Note to those browsing these old posts, Brian Simmons no longer maintains the blog mentioned in this post. However, you can still access The Orange Podcast at this link here. The links below do not work. Updated 5/12/11.
Brian Simmons over at Advanced Eschatology has branched out into podcasts. Imagine my surprise when he suggested that I be a part of one of his podcasts. After thinking about it and listening to the format he used in interviewing a couple of other people, I decided to do it. So you can listen to the podcast available at his post here.
The interview style seemed to go well. Brian focuses quite a bit on the issues that the Preterist system of interpretation has, so I wasn’t surprised that many of the questions he asked were pointed at how the system is unsustainable. I pointed out that Jesus spoke as a prophet like the prophets of old. I used Joel as an example to show how the prophets saw the future. In the days of Joash, Joel prophesied of a future time when an army would march on Jerusalem, but God would miraculously save them. When the time of Hezekiah came, Sennacharib marched on Jerusalem but God miraculously saved them just as Joel had prophesied. But much of what Joel prophesied did not come to pass. What do we do with all those portions of Joel which didn’t occur? For instance, Joel prophesied that the Holy Spirit would be poured out. He also foretold that Jerusalem would be holy and no foreigners would ever trample Jerusalem down again.
We have two choices in how to deal with the text. We could say that perhaps those prophecies were fulfilled, but only in a spiritual way. Maybe the Spirit was poured out during the days of Hezekiah even though history does not record this at all. We could also say that perhaps Jerusalem is a spiritual reference for some other entity and after the days of Hezekiah that this spiritual entity wouldn’t be desecrated any longer. But this makes no sense since Peter quotes Joel 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out during Pentecost. Also, Jesus spoke saying that Jerusalem would continue to be trampled down by Gentiles until the end of the age. So the pouring out of the Spirit did not arrive in the days of Hezekiah, and the trampling down of Jerusalem was not yet brought to an end.
The other choice we have is to say that while Joel’s prophecies found some fulfillment in the days of Hezekiah, that this was simply to validate his ministry as a prophet of God. Since what was fulfilled came to pass literally, the remainder of the prophecy need not be spiritualized, but will come to pass literally at a future point in time. So at some future point in time, the Holy Spirit was poured out, and even yet remains to be poured out on all flesh, as in, all the nation of Israel. The trampling down of Jerusalem will literally be brought to an end at the end of the age as Jesus reaffirmed in Luke 21:24.
This paradigm of the prophets gives us insight into how Jesus spoke as a prophet. Jesus spoke words which condemned His own generation for their rejection of His ministry. He pronounced judgement upon cities in Galilee, upon Jerusalem, and the very temple itself. All these things came to pass in a very literal way. But the other events which Jesus prophesied of never came to pass. So we have two ways of looking at the texts. Perhaps Jesus did come again during AD70, but only in a spiritual way. Perhaps the abomination of desolation occurred in AD70 in a way that was radically different from how Daniel prophesied in would occur. Maybe the Great Tribulation was back in AD70. These ideas are exactly how the Preterists view the prophecies of Jesus.
Of course the superior way to look at this is to see that while Jesus did prophesy that these destructive events would happen, it was simply to validate His ministry and prove that the other events would come to pass just as literally. Just like it is unsustainable to force Joel’s prophecies to have been completely fulfilled during the days of Hezekiah, it is unsustainable to force the prophecies of Jesus to have been completely fulfilled in AD70. His coming, the rewards for the saints, and the gathering of the elect all remain in the future. To try to say that these things happened in a spiritual way is to misread, and even manipulate the text.
If anyone has any comments about the podcast (positive or negative, besides how goofy my voice sounds) please leave a comment. Brian said that perhaps we could do another, but we would choose one topic and stay focused on that, whereas we covered quite a few subjects in this past interview, including the difference between Luke 21 and Matthew 24, “Did Jesus come in AD70?”, “Could Jesus have come in AD70?”, and then just briefly on Replacement Theology and Gog/Magog. Let me know if you have a subject that you would like covered.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman