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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Preston's Pootings - Refuting A Guest Article of Timothy James

For context, so you can read this malarkey yourself I've linked this absurd article below.

  • Quotes by James and Preston are in black bold. 
  • Quotes by ECFs are in italics and underlined. 

It seems Don is desperate these days to save his failing, falling, fantasy-world of full preterism. He put this absurd guest article out by someone from 1991 named Timothy James, who I assume is a full preterist like Preston. Preston endorses it as he says that "James does a fine job of responding to a common objection to true preterism. Give careful thought to this good article".

The article in question is titled "Why No Record of Christ's Coming?"

It starts off with an absurd claim that "The belief in the failure of Christ’s prophecies stem from the attempts of a Gentile-dominated church after A.D. 70 trying to understand Jewish concepts. This lack of understanding should not amaze us, for most of the Jewish world misunderstood the prophecies of His first coming, so why should we expect any difference in recognition of His second coming by Gentile interpreters?"

Apparently, this James fellow wants us to all accept that there was not a single soul capable of understanding Christ came back and that the 2nd Coming and Resurrection of the Dead occurred in 70AD because the Church was a "Gentile-dominated church after AD 70 trying to understand Jewish concepts".

Does this claim really stand up to scrutiny though? The answer is an absolute clear and resounding "No".

First off, there is resounding evidence that John, a Jew, who was definitively Hebrew-minded, lived to the reign of Trajan and taught Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp (the other apostles did too). We have their surviving writings which were written post 70 AD. There is also the Didache which was written post 70 AD. 

Irenaeus confirms this fact in Against Heresies 3.3.4 and 5.30.3 since he was in Smyrna as a youth where he heard the Revelation being preached. He was also under the discipleship of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna who was a direct disciple of Apostle John.

Irenaeus on Revelation writes: "But if it had been necessary to announce his name plainly at the present time, it would have been spoken by him who saw the apocalypse. For it was not seen long ago, but almost in our own time, at the end of the reign of Domitian".[1]

Polycarp clearly in his writings lays out that the 2nd Coming is future and the Resurrection of the Dead is future when he writes in his letter to the Philippians: “If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, we shall also reign together with Him, 2 Timothy 2:12 provided only we believe. In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil.”[2]

Polycarp clearly learned this truth from John, a Hebraic-minded thinker. Let’s not finish there however. Polycarp mentions Ignatius, his brother in Christ, and a bishop of Antioch. Eusebius confirms that Ignatius was also of apostolic stock[3].

What does Ignatius say on the 2nd Coming and resurrection of the dead? He also claims them both as future events.

Chapter 11 of his Epistle to Ephesians: “The last times have come upon us. Let us therefore be of a reverent spirit, and fear the long-suffering of God, that it tend not to our condemnation. For let us either stand in awe of the wrath to come, or show regard for the grace which is at present displayed — one of two things. Only [in one way or another] let us be found in Christ Jesus unto the true life. Apart from Him, let nothing attract you, for whom I bear about these bonds, these spiritual jewels, by which may I arise through your prayers, of which I entreat I may always be a partaker, that I may be found in the lot of the Christians of Ephesus, who have always been of the same mind with the apostles through the power of Jesus Christ.”

Chapter 8 in his Epistle to the Trallians: [quotes Isa 52:5] “Give no occasion to the Gentiles, lest by means of a few foolish men the whole multitude [of those that believe] in God be evil spoken of. For, Woe to him by whose vanity my name is blasphemed among any. Isaiah 52:5”

One should question why Ignatius would quote this to His Church if he and his bishopric he ruled over were all post-70 Gentile-dominated controlled as James claims. Hilarious.

Then to make things worse for James. In Chapter 9 of this same epistle Ignatius states quite clearly: Stop your ears, therefore, when any one speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly born, and ate and drank. He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; He was truly crucified, and [truly] died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He was also truly raised from the dead, His Father quickening Him, even as after the same manner His Father will so raise up us who believe in Him by Christ Jesus, apart from whom we do not possess the true life”.

He literally teaches a 2nd Coming and resurrection of the dead as future here to the Trallians. One can only laugh at the utter failure of full preterism trying to claim the absurd things they do.

On the Resurrection of the Dead in Chapter 2 of his Epistle to the Tarsians – I have learned that certain of the ministers of Satan have wished to disturb you, some of them asserting that Jesus was born [only ] in appearance, was crucified in appearance, and died in appearance; others that He is not the Son the Creator, and others that He is Himself God over all. Others, again, hold that He is a mere man, and others that this flesh is not to rise again, so that our proper course is to live and partake of a life of pleasure, for that this is the chief good to beings who are in a little while to perish. A swarm of such evils has burst in upon us. But you have not given place by subjection to them, no, not for one hour. Galatians 2:5 For you are the fellow citizens as well as the disciples of Paul, who fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, Romans 15:19 and bore about the marks of Christ in his flesh. Galatians 6:17”.

