Greek Slam Dunk on Full Preterism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John of Japan, May 5, 2011.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    The belief of full preterism that Christ did not and will not come back to earth in a physical, literal 2nd coming is not only against the vast bulk of theology in Protestant history, it is against all other modern schools of prophecy: premil, postmil, amil. Thus, I do not want this thread to degenerate into an anti-dispy thread.

    There are three Greek words used to refer to a coming of Christ in the NT. One word that I want to discuss delivers a slam dunk to this full preterist error on the 2nd coming of Christ: epifaneia (epiphaneia). (I mentioned this on my other thread, but no preterist dealt with it.)

    This word appears six times in the NT, all in the writings of Paul. Here's the interesting part. It occurs three times in 2 Timothy alone! Here they are:

    The first time, 1:10, is referring to the first coming of Christ. The second two, 4:1 and 4:8, are both referring to the second coming of Christ! The very obvious conclusion is that in Paul's mind the second coming was just like the first coming: literal and physical.

    To cap it off, this is the word used in classical Greek to refer to physical manifestations of the Greek pantheon on earth. Here is the definition in the Anlex dictionary of Timothy and Barbara Friberg:
    Now I'd like full preterists to deal with this word, but judging from the other thread I started ("A Death Blow...") they will obfuscate, refuse to deal with it, and bring up other subjects hoping to sidetrack the thread.
     
  2. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Well, I promised my wife the computer, but let me get this in for now. I think you need to consider the issue of "root fallacy", John. D.A. Carson wrote well on this (Was it in "Exegetical Fallacies"?:

    "One of the most enduring of errors, the root fallacy pre-supposes that every word actually has a meaning bound up with its shape or its components. In this view, meaning is determined by etymology; that is, by the root or roots of a word".

    So much for now. Lets stick with the Bible.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    As a linguist, Greek teacher and Bible translator I'm well aware of the root fallacy. My point is not the root fallacy (the Carson quote for which I suspect you copied from my citing of it recently). My point is the actual usage in the NT in the writings of Paul, and the contemporaneous usage in 1st century koine.

    As I suspected, you won't deal with the passages. Care to try again?
     
  4. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Why, yes, you are the only one with the Greek books. I suppose my Wallace is just handy for slamming down on roaches.

    I will get back to this but, for now, I really do have to get off the computer and do husbandly things and let her on here. Of course you will suspect that too. But I don't care.
     
  5. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    You don't mind if this thread degenerates into an anti-Preterism thread. You just don't want me to trash dispensationalism like you do Preterism. OK, I'll humor that.
    The word you brought up is an interesting one, for sure (the Greek word, not "obfuscate"). But I think your conclusions are unwarranted. But before I get to that I need to also add that there are other occurrences that should also be dealt with, and that is the very closely related epiphaino, to appear, to show oneself. It is convenient for our discussion that two instances of this word are found in close proximity to one of your epiphaneas, although not a passage that you referred to:

    Titus 2:11-13
    11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,


    And Titus 3:4-5
    4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

    These three occurrences (two verbs and one noun) of the same root word can help us to understand Paul's intended usage. The first time it is grace that is appearing, the second is Christ's appearance, and the third is the "kindness and love of God". I suspect that at this point you know where I am going with this and you might say that they are different words (technically, you are right) and should not be considered together. But they are just as much alike as "discuss" and "discussion". Very closely related.

    Clearly the other two uses of the word show that epiphaneia can also have a non-physical aspect. God's grace and His love and kindness have appeared. They are definitely real, but they are spiritually apprehended. I say the same thing for the second coming of Christ.

    You say this is a slam-dunk. I think it is an air ball. You have not proven your case.
     
  6. thomas15

    thomas15
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,456
    Likes Received:
    0
    It would appear to me Tom, that using your line of reasoning, taken to it's logical conclusion would indicate that Jesus had already returned (as promised in John ch 14, Acts ch 1) before Paul wrote Titus.

    Regardless, you fail to address the questions in the OP, which of course is becoming your trademark.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    Thank you.

    You're right, I will say that they are different words. It's a mistake to make the verb and noun from the same etymology mean the same thing. I could say a lot more about that, but it's irrelevant.

    What you are discussing is not germane because you have not dealt with the passages in the OP and Paul's usage of epifaneia in them. Please look at the OP again and deal with it. (I believe I said I suspected you would not. Prove me wrong. :D )
     
  8. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,137
    Likes Received:
    320
    Along the same lines, I have asked for a full exegesis of the following passage:

    1 Thessalonians 4
    15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.​

    Don't know if this passage was ever explained by Tom (or any other full preterist) but I waited quite a while and it didn't happen. But I may not have spotted it. Forgive me Tom, if I missed it.​

    If so, please point me to the response Tom.​

    Thanks
    HankD​
     
  9. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    So, "discussing" and "discussion", likewise, would be totally different words. Well, if you are going to go to those incredible lengths to shore up your doctrine, I guess I will leave it. Anyone who is convinced by your "different words" response is welcome to your conclusions.
    I have dealt with Paul's usage of the terms - just not the particular passages that you roped off as exhibit A. You remind me of the kid who says "Pick a card. Any card....Not that card!"

