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TomL
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PostAll Things Fulfilled, The Truth About Bible Prophecy

ALL THINGS FULFILLED
THE TRUTH ABOUT BIBLE PROPHECY
by Thomas D. Lineaweaver

PREFACE

Over the years I have written several articles on the subject of Bible prophecy, and specifically, fulfilled Bible prophecy.    For many years I have accepted whatever prophetic view there was at the time.  I really never made a firm commitment to any.  Then I learned about preterism.  That is the name of the doctrine that teaches the complete fulfillment of Bible prophecy.  It really made sense, what I could understand of it.  I have encountered a mountain of books and articles written from a theological point of view.  These books and articles really made everything so complicated, using words like exegesis and hermeneutics‎, words I had no idea what they meant.  I have not in the 25+ years that I have believed in fulfilled Bible prophecy found a published book or article that was simple to understand.  My articles, I believe, are simple to understand.  So, I have compiled several of them in this online book.  

You will probably see some redundancies, although, in the process of editing I have tried to keep that to a minimum.  This online book should be understood by anyone with a High School education.  College educated people might have some difficulty since it is not written on their level.  But I hope this book at least makes sense to all who read it.

FIRST PRINCIPLES OF UNDERSTANDING
BIBLE PROPHECY


The first principle in understanding Bible Prophecy is to understand the historical nature of Scripture.  The Bible is a compilation of historical documents that have been written over the span of a few thousand years, culminating in about 70 AD.  By then, God's plan has been fully revealed, and carried out by the person it has been intended to, which is Christ.  

Being historical in nature, the original writings of Scripture have had an original audience, which is not us.  How did that original audience understand what they read, or heard?  And that is the key to understanding Bible prophecy.  For example, as John wrote the words, "must shortly come to pass," in Revelation 1, how do you think the original audience, the 7 churches of Asia, would have understood that phrase?  How would you have understood that phrase if you were a member of the 7 churches of Asia that John wrote to?


THE BIBLE WASN'T WRITTEN TO OR ABOUT US


Yep, you read it right. No one living today were alive when the Bible was written. So, how can we claim the Bible was written to or about us?

The focus of the first five books of the Bible is the establishment of Israel.

Then the focus of Joshua through Esther is the history of Israel.

The book of Job, oddly enough, was about Job.

The main focus of Psalms is worshipping Jehovah God.

Proverbs & Ecclesiastes is about Wisdom.

Song of Solomon is about relationships between a man and a woman, but ultimately the relationship between Jehovah God and his people.

Then Isaiah through Malachi is mainly about God's message to his people, Israel.

Where do we fit in with any of that?

Then we come to the New Testament. First the 4 gospels, and Acts. The main focus there is bringing the good news of the kingdom of Christ to the lost sheep of Israel. It wasn't until Peter visited Cornelius was the gospel given to the Gentiles. And, after Paul's conversion, he ultimately became the apostle unto the Gentiles.

Now we come to the writings of Paul. They are obviously not written to anyone alive today. Paul was nice enough to address to whom he was writing. The church at Rome, the church at Corinth, etc. He also wrote to Timothy and Titus.

Hebrews is undoubtedly about Christ being revealed to the Hebrews, in their last days.

Now we come to what is called "the General epistles, or letters." James, John, Peter and Jude wrote the church of their time. Remember, from Romans to Jude, these were letters written to people of that time, not to us.

And, finally, the book of Revelation was plainly written to 7 churches of Asia. It was not written to or about anyone today.

The conclusion of the matter is this. The Bible is a collection of historical writings, none of which were written to anyone today. And you must understand the Bible in that way. If you don't. then you will probably apply things to today that are not meant for today. And, it will be all wrong.

So, all the preachers that are preaching the Bible as if it was written for today, are preaching false doctrine. You must understand the Bible within its historical settings. Many make the mistake of not doing that.


THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE


Does anyone read the Bible within the constraints of the English language?  

It just amazes me that somehow the words in the Bible take on a whole new character than they do outside of the Bible.  How can anyone understand the Bible if words don't mean anything, or if you can change the meaning of the words on a whim?

I have encountered this everywhere through all internet Christianity.  Why?  Why can't people simply accept what the words of the Bible really mean, instead of changing the definitions along the way?

And this occurs in many doctrines.  In the doctrine Predestination, in Romans 8.29, the word "foreknew," is used.  The literal meaning of that word is "to know before."  But some want to change that to mean "to love before."  

But, it is most often seen in regards to prophecy.  Somehow in Matthew 24, the pronoun "you," means someone other than to whom Jesus was talking to.  Or, at least it was inclusive of people other than the disciples.  But, there is no indication of that in the text.  

And when John said, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John."   Revelation 1.1, NKJV.  Somehow, the word "shortly" means something different here than it does in everyday conversation.  If I called my friend and said, "Are you ready to go to breakfast, I'll be there to pick you up shortly."  Do you think my friend will think that I won't be there for 2 years?  Or will she expect me within the hour?  So, why does the word "shortly" mean something different in the Bible than in our language today?