Chapter 7: And that our bodies are to rise again, He shows when He says, Verily I say unto you, that the hour comes, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. And [says] the apostle, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:53 And that we must live soberly and righteously, he [shows when he] says again, Be not deceived: neither adulterers, nor effeminate persons, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor fornicators, nor revilers, nor drunkards, nor thieves, can inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 And again, If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; our preaching therefore is vain, and your faith is also vain: you are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. If the dead rise not, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. 1 Corinthians 15:13-32 But if such be our condition and feelings, wherein shall we differ from asses and dogs, who have no care about the future, but think only of eating, and of indulging such appetites as follow after eating? For they are unacquainted with any intelligence moving within them.”

Should we disregard the fact that Ignatius sent letters to St. John and Mary, Mother of God? Hilarious! The truth is right in full preterists’ faces!

In his letter to Mary of Neapolis in Chapter 4 he speaks on Clement, Bishop of Rome: “Now it occurs to me to mention, that the report is true which I heard of you while you were at Rome with the blessed father Linus, whom the deservedly-blessed Clement, a hearer of Peter and Paul, has now succeeded”.

What does Clement say about the 2nd Coming and Resurrection of the Dead?

1 Clement Chapter 24: "Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower Luke 8:5 goes forth, and casts it into the ground, and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.”

Chapter 25-27 he literally continues to explain why the resurrection and 2nd Coming are to be future events. This is literally a hearer of Peter and Paul who says this.

Didache Chapter 16: “Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord comes. Matthew 24:42 But often shall you come together, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you be not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; Matthew 24:11-12 for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, Matthew 24:10 and then shall appear the world-deceiver as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven”.

This makes this writer’s words completely asinine and absurd when we see all this writing that was given when James claims that there was some great “silence” going on. It’s absolutely absurd and is just a complete dismissal of all that the ECF who were taught by the apostles themselves give us for information.

“The silence of the period after the destruction was a direct result of the downfall and captivity of the Jewish Nation. Along with its end the Jewish Christians were scattered and became almost lost to history. If any literature was written by them after the fall of Jerusalem that taught the return of Christ in that event, there is good reason to believe that it was suppressed or beyond the understanding of the dominant Gentile church (see E. Hampden-Cook’s section in Appendix I).”

Don gives us no citations from James’ guest article… James doesn’t either, and only some person named E. Hampden-Cook’s Appendix I of some book is mentioned? I googled to see who this E. Hampden-Cook is and found a 1905 book “The Christ Has Come: the Second Advent an Event of the Past: an Appeal from Human Tradition to the Teaching of Jesus and His Apostles”. I would wager a guess that this is a person who hates traditions and hates the Early Church and discredits them just because they don’t agree with him historically nor agree with whatever ridiculous preterist interpretation he likely comes up with here in this book.

“Careful study of Rabbinic sources shows that the remnant of the Jewish nation actively destroyed all apocalyptic works speaking of an imminent end after A.D. 70 because of its embarrassment to them. Hence, suppression of Jewish/Christian material referring to fulfilled imminence was a most likely target of this group also.”

James makes no mention of who these “Rabbinical sources” are who were supposedly actively destroying “all apocalyptic works speaking of an imminent end after AD 70 because of its embarrassment to them”. He surmises that these people were suppressing Jewish/Christian material… I surmise that this has no actual sourcing so it is simply a conspiracy theory concocted from a full preterist.

“Another factor related to this is N. B. Stonehouse’s mention of a definite division in the church after A.D. 70. (Apocalypse, p.139f). Syrian Christianity was isolated from the Greek world because of its Aramaic language. This barrier caused a more pure line of understanding and tradition. Therefore, the Greek church considered the Syrian church ‘heretical’ because they rejected the Greek’s sensual chiliasm and held to a spiritual/figurative understanding of Jewish/Christian apocalyptic. This distaste for sensual chiliasm was a major factor in their total rejection of the Apocalypse in the early Syrian texts and canon. It wasn’t till later that Revelation was added, and then with a heading that placed its date in reign of Nero, before the A.D. 70 event. (Note: chiliasm was a form of millennialism and was very common in the early church- DKP).”

Again, no citation to back this up. This one was even worse because when I went to google whoever N.B. Stonehouse was, there was nothing to come up until I dug deeper into Google and found a Ned Bernard Stonehouse who gave a dissertation called The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church: A Study in the History of the New Testament Canon in 1929. This was not quoted like it should be – as is usual for Preston (for a “scholar” [LOL] he apparently doesn’t comprehend very well how to cite things).

James makes a claim that the “Interpretation of Scripture by the Gentile-dominated church was caught up in the idea of a physical return and a literal interpretation of the very figurative Jewish apocalyptic language found in the book of Revelation and other OT & NT prophecies. Yet, even in the early church, Christ’s return was seen by the Jewish Christians to be a spiritual change in the authority of the Kingdom.”

