter than the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Rev 2:14-15 is talking about two doctrines that are destroying the Church at Pergamos. Preston fails to see common sense grammar and leaps to the wrong conclusion. He wrongly thinks the two doctrines are one!
Preston dodges my point. I quoted from Thomas Ice that no church existed during the time of Paul. At the time I wrote that I only had the say-so of Thomas Ice. Now Preston has provided me with the source that – much to his chagrin – affirms what I quoted from Thomas Ice earlier. Let me now give you an extended quotation of that passage!
. . ."But I have neither seen nor heard of any such thing among
. . . you, in the midst of whom the blessed Paul labored, and
. . . who are commended in the beginning of his Epistle. For he
. . . boasts of you in all those Churches which alone then knew
. . . the Lord; but we [of Smyrna] had not yet known Him."
[from Polycarp, "The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians," Ch
XI: "Expression of Grief on Account of Valens." See:
Notice how Preston’s own source refutes him and affirms my earlier quote!
See this! Let us press this issue even further than Preston’s fumblings. I submit the following quote:
. . ."If John wrote early (A.D. 64–66), then it is likely that
. . . Paul’s two letters to Timothy, who was in Ephesus at the
. . . time, would overlap with John’s writing of Revelation and
. . . his letter to the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1–7). It
. . . would also mean that, "Paul likely wrote 2 Timothy after
. . . John wrote to the church."6 The problem is that the error
. . . Christ points out to the Ephesians in Revelation should
. . . have surfaced in Paul’s epistles if they were written around
. . . the same time. However, these problems are not evident in
. . . Paul’s writings. Further, it is unlikely that John had moved
. . . to Ephesus until after Peter and Paul had passed from the
. . . scene. Philip Schaff tells us: "It was probably the martyrdom
. . . of Peter and Paul that induced John to take charge of the. . . orphan churches, exposed to serious danger and trials." [Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1910, 1971), Vol, I, p. 425.] The quote comes
from "The Date of Revelation,"
The important point is that there is no reference to Preston’s nonsense in Paul letter to the Ephesians. Everything works together to affirm the late date. The only thing that supports an early date is Preston’s fairy-tales.
Preston writes that the Laodiceans quickly built their own city back. The quote I provided showed
that "quickly" was 25 years. Let’s do some EZ math here. 60 + 25 = 85. The remarks in Revelation could not apply to a Church destroyed by an earthquake after a few years.
Preston follows one mistake with yet another. He writes that "the Laodiceans boasted of spiritual wealth, not material wealth." Reader take note! Preston just had an argument that required material wealth. Then he simply forgot what he wrote and said the opposite. He refutes himself. Again, we have another illustration of how cults have no problem saying "Yes" and "No" in the same sentence, paragraph and/or writing. Which is it Preston? Did Laodicea have material wealth or spiritual wealth?
Scripture tells us that Laodicea was proud of their material wealth. The Lord chided them for trusting in that rather than in spiritual wealth.
It is simply amazing to watch how cults use illogic and think it is logic.
II.G ROMANS 11:25
Preston shows forth his misunderstanding of the Old Covenant shadow. He writes, "the Second Coming of Christ in Romans 11:25f would be when Israel repented and obeyed the Mosaic Covenant!"
Preston is deep into cultic heresy here. Paul’s letter to the Galatians denounces Preston’s view. It is not possible for anyone to be saved under the Mosaic Covenant (Gal 2:15). Just the opposite! We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ (2:15-16). Paul tells us that the Mosaic Covenant did not replace the promise received by faith (3:17). The law was given because of our sins (3:19). The purpose of the law was to drive us to Christ (3:24) that we might be justified by faith.
Any move to link saving repentance to the Mosaic covenant is open blatant heresy. That Preston would stoop to using open blatant heresy shows that there is no valid support for an early date for the Book of Revelation. Lies, no matter how many are given, are not a valid support for the early date.