Then in Matthew 28.16-20.  It's plain, if you understand the English language, that Jesus was talking to the "eleven disciples."  But, somehow, it was also referring to every Christian that has ever lived.  But again, there is no indication of that in the text.


THE IMPORTANCE OF AUDIENCE RELEVANCE


Lincoln's Gettysburg Address began, "Four score and seven years ago..."   If we were to assume that Lincoln's address was meant for today, that would only take us back to 1926.  But, Lincoln made that address almost 60 years before 1926, so we know that can't be right.  The same is true about Bible Prophecy.  Just as you must consider the audience that Lincoln made his address to, we must also consider the audience prophecy was given to.  How did the audience that originally heard Lincoln's address understand his address?  We must also ask, how did the audience that originally heard Bible Prophecy understand what they heard?

Just as you cannot read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as if it was meant for today and make the right conclusion, the same is true with Bible Prophecy.

MATTHEW 24

MATTHEW 24, LITERALLY SPEAKING


Matthew 24 is a chapter that many who believe there is still prophecy to be fulfilled go to for proof. I submit if Matthew 24 is taken literally, there is no way you can conclude that any end time prophecy has not been fulfilled in the lifetime of the disciples.

First, we must understand the context of the remarks of Jesus in Matthew 24. Jesus had just been in the temple in Jerusalem condemning the scribes and the Pharisees, for all their wickedness down through the years. And at the end of this diatribe, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." - 23:36. Now, when Jesus said, "I say to you," who was Jesus literally speaking to? And when he said, "this generation," do you suppose he was literally referring to some far off distant generation? He just got finished condemning them for all their wickedness, and then He says, their punishment wouldn't occur till some far off generation. Yeah right. 23:37established that they were in fact in Jerusalem. And that is where Matthew 24 begins.

Matthew 24 starts with Jesus and the disciples leaving the temple. Jesus showed them the temple, and told them it would be destroyed. They asked this question, "when will these things be ? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Literally speaking, what were the disciples asking? "When will these things be?" What things? In the literal context, they were referring to all that Jesus said in Matthew 23, and what he just said about the literal destruction of the temple. So, it would be good for you to read Matthew 23 to understand the disciples' questions. In the next part of the disciples' inquiry we can literally conclude that there is a correlation of the coming of Christ and the end of the age.

Now we come to how Jesus answered the disciples' questions. The first part of his answer is, "Take heed that no man deceive you." Deceive who? Who was Jesus literally speaking to? So the word "you" literally refers to the disciples. And that is true throughout Matthew 24.

Verse 6, "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you not be troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Who will hear of wars and rumors of wars? Who should not be troubled? Again, who was Jesus literally speaking to?

Verse 9, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." Again, who was Jesus literally speaking to?

In verse 13, Jesus literally indicates that one of the disciples would endure to the end. In verse 15, Jesus literally states that the disciples would see "the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet..."

So, literally speaking, Jesus was speaking to the disciples, and not anyone 1900+ years in the future.

Now let's look at another literal statement made by Jesus in Matthew 24.

Verse 16, "Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains." Literally speaking, Jesus here localizes the events of Matthew 23 & 24. Really, Matthew 23 & 24 go hand in glove. In Matthew 23, Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that judgment is coming. And in Matthew 24, Jesus answered the disciples' questions including, when. And the when is in the lifetime of at least one of them.

I see no other conclusion possible if you take Matthew 24 literally.

Keep in mind the correct function of the pronoun "you."  The disciples came to Jesus privately.  So when the pronoun "you" is used, it is clear who Jesus was referring to.  This leads to the belief that all those events that Jesus was explaining would happen in the lifetime of those disciples that Jesus was speaking to.  Literally speaking, of course.

MATTHEW 24.15-28


Quoted from American Standard Version. biblegateway.com
15 When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand),
16 then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:
17 let him that is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house:
18 and let him that is in the field not return back to take his cloak.
19 But woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days!
20 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath:
21 for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
25 Behold, I have told you beforehand.
26 If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.
28 Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

In verse 16 Jesus said, "then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains."  Notice, who were to flee to the mountains? The people of New York City? The people of Atlanta, Georgia? The people of San Francisco? Maybe the people of Japan? Or maybe the people of Joplin, Missouri? What about Baghdad, Iraq? No, none of those places. It was the people of Judea. GET THAT! JUDEA! Not America, or any other place in the world today. When were they suppose to flee to the mountains. Jesus said in verse 15, "When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place."

Who did Jesus say would see the "abomination of desolation"?   The disciples.  Right?  How can this fit any view of Bible prophecy today that claims these events are worldwide, and in the time today or in the future?    The answer is, it can't.  There is no more Judea, and the disciples/apostles are gone.  They can't see anything.  This Scripture plainly shows when and where these events would take place.  In the lifetime of the disciples/apostles, in Judea.   Anyone who teaches otherwise are lying.  

