Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse is a source of unending speculation concerning eschatology. Bible students have historically appealed to the Discourse as “proof positive” that the end is near, or, if not near, that the end involves a universal, worldwide cataclysm. I recently received some wonderful correspondence from “Pat” who posed some a good question about Matthew 24. I want to share that correspondence with my visitors.
I have recently been catapulted into the world of truth pertaining to Scripture, preterism, which makes great sense and aids Christians in not looking to set dates for their salvation, a futile and pointless pursuit, but also frees the person to understand God better, in my view.
My world has been turned upside down since becoming a Christian just over two years’ ago and I have been down several silly roads until finally arriving at my current destination, which I trust shall be my last. I have also written a book, which is on Amazon and there is a point I make in it that I have not found to be in any work of preterism known to me, but it just seems to make perfect sense, and here it is:
Still others say – and it’s their clincher! – that Jesus said unless the days of the tribulation were cut short no flesh would be saved – Matt 24:22.
There you have it. That can only be talking about a future day, about a time when man has the ability to wipe all flesh off the earth with nuclear weapons. No flesh would be saved! There can’t possibly be any other explanation. The tribulation has to be future and in our time.
Well, let’s consider what Jesus was saying. Would this statement annul everything else taking place in the first century? The fact that no flesh would be saved means that all other predictions made by Jesus would have a future significance also?
Consider this: Jesus had prophesied that the temple would be destroyed, which He made very clear to his disciples. In other words God had decreed an appointed time for the demise of the Jewish system, which would in effect signal an end to His visible earthly rule via the High Priest, Holy of Holies, etc. If God had not brought it to an end and had allowed it to continue, then there would be no evidence to show He had finally cast it off, thereby not officially instituting the Kingdom to save mankind. So, had it went on, no flesh would be saved.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the new Kingdom was officially instituted with the demise of the old, paving the way for mankind’s redemption under the new spiritual arrangement.
God’s Word, as always, was fulfilled to the letter.
Is this a thought I have picked up subconsciously? It makes perfect sense to me. I shall be interested to hear what you think. My book is entitled The Bible, Its Message & Truth and has been received well by a preterist who has been in touch from the States, though I was hoping he would pick up on this point but didn’t.
I understand you’re a busy bod, but as well as maybe replying to me, could you please have a word with Gary DeMar about trying to smile and lighten up from time to time? You seem to have mastered it, please instruct him! I’m sure I’d crack a smile on his face with one or two of my jokes.
Take good care.
Here is my response to Patrick: (3-20-12)
Patrick, sorry for the delay in response. I appreciate you posting to me. Let me offer a thought or two.
I believe that to “universalize” Jesus’ referent to “all flesh” in Matthew 24 is unwarranted. We must, by all means, honor the context of his discussion.
Note that the Abomination of Desolation that Jesus refers to is taken from Daniel 9 and 12. What cannot be missed in both of these texts is that they posit the appearance of the Abomination in Israel’s last days, consummating in the AD 70 destruction. So, here is how I would frame my thoughts.
The Abomination of Desolation would lead to the Great Tribulation and the endangerment of “all flesh.”
But, the Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation was to appear in Israel’s last days, that ended no later than the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Daniel 9:26-27; 12:1-10).
Therefore, the time of the endangerment of “all flesh” was in Israel’s last days, ending no later than the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Note that in Daniel 9, the time of the end definitely terminates with the “overwhelming flood” of the city and sanctuary.
Note that in Daniel 12 the time of the end and the Great Tribulation occur when “the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (v. 7).
Note also that Matthew 24 is clearly focused on the land of Israel and Jerusalem. The Abomination stands “in the holy place.” Those who witness that event were to flee. Now, if the referent to “all flesh” is to a global, worldwide event, it would do no good to flee to the mountains of Judea, or Perea, or anywhere else!
There is another thought here that cannot be escaped: The Abomination of Desolation must be viewed as a covenant transgression leading to Covenant Wrath being poured out on Israel. This demands that Torah must be in effect at the time of the Abomination and Tribulation. There is simply no way to divorce these events from a time when Torah is still binding. But, according to Hebrews 8:13 the Law was “ready to vanish” when Hebrews was written. This logically demands that the Abomination and the Tribulation belong to the first century. BTW, in my book Blast From the Past, the Truth About Armageddon, I show that the discussion of the 144K who experience the GT, demands a first century fulfillment. You can find the book here: http://www.store.bibleprophecy.com/blast-from-the-past/
Finally, Jesus unequivocally posited the fulfillment of these events in his generation (Matthew 24:34).
For these reasons and more I do not believe that it is correct to apply the “all flesh” to a yet future tribulation when all humans are endangered.
Thanks again for contacting me!
Make your plans to be with us this July 19-21, 2012, for our Preterist Pilgrim Weekend!
Instead of a conference, there will be a formal public debate between Don K. Preston and Joel McDurmon of American Vision (Gary DeMar’s organization) This promises to be a landmark debate, so make your plans to be with us!
For His Truth and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston