Another Bust to Hyper-preterism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Here's another post that I made a short while ago that the Hyper-preterists, especially Logos 1, don't seem to have engaged with:-



    For some little time I’ve been trying to get an answer to my question from Logos 1: How come the Gospel had been (according to you) preached in all the Roman world ('proclaimed to every creature under heaven') by around AD 60-61, yet the Apostles hadn't finished going through all the cities in Israel by AD 70?

    My question arises from Logos 1’s Hyper-preterist interpretation of three verses of the N.T.

    Matt 24:14. ‘And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’

    Col 1:23. ‘The Gospel which you heard, which was preached [or ‘proclaimed’] to every creature under heaven, of which I Paul, became a minister.’

    Matt 10:23. ‘For assuredly I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities [Greek, polis ] of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’

    Logos1’s argument is that all three of these verses were fulfilled by AD 70. Therefore Matt 24:14 must be adjusted to mean that the Gospel must be preached in all the Roman world. Now there are some places in the N.T. where ‘world’ is used to mean the Roman world (eg. Luke 2:1). However, in that verse, the Gospel is to be preached in all the world ‘as a witness to all the nations.’ How did preaching the Gospel in 1st Century Italy or Greece possibly witness to all the nations like China or India? It didn’t. However, we let that pass for the moment and move on.

    The next verse we come to is Col 1:23. Logos is not quite happy with the literal translation so he prefers the NLT paraphrase: “The good news has been preached all over the World.” Even this is a bit too literal for him; he needs to paraphrase still further. The good news, he says, has been preached all over the Roman world. No, even that is too much for him, It's been preached, he says, in 'The major cities of the Mediterranean area.'

    But of course, the text doesn’t say that or anything like it. It says that the Gospel has been proclaimed ‘To every creature under heaven.’ Paul could easily have written ‘all over the world’ if the Holy Spirit had wanted him to. Why didn’t he? Because that is not what he meant.

    Let us for a moment allow Logos his paraphrase. His problem is that we know that Colossians was written around 60-61 AD. Is it possible that the Gospel could have been preached all around the Roman world by that date? Absolutely not. We know from Romans 15:19-28 that the Gospel had not reached Spain by around AD 57. Paul had no opportunity to go there before his imprisonment and his writing of Colossians. Around AD 64, Titus is only just getting things organized in Crete (Titus 1:5). There is no mention anywhere in the NT of the Gospel reaching Gaul (France, Belgium, Holland and a bit of Germany up to the Rhine), Britain or Egypt, Carthage or anywhere in Africa before AD 70, let alone AD 61. Let Americans have a look at a map of Europe and North Africa and see how huge it is. It is simply not credible that the Gospel could even have reached every major city, let alone preached to ‘every creature’ by the time of the writing of Colossians. So what does Paul mean? patience! All will be revealed.

    Next we come to Matt 10:23. Here the very opposite situation applies. Look at a map of Israel. It’s tiny! It is only about 70 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Our Lord regularly walked the length and breadth of the country during the 3 years or so of His ministry. There is no way in the world that it would take 12 Apostles forty years to get around all the cities of Israel. Five years is the absolute maximum time, probably less. That is why I suggested earlier (with tongue in cheek) that perhaps our Lord secretly returned in AD 35, and it is why I asked my question of Logos: How come the Gospel had been (according to you) preached in all the Roman world ('proclaimed to every creature under heaven') by around AD 60-61, yet the Apostles hadn't finished going through all the cities in Israel by AD 70?

    This was his reply to me.
    This is how to be a Hyper-preterist. You take the exact opposite of what is said, and make that your argument. Did Paul say that the Gospel had been proclaimed ‘To every creature under heaven’? Well that must mean ‘The major cities of the Mediterranean.’ Did our Lord say, ‘The cities of Israel’? Well, He must have meant ‘every little town and backwater.’ Never mind what the text says; it must be mangled and wrenched out of context to produce an acceptable answer for Hyper-preterists.

    Actually, no! Paul didn’t mean ‘Every little town and backwater.’ The Greek word for ‘city’ is polis. Its precise meaning is a town or city that is walled. Only the larger cities had a wall around them. The word for a town or village without a wall is kome. In Matt 10:11, the Lord Jesus puts the two together and distinguishes them: ‘Now, whatever city [Gk. polis] or town [Gk. kome] you enter….’ The two words also appear together in Matt 9:35; Luke 8:1, and 13:22. So in Matt 10:23, our Lord is saying, “You will not have gone through even the larger, walled towns of Israel before I return.” If He had wanted to mention the villages and ‘backwaters’ He could easily have done so. I repeat; there is no way in the world that it would have taken the disciples forty years (AD 30-70) to ‘go through’ the larger cities of Israel. So am I really suggesting that Christ returned around AD 35? Of course not! There is a much easier and simpler explanation.


    Steve
     
  2. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Another Bust to H.P. Part 2

    Now we need to find the real meaning of Matt 10:23 and Col 1:23.

    Col 1:23. ‘The Gospel which you heard, which was preached [or ‘proclaimed’] to every creature under heaven, of which I Paul, became a minister.’

    Let’s look at something a little bit similar.

    Luke 2:1. ‘And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.’

    When was the decree proclaimed? When Augustus issued it. To whom was it proclaimed? To all the people under the rule of Augustus.

    When was the Gospel proclaimed? According to Mark, the first words of the Lord Jesus’ public ministry were: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). To whom was the Gospel proclaimed? To all those under the rule of Christ, or in other words, ‘To every creature under heaven.’ The Gospel was proclaimed by the Lord Jesus to every single person on earth- of every tribe, people group, nation and language (Rev 7:9). Not everybody heard it, of course, and that is why Paul was appointed a minister, and why Gospel ministers are still required today. But the Gospel was proclaimed to all men there and then, which is why Paul could tell the folk at Athens, ‘God…..now commands all men everywhere to repent’ (Acts 17:30). Not just the Athenians listening to him, but ‘Every creature under heaven.’

    Just in case anyone thinks this is some sort of novel interpretation of my own, here is Matthew Henry on Col 1:23:-
    Or Here is William Hendriksen on the same verse:-
    Now let’s look at the other verse in question.

    Matt 10:23. ‘For assuredly I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities [Greek polis] of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’

    We have seen that it is utterly incredible that the Apostles would spend forty years and still not have reached the major settlements (‘walled cities’) of Israel. So what does the verse mean? There are two possible alternatives. Either is good. I personally favour the second, but I can well imagine that my Dispensationalist friends would prefer the first.

    1. The Lord Jesus was saying that the assignment that He had given the Twelve was only a temporary one. The apostles would not get around the cities of Israel before the risen Christ would come to them with new instructions. From that time, they were to go, not just to Israel, but to the whole world (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8 etc.).

    2. If you look at all the usages of ‘Israel’ in the N.T., you will see that it is never (I think) used with reference to travelling to, from or around that country. ‘Judea,’ ‘Gallilee’ and ‘Samaria’ are used for that (eg. Mark 10:1; Luke 4:44). ‘Israel’ usually refers to either the O.T. or the N.T. people of God. In Matt 10:23, our Lord is telling them that they and the missionaries who would come after them would scarcely finish getting around all the cities where God’s elect people dwell before He would come in glory. This interpretation is in perfect harmony with Matt 24:14, and also with what we see today. The Gospel is going out all around the world, but there are still many major cities where there are almost no Christians. There is therefore still work to be done and we can in a sense, ‘hasten’ His Coming (2Peter 3:12) by reaching out to our neighbours and supporting missionary work throughout the world.

    Steve
     

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