In verse 20, Jesus said that they should pray that their flight not be in winter, or on a SABBATH.  Why would he say, "on a Sabbath"?   What people at the time of Christ kept the Sabbath?  In fact it was their law.  So, what people did God give the Sabbath Law to?   This shows the people Jesus was directing his comments to and about.  The Jews in Judea at the time of the disciples/apostles.  

Why did Jesus give them this warning?  In verse 21 he said, "for then shall be great tribulation."    These words are only found three places in the entire Bible.  Here in verse 21, Revelation 2.22, and 7.14.   Obviously the same events.   And that means the prophecies of John in Revelation are linked to what Jesus told the disciples/apostles in Matthew 24.  And that then establishes the timing of Revelation.  

It's really not that complicated.


REVELATION



In the recent past, I have read Revelation.  At the writing of this article, I finished chapter 11.  And I haven't seen any indication that any of the events John was describing was thousands of years in the future.  To the contrary, there seems to be a sense of urgency to John's writing.  A sense of "now," like what he was  writing was happening at the time he was seeing it.  He wrote mainly in present tense.  Present tense to John is preterit tense to us.  

There is but one indication of anything future.  John wrote of Christ and the One that sat on the throne as being the one that "was, and is, and is to come."  The way I understand that is that Christ and the One on the throne were in the past, present and future.  An indication that eternity is timeless, and perhaps perpetual.  It is the concept that what was, is, and will be.  But, that is only possible if what John was seeing was eternity.  

Let me illustrate what I'm saying.  

John wrote about a "war that broke out in heaven."  12.7.  The dragon was cast out of heaven to earth.  Something similar happened to Lucifer according to Isaiah 14.12-15.  Was John seeing and describing the same event?  I wonder.  At least when I read this account in Revelation, this part of Isaiah came to mind.

This concept of perpetuity suggests that what did happen in Heaven, is happening, and will happen.  And that is what I am getting out of my current reading of Revelation.  So, perhaps preterists and futurists are both right to a degree.  I have no doubt that John wrote about spiritual events that he was seeing.  So it is quite possible that he was seeing spiritual events that were, are, and will be.

It is my opinion that time has no shape in eternity.  Time is a concept of the flesh, not of the spirit.  I never read that God created a time clock.  Very Happy 

It has been said that history repeats itself.  Perhaps on a different stage with different actors, but history does seem to repeat itself.  For example, how many Presidents of the United States have been assassinated?  Was that history repeating itself?  I wonder.  If so, maybe eternity is a time loop.  Just a thought.

These were thoughts that were swimming around in my head from my  reading of the book of Revelation at that time.


REVELATION, LITERALLY SPEAKING



It's hard to imagine taking all of the book of Revelation literally. But certainly some of the book of Revelation is literal.

Chapter 1, verse 1 can certainly be taken literally. God literally gave to Christ things to show to his servants that "must shortly come to past." Verse 4 tells us that John wrote Revelation to "seven churches which are in Asia." In consideration of that fact, how would have the seven churches of Asia understood what John wrote? Can we know that? Do we know anyone that was a member of those seven churches? So in lieu of that, what do we do? We simply make it up as we go, don't we? Well I don't. Personally, I don't care much about the book of Revelation because it is next to impossible to understand the symbolism without the knowledge of those seven churches of Asia that John wrote to.

It must be recognized that Revelation is full of symbolism. We encounter it after John says in verse 1.10 that he was in the spirit. Or does Jesus really have hair like wool that is white as snow, and eyes of flame? (v.14) Did he really have seven literal stars in his right hand? Did a sharp two-edged sword come out of his mouth? (v.15)

What about the beasts full of eyes in 4.6? Is that literal?

Is Jesus a lamb? Now that is symbolism we can understand because of what was written in the Old Testament about the sacrificial lamb. Jesus was the ultimate sacrificial lamb, wasn't he?

What about the beast with seven heads and ten horns? Was that literal? That could have been a prophecy about the mother of a girl I dated in 1979. I guess I should be thankful she never became my mother-in-law. She made me feel like I was going through the great winepress of the wrath of God. (ch.14) Perhaps if I apply all of the book of Revelation to my personal life, I can figure out all the symbolism.

Okay my former future mother-in-law wasn't that bad. I just wanted to make a point. The point is that if you misinterpret the symbols in Revelation, it can take you down a very wrong path. And I am convinced that so many do that today. I wrote about some of it in an article entitled "Futurist Dogma Connected to Murder and Mayhem."

Perhaps if one were to study all about those seven churches Asia, their beliefs and knowledge, one could figure out the symbolism of Revelation. But, I haven't done that, and I am sure most in the world have not done that either. The best we can do is make generalizations. One generalization we can make is whatever all the symbolism meant, John wrote about things that "must shortly come to pass," and that the time for those things to come to pass was near, or at hand. No indication that they were 2000 years in the future.

