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A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek Aion – Part Five
A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek
Part Five – “aion” [αἰών]
Strong – G165
From the same as G104; properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specifically (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future):—age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end). Compare G5550.
Thayer – G165
1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
2) the worlds, universe
3) period of time, age
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from the same as G104
Citing in TDNT: 1:197, 31
Total KJV Occurrences: 129
Mat 6:13, Mat 21:19, Mar 11:14, Luk 1:33, Luk 1:55, Joh 6:51, Joh 6:58, Joh 8:35 (2), Joh 12:34, Joh 14:16, Rom 1:25, Rom 9:5, Rom 11:36, Rom 16:27, 2Co 9:9, Gal 1:5 (2), Phi 4:20 (2), 1Ti 1:17 (2), 2Ti 4:18 (2), Heb 1:8 (2), Heb 5:6, Heb 6:20, Heb 7:17, Heb 7:21, Heb 7:24, Heb 13:8, Heb 13:21 (2), 1Pe 1:23, 1Pe 1:25, 1Pe 5:11 (4), 2Pe 3:17-18 (2), 1Jo 2:17, 2Jo 1:2, Jud 1:13, Jud 1:25, Rev 1:6 (2), Rev 4:9-10 (4), Rev 5:13-14 (4), Rev 7:12 (2), Rev 10:6 (2), Rev 11:15 (2), Rev 14:11 (2), Rev 15:7 (2), Rev 19:3 (2), Rev 20:10 (2), Rev 22:5 (2)
Mat 12:32, Mat 13:22, Mat 13:39-40 (2), Mat 13:49, Mat 24:3, Mat 28:20, Mar 4:19, Mar 10:30, Luk 1:70, Luk 16:8, Luk 18:30, Luk 20:34-35 (2), Joh 9:32, Act 3:21, Act 15:18, Rom 12:2, 1Co 1:20, 1Co 2:6-8 (4), 1Co 3:18, 1Co 8:13, 1Co 10:11, 2Co 4:4, Gal 1:4, Eph 1:21, Eph 3:9, Eph 3:21, Eph 6:12, 1Ti 6:17, 2Ti 4:10, Tit 2:12, Heb 6:5, Heb 9:26
Mar 3:29, Joh 4:14, Joh 6:35, Joh 8:51-52 (2), Joh 10:28, Joh 11:26, Joh 13:8
2Co 11:31, Heb 7:28, Rev 1:18
Eph 2:7, Col 1:26
Eph 3:21 (2)
Eph 3:11, 1Ti 1:17
Heb 11:2-3 (2)
Concordance to the Greek Scriptures – G165
Total Occurrences: 129
Mat_21:19, Mar_3:29, Mar_11:14, Luk_1:55, Joh_4:14, Joh_6:51, Joh_6:58, Joh_8:35 (2), Joh_8:51-52 (2), Joh_10:28, Joh_11:26, Joh_12:34, Joh_13:8, Joh_14:16, 1Co_8:13, 2Co_9:9, Eph_2:2, 2Ti_4:10, Heb_1:8, Heb_5:6, Heb_6:20, Heb_7:17, Heb_7:20-21 (2), Heb_7:24, Heb_7:28, 1Pe_1:23, 1Pe_1:25, 2Pe_2:17, 1Jn_2:17, 2Jn_1:2, Jud_1:13
Mat_6:13, Luk_1:33, Rom_1:25, Rom_9:5, Rom_11:36, Rom_16:27, 2Co_11:31, Gal_1:5, Php_4:20, 1Ti_1:17, 2Ti_4:18, Heb_1:2, Heb_11:3, Heb_13:8, Heb_13:21, 1Pe_4:11, 1Pe_5:11, Jud_1:25, Rev_1:6, Rev_1:18, Rev_4:9-10 (2), Rev_5:13-14 (2), Rev_7:12, Rev_10:6, Rev_11:15, Rev_14:11, Rev_15:7, Rev_19:3, Rev_20:10, Rev_22:5
Mat_12:32, Mar_10:30, Luk_18:30, Rom_12:2, 1Co_3:18, Eph_1:21, 1Ti_6:17, Tit_2:12
Mat_13:22, Mat_13:39-40 (2), Mat_13:49, Mat_24:3, Mat_28:20, Mar_4:19, Luk_1:70, Luk_16:8, Luk_20:34-35 (2), Joh_9:32, Act_3:21, Act_15:18, 1Co_1:20, 1Co_2:6 (2), 1Co_2:8, 2Co_4:4, Gal_1:4, Eph_3:21, Eph_6:12, Heb_1:8, Heb_6:5, 2Pe_3:18
1Co_2:7, 1Co_10:11, Gal_1:5, Eph_3:9, Eph_3:11, Eph_3:21, Php_4:20, Col_1:26, 1Ti_1:17 (2), 2Ti_4:18, Heb_9:26, Heb_13:21, 1Pe_4:11, 1Pe_5:11, Rev_1:6, Rev_1:18, Rev_4:9-10 (2), Rev_5:13-14 (2), Rev_7:12, Rev_10:6, Rev_11:15, Rev_14:11, Rev_15:7, Rev_19:3, Rev_20:10, Rev_22:5
NT GREEK Concordance
Mat_6:13 Mat_12:32 Mat_13:22 Mat_13:39-40 Mat_13:49 Mat_21:19 Mat_24:3 Mat_28:20 Mar_3:29 Mar_4:19 Mar_10:30 Mar_11:14 Luk_1:33 Luk_1:55 Luk_1:70 Luk_16:8 Luk_18:30 Luk_20:34-35 Joh_4:14 Joh_6:51 Joh_6:58 Joh_8:35 Joh_8:51-52 Joh_9:32 Joh_10:28 Joh_11:26 Joh_12:34 Joh_13:8 Joh_14:16 Act_3:21 Act_15:18 Rom_1:25 Rom_9:5 Rom_11:36 Rom_12:2 Rom_16:27 1Co_1:20 1Co_2:6-8 1Co_3:18 1Co_8:13 1Co_10:11 2Co_4:4 2Co_9:9 2Co_11:31 Gal_1:4-5 Eph_1:21 Eph_2:2 Eph_2:7 Eph_3:9 Eph_3:11 Eph_3:21 Eph_6:12 Php_4:20 Col_1:26 1Ti_1:17 1Ti_6:17 2Ti_4:10 2Ti_4:18 Tit_2:12 Heb_1:2 Heb_1:8 Heb_5:6 Heb_6:5 Heb_6:20 Heb_7:17 Heb_7:21 Heb_7:24 Heb_7:28 Heb_9:26 Heb_11:3 Heb_13:8 Heb_13:21 1Pe_1:23 1Pe_1:25 1Pe_4:11 1Pe_5:11 2Pe_2:17 2Pe_3:18 1Jn_2:17 2Jn_1:2 Jud_1:13 Jud_1:25 Rev_1:6 Rev_1:18 Rev_4:9-10 Rev_5:13-14 Rev_7:12 Rev_10:6 Rev_11:15 Rev_14:11 Rev_15:7 Rev_19:3 Rev_20:10 Rev_22:5
Original study by Donald Hochner, copied from http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/aion.html)
This is the last of five articles on the Greek words. We are going to study the Preterist’s view on the Greek word “aion” which means “age (dispensation, or indefinite time), era, or a period of time.” When you see the phase the “age” in the NT, ask yourself, which age? Or the end of which age? In Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the NT we read, “As the Jews distinguished the time before the Messiah, and the time after the advent of the Messiah” (p. 19). It describes human history as divided up into two ages. The NT writers considered themselves to have been living at a terminal point of these ages. This did not mean that history was to end in their generation but they were anticipating an age to come.