Preston isn’t satisfied with just one or two open blatant lies. He adds the following heresy:
. . ."Revelation is about the end of the Mosaic Covenant. It has
. . . not yet been removed, and, it will not be removed until
. . . Christ’s parousia!"
Reader beware! Under Cry 5, Preston used "Olam" = for ever to prove that the Mosaic Covenant had ended. Which is it? Did the Mosaic Covenant end in AD70 or will it end at Christ’s parousia? Sadly, I’ve lost count to the number of times Preston has said "Yes" and "No" out of both sides of his mouth.
This deceptive vacillation is what we expect from cults who have left justification by faith – alone. Every cult does something to add or subtract from this cardinal doctrine of justification. Some cults add adult water baptism. Others add speaking in tongues. Many others add infant water baptism. Whatever they add, it is just variations of human-centered self-righteousness. Justification is the righteousness of God (Rom 1:17). Cults turn it into human obedience and self-
righteousness. I am not surprised that this issue surfaces in a debate about the date of the Book of Revelation.
II.H. "COMMON SENSE" LITERALISM
Preston whines: "Mr. Olson’s entire affirmative is based on his insistence that Revelation must be taken literally. Since material creation has not been destroyed, and time has not ended, per Mr.
Olson’s view of things, then Revelation cannot have been fulfilled. However, this is presuppositional to the extreme, and to say, "It has not happened" does not prove that his interpretation of the language is true."
First, we must not leave common sense. The Bible was written for a common sense language understanding. Even the Book of Revelation with its signs and symbols must have a common sense base or there is no hope for meaningful communication.
Second, Preston thinks that literalists interpret scripture "woodenly." But the truth is that no literalist does such a thing. When God Himself supplies the keys to the right common sense interpretation, literalists readily use the symbolic keys provided. That Preston would make such an embarrassing claim only shows how little he understands of theology.
Third, Preston whines that I use an "overarching perspective" into which I force the Book. What Preston doesn’t realize is that the overarching interpretation of the Book is provided by God in the pages of His Word. It is Preston who will not allow the book to interpret itself. His self stated task is to prove that Israel was destroyed in spite of the overwhelming evidences against such a statement. His position is pure dogmatic loyalty rather than an honest desire to seek God’s truths.
Fourth, Preston thinks that I impose a modern Greek oriented cosmology on the ancient Hebraic literature. This is pure slanderous fantasy. I haven’t used Greek cosmology in any of my five responses. Attacks like this are customary when one has nothing else with which to use. Unfounded accusations such as these are a sure sign that the debate is over. Only losers resort to such tactics.
II.I THE SIX SEALS – THE FOURTH SEAL
My common sense argument was simply: "The fourth seal shows that one-fourth of the earth’s population is killed. Did this really happen in AD 70? "
Preston responds by saying this doesn’t deal with earth’s history. Preston thinks Revelation deals with salvation history. Really? Let’s see what God’s inspired Word says!. . ."when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice
. . . of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and
. . . behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was
. . . Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given
. . . unto them over the fourth part of the EARTH, to kill with
. . . sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the
. . . beasts of the EARTH." (Rev 6:7-8)
Preston criticizes me for a common sense interpretation. After I think the passage is talking about the EARTH from a common sense approach. Preston uses a symbolic approach and says the passage is talking about spiritual salvation. The problem with Preston’s symbolic approach is that it has no rules or no guidelines. There is nothing to prevent even the wildest of explanations? As case in
point, Preston uses this as a launching pad for his debunked view of the Mosaic Covenant. On one hand, he thinks the Mosaic covenant has been replaced. Yet here he thinks the Mosaic Covenant is the operative basis of interpretation. This only shows that symbolism has no valid common sense checks. People who use symbolism say what they want – whatever they want – and are offended when you don’t agree.
So rather than dream up any possible explanation I stick with a common sense literal interpretation. When God’s Word says EARTH, I understand it to mean EARTH.
II.J. THE FIFTH SEAL IGNORED!
Preston thinks he has something when I ignored the fifth seal. With my common sense approach "a little season" seems like a short period of time. Yet Preston, with his daft view of Dispensationalism, wrongly accuses me of thinking this is "2000 years – it might even be a million years!"