There is not much of the book of Revelation that one can speak literally about, because very little of it is.


THE COMING OF CHRIST


First, let's get rid of the idea of the "second coming of Christ." That term is found nowhere in scripture, at least not in reputable translations.

It is not that I don't believe in the coming of Christ, I do. It's a matter of timing. I believe the coming of Christ had already occurred.

The Bible is an historical book. It was not written to or about anyone living today. It was written specifically to the people of that time and for their understanding and edification. So, how would they have understood it. They probably thought that the coming of Christ was imminent in their lifetime. And they were right.

II Peter 3:9 states, "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." Peter was dealing with those who have been upsetting early Christendom by questioning the Lord's promise to return. People fully expected His return in their lifetime.

Now, why would the people of that time expect the return or coming of Christ in their lifetime? Because it was part of the Apostolic message. James 5:7&8 states, "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord IS AT HAND." The imminent return of Christ was taught by the apostles. My first question for you is this,  Did the apostles lie?

Now, let's look at some of the words of Jesus. Matthew 16:27&28 states, "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly I say to you, there are some standing here who SHALL NOT TASTE death till they see the Son of Man COMING in His Kingdom." This indicates that the coming of Christ in His kingdom would be in the lifetime of SOME of the disciples.

Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus said, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give it's light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

Here's what we have so far; 1) The apostles taught the imminent return of Christ in their lifetime. 2) Jesus indicated that His coming would be in the lifetime of some of His disciples.

But, now we come to Matthew 24. Jesus had just been in the temple in Jerusalem condemning the scribes and the Pharisees, for all their wickedness down through the years. And at the end of this diatribe, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation." - 23:36. Now, when Jesus said, "this generation," do you suppose he was referring to some far off distant generation? He just got finished condemning them for all their wickedness, and then He says, their punishment wouldn't occur till some far off generation. Yeah right. 23:37 established that they were in fact in Jerusalem. And that is where Matthew 24 begins.

Matthew 24 starts with Jesus and the disciples leaving the temple. Jesus showed them the temple, and told them it would be destroyed. They asked this question, "when will these things be ? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Jesus then told them of unprecedented great tribulation that would befall Jerusalem. Not, America. And, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS, the sun would be darkened, etc. Then you will see the sign of the Son of Man... then they will see the Son of Man COMING IN HIS KINGDOM, not thousands of years later, but immediately after the great tribulation that would befall Jerusalem. Well, that great tribulation did occur just as Jesus foretold, culminating in the desecration and destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

There you have it, the case for the coming of Christ in 70 AD. However, there is much more in Scripture that confirms what is written here. This little article simply is the beginning. However, I do believe this is enough to establish the fact that the coming of Christ did indeed take place in 70AD.

Most experts agree that Jesus and the apostles taught the imminent return of Christ, and that the earliest Christians believed it would happen in their lifetime.  At the same time, they also say, it didn't happen yet, because it is not written about, there were no witnesses.  But the lack of corroborating witnesses could mean that it could have happened.  

If a tree falls in a forest, and there is no one to hear it, did it make a sound?  And if there is no one to see it, did it indeed fall?  Then if you come a long sometime later, and see dead wood leaning up against another tree, and the other end is near a tree stump with markings indicating the tree has been snapped rather than cut down.  Would you not conclude the tree has fallen, even though you were not there to hear or see it?  The lack of witnesses doesn't prevent you from concluding that the tree in fact has fallen.   A conclusion based on all the facts in evidence that is available to you.  Well, that is the way I see the coming of Christ.  Due to the lack of corroborating witness, I looked at the available facts in evidence that I do have, and made the conclusion that Christ did indeed return in circa 70 AD.

What are those facts in evidence.

1.  Jesus is not a liar.

2. The statements Jesus made to His disciples suggests that His return would be in their lifetime.

3.  Historical documents that indicate that Judea did indeed  go through a great tribulation that has never happened before or since.

But that evidence is not good enough for a lot of people.  

If someone came to you, and says, "this tree shall soon fall," then you go back a year later and see that that tree has fallen, would you not think that the prophecy that the tree shall soon fall had been fulfilled?

Well what about all of those statements like, "must shortly take place," or, "is at hand."  And what about John who wrote, that they were in the "last hour."  I John 1.28.  If John and his audience was in the last hour, is it possible that we are still in the last hour, with all evidence that suggests otherwise.

All Scripture quotations from the NKJV


PROOF OF THE RETURN OF CHRIST


In Matthew 24.2, Jesus told the disciples, and anyone else that might have been listening, that the temple would be destroyed. Was the temple destroyed as Jesus said?

In verse 9, Jesus warned the disciples that they would be persecuted. Were the disciples, then apostles, persecuted? Revelation 1.9.

