PRETERISM CHALLENGE-When did the Christ Begin to Rule?

PRETERISM CHALLENGE-When did the Christ Begin to Rule?

Postby Rotherham » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:59 am

WHEN WAS THE KINGDOM BY CHRIST ESTABLISHED IN HISTORY?

When was the Kingdom by Christ established in history? Is there any way to tell specifically? Can prophecy and history tell us the general time period for its establishment? Do the scriptures tell us what general time period we should or should not expect it to make its appearance?

The reason for this inquiry is directly related to the topic of Preterism which teaches that most, if not all of the prophecies about the "last days", including the book of Revelation, were fulfilled prior to the year 70 CE. They teach that the Messianic kingdom was established in either 33 CE at the resurrection of Christ to heaven or in 70 CE at the destruction of Jerusalem. Partial preterism generally claims there is still a future parousia to be recognized by Christ, one accompanied by the resurrection. Full preterists generally believe that Christ's presence/parousia, began in 70 CE at the fall of Jerusalem and that all of the prophecies concerning "end times" in relation to that parousia, have been fulfilled, including the resurrection of the holy ones to heaven.

However, if it can be demonstrated that the kingdom of Christ could not have been established during the heyday of the Roman Empire, the first century CE, but rather much later in history, then Preterism fails at the very start to be a valid interpretation of the timing of the establishment of the kingdom by Christ.

It is posited that the book of Daniel and what it has to say about the march of world powers down through history, will adequately demonstrate that the kingdom by Christ could not have been established in the first century, but much later in history. This not only adversely affects Preterism, it also adversely affects most of "orthodox" religion and their views on the commencement of God’s kingdom by His Son, Christ Jesus.

We first focus upon an unmistakable passage that clearly speaks of the establishment of the kingdom by Christ, that being Daniel 7:13,14

13 “I kept watching in the visions of the night, and look! with the clouds of the heavens, someone like a son of man+ was coming; and he gained access to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him up close before that One.14 And to him there were given rulership, honor, and a kingdom, that the peoples, nations, and language groups should all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom will not be destroyed.


Is there any way to tell when this event would take place in history, or when it would NOT take place? What do the surrounding words of this vision, and the words of related visions, tell us in connection with historical placement? Much can be determined by following through the events of the visions as related in Daniel the 7th chapter, where the above quoted passage is taken from, and portions of Daniel the 2cnd chapter and also the 8th chapter.

No one would attempt to claim that the kingdom by Christ could have been established prior to the Roman Empire, such as that ruled during the first century AD. (Also referred to as C.E.) From the prophetic standpoint and the words of the Bible, such a notion would be entirely indefensible. However, the real question of timing centers around whether or not this kingdom by Christ was established in the first century or some time later in history. It is believed that the information in the book of Daniel will firmly resolve that issue.

Let’s first look at portions of Daniel chapter 7 to see what we find in connection with Christ’s kingdom beginning it’s rule after the Roman world power had lost its enormous influence over the earth.

AS shown above, verses 13 and 14 of chapter 7, clearly describe the enthronement of the Son of God and his commencement as the king of God’s kingdom over the world of mankind. However, what can be determined when we consider what led up to the event in verses 13 and 14? Since the prophecy is sequential, identifying certain historical aspects in the preceding context should give us an idea as to when verses 13 and 14 took place.

Needless to say, for those who believe that the establishment of Christ’s kingdom occurred in the first century, the majority who land on 70 CE as the marking event of his enthronement, there is no question when this verse occurs in history. However, do the preceding events allow for such a view without conflict and/or contradiction?

It is not the intent of this particular work to fully establish the proofs of who the different beasts in chapter 7 and the sections of the dream image in chapter 2 refer to, as most scholars, including some from among full and partial preterists, are in strong agreement until the fourth beast of Daniel 7 is arrived at or until the feet and toes of iron mixed with clay in the dream image are encountered.

It is agreed widely by many scholars and commentators that the first beast mentioned in Daniel 7 is representative of Babylon, and naturally, they see parallels with the dream image in Daniel chapter 2, which specifically points out that the first represented kingdom, the head of gold, is indeed Babylon, with Nebuchadnezzar as the figurehead.