Some English Bible translations use the word “world” instead of “age.” We need to be careful to examine how the English word is used like “world” because there are three different Greek words with one English word that are “kosmos,” “oikoumene,” and “aion.” We ought to check the meaning of the Greek word to get a correct interpretation of the Bible. It is very significant to understand eschatology because in this area many Futurist views have stumbled.
A critical error for many Futurists is made when the Mosaic Age is considered as being consummated at the cross. They believe the Church Age will end at the parousia of Christ or the cataclysmic and final end of the world. But what age do we call the age after the Church age? Nothing. Many of the Futurist’s believe we are living in the last days. I don’t think so and I will show you.
In these passages in the NT, we have two ages in contrast: “This age” and the “age to come.” The expression “age to come” implies that “this age” must come to end. Will the “age to come” also have an end? If not, then the expression “last days” must apply to the closing period of “this age.” So, in the end of “this age” (the Old Covenant) is when God’s eschatological program will be completed or consummated. In other words, time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the Mosaic Age and the Messianic Age. The Mosaic Age is done away and we have been in the age of the Messianic administration of the new covenant since 70 AD. Hence, from 30-70 AD (40 years = a generation), the church was in the period of transition, changing from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. It is the period of the bondwoman (Hagar is Mt. Sinai) and the free woman (Sarah is the Jerusalem above). Read Gal. 4:21-31. The bondwoman (Israel) was cast out (70 AD) and we are children of the free woman (Church).
Before we go further, I think we can look into the rabbinical writings from the early second century. It is interesting that many Rabbis believed that the period of the Messiah was to be only a transition stage between this age and the Age to Come, and opinions differed on the time of its duration. ‘How long will the days of Messiah last?’ R. Akiba [c. 120-140 AD] said, Forty years, as long as the Israelites were in the wilderness. … R. Eliezer (b. Hyrcanus) [c. 80-120 AD] said, A thousand years. … Other versions read: ‘R. Eliezer [c. 80-120 AD] said, The days of the Messiah will be forty years. …[quoted from Everyman’s Talmud, by Abraham Cohen, pub. by E.P. Dutton & Co., 1949. Page 356]. They debate how long will this period would be. Many believe it would be a generation of about 40 years, like the wilderness wandering or the reigns of David and Solomon, even though others thought of it as a thousand years.
Also read in Luke 19:11-27 from the parable of Jesus Christ. Verse 11 says that some Jews supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. Jesus told them a parable of the nobleman. Notice in verse 12 that the nobleman is getting ready to leave to a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. We know from the rest of the story that the nobleman is Jesus, the slaves are the servants of God, and the citizens that hate Jesus are the Jews. The nobleman returns in their lifetime. The point is, before Jesus went up into heaven He told the disciples to do their duty before He came back. Jesus went up to a far place (heaven) to receive a kingdom for Himself (Dan. 7:13-14). We know what happened to His disciples and what the Jews did to them. Finally, Jesus returned and slew His enemies in 70 AD. He brought His kingdom of which the saints took possession (Dan. 7:22-27; Matt. 21:43-45). Also read in Luke 19:41-44. I Hope this will give you a better idea.
We will look into the eschatological passages of the Bible with the Greek word “aion.” I am using the NASB.
Matt. 12:32 – “And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or the age [about] to come.”
Why did the Lord say it shall not be forgiven, either this age OR the age about to come? Because these two ages will always have the sin of men.
Matt. 13:39, 40 – “And the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.”
Read Matt. 13:38-43. This is significant in light of Rev. 14. (C.f. Rev. 20) and the imminence of the harvest. Jesus said the harvest was to occur at the end of the age in His generation. This is CRITICAL because you will see the phase “end of the age” in the NT. Read Matt. 24:3 and 34 which is very helpful to understand the timeline in the eschatology study. This is a real dilemma for the Futurist’s views.
Matt. 13:49, 50 – “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Read Matt. 13:47-50. The same idea as previously mentioned (#2). Jesus spoke another parable about the kingdom of heaven. This is important in light of Matt. 25:31-46 (c.f. Mark 8:38 – 9:1) where Jesus was speaking of the first-century generation. Specifically, Jesus was speaking to His disciples of when He would come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels at the end of the age.
Matt. 24:3 – “And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age.”
Most Bible interpreters think that the disciples wanted to know about the end of the planet. However, the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (Gk: kosmos or oikoumene). So, they asked about the end of the aion (age). As Jesus’ disciples had just heard His prediction of “desolation” for the temple and city, they no doubt felt bewildered and wondered, “Lord, you cannot mean this temple!” Read Matt. 23:31-38. They must have been astonished when Jesus told them that the temple was going to be destroyed, with not one stone left upon another (Matt. 24:1-2). According to the eyewitness, Josephus, after the temple was destroyed, “Caesar [Titus] gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, …which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited” (Wars of the Jews; VII.I.1).
Compare two parallel passages in Mark 13:4, ‘Tell us (disciples), when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?’ and in Luke 21:7, ‘And they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are [about] to take place?” In Matt. 24, the Lord answered to the disciples’ questions that all of these events will be upon “this generation” (v. 34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:31). No argument and case closed.
I want to emphasize that anytime you see the term “the end,” it does not mean the end of the physical universe or the end of our earthly life. It means the end of the Mosaic Covenant. In this context of Matt. 24, you will notice “the end” three times in verses 6, 13, 14. The question is, when would “the end” be? Clearly Jesus answered that question with the phrase, “this generation” in verse 34. It means within 40 years, which would fall sometime between 30-70 AD. Check the other passages with the term “the end” in Matt. 10:22; 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20; Mark 13:7, 13; Luke 21:9; 1 Cor. 1:8; 10:11; 15:24; Heb. 3:6, 14; 6:11; 9:26; 1 Peter 4:7; Rev. 2:26. Hopefully this will make sense to you.
Matt. 28:20 – “Teaching them to observe all that I command you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Read Matt. 28:18-20. Jesus told His disciples He will always be with them even to the end of the (Old Covenant) age. Our Lord did not mean to teach or imply that after the age ended, He would no longer be with them. The end of that age was a goal in eschatology or the scheme of redemption. Jesus was assuring His disciples that He would be with them without fail and of course, continue after 70 AD.
Mark 10:30 (Luke 18:30) – “But that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Read Mark 10:28-31. This one may not be clear but I think Matt. 19:28 would be helpful. It says, “Truly I say to you that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” What a statement! Jesus was saying they will judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:28-30; Rev. 20:4-15) during the destruction of Jerusalem in 66-70 AD. That was the end of the Jewish age and we are in the age to come, the eternal life.