In verse 14, Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom would be proclaimed throughout the world. Was it?   See Colossians 1.23.

In verse 15, Jesus talks about the desecration and destruction of the temple, "the holy place." Was the temple desecrated? Was the temple destroyed?

In verse 16, Jesus warned that people should flee Judea. Did anyone flee Judea?

In verse 21, Jesus said there would be great suffering that never happened before and would never happen again. Did Jerusalem, Judea go through great suffering?

The answer to all these questions is Yes. All these events are historically or Biblically accounted for.

The last sign for the end to come, verse 14, was the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world, and according to Paul in Colossians 1.23, that happened.

Jesus said, that the gospel of the kingdom would be proclaimed in all the world, and then the end would come. Paul said the gospel was proclaimed to every creature under heaven. To suggest that Jesus didn't return is to deny what history and the Bible reveals.

It's very simple.  Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple.  It was destroyed.  Jesus foretold of famines in Judea.  They happened.   Jesus foretold the disciples/apostles would be persecuted and even killed.  They were.   Jesus foretold that Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies.  It was.  Jesus foretold that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to all nations.  It was.

The destruction of the temple, famines in Judea, the apostles persecuted and killed,  Jerusalem surrounded by armies, the gospel preached to the world;  all end time events, and they have all happened.  All the major points of end time events leading to the return of Christ all happened.  And Jesus said, when  the gospel is preached to all the world, the end would come, immediately after the tribulation of those days.  

Immediately doesn't mean thousands of years in the future.  So if the return of Christ did not happen when he said it would, then Jesus lied.  It's just that simple.


JOSEPHUS 37 B.C. - A.D. 70
(The Christian Library, Barbour)

The passage I'm about to quote is from page 222-223.

*****


THE FAMINE


The number perishing from famine continued to grow daily; war broke out over every piece of available food. The people's hunger was so great they were forced to chew anything they could find - belts, shoes, the leather from their shields, wisps of old hay.

A certain wealthy woman named Mary had fled to Jerusalem earlier during the war. Her father was Eleazar, from the village of Bathezub, which means 'the house of hyssop.' Everything she had brought with her from Perea had been stolen from her; now it was impossible for her to obtain even a scrap of food. In despair, Mary took up her infant son, who she felt had no future except that of a slave, and killed him. She then proceeded to roast him and eat half of his body, hiding away the rest. Smelling the meat cooking, some robbers came into her house to demand it from her. When she offered what was left to the robbers, they backed away in horror. She taunted them for being weaklings who couldn't bring themselves to do what a woman had done. Word of Mary's actions spread throughout Jerusalem, horrifying everyone in the city and making many wish they were already dead so they wouldn't know of these horrid deeds.

#####

That is just one such passage from this book.

Jesus told his disciples about Jerusalem surrounded by armies. It happened. It's written in history. He warned them to flee Judea.

And what happened in Jerusalem in those days, I dare say are incomparable in all history.

The signs of the end that the disciples asked Jesus for have been fulfilled. The armies surrounding the city. The destruction of the temple. How than can anyone say with any credibility that Jesus is still now waiting to return.

All the prophecies of Christ leading up to His return have been fulfilled. All you need to find that out is to read a little history.

Jesus said in Matthew 24.29-31,

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (NKJV, Biblegateway.com)

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, not thousands of years in the future. Obviously this is spiritually discerned since the sun still shines, the moon still reflects the sun's light, the stars are still in the sky. Immediately means just that, immediately, not thousands of years in the future.

All the events Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, and Luke 21 have been fulfilled. They happened. Armies surrounded the city. Great famine gripped Jerusalem during a time of great distress. And, finally, the temple was destroyed.


ALL THINGS FULFILLED IN CHRIST


The Bible tells us that not one part of the law would go away unless all things are fulfilled.  

Matthew 5.17-18 states,  "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished." - ASV, biblegateway.com

This is a key passage in the understanding of fulfillment. The passage says that Jesus did not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. And he gave conditions for this fulfillment. Heaven and earth must pass away, and all things must be accomplished.

These verses are contained in what we have come to know as the sermon on the mount. It is in a group of varied teachings. Overall, Jesus is teaching about life in the kingdom. Which brings up an interesting question. Why would Jesus be telling people about life in the kingdom if there was no chance for them to be in the kingdom? For them to be in the kingdom, the kingdom would have to be established.

What is meant by "all things" being "accomplished"? Well, what is the immediate context? Is it not the Law and the Prophets? It makes sense, doesn't it, that for the Law and the Prophets to pass away, they must be accomplished. Once accomplished, there would be no further need for them, so they would pass away.

The question for today is, is the Law still operational? Some people say that the Law is still operational except those parts of the Law that were fulfilled by Christ. And what were they? The sacrificial laws, because Christ became the supreme sacrifice, hence the sacrificial system is no longer needed. Then, doesn't it make sense that anything connected to that sacrificial system is no longer needed either?

