Don K. Preston
A good friend, Bill Kanengiser, recently sent me some correspondence between himself and Robert L. Kramer who produces the “Second Thoughts” journal (42 Evans Ave. Sinking Spring, Pa., 19608). Mr. Kramer and I have corresponded in the past, since he sometimes expresses his views against Covenant Eschatology. Kramer seems to be a genuinely good man who loves the Lord, and I have always appreciated his demeanor in our correspondence.
Mr. Kanengiser asked if I would be willing to respond to some of the issues that Kramer raised against the true preterist position, and I am happy to do so, ever so briefly. Mr. Kramer raised seven points. We will look at each of them individually.
: “I still can’t find a preterist who can explain how you can squeeze a predicted 1000 year reign (Rev. 20) plus many events that precede and follow it into about 40 years from the crucifixion to the destruction of Jerusalem.”
Mr. Kramer’s objection is a common one. Let me take note of a few basic errors in his argument.
A.) Mr. Kramer is assuming that the 1000 year reign is literal. This is a fallacy from the very beginning. The number 1000 is well known to have been symbolic and figurative, since it is a three fold multiple of the perfect number ten. The idea of perfection, not mathematical calculation. This alone destroys Mr. Kramer’s objection.
B.) Let me express my argument as succinctly as possible:
The coming of Christ for the judgment occurs at the end of the millennium.
But, the coming of Christ for the judgment was at hand and coming quickly when John wrote (Revelation 22:10-12).
Therefore, the end of the millennium was at hand when John wrote Revelation
C.) The imminence of Christ’s coming in Revelation is indisputable. To nullify the imminence of the parousia, Mr. Kramer has to produce the lexical and grammatical evidence to show that “at hand” and “quickly” or “shortly” are not time references, and he simply cannot do this. To say that “But Jesus did not come soon, therefore, at hand does not mean soon, is circular reasoning, based on presuppositional concepts. This is hardly convincing.
D.) In Revelation the Wedding takes place after the millennium (Revelation 21:2f). But, the Wedding takes place at the destruction of Babylon, at the coming of the Lord (Revelation 1819:6). Therefore, the destruction of Babylon at the coming of the Lord takes place at the end of the millennium.
E.) Babylon was none other than Old Covenant Jerusalem, the city “where the Lord was slain” (Revelation 11:8). It is the city that killed the prophets (Revelation 16:6), and Jesus said it was Old Covenant Jerusalem that was guilty of this crime (Matthew 23:29f; Luke 13:31f). Babylon also killed the apostles and prophets of Jesus (Revelation 18:20, 24), and Jesus said it was first century Jerusalem that would kill his apostles and prophets (Luke 11:49f). All of this evidence and much more demands that Revelation was concerned with the end of the Old Covenant city of Jerusalem, not some future restored literal Babylon, not the Roman Catholic church, or any other entity that was not historically guilty of doing what Revelation describes.
F.) Given the facts of point #E, this demands that the end of the millennium was near when John wrote.
G.) The New Heavens and Earth of Revelation 21 would be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 65-66. But, in both of those chapters, the New Creation would only come when Old Covenant Israel was destroyed: “The Lord God shall slay you, and call His people by another name…Behold, I create a New Heavens and a New Earth” (Isaiah 65:13-19). The harmony between Isaiah and Revelation is perfect, but, what Isaiah and Revelation depict is not actually espoused by any futurist eschatology! There is something tragically wrong with this.
H.) Notice that the resurrection occurs at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:10f). This is irrefutable. The resurrection is the time of the reception of the inheritance of incorruptibility (1 Corinthians 15:54). But, notice the Peter said that the incorruptible inheritance was “ready to be revealed,” and the time of the end- the time for receiving that eternal inheritance– had drawn near when he wrote 1 Peter (1 Peter 1:3f; 4:5, 7, 17). This is indisputable evidence that the end of the millennium was near when Peter wrote.
I.) To express the thoughts concerning the resurrection and the millennium in another way, consider this argument:
The resurrection would occur at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:10f).
Daniel 12:2-7 says the resurrection would occur “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered”.
Therefore, the resurrection, at the end of the millennium, would be when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.
To put it another way:
The resurrection, at the end of the millennium, would be when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.
But, the power of the holy people (Israel) was completely shattered in AD 70.
Therefore, the resurrection at the end of the millennium was in AD 70.
So, Mr. Kramer is simply wrong to assert that no preterist can answer the questions about the millennium. His objection is an ad hominem argument, based on false presuppositions. His objection fails to consider the divine framework for the fulfillment of the millennium. Only by ignoring, mitigating or destroying the temporal parameters for the consummation of the millennium can Mr. Kramer’s objection have any merit. Only by ignoring what Daniel had to say about the time for the resurrection– and thus the end of the millennium, can Mr. Kramer’s paradigm be sustained. For those who wish to fully honor all of these statements and hold to a harmonious view of eschatology, such attempts are unacceptable.