The next beast, historically and logically is seen to represent the dualistic world power of the Medes and the Persians which came into full sway after its defeat of Babylon in circa 539 BCE. And again, there is wide agreement with this understanding among the throngs of Biblical scholars who have closely considered these Biblical elements. Agreement is seen with the next succeeding kingdom mentioned in Daniel 2 as well, with the breast and arms of copper naturally following the head, the arms possibly representing the dual nature of that world power.

The third beast is seen to represent the Grecian world power which would have been best known by its king and famed conqueror, Alexander the Great. In Daniel seven, where it is said to have four heads, historically and logically refers to the fact that after the death of Alexander, the kingdom became divided four ways among his generals. This is also seen as the next mentioned kingdom in the dream image of chapter 2.

It is again in wide agreement among most scholars that the fourth beast represents the Roman World power, even some prominent preterist authors have acknowledging the necessity of this understanding.

(http://revelationrevolution.org/daniel- ... ommentary/)

However, with this acknowledgement comes much diversity of opinion about the horns of Daniel 7 and the feet and toes and the dream image on Daniel 2. However, great deliberation in this area is not necessary in order to place the timing of the commencement of Christ’s kingdom as we will see by what follows. There are but a few key facts that will establish the point beyond reasonable doubt.

Let’s take a close look at the events beginning with the fourth beast in Daniel 7, since greater detail is given here than in chapter 2 of the dream image concerning the last of the represented kingdoms before Christ begins his rule and see what we find historically and logically.

Here is what we read in detail about the fourth kingdom and its surrounding events:

7“After this I kept watching
in the visions of the night,
and I saw a fourth beast, fearsome
and terrifying and unusually
strong, and it had large
iron teeth. It was devouring and
crushing, and what was left it
trampled down with its feet. It
was different from all the other
beasts that were prior to it,
and it had ten horns. 8 While
I considered the horns, look! another
horn, a small one, came
up among them, and three of
the first horns were plucked up
from before it. And look! there
were eyes like human eyes in
this horn, and there was a mouth
speaking arrogantly.


The location of this small horn in history is a key factor in understanding the timing of the establishment of the kingdom by Christ for, as we shall see in what follows, the small horn is shown to be in existence and in operation clear up until the time that the “holy ones” take possession of the kingdom. In fact, it is at the destruction of the small horn that the holy ones then receive the kingdom. This timing is of utmost importance as we shall see. These “holy ones” are naturally brothers of Christ who will serve as kings with Christ for the thousand years.

It is also important to notice that the horn continues its rampage against the holy ones clear up until the time comes for them to take possession of the kingdom. Therefore, this horn’s existence must be contemporary with the time of their resurrection to heaven to begin their co-regency with Christ.

Let’s continue:

9“I kept watching until
thrones were set in place and the
Ancient of Days sat down. His
clothing was white like snow,
and the hair of his head was
like clean wool. His throne was
flames of fire; its wheels were
a burning fire. 10 A stream of
fire was flowing and going out
from before him. A thousand
thousands kept ministering to
him, and ten thousand times ten
thousand stood before him. The
Court took its seat, and books
were opened.

11“I kept watching at that
time because of the sound of the
arrogant words that the horn
was speaking; I watched until
the beast was killed and its body
was destroyed and it was given
over to be burned in the fire.


The horn, no doubt because of its prominent role in this vision, is depicted separately from the fourth beast, although having derived from it. We see that BEFORE the vision of Christ taking his throne, the fourth beast, the Roman World Empire, is destroyed and burned with fire. Therefore, it becomes historically and logically impossible then for Christ to have received his kingdom during the heyday of the Roman Empire. It would have to take place after the Roman Empire was gone in order to make any chronological or coherent sense out of the vision.