The common sense Dispensational view is that this is part of the Great Tribulation. At max, it is only seven years. We know from other scriptures that there is a pseudo peace for a time, times, and half a time (3 and a half years). So martyrs would fit into the last half of the seven year period. So these martyrs don’t have long to wait. With his unfounded unchecked symbolism, Preston found – nothing – per norm.
II.K. THE SIXTH SEAL
In my first affirmative I wrote: "The sixth seal shows that there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, the heaven departed a
s a scroll when it is rolled, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The kings of the earth hid in caves because Jesus sat on the throne."
Then, I asked a simple common sense question, "Did this happen in AD 70?"
Preston notes that this is a direct citation of Isaiah 2-4. However, Preston has a lot of trouble with the term "last days." He first points to Isa 2:2 which says, "in the last days . . the LORD’s house
shall be established . . . and exalted . . . and all nations shall flow unto it."
He thinks that when Peter quoted Joel using the term last days that this means the end of Israel at that time. When I say that Israel exists throughout these last days, that is no admission of defeat per Preston’s fantasy. What this means is that during the time of Christ’s First Advent, there was a bona fide offer of the kingdom to Israel. When Israel rejected its Messiah, the promised kingdom was put on hold.
Preston thinks this is ludicrous. He thinks we are now in Jesus’ Messianic kingdom. But notice the very verse that Preston quoted! DO NOT FAIL TO GRASP HOW DEVASTING THIS IS! Isaiah 2:2 says all nations shall flow unto it. Let me ask another common sense question. Is this
Common sense should tell us that Preston’s fairy-tale fantasy interpretation is a lie. All the nations are NOT flowing unto the LORD’s house (Isa 2:2). The peoples of the earth aren’t going to the house of God to be taught His ways (Isa 2:3). We still have weapons of mass destruction because the nations haven’t beaten their swords into plowshares (Isa 2:4a). The nations have not stopped their wars (Isa 2:4c). Israel does not yet walk in the light of the LORD (Isa 2:5). The mountains haven’t fallen on the kings of the earth (Isa. 2:10). No one is hiding in the caves of the earth for the glory of the LORD’s majesty (Isa 2:19a). The LORD is not now terribly shaking the earth (Isa 2:19b).
The CONTEXT of Preston’s own reference destroys his interpretation. Preston’s view is easily demolished because he failed to use the entire CONTEXT. He used just the little bit of the verse that seemed to support his view and ignored the rest of it. This has been Preston’s pattern throughout the debate. His view is an embarrassment to biblical exegesis.
The last days must not be limited to the unaccepted offer of a kingdom and Messiah Jesus. The last days will include the time when all the individuals of national Israel are saved in one day, accept Jesus as their Messiah, and rule the world for 1000 years.
Preston has a perverted definition of the "last days." Since these events did not happen in AD 70, Revelation 6 must apply to a future judgment!
II.L SEVEN TRUMPETS
Preston ignored the first trumpet. I understand. How could a symbolic answer explain how one-third of the trees and grass were destroyed? It didn’t happen in AD 70. Note how Preston only answers things where it seems as if his view has a chance. He ignores the verses that condemn his view.
Preston ignored the second trumpet. What symbolic nonsense would we see for the destruction of the ocean and one-third of the marine life? It didn’t happen in AD 70. Again, he ignores the verses that condemn his view.
Preston ignored the third trumpet. What symbolic foolishness would he use to describe a great star crashing into the rivers? This didn’t happen in AD 70. It supports a future event.
Preston ignored the fourth trumpet. He has no valid response to the sun losing its light. A common sense literal interpretation would tell us that the sun is still shining! The Fourth Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70. This again denies an early date in favor of the late date.
Preston ignored the fifth trumpet. He has no logical symbolic explanation for a plague of locusts as scorpions that scourge people for five months. It didn’t happen in AD 70.
Preston ignored the sixth trumpet. One third of mankind did NOT die in AD 70.