If one goes and studies Hellenism at all though one will find that the idea of the heavens and earth being changed and the foundations of cosmogony being changed and being movable is not a Greek theosophical nor philosophical take, it is a Hebraic one. One will also find that the Greeks did not accept the idea of the resurrection of the dead, the idea that the self-same body one is born with and grows and dies with will rise from the literal grave. We find however, the Pharisee camp did believe this and we also find that the Christian Church accepted this based on 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Peter and other various texts. And as we’ve shown, Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp all three accept a real 2nd Coming to take place and a real resurrection of the dead to take place in the future. These men were ALL taught by the Apostles. There’s no conspiracy here. It’s just a matter of fact that these full preterist are trying to push pseudo-history and pseudo-philosophy on unsuspecting, ignorant people. In other words, pseudo-scholarship. One can read Plato, Celsus, and other Greco-Roman philosophers to see they found the Pharisee Jews and Early Christian’s worldviews bizarre and laughable.

“Such can be seen in the ‘jumping the gun’ of the early church in the teaching that the Lord had come before A.D. 70, (II Thess. 2:1-2). This premature teaching was dangerous to the early church since it implied an acceptance of the Temple cultus, thus putting Christianity in the category of just a new sect of Judaism, rather than the fulfillment of the whole thing. The fact that they believed the Lord had come before A.D. 70 shows that they interpreted His return as a spiritual coming in the early church. Even though they were premature, it only supports our early research that they expected His return just as He said, in that generation.”

James gives us no evidence that anyone believed that the 2nd Coming was going to be entirely “spiritual”. He just puts some scripture verse and expects us to accept what he says I suppose. This also is a crock of nonsense he is saying. We have just shared what the Early Church believed post 70. John was still clearly alive. He and the apostles clearly taught in some way, shape, or form, Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius. They all clearly taught the 2nd Coming would be a real event and the resurrection of the dead would take place and the bodies of the deceased would literally rise to eternal life one day.

I’m not sure what the heck then happens with this article because suddenly what was supposed to be Why No Record of Christ’s Coming becomes I suppose why Preston denies the physical body of Christ and makes Jesus strip off his flesh suit in the Ascension?

James claims “there are only two main verses that have loosely been used to assume a physical return of Christ by the Greek-dominated church. The first is Acts 1:9-11 (the Ascension), ‘he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight,’ after this the two angels reassured the disciples saying, ‘this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.’ (emphasis mine, tj.) The emphasis here is not on the transfigured form, but on the manner in which he ascended and would return, ‘in a cloud’. This event was a reaffirmation of Jesus’ being the apocalyptic ‘Son of Man’ spoken of in Daniel and the Gospels. That he, ‘the Son of Man,’ came with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13), is later emphatically stated to be fulfilled in His return, in numerous places (Matt.16:27f; 24:30; Mark 13:26; and Luke 21:27)”.

What a bizarre statement. First off, it’s not “assumed” that there is going to be a physical return of Christ. It’s a fact that Jewish and Gentile Christians all taught that Christ would physically return and that when he did the material creation would be changed and the dead would really rise. Nothing in the Ascension chapters of Acts proves this fool to be correct. As a matter of fact, the Koine Greek does not allow one to “loosely” interpret it any other way than that Christ left physically and did not strip himself of nor lose his physicality. I cover this in my refutation of Alan Bondar and also refute Don K Preston’s many books where he tries to con people into believing that Jesus became a stripper and got rid of His humanity.

“The second verse under consideration is Revelation 1:7, ‘Behold, he cometh in the clouds and every eye shall see him, every one which pierced him: and all the kindred of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen’. Here one finds the same apocalyptic ‘Son of Man’ imagery regarding His ‘coming in the clouds.’ The language of the text shows that literally, those that would see him were even who had ‘pierced him’, namely the Jews (Acts 2:23,36; 5:30). In His parousia in judgment on the Jewish theocracy, those that had rejected Him would now ‘see’ the truth of Jesus’ claims and their error, i.e. a nationalistic expectation of the Kingdom (Matthew 26:64). Truly, upon a close investigation of the subject, there are not any verses in the New Testament that point to any other manner of coming other than a spiritual parousia of Christ in a judgment of God’s enemies at the redemptive-historical end-time of the Old Covenant system. In fulfilling this event, the bondage of the non-occurrence theory is vanquished.”

This is entirely what can only be called nonsense. Especially so if one has read even a small bit of information from Josephus. There are no records of any Jew, Josephus included, to piece this together that they were wrong and there are no records that they now “saw” the truth of Jesus’ claims and their errors. There’s no record from the Early Church claiming this. Matter of fact, what we find instead are the Apostles’ disciples claiming otherwise. History is not silent like this fool claims. The ECFs are loud and clear that James is making absurd claims and if I’m going to be frank, this is nothing more than a pathetic attempt at a conspiracy theory.

If this is what’s the best proof for full preterism and what is in this book of Mr. James, I would hate to see what other nonsense he has in it that this pseudo-scholar Preston endorses.

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