12But as for the rest of the
beasts, their rulerships were
taken away, and their lives were
prolonged for a time and a season.
13 “I kept watching in the visions
of the night, and look!
with the clouds of the heavens,
someone like a son of
man was coming; and he gained
access to the Ancient of Days,
and they brought him up close
before that One.14And to
him there were given rulership,
honor, and a kingdom, that the
peoples, nations, and language
groups should all serve him. His
rulership is an everlasting rulership
that will not pass away,
and his kingdom will not be destroyed.



Clearly, Christ has taken his throne at this juncture. Preterists and most of Christendom would have to see this event to occur during the heyday of the Roman Empire because their eschatology is dependent upon Christ taking his Messianic throne in the first century CE.

15“As for me, Daniel, my
spirit was distressed within me
because the visions of my head
frightened me. 16 I went near
to one of those who were standing
there to ask him about the
true meaning of this. So he replied
and made known to me the
interpretation of these things.
17 “‘These huge beasts, four
in number, are four kings who
will stand up from the earth.
18 But the holy ones of the Supreme
One will receive the kingdom,
and they will possess the
kingdom forever, yes, forever
and ever.’
19“Then I wanted to know
more about the fourth beast,
which was different from all
the others; it was extraordinarily
fearsome, with iron teeth and
copper claws, and it was devouring
and crushing, and trampling
down what was left with its feet;
20 and about the ten horns on
its head, and the other horn that
came up and before which three
fell, the horn that had eyes and
a mouth speaking arrogantly
and whose appearance was bigger
than that of the others.
21“I kept watching as that
horn made war on the holy ones,
and it was prevailing against
them, 22 until the Ancient of
Days came and judgment was
rendered in favor of the holy
ones of the Supreme One, and
the appointed time arrived for
the holy ones to take possession
of the kingdom.


Here we see affirmed that the small horn is in existence clear up until the time that the holy ones take possession of the kingdom, which logically could not happen until their resurrection first takes place. This destroys any notion that the small horn answers to some character in history, such as Antiochus Epiphanus, or any other character that would not be presently in existence in connection with the timing of the resurrection of the holy ones.

23 “This is what he said: ‘As
for the fourth beast, there is a
fourth kingdom that will come
to be on the earth. It will be
different from all the other kingdoms,
and it will devour all the
earth and will trample it down
and crush it. 24 As for the ten
horns, ten kings will rise up out
of that kingdom; and still another
one will rise up after them,
and he will be different from
the first ones, and he will humiliate
three kings. 25 He will
speak words against the Most
High, and he will continually harass
the holy ones of the Supreme
One. He will intend to
change times and law, and they
will be given into his hand for
a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the Court sat, and they
took away his rulership, in order
to annihilate him and to destroy
him completely.
27 “‘And the kingdom and the
rulership and the grandeur of
the kingdoms under all the heavens
were given to the people
who are the holy ones of the Supreme
One. Their kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom, and all rulerships
will serve and obey
them.’


Here we see that at the event of the destruction of the small horn, the holy ones then begin their rulership with Christ.

Although much discussion and debate can go into the exact identity of the small horn and who he was or he who currently is, the important factors are this:

1.The small horn would exist and harass the holy ones clear up until the time comes for them to join Christ in his heavenly kingdom. Naturally this would involve the resurrection of those holy ones who are dead at the time this event takes place.

2.This small horn, by its deriving from the fourth beast, is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire, along with the TEN kings mentioned before. The exact identity of these horns is not important for this venture, but the timing of their existence is. Establishing the timing of their existence will then aid the exegete in identifying who or what the small horn represents.

We must remember that the fourth beast, the Roman Empire was destroyed before Christ takes his throne. That is clearly established by the context of Daniel 7 above.This makes it impossible for the kingdom of Christ to have been established in the first century and even for many centuries further into the future. This is a death blow to the eschatology of both partial and full preterism, not to mention most of the churches of Christendom who MUST maintain the establishment of the kingdom to have happened in the first century for their eschatological interpretations of other prophecies to work.

Therefore, preterism, and similar explanations, cannot be viewed as valid eschatological schemas when compared to the vision depicted in Daniel the 7th chapter.
In the end of the matter, knowledge is based upon acknowledgement.
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