Luke 20:34-36 – “And Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, not are given in marriage; for neither can they die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
Jesus knew the Sadducees were testing Him. He was talking about the age to come in the first century when the resurrection would occur and the people would not marry or die anymore. They would be like angels. This is what Paul explains in 1 Cor. 15:35-50. At death the elect shed their physical bodies, and continue living in their spiritual immortal bodies with God in heaven forever. It is not raised a physical body and then changed. Those of us who are in Christ have passed out of death and judgment into life and resurrection in the presence of God. That is why the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. But the Pharisees believed in the physical, fleshly resurrection as many Futurists do.
1 Cor. 2:6-8 – “Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
Paul was saying that if the rulers of this age (those who crucified Christ) had understood, they would not have killed Jesus. But God already predestined from the ages past that that would occur. At that time of writing, THIS (Old Covenant) AGE IS PASSING AWAY!
1 Cor. 10:11 – “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
Read 1 Cor. 10:1-11. Paul admonished the Corinthians church to avoid the same mistakes as Israel did while they were in the wilderness with Moses. They were written for their instruction because the ENDS OF THE AGES HAVE COME in their generation.
2 Cor. 4:4 – “In whose case the god of this world [age] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
This seems to me that Satan had blinded many unbelievers in that age (before 70 AD). In Rom. 16:20 Paul says that shortly Satan would be crushed (Gen. 3:15). His power to oppose the consummation of redemption is over.
Eph. 1:21 – “Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one [age] to come.”
Notice how Paul’s anticipation can seen in his recognition of the supremacy of Jesus Christ – far above all things, every name that is named, not only in THIS AGE, BUT ALSO THE ONE (AGE) TO COME. Every name that is named in all generations, ages without end. Phil. 2:9-11 says, ‘Therefore also God highly exalted (past tense) Him, and bestowed (past tense) on Him, the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (emphasis mine – DWH).
Eph 2:7 – “In order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was saying after the consummation of all things (the scheme of redemption, not of the creation) Jesus Christ would show the surpassing riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness toward us. In other words, we can see in the Bible from the Fall of Man, God clothed Adam and Eve with the garments of skin, a type of Christ and He made a promise. We can see that the meaning of the sacrifice and the atonement was progressively given by OT revelation. Then, finally at the end of the age God delivered us from sin, death, Hades, and Satan through His Son. We can see the grace of God throughout history. The scheme of redemption is completed. So is the Bible.
Heb. 1:1-2 – “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world [ages].”
Since God spoke in the OT in many parts and in many ways, finally in the LAST DAYS He had spoken in the first century generation through His Son. Jesus was in the last days of the Old Covenant period. The New Covenant age is “the eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20) and an everlasting age has no “last days.” So, the Old Covenant age has become obsolete and it passed away in the 70 AD judgment and destruction of Jerusalem (Heb. 8:13). The “world” is not the correct term in the English translation and it might cause some confusion or misunderstanding. The word should be “ages.” God made two “ages,” the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
Heb. 6:5 – “And have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age [about] to come.”
Clearly, the writer knew that the age was about to come when Jesus returns.
Heb. 9:26 – “Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Read carefully because it is CRITICAL. Notice it says, “But now once at the consummation of the ages He has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Obviously Jesus was in the last days of the Old Covenant or Mosaic Age when He died on the cross.
Heb. 11:3 – “By faith we understand that the worlds [age] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
Again, the word “worlds” is not the correct term in Greek and it should be “ages” that were prepared by the Word of God.
In conclusion, we have studied five articles with the Greek words with some historical background, and let the Scripture interpret the Scripture. In my opinion, the Preterist view is the most simple and straightforward of all the eschatology views, if we let the Scripture speak for itself. Otherwise we will face out the hermeneutic gymnastics or dividing the Word of God that can confuse us.
The Preterist’s perspective only seems strange to many Christians today because they have not done any serious study or “homework” on their own. Most of the time they receive their instruction from “Christian” preachers, books, or television. Many people in the churches, and the pastors alike, would rather read the footnotes from the Bible (like Ryrie or Scofield or any “Study Bible”) than study the scriptures for themselves. Some of them are very ignorant in the history of the Church, the Greek words, or the sound biblical interpretation. That is a shame!
I urge you in the presence of God, study to show yourself approved to God by handling accurately the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). Examine everything carefully; hold fast what is good (1 Thes. 5:21). If you do that, be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15). If some of you are teachers or want to become a teacher, we shall incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1). We are accountable before our Lord. This is our duty.
The Bible is concerned with redemption history, not world history or the destruction of the creation world. I like the way Ed Stevens wrote, “Bible prophecy can be understood, but Futurist views have fallen far short for many reasons: their extreme physical/literalizing approach, their seeming inability to distinguish between figurative and literal language, and their failure to properly take into account the historical-grammatical-cultural context of the prophecies (specifically what they meant to their original audience). Even the most difficult prophetic passage comes alive when approached properly. It is time to look at some alternatives, and the Preterist view is a great place to start.”
I pray that these five articles I wrote will help you to understand the Scripture better and cause you to reexamine your eschatology view.
In the Beloved (Christ), we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, Amen (Eph. 1:7).
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A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek Stoicheion – Part Four
A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek
Part Four – “stoicheion” [στοιχεῖον]
Strong – G4747
Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4748; something orderly in arrangement, that is, (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively): – element, principle, rudiment.
Thayer – G4747
1) any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal
1a) the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds
1b) the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe
1c) the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside
1d) the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline
1d1) i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry
Part of Speech: noun neuter
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a presumed derivative of the base of G4748
Citing in TDNT: 7:670, 1087
Total KJV Occurrences: 7
Gal_4:3, Gal_4:9, 2Pe_3:10, 2Pe_3:12
Concordance to the Greek Scriptures – G4747
Total Occurrences: 7
Gal_4:3, Gal_4:9, Col_2:8, Heb_5:12, 2Pe_3:10, 2Pe_3:12
NT GREEK Concordance
Gal_4:3 Gal_4:9 Col_2:8 Col_2:20 Heb_5:12 2Pe_3:10 2Pe_3:12
Original study by Donald Hochner, copied from http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/stoicheia.html)
This is the fourth of five articles with Greek words. We are going to look into the Preterist’s view on “elements.” The Greek word for elements used here is “stoicheia,” and it appears in the NT only seven times. When you see the terms like “elements,” ask yourself what this means? In Young’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the literal meaning of the word is “element, rudiment, principle.” In other words, these are the elements of religious training, or the ceremonial precepts that are common to the worship of Jews and of Gentiles. We will look into it and you may find out.
Why I am talking about this is because the Futurists believe the elements of the physical heavens and earth were going to melt away or be burned up, especially in 2 Peter 3. Does this word “elements” refer to the scientific idea of the elements of matter, all the “atoms” of the universe? Or the periodic table of elements? I don’t think so! We will first look into seven passages with the word “elements” or in Greek “stoicheia.” I am using Young¹s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible.
Gal. 4:3, 9 – “So also we, when we were babes, under the elements of the world were in servitude…and now, having known God — and rather being known by God — how turn ye again unto the weak and poor elements to which anew ye desire to be in servitude?”