    I left alone your naked assertion about Paul's conclusion on a physical coming of Christ. A real leap in logic that is not warranted by the texts that you strung together. But I guess we see what we need to see.
     
  10. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Hi Hank. I think I answered this elsewhere, but I will have to look for it. My time is limited today because we are getting ready to move. A lot of my books are in boxes and I am in the middle of a yard sale to boot.

    At any rate, before I tackle this - assuming I haven't already - I want to address another point raised by someone else about physical fulfillments of some OT prophecies necessarily requiring physical fulfillments of all prophecies. I disagree with this but cannot get into it now.
     
    #10 asterisktom, May 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2011
  11. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,137
    Likes Received:
    320
    No problem Tom, thanks.
    HankD
     
  12. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is simple. The reason the vast majority of folks reject preterism is because everybody knows Jesus did not return in his physical body in 70 A.D. and set up his millennial kingdom. If he had, it would be in every history book, it would be undeniable. The whole wide world would know it.

    So, they have to argue that Jesus came in some sort of spiritual, ghostly body.

    But nobody is buying it.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    Now that you have sort of answered the OP, I will answer this in more detail.
    The verb usages you have mentioned here are certainly not "spiritual" appearances of actual beings. They represent a figure of speech called personification. The writer is speaking of salvation (Titus 2:11) and kindness and love (Titus 3:4-5) as if they were actual people, literally appearing. The use of personification does not change the meaning of a word, it only uses the word symbolically. Of course any good dictionary can give you a definition of personification, but I'll save you the trouble:
    Paul using a figure of speech certainly did not mean Paul was changing the meaning of the verb to "appearing spiritually."
    Since the above usages are personification, and definitely not spiritual appearances of a living being, your point is off the mark and invalid. It certainly does not mean the noun epiphaneia can be interpreted as a spiritual appearance when all definitions and usages are a physical appearance.
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    Actually, we were discussing Greek words, not English ones. But I can work with this. Think of the words with the root "run." Add an "s" to the noun and you have a completely different meaning than the verb "runs."

    But think of a Greek word. By your reasoning, the word apostello, "to send," would always be cognate to apostolos, "an apostle." There are several Greek words translated "send" so this would be a logical assumption. However, the word is used of Herod's murdering soldiers in Matt. 2:16, John the Baptist in Matt. 11:10, and in many other cases where the one sent is not an apostle.

    I thank you for this. According to this you are passing on a true rebuttal to my OP, correct? So while you reject my conclusion as my "naked assertion," you are letting my facts stand. That really makes it easier for me.

    Here is a review of the facts given in the OP, the facts you have not contested:

    1. The word epifaneia (epiphaneia) occurs only six times in the whole NT, all in the writings of Paul. You did not contest this.

    2. I said that "this is the word used in classical Greek to refer to physical manifestations of the Greek pantheon on earth." You did not contest this.

    3. The definition given by a noted husband and wife team, the Fribergs, says that the word means "a visible manifestation of a divine being appearance; in the NT only of Christ." You did not contest this.

    4. Three of the times this word occurs in the NT, fully half, are in 2 Timothy. You did not contest this.

    5. One of the times the word occurs, in 2 Tim. 1:10, is clearly referring to the first coming of Christ, which was literal and physical. You did not contest this.

    Agreed so far?

    Now on to my conclusion, which you say is a "naked assertion." Actually, it is a valid conclusion based on accepted semantic methods in linguistics and Bible translation theory. The determination of a word's meaning must depend fully on its usage (a) in the immediate context, and (b) in the NT itself, and (c) in the general literature of the period.

    "The principle of contextual interpretation is, at least in theory, one of the few universally accepted hermeneutical guidelines" (Biblical Words and Their Meanings, by Moises Silva, p. 138).

    Since determining the meaning of a word by its context is "universally accepted" by Biblical linguists, I'm surprised that you reject my conclusion. Apparently you don't agree with this universally accepted principle!

    My conclusion was that since the word in 2 Tim. 2:10 means without question a literal, physical coming of Christ, then the other two meanings in the book, the immediate context, must mean the same. The only way this is not true is if there is something in the context of 2 Tim. that proves the other two usages mean a spiritual coming instead of a physical coming. Context, context, context!

    I'll be waiting for you to point out what in the context changes the clear meaning of epifaneia from one verse to another in 2 Tim.
     
  15. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Your labeling these occurrences as personification are not valid. (And yes, I know all about that, you could've spared yourself this little detour). I think what we have here is your being so tree-aware you cannot fully comprehend the forest.

    I stand by my earlier comments.
     
