In the previous articles we have documented how futurists seek to delineate between texts based on the absence of given words, or the use of different words. We have demonstrated the utter inconsistency of the apologists for the respective views, however.
In this article, I want to further show how the futurists, and in particular the Dominionists, are so fundamentally inconsistent in their hermeneutic. I want to do this by citing Gary DeMar’s work, Last Days Madness, 1994. In that book, DeMar insists that 2 Thessalonians 2 applies to the Lord’s judgment against Israel in AD 70. Why? Because of the direct parallels between that chapter and the Olivet Discourse, i.e. Matthew 24. Notice the parallels offered by DeMar and his logical application of those parallels.
DeMar says: “There are striking parallels between the Olivet Discourse and 2 Thessalonians 2. The events described in Matthew 24 were fulfilled prior to Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70. We should expect the same for 2 Thessalonians 2.”
DeMar then lists several of those parallels, including the use of the same words, the same themes, the same motifs.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 –> Matthew 24:31– this would be episunagogee.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 —> Matthew 24:27, 30; Mark 13:26-27; Luke 21:27– saying he is here or there.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 —> Matthew 24:12; Mark 13:5 – lawlessness
2 Thessalonians 2:4 —> Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14 – Abomination of Desolation
2 Thessalonians 2:5 —> Matthew 24:25 – “I told you before”
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 —> Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22 – False Christs
2 Thessalonians 2:13 —> Mark 13:27; Luke 21:8 – The Elect
2 Thessalonians 2:15 —> Mark 13:23, 31.
After adducing these parallels, DeMar concludes: “When studied against the backdrop of Matthew 24, we conclude that that same time period is being discussed – a period of time leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70” (P. 325). (Madness, 1994, pp. 325-341f).
So, there you have it. Because of the presence of the same words, terms, phrases, etc., the Olivet Discourse and 2 Thessalonians 2 must apply to the same event: the coming of the Lord in AD 70.
It seems that few commentators have noted the glaring, incredibly inconsistency in DeMar’s view however (not to mention that of Gentry, McDurmon, Mathison, etc.). Let me illustrate that total, fatal inconsistency.
In the Olivet Discourse, we find the prediction of Jesus’ parousia, on the clouds, with the angels, for the gathering of the saints, at the sound of the trumpet. All of these things would be in Jesus’ generation.
DeMar is emphatic about the application of these things to AD 70. But of course, DeMar is (understandably) silent about the fact that in 1 Thessalonians 4:13f, Paul tells us that he is simply reiterating what Jesus said in his ministry. He then speaks of Christ’s parousia, on the clouds, with the angels, for the gathering of the saints, at the sound of the trumpet. And twice, not just once, but twice, he speaks of “those of us who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord.”
Paul says his discussion is the reiteration of Jesus’ teaching. What is important to see is that the Olivet Discourse is the only place in all of Jesus’ eschatological teaching where we find every constituent element listed by Paul in Thessalonians!
The parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians are perfect, precise and undeniable. In fact, they are even more precise than the parallels adduced by DeMar when he correlated Matthew 24 with 2 Thessalonians 2!
And yet, anyone familiar with DeMar, McDurmon, etc. knows that they apply 1 Thessalonians 4 to the end of the Christian age, i.e. the end of human history as we know it!
So, how is it that DeMar can be so insistent that Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 1-2 apply to AD 70 due to the verbal and motifal parallels, and yet, claim that 1 Thessalonians 4 is a different kind of coming, at a different time, form that in the Olivet Discourse? What is the exegetical justification for this dichotomization? It does not exist! None is given. In fact, I have not seen DeMar, Gentry, McDurmon, etc. even attempt to justify such a delineation. The reason is simple. Observant, astute readers would immediately pick up on that total inconsistency, so, it is better to “let sleeping dogs lie” than to even raise the issue.
To say the least, it is totally inconsistent to insist on the identification of 2 Thessalonians and the Olivet Discourse, based on the use of parallel language, but then turn around and deny the connection between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4, given the fact that the parallels between Matthew 24:29f and 1 Thessalonians 4 are more precise, more perfect, than the parallels used to establish the link between the Discourse and 2 Thessalonians.
It should be more than apparent that the hermeneutic employed by the Dominionists and other futurists is totally inconsistent, but that, applied consistently, leads inexorably to Covenant Eschatology.