Notice Paul uses the word twice. This context is clearly his discussion of the relationship of the Jew to the old law of Moses, in verses 1-7; the Gentiles who had served idols in verse 8. The blessings, by the way, are contrasted, which are in Christ. So, the Jews were held in bondage to the old law of Moses or the tradition of men. Paul exhorted the Christian brethren not to return to the bondage to that Law. The Law was our tutor to bring us into Christ that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:23-24). No man could keep that Law perfectly. The Gentiles served worthless idols. Both had been in bondage to the stoicheia of the world. Therefore, the use of “elements” is not about the physical world.
Col. 2:8, 20-22 – “See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit, according to the deliverance of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ, …If, then, ye did die with the Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances? — thou mayest not touch, nor taste, nor handle — which are all for destruction with the using, after the commands and teachings of men.”
Again, Paul uses the word twice. In verse 8 he pleads with the Colossian church not to allow anyone to deceive them by way of worldly philosophy, or traditions of men according to the elements or rudiments of the world. In this context, there were two different dangers they confronted: Judaistic activities in verses 16-17, and possibly some cultic or pagan activities in verse 18. The point is, once again, this one is not about the material creation.
Heb. 5:12 – “For even owing to be teachers, because of the time, again ye have need that one teach you what [are] the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God, and ye have become having need of milk, and not of strong food.”
This writer laments to the Jewish Christians (Hebrews) the fact that they had not grown in Christ as they should. The writer says they need someone to teach them again with “milk, not solid food” in elementary principles of God’s oracles before becoming teachers and mature. Obviously, this “stoicheia” is not about atoms or the creation of the universe.
2 Peter 3:10-13 – “And it will come — the day of the Lord — as a thief in the night, in which the heavens with a rushing noise will pass away, and the elements with burning heat be dissolved, and earth and the works in it shall be burnt up. All these, then, being dissolved, what kind of persons doth it behoove you to be in holy behaviours and pious acts? waiting for and hasting to the presence of the day of God, by which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements with burning heat shall melt; and for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise we do wait, in which righteousness doth dwell”
Notice Peter uses the word twice. In both views he says the elements will be destroyed or burned up. So far, we (hopefully) agree that the fact “elements” does not, in its other previous passages, ever refer to the physical universe.
Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that this physical creation will be destroyed. In the beginning God created the universe and it was good. The sin of men only affected the human race. This is what we call “total depravity.” In fact, the Scripture speaks of the earth’s permanence (Ps. 104:5; Ecc. 1:4) and the church throughout all generations (Eph. 3:21). Read in Gen. 8:21, after the great flood God looked down the flow of time and into man’s heart and said “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth (total depravity), and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.” This one is not speaking only about the flood in Gen. 9:15. This is CRITICAL! God would never again curse the ground nor destroy every living creature. Could God reverse His promise? He cannot lie. We must keep in mind that the Bible itself is in harmony as the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures. God is not a God of confusion.
We will do some study in 2 Peter 3:10-13. In verse 10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” is the parallel to other passages in Matt. 24:42-44 (Jesus was speaking to His disciples in their generation), in 1 Thes. 5:2-10 (see in verse 3 about the destruction of Jerusalem), and in Rev. 3:3 (to the church in Sardis) which are referring to the first-century audience. This would fit all together in one theme.
In verse 12, notice “looking (Gk: prosdokao – fervent, expecting, anticipating) and hastening (Gk: speudo – speeding, eagerness) the coming (Gk: parousia – presence, coming, advent) of the day of God.” Peter uses this word “prosdokao” three times in verse 12, 13, and 14. And each verse says the brethren to whom he was writing were looking (expecting) and hastening the day of God in their lifetime, for the end of all (Jewish) things was AT HAND (1 Peter 4:7).
In verse 13, “But according to His promise (see Rom. 4:13, 16; Eph. 3:6; Heb 4:1; 9:15; 10:36-39; 12:25-29 and many more about the promise of God) we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
First we will look at what “heavens and earth” means. It means that when God made His covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, He planted the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. See in Deut. 32:1; Isa. 1:1-4; 24:1-5; 51:15, 16. So, it is clearly not a literal heavens and earth. It is the covenant of God. Did you know that the great reformer John Owen embraced the preterist interpretation in 2 Peter 3? (Works, 16 vols. in 9:134-38).
Peter tells us they expected the “new” heavens and earth. We ought to check out the word “new” that he used. There are two words translated as “new” in the NT. They are “neos” and “kainos.” Interesting, neos is new in time, never been before, or that which has recently come into existence. Other one is kainos which means new in quality, not time. So, Peter uses kainos in this verse. Now, if someone takes the position that the new heavens and earth is a literal way, it is inconsistent with the word of kainos. If God destroys this earth and creates another, that would be a new (neos) earth not a new (kainos). We have seen in the NT that it says we have a new (kainos) covenant (Heb. 8), a new (kainos) creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and the church is a new (kainos) Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2 c.f. Heb. 12:22).
Lastly, “the new heavens and a new earth” must have come into Peter’s mind from the book of Isaiah, chapters 65 and 66. Notice before God creates the new heavens and a new earth, He will pour out His wrath against Jerusalem, His rebellious people (Isa. 65:1-7, 11-17; 66:3-6, 15-18, 24). This involves the making of a new Israel or the Church (Isa. 65:8-10, 15; 66:7-14). When God created the new heavens and earth, notice that physical death will remain (Isa. 65:20, 66:24), spiritual home construction and agriculture will continue (Isa. 65:21-22 = 1 Cor. 3:6-8; 9:7-11), it will have descendants (Isa. 65:23, 66:22), the Lord will hear their prayers (Isa. 65:24), it will have evangelism (Isa. 66:19), it will have new priests (66:21), as well as weekly and monthly worship (in other word, everyday Isa. 66:23); and there will be an everlasting hell where the worm shall not die, and the fire shall not quenched to those who have transgressed against the Lord (Isa. 66:24). The new heavens and earth is referring to the eternal state while we live in the physical realm in earthly bodies; it must be referring to a period in human history. This is the period of the Kingdom of God which Christ rules in the hearts of the believers. The Kingdom of God is made without hands (spiritual – Dan. 2:34, 44-45; c.f. Col. 2:10-11). If we take the statements from the scriptures at face value, then we should conclude that the first heavens and the first earth passed away and was replaced by the glorious reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the kingdom without end.
The fact is that anytime Scripture uses the phase “last days” (and similar expression) it means, not the end of the world or physical universe, but the period from 30-70 AD. This was the period during which the Apostles were preaching and writing, the “last days” of Old Covenant Israel before it was forever destroyed in the destruction of the Temple (and consequently the annihilation of the Old Covenant sacrificial system). Read Acts 2:16-21; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; Heb. 1:1-2; 8:13; 9:26; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:20; 4:7; 2 Peter 3:3-4; 1 John 2:18; Jude 17-19; Rev. 1:1-3; 22:6-10, 12, 20. The Old Covenant Israel is done. All the prophecies are fulfilled. The Bible is completed. The scheme of redemption has been accomplished. The tree of life has been restored (Jesus Christ gave us everlasting life) which Adam lost.
I would recommend you to read in Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word, Section 40 Verses 1-8 because I do not have enough space. Athanasius, the early Christian writer from the fourth century, made a significant preterist statement.