What about the priesthood? With no sacrificial system, is the priesthood needed? Wasn't the purpose of the priesthood to administer the sacrificial system? Well, if Christ is the supreme sacrifice, then the priesthood is no longer needed.

Then, what about tithing? Wasn't the purpose for the tithe to support the priests? So, the supreme sacrifice of Christ, done away with the entire sacrificial system.

But, Jesus said that not one, not even the smallest part of the Law would pass away till all is accomplished, completed or fulfilled.

When Jesus was crucified, before he gave up the ghost, he said, "It is finished." The Greek word, "teleo," indicates an end or completion.

What came to an end at the cross? Was it not the Old Covenant sacrificial system? No more priesthood, no more tithing. That is a real big chunk of the Law that was finished.

Once again, keep in mind that Jesus said that not one, not even the smallest part of the Law would pass away till all is accomplished, completed or fulfilled.

Unless, all things have been accomplished, completed, fulfilled or came to an end, somewhere, the sacrificial system must still be operational. Perhaps by a remnant of Israel that have remained faithful to the sacrificial system, which also means there must be a temple, or at least a makeshift temple, and a makeshift priesthood.

The point is, if just a very small part of the Law is fulfilled, then all must be fulfilled. And Jehovah gave the completion of the sacrificial system an exclamation point when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

A huge chunk of the Law has come to an end, and yet, some would say, all things have not been fulfilled.

Notice in the text, Jesus said he came to fulfill the law and the prophets, and that not even the smallest part of the Law would pass away until all is fulfilled. And that is what I believe Jesus was saying when he said, "It is finished." The Law and the Prophets came to an end on the cross. The Old Covenant sacrificial system was fulfilled, and the New Covenant system was inaugurated by the blood of Christ.

What else do we need to show that all things have been fulfilled through Christ? The Old Law has passed away, and a New Law was in place by the blood of Christ. That is essentially the message of fulfillment. That all things have been fulfilled by the blood of Christ.

But that doesn't really prove the coming of Christ in the lifetime of the apostles, does it? Does it have to? When you consider all that has been accomplished by Christ. The end of the Old Covenant, and the beginning of the New.

The question now is, what is the New Covenant? And what is included in the New Covenant? We know that the Old Covenant is no longer operational, but the New Covenant is operational. But that would mean that the Law has passed away, does it not?

Just as the Old Covenant had a kingdom, so does the New Covenant. The kingdom of Christ, represented on earth by the church. Just as the Old Covenant had its Jerusalem, the New Covenant has its New Jerusalem. Just as the Old Covenant had its priesthood, the New Covenant has Christ as High Priest, and we as His royal priesthood. And, as His priests, we have our reasonable service.

So, the entire Old Covenant system is gone, and the entire New Covenant system operational. What more has to happen to prove that Christ fulfilled all prophecy?

It seems everyone that calls themselves "Christian" believes we are no longer under the Mosaic law, that through the cross of Christ, that law came to an end.   And they are right.  But, doesn't that mean that all things are fulfilled in the cross of Christ.  That's what I believe.  The cross of Christ put an end to the Old Covenant, and enacted the New Covenant.  

Hebrews  9.16-17 tells us where there is a testament it is necessary for men to die.  That idea hasn't changed for thousands of years.  Those of us of means would be wise to see a lawyer about documenting their "Last Will And Testament."   Well, Jesus had a Last Will and Testament, and when he died, his will and testament came into force.   And for forty years after the cross his will and testament was being established on earth.  In 70 AD, that process came to a culmination, thus all things have been fulfilled.  The law, the prophets, the wisdom, the knowledge and understanding of the Old Covenant all was complete by the cross of Christ.  

Hebrews tells of a transition from the Old to the New.  The end of the transition occurred in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed.  Thus, all things were fulfilled.  To suggest that the coming of Christ had not happened immediately following those days, and is yet future, is to suggest that all things have not been fulfilled and that we are still under the law.  Remember, Jesus said that not one part of the law, not even the smallest punctuation mark of the law would pass until all is fulfilled.  You can't have it both ways.  You can't say we are no longer under the law, while holding out for a future coming of Christ.  Jesus said that "ALL" had to be fulfilled for the law to pass away.

The position that all things have been fulfilled and the law passed away is consistent with Scripture.  The position that the law has passed away, while some prophecies have not been fulfilled is not consistent with Scripture.  I feel sorry for those who, for whatever reason, can't see that.

Christianity is completely and 100% fulfilled in Christ.


PRETERISM


Preterism is the name of the doctrine, theologically speaking, that teaches the complete fulfillment of Bible prophecy.


THE LANGUAGE OF PRETERISM


Once you understand the historic nature of Scripture, and the principle of audience relevance, there is one more principle, which is understanding the Bible within the constraints of the English language. Why do I say English language. It's because, where I come from, we speak English. And, as I have often heard. "Words mean things."