Preston did respond to the seventh trumpet. If his past performances are any indication, then this means that there is something in the seventh trumpet that he can pervert and twist into a false support for his view that Israel was destroyed. Let’s see what he says.
Preston says the Seventh Trumpet is the Great Trump of Matt 24:31. Matt 24:31 is a time of the judgment. Has this happened? Has anyone of us stood before God for a decision on their eternal destiny (Rev 20:11-15)? Has anyone of us stood before Christ to receive the rewards of Christian service (2 Cor 3:11-15)? No to both of these for it hasn’t yet happened. Neither of these happened in AD70. This is yet a future event. Because it unequivocally denies the AD70 date, it automatically supports a late date for the writing of the Book of Revelation.
Then Preston links the Seventh Trump to Isaiah 27:13. But this is a reference to the time when the iniquity of Jacob shall be purged (Isa 27:9). Has this happened yet? Has the LORD re-gathered the children of Israel? Common sense tells us that the answer to both questions is "NO." They certainly didn’t happen in AD70 which denies Preston’s view and automatically favors the late date for the Book of Revelation.
So Preston’s response is yet another unfounded pile of words that ignores CONTEXT. It is a terrible embarrassment for Preston to so wrongly divide God’s Word.
II.M THE SEVEN VIALS
Preston ignored the First Vial where there was a noisome and grievous sore upon those which had the mark of the beast. Was there a universal mark of the beast in AD 70? Of course not. Common sense demolishes the early date of Revelation.
Preston ignored the Second Vial which documents the whole sea becoming dead. Did this happen in AD 70?
Preston ignored the Third Vial. Did all the rivers and fountains turn to blood? Common sense says this has never happened. It speaks of death to the planet and an utter impossibility for an AD70 date of the Book of Revelation.
Preston ignored the Fourth Vial. Has the sun ever scorched us with fire? Common sense says this has never happened. It speaks of death to the planet and an utter impossibility for an AD70 date of the Book of Revelation.
Preston ignored the Fifth Vial. There has never been a painful world wide darkness.
Preston ignored the Sixth Vial. The Euphrates has never dried up. The whole earth has never assembled at Armageddon. It certainly didn’t happen at AD70. Preston’s view is demolished by his silence.
Preston DID NOT TOTALLY ignore the Seventh Vial. He ignored the important parts of it. Has every mountain and island disappeared? This is silly for we can see islands all over the world. We can name the mountain ranges and peaks. It is easy to see why Preston skipped all these – a common sense reading ends his view.
However, Preston did run down yet another rabbit trail with the Seventh Vial. He points to Rev 11:19 and 15:8 to note that God’s wrath must be completed before we can enter into the Most Holy. Now he springboards to Heb 9:6-10 and says that this entrance to the Most Holy "AT THE END OF THE MOSAIC COVENANT!"
This is an excellent example of violent disdain of context and pearl stringing. The verses don’t have the same CONTEXT. Rev 11:19 shows how heaven was opened and the Ark of the Covenant was seen. This didn’t happen in AD 70. It isn’t related to Heb 9:6-10 which describes the imperfect operations of the OT priesthood.
Preston is clearly over his head. A mindless linkage of unrelated Bible verses with a spurious conclusion is an embarrassing response.
II.N THE FINAL GENERATION
Preston ends with yet another false accusation. Since I point to the existence of Israel as a visible nation, Preston wrongly thinks that I think we are in the final generation. Wrong-O! But this won’t stop Preston from making false accusations. He now has a firmly est
ablished pattern of these false implications.
When we can visibly see Israel, it means that the time is drawing close. I don’t know if this is the last generation or not. Scripture says, "of that day and hour knoweth no man . . . but my Father only" (Matt 24:36). But it says that we can know that these things are near (Matt 24:33).