In conclusion, what we have seen so far is that the Preterist’s view is consistent with the Scriptures. The Futurist’s views do not agree with the Scriptures for several reasons. The first reason is their views are based on their church traditions or creeds. The second reason is the lack of careful analysis of the original Greek words used in the Bible and their proper meaning. The Futurists also did not carefully compare different Scriptures to determine their actual meaning.
Hopefully this will help a lot and cause you to rethink your view of eschatology. Blessed are those
who abide His Word.
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A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek Parousia – Part Three
A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek
Part Three – “parousia” [παρουσία]
Strong – G3952
From the present participle of G3918; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked); (by implication) physical aspect: – coming, presence.
Thayer – G3952
2) the coming, arrival, advent
2a) the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from the present participle of G3918
Citing in TDNT: 5:858, 791
King James Concordance – Total KJV NT Occurrences: 24
Mat_24:3, Mat_24:27, Mat_24:37, Mat_24:39, 1Co_15:23, 1Co_16:17, 2Co_7:6-7 (2), Phi_1:26, 1Th_2:19, 1Th_3:13, 1Th_4:15, 1Th_5:23, 2Th_2:1, 2Th_2:8-9 (2), Jam_5:7-8 (2), 2Pe_1:16, 2Pe_3:4, 2Pe_3:12, 1Jo_2:28
Concordance to the Greek Scriptures – G3952
Total NT Occurrences: 24
Mat_24:27, Mat_24:37, Mat_24:39, 1Co_15:23, 1Co_16:17, 2Co_7:6-7 (2), 2Co_10:10, Php_2:12, 1Th_2:19, 1Th_3:13, 1Th_5:23, 2Th_2:9, Jam_5:8, 1Jn_2:28
1Th_4:15, 2Pe_1:16, 2Pe_3:12
NT GREEK Concordance
Mat_24:3 Mat_24:27 Mat_24:37 Mat_24:39 1Co_15:23 1Co_16:17 2Co_7:6-7 2Co_10:10 Php_1:26 Php_2:12 1Th_2:19 1Th_3:13 1Th_4:15 1Th_5:23 2Th_2:1 2Th_2:8-9 Jam_5:7-8 2Pe_1:16 2Pe_3:4 2Pe_3:12 1Jn_2:28
Red Scripture Text = Words of Christ
Original study by Donald Hochner in purple, copied from http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/parousia.html)
(with additional scripture references and comments in green by Kingdom Christian)
First, this study is based on the belief that the only way a Christian can understand God and the Church is through the Word of God – Sola Scriptura. Second, any tradition of men or teaching of men which can be shown to be contradictory with the Scripture must be rejected, no matter how long the tradition has existed and no matter how many people hold to that teaching. Third, no matter what the creeds say or teach, they are not the final authority. What saith the Scripture? This does not mean I have no value for the creeds. In fact they may be useful or helpful.
This is the third of five articles. We are going to study the Preterist’s view on “parousia,” the Greek word for “advent, coming, or presence.” Interesting, I checked in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and it says, ‘Advent (often, return; spec. of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked).’ I believe there is only ONE coming of Christ, which is already in the past. Thus, this destruction of Jerusalem was caused by the providence of God, but it happened through the use of pagan human armies, just as He had done it many times in the OT (the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, and others). This time, God used the Roman armies as His instrument. There are some historians (Josephus and Tacitus) who recorded when they saw some unusual signs. We will look into that a little later.
One passage says all the tribes of the earth shall see the Son of Man coming with the angels in the clouds and they will mourn over Him because God judged them for their sins (Rev. 1:7). “Earth” (Gk: ge) can be “land” or “region,” depending on the context. Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible translates it just this way. I do not believe the “earth” means the whole world in Rev. 1:7. This verse comes from Zech. 12:10-14, where the land in question is clearly Israel, the tribes are plainly Jewish, and those who would see the Messiah’s coming were “those who pierced Him” – the first century Jews. Read Rev. 1:1, 3; 6:15-17 (c.f. Luke 23:27-31); 11:8.
We will look into the eschatological passages with the word “coming” or “parousia” that is used in the original text. I am going to show you that the first century generation was expecting the parousia of Christ. I am using the NASB Authorized King James Version (KC).
Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming [parousia], and of the end of the world? (Compare parallel passages in Mark 13:4 and Luke 21:7. The disciples’ questions were related to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant age (Gk: aion) and to nothing else. It is not widely separated in time, as Jesus explained the events that would lead up to His coming in that generation (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32).) (You should further note that the translation of the greek aion at the end of this verse as “world” is completely inaccurate. This should properly be rendered “end of the AGE [aion]” not “end of the world.” The implications are vastly different.)
Mat 24:27,37,39 (v24) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be. (v37) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be. (v39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be. (Jesus repeatedly said, “So shall the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be.” The same theme is in this context. I want to point out that some Futurists believe the “double fulfillment” or “type/anti-type fulfillment” theory, a method of interpretation. In other words, the theory says that prophecy may be fulfilled in 70 AD as typical form but will be completely fulfilled, coinciding with the “final” coming of Christ in the future. This kind of approach is a questionable hermeneutic. They must prove that Jesus and the NT writers clearly distinguished between two different comings of Christ. How would the first century Christians living before 70 AD have been able to distinguish between two different comings? I have not seen anyone get around with this problem. They expected all this to occur in their lifetime. Either we have to say it is all future (and make Jesus a liar for saying any of it would occur in that generation), or make it all fulfilled at 70 AD (and preserve Jesus’ integrity).)
1 Cor 15:23-25 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming [parousia]. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (We must understand the Jewish festivals in the OT that are the types in Christ. Christ the first fruits, in other words, Christ and some of the saints rose from the dead or the “first resurrection” (Matt. 27:52, 53). After that, those who were at Christ’s coming, the harvest gathered. Then comes the end of the Mosaic age when His enemies (the Jewish nation: Luke 19:27; Rom. 11:28; Phil. 3:18) were put under His feet.
Notice in 1 Cor. 15:24 when it says Christ will deliver up the kingdom to the Father. Remember when the Jews rejected God from being their King and wanted Saul (1 Sam. 8:7). That was not God’s choice (though He permitted under the counsel of His will). God had someone picked out for Himself who would bring the kingdom back to Him (1 Sam. 16:1). That was David’s dynasty. A “branch” was born and finally brought the kingdom back to God after He put His enemies under His feet. This does not mean Christ quits reigning once He returns the kingdom to the Father. Christ co-reigns with the Father forever (Luke 1:31-33; Rev. 22:3). So, Jesus is our KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. We as Reformers believe in Lordship Salvation.)
1 Cor 16:17 I am glad of the coming [parousia] of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. (This is an example of a “parousia” that was not super-natural.)
2 Cor 7:6-7 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming [parousia] of Titus; And not by his coming [parousia] only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
2 Cor 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence [parousia] is weak, and his speech contemptible.
Php 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming [parousia] to you again.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence [parousia] only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
1 Th 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming [parousia]? (Read verses’ 14-16. These passages clearly refer to the Jewish people in their generation (Matt. 23:32-36).) (Interesting to note that parousia is rendered “coming” at the end of the verse, but the Greek word emprosthen is rendered “presence” in the same sentence. Emprosthen means “before,” “in front of,” or “in sight of.” Parousia means “coming, advent, presence, a being near.)