It is difficult to understand the Bible, or any book for that matter, if words don't mean anything, or if you can change the meaning of the words on a whim. For example, in Matthew 24, the pronoun "you," does not mean someone other than to whom Jesus was talking to. And in Matthew 24, it is plain, based on verse 3, Jesus was speaking to his disciples.

What did Jesus say to his disciples? He told them that they would hear of wars and rumors of wars, that they were not to be troubled. That they would be delivered up to tribulation, and that they would be killed, and that they will be hated by all nations for His name's sake. In verse 15, Jesus told them that they would see the abomination of desolation spoken by the prophet Daniel. And that people should flee Judea.

From what Jesus told his disciples we can determine when and where these events would occur. When, is in the lifetime of the disciples to whom he was speaking. The where is in Judea.

Next, Jesus said, "for then there will be great tribulation." The understanding of this phrase rests on the word "then." When we use the word "then" today, how do we understand it? After all, these English translations were made for our benefit. "I'm going to do the laundry, then I'm going to the grocery store." How would you understand this. Would you understand that I am going to the grocery store just after doing the laundry? Or would you think that I will go to the grocery store 2 years after I do the laundry? These words, the pronoun "you," and the word "then" mean the same today as when they were first translated. And that is true throughout the entire Bible.

Next we examine a few time statements. Never before learning preterism have I heard about time statements. There are two time statements in Revelation 1.1-3. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things that must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John; who bare witness of, the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand." - Revelation 1.1-3, ASV

Notice our first time statement, "must shortly come to pass." In an article I wrote previously I said this to illustrate what this statement means, "the time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the World Series must shortly come to pass." Would that mean it wouldn't happen for more than 1900 years from now? At the time I originally wrote that, the Pirates had just had their 20th consecutive losing season. So, I thought perhaps that was a bad example. However, I think I made my point. If someone were to say that, you would expect the Pirates to win the World Series in the next couple years, and you might even expect to see it in your lifetime. I am happy to say, the Pirates has one of the best records in baseball this year, and they are in the playoffs. If they win the World Series this year, you might think my statement was prophetic. So, the point is, the phrase "must shortly come to pass," means the same today as when it was first translated.

At the end of verse three, John wrote that the time was at hand. If I'd say my tea cup was at hand, would you think my tea cup was out in California, while I'm sitting in Pennsylvania? So, if in that instance, "at hand" means near or close in distance, why would it mean something different regarding time? The answer is, it doesn't. So, when John wrote the "time is at hand," he meant near or close, not in the distant future.

Words still mean things. So, if you read prophecy within the constraints of the English language, considering the historic nature of the prophecy that was written, and the relevance of the original audience, preterism becomes apparent.

Finally, there is the word "preterism" itself. It comes from a part of speech in the English language, which is "preterit tense," which describes a past action or state. - freedictionary.com

So, the prophetic language of the Bible describes past actions. And that is why this understanding of Bible prophecy is called "preterism."

TIME STATEMENTS


A big part of preterist teaching is based on time statements.  I have not written extensively on that topic, but what I have I will share with you.


AND THEN THE END SHALL COME


Matthew 24v14 states, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come."

Colossians 1v23 states, "if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister."
(Scriptures quoted from the ASV via biblegateway.com)

This is rather simple.  Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to all nations "and then shall the end come."   Paul stated that the gospel "was preached in all creation under heaven."    Yet, some still maintain that the end has not yet come.  So, what happened here?  Were either Jesus or Paul wrong?  And if either or both were wrong, how can we believe anything either of them said?  

Was Jesus really the Son of God?  Was Paul really an apostle?  These are questions that need to be answered if either or both were wrong.  

Of course, Jesus nor Paul were wrong.  Jesus said the gospel would preached "unto all nations," and Paul declared that the gospel was preached "in all creation under heaven."   The end, according to Jesus, would come when that was accomplished.  For us to still be waiting for the end, we would have to ignore the immediacy of what Jesus said.  

Let's consider the immediacy of the Lord's statement.   I suppose it hinges on the word, "then."    Let's consider some definitions of the word, "then."  
- at that time; at the time in question
- after that; next; afterward
(Definitions from the Oxford American Dictionaries Application on my computer)

Now let's insert some of these definitions in our statement.
- And at that time shall the end come.
- And at the time in question shall the end come.
- And after that shall the end come.
- And next shall the end come.
- And afterward shall the end come.

Now let's use our word into some applications to our lives today.
- I'll put my key into the ignition switch, and then I will start the car.
- The Phillies lost game one, and then they won game two.
- Hunter Pence played for the Astros, and then he was traded to the Phillies, and then the Phillies traded him to the Giants.
- Take note, Hunter Pence did play for the Astros, and his next team was the Phillies, and his next team was the Giants.