Preston challenges me to provide one proof that God will regather Israel in a state of rebellion. Challenge accepted. This is actually quite easy. Simply turn to Ezekiel 37 and vision of the valley of bones. The bones are first drawn together. They weren’t yet alive. They were still dead and in a state of rebellion. Then the tendons and flesh came upon the bones. They weren’t yet alive. They were still dead and in a state of rebellion. Then the skin covered them. They weren’t yet alive. They were still dead and in a state of rebellion. Finally, at the last days, the LORD breathed into them and they came alive.
We are seeing exactly what was foretold by the prophet Ezekiel. Israel is being regathered in a state of rebellion – JUST AS EZEKIEL FORETOLD. There will come a time when all Israel will be saved in one day – JUST AS ZECHARIAH AND PAUL FORETOLD. Challenge accepted and turned back upon you.
Preston’s view accuses Zechariah and Paul of being false prophets!
Reader take notice! Preston skipped over the following parts of my first affirmative presentation:
. . . 144,000 Jews witnessing to the world.
. . . The Two Witnesses.
. . . the 3 angels preaching the gospel from heaven
. . . Jesus’ Second Coming
. . . Satan in the bottomless pit
. . . the Great White Throne Judgment
. . . the New Heaven
. . . the New Earth
Preston skipped these because none of them happened in AD70! Even with his unethical symbolism, Preston would be hard pressed to dream up fairy-tale responses that the common sense layperson would swallow. It is easy to see why he skipped these – they totally condemn his view!
The places where he provided a response were ALL corrupted by failing to use context, by spurious unsupported fairy-tale assumption, and by meaningless rabbit trails. It was easy to debunk his every corrupted response.
ISRAEL. My first argument shows that Israel was NOT destroyed in AD70. Israel has an enduring place in God’s world history – even if they are currently under judgment and dispersion to the four corners of the world.
Preston’s responses go no further than implicating Israel in some form of judgment. While this is true it is not a valid response. Being under judgment is not the same as being cast off, terminated,
rejected, destroyed, or finished. To deny my point, Preston had to show that Israel’s place in God’s world history has ceased. In this he failed.
Preston consistently confused judgment with God’s enduring faithfulness. It is absolutely critical for the reader to see that Preston’s squawks about judgment fall far short of his task. Judgment by itself does not prove Preston’s point or deny mine for the OT and NT alike are full of affirmations of God’s faithfulness to His people. God’s Word unequivocally and undeniably states that God will re-gather Israel. He will lift up Israel to a place of world-wide prominence such that all the nations will flow into it. Jesus will be Israel’s Messiah Who rules from David’s throne in Jerusalem. Preston’s responses have fallen far short of showing the end of Israel in God’s plan of redemption and world history.
He tried – he really did. However his every attempt was flawed with a corrupted hermeneutic that: (1) ignored context, (2) willfully altered God’s Word, (3) leapt to absurd conclusions, (4) misunderstood the gospel, and (5) made unscrupulous misrepresentations of Dispensationalism, (6) called Irenaeus unreliable, (7) ignored the evidences of the other early Church Fathers, (8) ran down unnecessary rabbit trails, and (9) gave aimless quotes. All those who embrace preterism must be equally embarrassed for Preston due to such unscholarly impudent and violent abuses of God’s Word.
Let me give some supporting examples without re-exposing Preston’s every argument.
As an example of ignoring context, Preston tried to use Isa 65:13f to show where it says the LORD GOD shall slay or destroy Israel. However, in the very next pericope, we see an extended section of Israel’s blessings when God creates a new heaven and a new earth. Had Preston used CONTEXT he would have saved himself some embarrassment.
As an example of willfully altering God’s Word, Preston used Dan 9:24 to prove that the holy city would be DESTORYED. However, Dan 9:24 doesn’t say the holy city would be destroyed! This is Preston’s deliberate deceitful alteration of God’s Word.
Dispensationalism is an example of Preston leaping to absurd conclusions. There are many scholars who disagree with Dispensationalism who can at least give an honest representation or summary of Dispensationalism. Preston’s view of Dispensationalism is so warped that I am sure he cannot find one Dispensationalist writing with his pernicious view. Disagreement is one thing. But in disagreement we must honestly represent our opponent’s view. Absurd accusations is one very good way to see the essence of one’s personality. When I disagree with preterism, I want to represent it
as correctly as possible. In this way, when Dispensationalism looks all the better when I show the errors in preterism.