1 Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (Paul was writing to the church of the Thessalonians (1:1) in their time, not to us.)
1 Th 4:15-17 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming [parousia] of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: 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. (Notice Paul wrote, “By the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord” in both verses 15 & 17. They were expecting an imminent parousia of Christ in Paul’s lifetime. Otherwise Paul was mistaken and not an inspired writer. The Bible is inerrant, infallible, and sufficient. In verse 16, “With the trump of God” is parallel to Matt. 24:31, 1 Cor. 15:52 and Rev. 11:15. It is not difficult to figure it out. Also, notice “to meet the Lord in the air” in verse 17. The word “air” is another word for heavenly or spiritual realm. The adversary was always an opponent of the plan of redemption. He was (but no longer is) the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). In Rom. 16:20 Paul says that shortly Satan would be crushed. His power to oppose the consummation of redemption is over. Jesus now has taken over that sphere and has ruled in the air with the saints since the destruction of Jerusalem. It means a spiritual congregation in victory and not a physical one. “Thus we shall always be with the Lord.” However, James says that we still have our OWN sinful nature to deal with (James 1:13-16). We cannot blame Satan for causing us to sin. Therefore, it is the same theme in the parousia, trumpet, and the end. Otherwise the NT writers would confuse the believers in the first century if it was not the same theme.)
1 Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ. (We have seen the same theme throughout the epistle of Paul about the parousia of Christ. There is no “double-fulfillment” or multi-comings of Christ.)
2 Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (Again, Paul wrote the same theme regarding to the parousia of Christ. Notice he wrote, “Our gathering together unto him” is parallel to 1 Thes. 4:17 and Matt. 24:31, which happened in the first century generation (Matt. 24:34). It was accomplished when the faithful remnant of Jewish believers with the engrafted Gentiles were transformed (and transferred) into Christ’s new spiritual Israel when the old fleshly-based Israel was taken away in 70 AD. See Rom. 10:18 to 11:33, especially in verses 26-29. The “gathering together” is the heavenly places in Christ – the spiritual kingdom. This closes the case for the futurists’ views.)
2 Th 2:8-9 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming [parousia]: Even him, whose coming [parousia] is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (Read carefully in this context verses 2-12. In verse 2, some believers thought that the day of the Lord had come. Think about it, if they thought that the day of the Lord has come (which they assume would destroy the physical heavens and earth), why would not Paul have said that the literal heavens and earth were not destroyed? Of course they did not think of that way. So Paul explained the day of the Lord would not come unless the apostasy came first, and the man of sin was revealed in the temple of God.
This letter was written around 51 AD, before the great persecution of Nero (63 to 68 AD) which led many into apostasy. The Jewish revolt took the temple of God (66 to 70 AD). Also notice in verses 6 and 7, “And now ye (believers in Paul’s day) know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way”. The Jewish persecution was already underway when Paul wrote this epistle. The Holy Spirit was restraining its effect until the church reached a mature enough condition to persevere in due time. Therefore, it is a mistake to apply this to our own times.)
Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming [parousia] of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (James was the great leader of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Why did he write to his brethren to be patient until the coming of the Lord? Of course they were expecting the coming of the Lord in their generation. James also wrote of the apostate Jews in verses 1-6 of this chapter. The Lord Jesus Christ came in His spiritual kingdom, to judge His enemies and bless His people who waited patiently for Him.)
Jas 5:8-9 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming [parousia] of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. (Again, James wrote that the coming of the Lord was at hand. It was near to them, only a few years away. Read the next verse, “Behold, the Judge standeth at the door.” Clearly, it was in their generation, not some 2,000 years later.)
2 Pe 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (Peter tried to assure the believers there would be the coming of the Lord very soon and he was not making it up.)
2 Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming [parousia]? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (Peter wrote to the Jewish Christians to remember the words spoken by the holy prophets, the commandment of the Lord, and the apostles (vv. 1-2). He knew it was the last days of the Mosaic or Old Covenant age (Heb. 1:2) and many Jewish mockers were saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?”)
2 Pe 3:11-12 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming [parousia] of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (Peter and Christians in their generation were looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God. They were expecting the heavens and earth (the Old Covenant system: Old Jerusalem, the temple, the Jewish nation, the priesthood, the genealogy, etc.) to be destroyed with the conflagration from the Roman armies in 70 AD. Read the context in vv. 3-13. I will explain more about destruction of the Old Covenant system in the next article (Part Four).) (This is where our Westernized, Helenized mindsets prevent us from perceiving the true meanings of eastern Hebraisms, hyperbole, and apocalyptic terminology, such as “heaven and earth” and “the elements,” found all throughout Old Testament prophetic statements. Comprehending these things is absolutely VITAL to reaching a consistent understanding of prophecy and eschatology.)
1 Jn 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming [parousia]. (John was encouraging the believers to be faithful and have confidence when Jesus would appear at His coming. John knew it is the last hour, even many antichrists had come (v. 18). This is one of the clearest passages indicating that these events belonged to the time of writers and original hearers of the NT. If I were a first century Christian reading the books of Matthew, James, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, etc., before the great events of 66-70 AD, I would never get the impression that two or more parousia’s separated by different times were being discussed.)
Lastly, did anyone in the first century see some strange signs before end of their generation? Of course! The writings of two (maybe more) ancient, non-Christian historians seem to record such an incident. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem (66 AD), “A certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those who saw it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding the cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said, that in the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound of multitude, saying, ‘Let us remove hence” (Josephus’ Wars of the Jews VI.V.3, read the whole Book VI especially in chapter V).
The Roman historian Tacitus relates a very similar event of the destruction of Jerusalem, “Early in this year [70 AD] Titus Caesar, who had been selected by his father [Vespasian] to complete the subjugation of Judaea, …At last he encamped near Jerusalem. As I [Tacitus] am about to relate the last days of a famous city, …Prodigies had occurred, …There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine [temple] were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but in most there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire” (Tacitus, The Histories, Book V). You decide for yourself what you think about this.
The reason I am showing two historians is that when Jesus Christ went up into the clouds to heaven, the whole world did not see Him going up (Acts 1:9-11). Also when some men went with Saul (Paul) on the way to Damascus, they saw a bright light and heard the sound but did not see or understand when Jesus appeared (Acts 22:6-9). In the OT, Elisha and his servant saw the armies of angels surround them (2 King 6:15-17). This may be similar to what Josephus and Tacitus saw and heard.
In conclusion, there is nowhere in the NT that mentions two comings of Christ, one in the first century generation and other one in the future. Also there is nowhere that mentions the multi-parousias of Christ like the Dispensationalists claim (the parousia or “rapture” before 7 years tribulation, the parousia of Christ after the great tribulation and the parousia at the end of millennium). This does not make any sense. The Futurists are in a real dilemma, dividing the Word of God. The Preterists have no problem with the eschatological passages. All these passages above must be applied to the first century generation.
Hopefully this will help a lot and cause you to rethink your eschatological view. It is very important because it is God’s Word and we ought not to twist the Scripture.