Now, how are we to understand what Jesus said?  These definitions would indicate that after the gospel is preached to all nations, next the end would come.   But, those who claim the end has not yet come, many believe there has been over 1900 years of prophecy  since Jesus and Paul made these statements.  How does that fit what Jesus said?  The answer, it doesn't.  Jesus prophesied the gospel would be preached to the world, and the next event to happen in prophecy would be the end.  So, how is it that we could have nearly 2000 years of prophecy since then?  

If the end did not come next, after the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven, then either Jesus or Paul was wrong.  And, I just don't believe that is so.   The only conclusion one can make is that after Paul made his statement is that the next event in prophecy was the end.  



AGE/WORLD WITHOUT END


"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end,  Amen."  Ephesians 3.21, KJV

In newer translations this verse reads, "to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. forever and ever.  Amen."  ESV  It is translated similarly in other newer translations, such as the RSV, the NASV, and the Amplified Bible.

This verse gives us a view to eternity.  It suggests that our current age is an age without end.  

There are many views of eternity, and many views of the future.  My view is based on the eternal nature of God.  We are taught that God never had a beginning and will never have an end.  That gives us the definition for eternity.  Is there such a thing as an eternal.  Not according to the definition we have to work with.  Anything with a beginning cannot be eternal.  The age we are in has a beginning.  It began at the cross.  That is when the new age, spoken of in prophecy, began.  The old ages, symbolized by the Old Testament came to an end at the cross.  The new age symbolized by the New Testament began at the cross, otherwise we'd be living in a vacuum in between two Covenants.  One Covenant that came to an end at the cross, and a New Covenant that hasn't begun yet, or at least not completely, which is the view of many.  That the cross was the beginning of the new age, but there are events that still need to happen to consummate the new age, whereas others believe, me included, that the new age has been consummated in 70AD by the destruction of the temple, and the spiritual return of Christ, ushering in a new heaven and a new earth, which is a spiritual heaven and earth.  Physical Israel has come to an end, and spiritual Israel has been established.  

Prior to the establishment of spiritual Israel, God dwelt in the temple.  Now, God dwells in the hearts of his people.  It is those people that are in the kingdom.

Further, the new covenant is an everlasting covenant.

I believe Scripture well establishes an age/world without end, and we are in it.


MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS


The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things that must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John; who bare witness of,  the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, even all things that he saw.  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein:  for the time is at hand.  - Revelation 1.1-3, ASV

Notice the words, "must shortly come to pass."  Keep in mind that the original writings of this were written more that 1943 years ago.  If we would use this phrase today what would it mean?  For example, "the time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the World Series "must shortly come to pass."  Would that mean it wouldn't happen for more than 1900 years from now?  Of course, the way the Pirates have been playing in the last 20 years, that might not be too far off.  Okay, bad example.  But, I think you get the point.  If someone were to say that, you would expect the Pirates to win the World Series in the next couple years, and you might even expect to see it in your lifetime.  

Well, why would this phrase mean one thing today, and something else when the Bible was originally written?  The answer: it doesn't.  Have the meanings of words changed that dramatically?  The fact is, the people of the time of the apostles did expect the return of Christ in their lifetime.  This is evidenced by 2 Peter 3 where Peter made a point to warn of mockers who would ask, "Where is the promise of his coming?"  (v.4)   Why would Peter give this warning?  It's because that is what the apostles taught, the soon return of Christ, but he didn't want these mockers to upset the faithful.  And then he comforted them by telling them that the Lord is not slack concerning his return, but wanted all to be saved.  

It is apparent that the apostles taught the soon return of Christ in their lifetime.  Otherwise, the mockers would have had nothing to base their derision on.

And then, at the end of verse three, John wrote that the time was at hand.  If I'd say my tea cup was at hand, would you think my tea cup was out in California, while I'm sitting in Pennsylvania?  Of course not.  You would think that my tea cup was near to me.  So, why does that phrase mean something different in the Bible.  The answer, it doesn't.  These words mean the exact same thing in out contemporary use of the words as they did when they were originally written.  You can check it out in the Greek.  It will not change anything.

There is no doubt, the apostles taught the return of Christ in their lifetime.  So what went wrong?  Nothing.  What's wrong is the futurist's interpretation.

John wrote that the events he wrote about "must shortly come to pass."  If they didn't, then John lied.  And so did God, whom gave it to Christ, who then gave it to John, via an angel.  

I can't for the life of me understand why people can't understand this.  For anyone that has a working knowledge of the English language, this should be plain.

CONCLUSION


This book of compiled articles include the premise; historical, linguistic and Biblical evidence, that I believe demand the conclusion that Bible prophecy is fulfilled.  These are not the only articles I have written, but these articles seem to fit together.  Perhaps I will do this again with other articles I have written.   But, the conclusion of these articles must be that all things are indeed fulfilled in Christ.  

_________________
study - Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. - 2 Timothy 2.15; ISV, isv.com
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