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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Refuting Full Preterist Articles: Caleb Graham's "Knowing This First"

Today we will examine and refute Caleb Graham, a full preterist's article "Knowing This First" which is linked here: https://authenticrev.wordpress.com/2019/12/23/knowing-this-first-2-peter-33/ 

In this article, Caleb examines 2 Peter 3 and attempts to argue that 2 Peter 3 is fulfilled in the 1st Century events of AD 70 as all full preterist do.

First he begins by quoting 2 Peter 3:1-3 and focusing on why Peter says "knowing this first" in the NKJV. But let's get it all in for context and do 2 Peter 3 for entire context: 

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3 NKJV)

Caleb boldens in his article the words "knowing this first" saying this is of utmost importance in 2 Peter 3. He assumes that with these three words, "we can deduce from the context, that he’s zooming in on something that is a PRIORITY, for that originally intended 1st century audience (an audience almost 2000+ years removed from the time in which we live)".

This is a case of eisegesis where he interprets the biblical text by reading into it his own ideas. Eisegesis is not always wrong, we should note, but here it totally is because what Caleb is attempting to do here is make it out that Peter is only interested in his 1st Century audience. It is true that Peter is writing this epistle to the Church, obviously. However, writing to the Church in the 1st Century does not automatically mean that the things that he writes about are going to happen in the 1st Century. 

Caleb tries to use an illustration about a job at a fast food restaurant where people want and need their food immediately. What I gather from this whole illustration is that Caleb is trying to push imminence on his readers and trying to relate that this prophecy has to be imminent as he is a full preterist and wants the reader to believe that 2 Peter 3 was fulfilled in 70 AD. It's a silly illustration if you really think about it since he tries to make something absurd about a fast food order 2000 years into the future. Then he absurdly tries to claim that everyone who is a believer in the future coming of Christ is absurd to think that the 2nd Coming is still a future event. 

"This is the type of absurdity that we have going on in the body of Christ, in regards to approaching the scriptures. We have no regard for the intended audience, or the original, first recipient of these texts, whom it was written TO all those years ago."

It's nice to know he thinks everyone, including myriads of scholars are all absolute idiots who revel in absurdity. Fascinating.

He then tries to claim that because 2 Peter 3 says "knowing this first" that, because it says this, if you just "apply common sense, logic, and fully trust in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the scriptures found in the bible"  you're going to come to the same conclusions he does that this epistle is not written about a time in the future but somehow was fulfilled in AD 70 cause.... reasons. 

Apparently for the last 2000+ years no 2nd-Coming-is-future believer ever applied common sense, used logic, nor did they ever fully trust the bible or listen to the Holy Spirit and let God guide them. Good to know everyone is an absolute moron.

He makes statements without explaining what he is saying when he makes the claim that 

"the last days of the Biblical narrative are referring to 'Israel’s last days' and the passing away of that Old Covenant people, and the Old Covenant order".

For context, he is going to use King and Preston's eisegesis (CBV FP) to try and claim that the Old Covenant was fulfilled and rendered obsolete in AD70 by the 2nd Coming taking place. The problem? Christ fulfilled and rendered the Old Covenant fulfilled and obsolete on the Cross (Heb. 8). Many more scriptures affirm this to be the case that Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant and installed the New Covenant on the Cross through His death and His Resurrection, which I've spoken at length about and written at length about regarding the complete misinterpretation of Matthew 5 and Hebrews 8 that full preterist have done, especially CBV FP believers. 

Caleb I assume will be doing more articles in the future about audience relevance and focus on time texts. At the end of the day, I can only assume unless he takes scripture like Ed Stevens, an IBV FP, does, he is going to always butcher texts and get them wrong. 

I find it absolutely hilarious that he wants to try and "help you learn to shift and reframe how you look at the scriptures". Apparently no one but him can read the Scriptures and figure out it's all about full preterism because everyone is incapable of using logic and common sense like he is apparently able to do. LOL! 