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A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek Genea – Part Two
A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek
Part Two – “genea” [γενεά]
Strong – G1074
From (a presumed derivative of) G1085; a generation; by implication an age (the period or the persons): – age, generation, nation, time.
Thayer – G1074
1) fathered, birth, nativity
2) that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family
2a) the several ranks of natural descent, the successive members of a genealogy
2b) metaphorically a group of men very like each other in endowments, pursuits, character
2b1) especially in a bad sense, a perverse nation
3) the whole multitude of men living at the same time
4) an age (i.e. the time ordinarily occupied be each successive generation), a space of 30 – 33 years
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from (a presumed derivative of) G1085
Citing in TDNT: 1:662, 114
King James Concordance – Total KJV NT Occurrences: 42
Mat_11:16, Mat_12:39, Mat_12:41-42 (2), Mat_12:45, Mat_16:4, Mat_17:17, Mat_23:36, Mat_24:34, Mar_8:12 (2), Mar_8:38, Mar_9:19, Mar_13:30, Luk_1:50 (2), Luk_7:31, Luk_9:41, Luk_11:29-32 (4), Luk_11:50-51 (2), Luk_16:8, Luk_17:25, Luk_21:32, Act_2:40, Act_8:33, Act_13:36, Heb_3:10
Mat_1:17 (4), Luk_1:48, Col_1:26
Concordance to the Greek Scriptures – G3195
Total NT Occurrences: 42
Mat_12:39, Mat_12:45, Mat_16:4, Mat_17:17, Mat_24:34, Mar_8:12 (2), Mar_8:38, Mar_9:19, Mar_13:30, Luk_9:41, Luk_11:29-30 (2), Luk_21:32, Act_13:36, Heb_3:10
Mat_1:17 (4), Luk_1:48
Mat_11:16, Mat_23:36, Luk_16:8, Act_8:33
Mat_12:41-42 (2), Luk_1:50, Luk_7:31, Luk_11:31-32 (2), Luk_11:50-51 (2), Luk_17:25, Act_2:40, Eph_3:21, Php_2:15
Luk_1:50, Act_15:21, Col_1:26
NT GREEK Concordance
Mat_1:17 Mat_11:16 Mat_12:39 Mat_12:41-42 Mat_12:45 Mat_16:4 Mat_17:17 Mat_23:36 Mat_24:34 Mar_8:12 Mar_8:38 Mar_9:19 Mar_13:30 Luk_1:48 Luk_1:50 Luk_7:31 Luk_9:41 Luk_11:29-32 Luk_11:50-51 Luk_16:8 Luk_17:25 Luk_21:32 Act_2:40 Act_8:33 Act_13:36 Act_14:16 Act_15:21 Eph_3:5 Eph_3:21 Php_2:15 Col_1:26 Heb_3:10
Red Scripture Text = Words of Christ
Original study by Donald Hochner in purple, copied from http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/genea.html)
(with additional scripture references and comments in green by Kingdom Christian)
This is the second of five articles to examine the Greek words, since the full Preterist view is consistent with the Scripture, the Greek words in the NT, and the historical records. Most Futurists’ views have fallen short in their failure to properly take into account the historical-grammatical-cultural context of the prophecies (specifically what they meant to their first-century audience). One of many problems some futurists have is identifying the correct definition of the word, “generation.” They interpret the word, “generation” as it is used today or in the future. The Bible was written for us, but it was not written to us. We will look into the eschatological passages of the Bible with this word “generation.” The Bible I am using is the New American Standard Bible Authorized King James Version (KC).
When you see the phase “this generation,” ask yourself, the question, “which generation?” We can look up the word “generation” in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the NT, and we can see that the Greek word is “genea.” It says, “The whole multitude of men living at the same time.” Also we find in William F. Arndt and Wilber Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and Other Early Christian Literature: “basically, the sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time. Contemporaries.”
I have noticed that many Bible commentators dance around the meaning of the word “generation.” Some say that Jesus was speaking to a generation that was not going to exist until thousands of years in the future. Others claim that the whole Jewish “race” was in view. Those are NOT sound Biblical interpretations. The Greek word “genos” rather than “genea” is the best translated “race” as in Acts 7:19; 17:28; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:5; 1 Peter 2:9. Take a look at the following passages that contain the word “generation,” which is the period from 30-70 AD (40 years):
Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations [genea]; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Mat 11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation [genea]? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, (In previous verses Jesus was talking about John the Baptist, who was Elijah the prophet in Mal. 4:5,6 (see Luke 1:13-17 & Matt. 17:10-13) before the great and terrible day of the Lord in 66- 70 AD. I would recommend you to read some of articles in other links at the end of this article [see http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/genea.html ]. So, Jesus cannot compare “this” generation of the wicked with any other generation.)
Mat 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation [genea] seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Clearly, Jesus was speaking to the Jewish leaders, an evil and adulterous generation that was seeking for a sign. Let us look at the illustration of Jonah which Jesus said applied to Him:
- There was a great storm in which Jonah was caught and he was sleeping. The men on the boat were afraid. Then the sea was calmed supernaturally (Jonah 1:4-16).
- There was a great storm in which Jesus was caught and He was sleeping. The disciples on the boat were afraid. Then the sea was calmed supernaturally (Mark 4:37-39).
- Jonah was in the great fish for 3 days and 3 nights (Jonah 1:17).
- Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights (Matt. 12:40).
- God had supernaturally raised Jonah out of the great fish’s belly of Sheol (2:2, 10).
- God had supernaturally raised Jesus out of the tomb and Hades “vomited” Him (Acts 2:31).
- Jonah was a sign to Nineveh.
- Jesus was a sign to Jerusalem.
- Jonah preached to the Ninevites that God was going to destroy them in 40 days (Jonah 3:4).
- Jesus (and His apostles) preached to the Jews in Jerusalem that God was going to destroy them in that generation (40 years – Matt. 23:31-38).
- 40 days of preaching caused Nineveh to repent.
- 40 years of preaching did not get Jerusalem to repent!
- God called Nineveh the great city (Jonah 1:2; 3:2; 4:11).
- God called Jerusalem the great city (Rev. 11:8; 17:3, 5, 18).
Mat 12:41-42 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation [genea], and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation [genea], and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Jesus was saying that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South would rise up (from the dead) with this generation at the judgment. This is CRITICAL! Obviously, it has occurred in the first century, otherwise Jesus is a false prophet. Case closed and court adjourned.)
Mat 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation [genea]. (When Jesus says “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” He was talking about how the demoniac spirits will get worse in the generation to which He was speaking.)
Mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation [genea] seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (Jesus was repeatedly saying that the Jewish leaders were still seeking after a sign in an evil and adulterous generation.)
Mat 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation [genea], how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. (Jesus knew many were in the unbelieving and perverted generation He was addressing- a generation with much demoniac activity around them.)
Mat 23:34-36 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. [genea] (Jesus pronounced His “woes” on the Jewish leaders in this chapter (read all of Matt. 23). Jesus ended His indictment of Israel’s first century religious leaders with this shocking surprise: “Behold, your house (temple) is left unto you desolate!” (v. 38). The temple was burned and destroyed in 70 AD by the Roman armies.) (Mat 23:35 speaks of “all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias.” This blood, along with that of Jesus’ own prophets and apostles that would be shed starting with the stoning of Stephen until 70 AD, is the blood of the martyrs spoken of in Revelations 6:9-11 which is to be avenged at the “wrath of the Lamb” coming in judgment of the “city that killed the prophets,” which is Jerusalem.)