As an example of Preston’s serious misunderstanding of the gospel, he has confused the covenant given to national Israel with the promise given to the entire race (Gen 3:15). Throughout the two parts of this debate Preston has made statements wherein the curses on Israel have been equated with a new gospel. The gospel never changes. It is the same today as it was at the very first instance that God gave it to Adam (Gen 3:15).
To try to rebut the external evidences of a late date for the Book of Revelation, Preston dared called Irenaeus eccentric and historically unreliable. As wildly bizarre as this is, Preston later used a quote from Irenaeus in an attempt to prove one of his points.
Preston must have stock in rabbit fur. He constantly ran down rabbit trails heaping up words and saying nothing. For example, Preston asked, "Will the gospel be replaced in the millennium with a covenant that demands circumcision, again?" Not only is this question a dishonest representation of Dispensationalism, it was given to avoid an honest discussion of the Dispensationalist hermeneutic.
Lastly, as an example of aimless quotes, Preston used a quote from Blass-DeBrunner about the grammar of Rev 1:19 but then didn’t make a point or draw any conclusion. He just loves to pile up words – even if they don’t say anything.
None of Preston’s arguments are valid.
In my first affirmative I brought quotes from Irenaeus (120-202), Eusebius (263-339), Victorinus in a comment to Apollinarius (40-120), Clement (150-220), and Jerome (347-420). Preston only addressed 2 of these well respected historians. He called Irenaeus "eccentric at best, and historically unreliable!" He made a cavalier dismissal of Apollinarius’ factual historical statement simply because he wasn’t a Christian.
Beyond two embarrassing comments, Preston did not address the cumulative weight of quotations from the early church fathers. He mindlessly disregarded the writings of the other five important early church historians.
With such a feeble response from Preston, the external evidences easily affirm the late date to the Book of Revelation.
This was a common sense section. My every argument was based on a common sense reading of God’s Word. Preston’s many responses all failed. There were so many common sense things that simply DID NOT HAPPEN in AD 70.
Furthermore, Preston simply did not address the following:
. . . 144,000 Jews witnessing to the world.
. . . The Two Witnesses.
. . . the 3 angels preaching the gospel from heaven
. . . Jesus’ Second Coming
. . . Satan in the bottomless pit
. . . the Great White Throne Judgment
. . . the New Heaven
. . . the New Earth
They all condemn the AD70 date for they all deny the total destruction of Jerusalem and Israel. They all point to future events!
Incredibly, Preston wrote nearly 10,000 words and didn’t say anything of substance. His responses were based on a violently abusive hermeneutic that doesn’t honor context, makes wild leaps to errant conclusions, willfully alters God’s Word, and builds dishonest unscrupulous straw men about Dispensationalism.
Before he responds again, Preston should make a serious study into Dispensationalism so that he can at least articulate its points. I’m not asking that he agrees to these points. I’m merely saying that he
should educate himself so that he avoids making unethical, unscholarly, false accusations.
I’ve seen 4 of Preston’s responses. I think he should debate Thomas Ice many more times! The general common sense public should see preterism exposed for what it really is. The general common sense public can well evaluate responses like this in order to see the difference between Dispensationalism and preterism.
I have an even better idea. I have already posted a challenge on the RD website about the underlying similarity between RCC and CoC. Why don’t you take up that challenge? I’d love to expose your cultic view in an area of even more theological importance than eschatology!Just as the medieval confusion over justification by faith alone was brought to the public and exposed and debunked – so also must the preterit heresy be exposed, debunked and buried. Preterism must be exposed for its devious denial of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ and the future glorious reign of the Messiah over the earth from Jerusalem. It is an embarrassment for an individual to endorse. It will bring future judgment from God. May our theology affirm the total sufficiency of Jesus Christ in every aspect!