I have been challenged to a debate…..
“Which position: Futurist or Fulfilled, MUST alter, change and or redefine more words, phrases, audience relevance, time statements and personal pronouns.”
Our dear friend Jerry Bowers has issued this challenge for many years now to any Futurists and at one point I considered it and now a year or so later I accepted his challenge unfortunately he had to cancel due to family emergency. (Lord Bless his mother and be with her and the family).
My first observation of his challenge has not changed but now that he has written a book and self -published it, I felt the need to expose his fundamental problem with his challenge and why it’s very inconsistent and does not logically work.
So lets begin with his first part, “alter, change, and or redefine more words”
In order for Jerry to prove we (futurists) alter, change, or redefine more words he must first know what the words mean or the phrase, so he assumes that he has the right one therefore he can judge my interpretation as being wrong. His presupposition starts with that he knows the meaning of every English word common in ordinary every day communication, and that he accepts the idea that the translators translated every Greek word into English perfectly yet, in his book he proves, for instance the KJV translation of “eion” as “world” erroneously in Mathew 24, that is should be ‘at the end of the age”. So he establishes from the start not every translation has every word perfectly translated every time, it does not matter what translation you use.
If he and I have a difference of opinion about what a word means who decides? He said he would give me three strikes if I used “scholarship” in any part of my defense, meaning I am not suppose to cite experts who differ with him the meaning of a word, he wants to be the arbitrator of what a word means in English, without looking at the Greek, and secondly he still is not aware that a Greek word can have several usages or meanings based on the sentence for example our English word “like”
“I like Hamburgers” which is an emotional feeling and is not a comparison.
“My car is just “like” yours.”, in which any person would recognize the person is saying he has probably the same Make and Model – color -year. And so forth. It does not mean it is the “same” car IE; His car, but a comparison where similarities are pointed, things that are the same that make them “alike”.
I am “like” my father, which means my father and I share many of the “same” characteristics but I am not my father.
The word “like” is making a comparison between two things in which they share some common traits and yet has differences.
so when Christ returns in “like manner” it implies there will be some of the “same Characteristics” He goes up into clouds and disappears”, His return is “out of clouds and appears and comes down to earth” … in like manner. The context determines the meaning of the word used and must be clarified from the Greek. That is where he gets into trouble, he does not know Greek and does not want me to go to the Greek to prove a translated word of phrase is incorrectly translated, yet he does this himself in his book. A Greek word can be used as a verb, noun or even an adjective. For example, the word Scattered in English, Jerry does not understand this of the English language or of the Greek.
I scattered (verb) the people
The scattered (adj) people ……
The Scattered (noun) returned home.
They (he) simply do not know the grammatical forms of English, let alone Greek as he even admits.
“Audience Relevance” is actually butchered so badly by Preterists they believe that the Bible was not written to us, meaning to Christians as a whole of every Generation as a means of instruction and correction in all doctrine. The Bible was written as a tool to teach Christians of every Generation and is timeless in that regard too principles that are laid out. Sure, Paul wrote to the Ephesians and it was copied and distributed and the Early Church Fathers copied and spread it around, so why did they not understand they were reading another person’s mail? Why gather these letters that were written to specific people and spread them to others? The Book of Philemon was not even written to a church, but one person so why is it in the Bible?
Since the author was the Holy Spirit what was written under inspiration was written then for every generation to learn from. The hang up as Jerry notes for Preterists is the personal pronoun “You” which is another ill-conceived idea from Preterists. We are not the “you” so its not for us yet they know the Gospel message is “for us”, the distinction they want to make is concerning prophecy, “for them” means it was for that generation of people who the “you” was talking about in Mathew 24 as if that the principle to be applied to every Prophecy, well if that is true let’s look at Deuteronomy 28;
49The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, 50a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. 51It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.
The “YOU” in this verse is the Children of Israel getting ready to enter the promised land and did any of things happen to that generation? NO
The “You” turns out to be the A.D. 70 generation, some thousand years later that experienced these curses. So yes, their idea of “personal pronouns” misses the facts that they are sometimes used to indicate people of Israel as a nation even of other generations. (those who pierced him was “Jews” so every Jew of every generation carried that burden as they each continue as a whole nation to reject Jesus as the messiah and so share in the guilt of killing Jesus).
“Time Statements”?, Let’s keep this real simple, any event prophesied sometimes has a time attached, when it will happen and how will it happen, or the nature of the event. Not in every case was a timing given as to when. So we must examine the nature of the event. For instance, A.D. 70 was the coming of Judgment from Christ but not his second coming as the nature of His coming as taught by Paul was to be a “manifestation” in which he comes in power and glory for the whole world to see. In Revelation 19 it describes his triumphant return, which the saints as his army, kills the beast army in defense of Jerusalem. (Zech 12:8).
His coming in A.D. was not promised to be an appearing but the coming of Judgment from him, since he is the son of man. (Dan 7:13)
so let’s use Logic; Jesus sent the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
In Revelation 19 Jesus returns to destroy the army of the beast to defend Jerusalem. (Zech 12:8) in A.D. 70 but this is not literal it’s a spiritual defeat, which never happened in the Old Testament spiritually.
The literal Roman army returns to Rome in Victory.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
Hence, two different events, with two different ways in which it happens. The Preterist simply applies the same timing to both events and claims they are one event happening at the same time. Since all prophecy is to be fulfilled which leads to another tragic mistake.
Luke said Jesus came to fulfill all prophecy concerning HIM and to fulfill the terms of the Old Covenant by keeping the laws perfectly. Because Preterists do not recognize the ellipsis, a grammatical form of written communication they interpret this to mean every future prophecy of the end times in the entire Bible.
Luke 21….for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. (all prophecy concerning the days of vengeance, not all prophecy period.)
Mathew 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Is construed as all prophecy being fulfilled.
Luke 24: 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.
Acts 13:29 … When they had fulfilled all that had been written about Him, they
took Him down from the tree and put Him in a tomb. …
It had nothing to do with fulfilling every prophecy ever written, but every prophecy concerning Him, but this is the nature of the failures or Preterism. Why is it Mathew repeatedly stated, “This was done in order to fulfill the words of the prophet _______ .”
So Yes, the Preterist Hermeneutic, that ignores sound exegesis and interpretation by letting scriptures interpret scriptures, is a loose cannon in their hands.
So if the debate is rescheduled it will be the same problem for Jerry. Who determines what a word means – him, who acknowledges he is not a Biblical scholar or Biblical scholars? Because if I cite a scholar for the meaning of a word its “strike one”.