  16. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    Yes, and you can add an "s" to "needles" and come up with "needless". Which is what this answer is. This is another example of not seeing the forest for the trees. If you really, really think that the two words are different then I am not going to convince you otherwise.

    At any rate, I am pretty much done with this part of the discussion unless
    you come up with something substantive.
    This is not quite the same thing. There are word families that have branched off into somewhat different meanings. But even here you have to reach farther out to get your different wards. The ones I mentioned were all within about a chapter of Titus, reflecting Paul's conscious use IMO of a similar word on three occasions.

    Most of this I did not contest because they are either irrelevent or artificial or both. Or they are drawn from authorities within your own narrow corral of sources.
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    I would really like you to show me how epiphaneia changes meaning in Timothy. That's what the OP is about. Teach me!! Maybe I've failed as a linguist in this case. Maybe I'm missing something. How does the word change meanings?
    Please explain. How are the two word pairs different?

    What's a "ward" in this context? (Just kidding. I misspell too of course.)
    And I used exactly the same argument in Timothy, but you rejected it. Please explain how the context is important in Titus but not in Timothy.

    Fine. Give me a quote from a 20th century/21st century lexicon that agrees with you. It's very easy to reject someone else's sources without giving any of your own. You don't like my lexicon, even though Friberg is one of the most recent utilizing the most recent papyri evidence. That's okay! Work with me here. What lexicons do you have? Use them! If you are right, a lexicon somewhere will back you up.

    You don't like Moises Silva, an acknowledged expert in the field of Biblical semantics. That's okay. Give me an authority who agrees with you that context is not important when determining the meaning of words. Or suggest an authority who agrees with you.

    In the meantime, here is another well known expert: "Above all, to know what a word means we must consider its context. Meaning is then extracted from the passage in which the word is found" (Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek, David Alan Black, p. 122). Your turn. What scholar, what linguist says context does not determine meaning?

    You say I'm wrong about epiphaneia in Timothy. fine. Teach me! Show me where and how the word changes meaning within the one epistle from physical appearance (the first coming of Christ) to spiritual appearance (the second coming of Christ).
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,212
    Likes Received:
    192
    Why is it not personification? Please explain. Why am I wrong? It's not much of a debate when you just say, "Not valid."
     
  19. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    1 Thess.4 is certainly one of the passages that we need to go to understand the second coming. There are some interesting details here that many might have missed. Here is the passage:

    "13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

    14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

    15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

    16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

    17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

    18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
    "

    First of all we have the personal pronouns and immediate references:
    "We who are alive and remain". Clearly, the inspired apostle expected some of those he was writing to (possibly including himself) to be alive for this event. I have yet to read a believable response to this problem: The inspired apostle was either wrong or misleading - according to the futurist view.

    And this is only one of several indications in this passage of Paul writing to those 1st century Thessalonians.

    Another thing that is overlooked is the phrase "by the word of the Lord". This not just a mention of Paul's inspiration, but a reference to a specific instruction from the Lord. Now, is there a certain passage in the Bible we can turn to that has similar instruction as this?

    Yes, Matt. 24 and 25. Compare 1 Thess. 4 and 5 with Matt. 24 and 25. The following (in green) is from Joseph Canfield. I had started making my own list when I noticed his was much more complete. No need reinventing the wheel:

    I Thess. 4-5 & Matt. 24-25

    1. Christ Himself returns 4:16 24:30

    2. from heaven 4:16 24:30

    3. with a shout 4:16 24:30 (in power)

    4. Accompanied by angels 4:16 24:31

    5. With trumpet of God 4:16 24:31

    6. Believers gathered 4:17 24:31, 40-41

    7. In clouds 4:17 24:30

    8. Time Unknown 5:1-2 24:36

    9. Will come as a thief 5:2,4 24:43

    10. Unbelievers unaware of

    impending judgment 5:3 24:37-39

    11. Judgment comes as

    travail upon expectant

    mother 5:3 24:8 (RV)

    12. Believers not decided 5:4-5 24:4 ff.

    13. Believers to watch 5:6 24:42

    14. Warning against

    drunkenness 5:73 24:49


    This will be all for now. Much more could be said. For now let it suffice that the fact that Matt. 24 - 25 fits so neatly into those passages of 1 Thess. causes serious problem for, not only dispensational paradigms, but all futurist ones.
     
  20. asterisktom

    asterisktom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    21
    No, it is not a personification. What more can I say? I cannot convince you against what you have trained yourself to see.

    I think what Logos and I are saying is really on target. You are so enmeshed on the close-up view of the Greek, that you are overlook those things in Scripture that even a child - unless he were carefully taught otherwise - would understand. Note please: I am not calling you stupid, only that you have been greatly prejudiced toward a certain way of looking at the Bible. You have been raised on Dispensationalism and that is what you see. Everywhere.
     
    #20 asterisktom, May 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2011

Share This Page

Loading...