He claims that "the Bible was written TO others, but FOR us. In other words, NO ONE who is physically alive today, in the 21st century, were the original, intended audience, or first recipients, of these inspired scriptures. Of course they carry wonderful truths that (because of Christ’s blood, the everlasting New Covenant, the Kingdom), ARE RELEVANT TO US, and I’m not seeking to take those beautiful truths away from anyone, to do so would be contrary to the truth conveyed and brought forth in scripture. I’m just saying we have to realize the absurdity that comes along with ignoring these types of details, and the more we let go of our attachment to the scriptures, and give them BACK to the original audience, the more we can proceed with clarity, and understanding, from a more BROAD perspective, understanding the totality of what God has revealed through his word."

Certainly the NT writers were writing to the Church and there are obviously specific statements the NT writers make to the Church which are for that audience in particular, but they also do as a matter of fact write to the Church in general as well too. He claims that he's not trying to take away the truths of Scripture but if he were honest this is what would be the case. 

If the time texts of the NT are really supposed to be taken as full preterist desire, then the onus is on these fools to prove that Christianity is not some failed doomsday cult waiting for a Savior that never came in that generation as they say Jesus promised. This is because if the full preterist (especially the CBV FPs) were honest about it, they would have a REAL, LITERAL, Christ having come in 70 AD who REALLY raised the dead since Paul does teach a real literal event will take place where the dead will really rise from the grave like Christ did (1 Cor 15). 

I've written about this at length in my book as well as done some blog posts about it but 2 Peter is a huge problem for full preterists in both the IBV and CBV camp of full preterism. They both basically accept the same ideas, as Preston spiritualizes the whole thing to be about the Temple falling and Ed Stevens basically copies and pastes that idea but holds to a young earth creationist idea somehow (which is weird since he copies and pastes Preston's ideas of 2 Peter as far as I know - weird huh?).

Facts are Peter references people he percieves to have been real. He references the Flood event which he percieves to be a real literal event. He references Noah. These are not non-literal, metaphoric, allegorical things being talked about by Peter.

Matter of fact, and I'll be brief, starting in 2 Peter 2, we have Peter denouncing, like Jude does in Jude 4-13, evildoers and false teachers who are unholy and communicate heresy and hold to private interpretations which are in turn misconstruing the doctrines that Peter and apostles teach about the 2nd Coming. He references God's past judgments (2:4-10) to show what awaits the heretics with the example being the "angels who sinned" (v.4), imprisoned in the lowest part of Hell/Tartarus while awaiting the final judgment. He references Noah in here (v. 5) as a preacher of righteousness (Heb. 11:7). He references Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 6), Lot (v. 7), Balaam (v. 15), and references the Flood as well to show that unrighteous that were judged all were judged. Problem here too. The Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah wiped out everyone who was evil and unrighteous. If AD 70 was to be a time when all the unrighteous Jews were to be wiped out who rejected Christ, then Christ failed to do so as by 80 AD the Pharisees were making a comeback and brought back the Great Sanhedrin at that time and continued to practice their religion, though it was changed obviously now that the Temple was gone. There was even more Jewish-Roman Wars to take place after 70 AD. Oops.

The Flood gets referenced in Chapter 3 and there is, in context, a lot of Peter taking on Grecian conceptions of the universe here. The Greek influenced folks argue the universe is stable so compulsive upheavels like the 2nd Coming won't happen so Peter responds with the Flood, showing them that this is not a stable universe, that it was once destroyed by water in the Flood and that a 2nd destruction awaits and is on the way by fire, by His Parousia invading this universe. God is hastening the day, Peter argues, to allow repentance and to call us to live holy as we should be, as we prepare to meet Him one way or another (3:4-7). The universe is not argued by Peter to be eternally stable at all. He argues otherwise. So does Jude. If we read Enoch 83:3-5 we see “I saw a vision how the earth was swallowed up in great abyss”. At the heart of this, whether you accept Enoch or not, is that Peter and Jude both clearly see that God will be changing the universe and the sinner will have to face the wrath of God. The destruction to come, it must be noted, will not be annihilation but rather ushers in the New Creation, the New Heavens and New Earth.

I could go on with this but if you want more detailed information search 2 Peter Notes on this site and you can find some notes to go with your biblical studies on 2 Peter that I hope assist you. Feel free to email me or message me as well for questions. As one can see there are many problems full preterist need to deal with. Let us pray that Caleb Graham leaves this nonsensical view behind one day and repents and recants of full preterism. Should he not recant or repent, I pray that all his attempts to teach others be nullified and void so he faces less of a judgment when he faces God, as we all will. 

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