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation [genea] shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Clearly, Jesus answered His disciples’ questions stating the events in this chapter would come upon their generation. Read some of Jesus’ parables that apply to that generation to whom He was speaking (Matt. 21:33-46; 22:1-14 and Luke 19:11-27, 41-44). We should not miss the straightforward manner of which Jesus spoke concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Let me add something about Matt. 24 from Eusebius, the Christian historian from the late third century. He said, “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan called Pella. Here, those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles, finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers from the earth…these facts, as well as the whole tenor of the war, and each particular of its progress, when finally the abomination of desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, but which now was approaching its total downfall and final destruction by fire; all this, I say any one that wishes may see accurately stated in the history written by Josephus.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Ch. 5)) (Some scholars even go so far as to assert that the inspired apostles must have been mistaken and simply misunderstood or failed to comprehend what Jesus was saying about “this generation.” It is the epitome of arrogance and folly to insinuate that Holy Spirit-inspired apostles of Christ MUST have been “mistaken” in their understanding of their MASTER’S VERY OWN WORDS in order to attempt to validate and justify one’s own erroneous eschatological predilections 2000+ years after-the-fact. Such blatant, unadulterated psychopathy should not be tolerated as “biblical exegesis.”)
Mar 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation [genea].
Mar 8:38-9:1 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation [genea]; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. (This is one of clearest and most powerful messages by the mouth of Jesus. We cannot get around this one with the Futurist’s views because the Lord was talking to His disciples, and not some absent and future third parties. Bingo! Case closed!) (It is difficult to imagine a more direct, unequivocal, unvarnished statement from Christ that his Parousia would occur in the first century timeframe. All suppositions and theories to the contrary fail here at the words of our Lord himself who puts all doubt out of reach of designing men who would have you believe that a future “coming of the Lord” is still somehow miraculously due to occur. To believe that, one would have to hallucinate that John the apostle himself is somehow still alive on Patmos, yet awaiting his redemption to “draw nigh.”)
Mar 9:19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation [genea], how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. (See Mat 17:17 comments above.)
Mar 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation [genea] shall not pass, till all these things be done. (See Mat 24:34 comments above.)
Luk 1:48, 50 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations [genea] shall call me blessed. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation [genea] to generation [genea].
Luk 7:31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation [genea]? and to what are they like?
Luk 9:41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation [genea], how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.
Luk 11:29-32 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation [genea]: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation [genea]. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation [genea], and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation [genea], and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (The same as in Matt. 12:41, 42. Jesus repeatedly said “this generation” seven times in this chapter. How does the Futurist deal with this???) (My answer to “how does the Futurist deal with this???” is that he deals with it by trying to wrest the clear message of the scripture in ways that fit his pre-existing, hand-me-down futurist paradigm. Why? It is because modern Christendom is HEAVILY invested in a futurist eschatological perspective. Enormous credibility stands to be LOST if the general futurist eschatological narrative which has been handed down through two millenniums of church history is suddenly acknowledged to be patently FALSE. This is a potentially cataclysmic issue which I believe needs to be considered from many perspectives. But I am convinced that, even if it causes upheaval within the Church, then it will ultimately be for the best because TRUTH MUST PREVAIL! The Church cannot possibly continue to build upon a foundation of sinking sand and THAT is what the futurist eschatology represents. It is an outright repudiation of Christ’s credibility as a Prophet to hold that he did not return exactly, in both time and manner, as he predicted would happen…in HIS generation. It’s time to face the truth and begin proclaiming what is RIGHT about the Kingdom of God to the world. It’s time we started doing what we were redeemed to do…and that is glorify God and his Messiah!! It’s time we actually begin to DISCERN THE KINGDOM in the fullness of TRUTH, rather than through the “rose colored glasses” of two millenniums of hand-me-down ERROR. Once again, Let GOD be true, but every man a LIAR!)
Luk 11:50-51 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation [genea]; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. [genea] (Jesus was saying from the beginning (from Abel) to that generation (by 70 AD), all of these people shall rise up in the judgment. Read the context in verses 46 to 54 and the other passages from this article. Also see Mat 23:36.) (This passage is speaking about the vengeance of the martyrs which is a motif that is spoken of in Revelation 6:9-11 with the opening of the Fifth Seal where the martyrs are told rest yet for a little season until their brethren and fellowservants should be killed as they were. The avenging of their deaths (and Christ’s!) was a major real and spiritual event that is associated irrefutably with the Parousia.)
Luk 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation [genea] wiser than the children of light.
Luk 17:25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. [genea] (Read in this context, verses 22-37. All these things Jesus said would be upon His generation but first He must suffer many things and be rejected by the Jewish people.)
Luk 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation [genea] shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (As we have already read, Jesus said this in Matt. 24:34 (and Mark 13:30) but notice in Luke 21:22 says “For these be the days of VENGEANCE, THAT ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN MAY BE FULFILLED.” This is a very important passage because it teaches that all things written in Scripture were fulfilled by 70 AD. Also notice in verse 23, “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” Of which land and people was Jesus speaking this context? It was the land of Israel and the Jewish people of HIS GENERATION. (KC))
Act 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation [genea]. (Read Acts 2:16-21 in Peter’s sermon. He told the Jewish people they were living in the last days (Heb. 1:2) before the great and glorious day of the Lord in their generation. Read Moses’ warning for the Jewish people in the future generations in Deut. 28-32.)
Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? [genea] for his life is taken from the earth.
Act 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation [genea] by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
Act 14:16 Who in times [genea: GENERATIONS] past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. (Although there is the element of time involved in the etymology of genea, it is only within the strict context of a specific group of people having been born within the same general timeframe, usually recognized roughly to be a span of from 30 to 40 years. “Generation” would be a more accurate, rendering of genea here.)
Act 15:21 For Moses of old time [ex genea archaios: FROM GENERATIONS OF OLD] hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (I can see no valid reason to eliminate the word “generations” here in favor of “old time.” To do so, completely destroys the context of “people born in relation to time.” It is completely insufficient to convey what was actually written. Truly, the phrase “something was lost in the translation” applies here.)
Eph 3:5 Which in other ages [genea: GENERATIONS] was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; (The rendering here of genea as “ages” is baffling to me. If Paul had truly meant “ages” he simply would have used the Greek aion which relates directly to time without regard to people. But he specifically chose the term genea which relates uniquely to a combination of “people born in relation to time.” This translation is just erroneous. See notes on Col 1:26 below!)
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages [genea: GENERATIONS], world without end. Amen. (Again, Paul is speaking in the context of “people born in relation to time” which is “generations” not “ages.” Same problem as Eph 3:5 above. See notes for Col 1:26 below! The translators for the KJV completely TRASHED the ending of this verse. There are also two instances of the Greek word “aion” from our fifth study which are rendered arbitrarily as “world without end.” Here is the same verse from Young’s Literal: Eph 3:21 [YLT] “to Him is the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.)
Php 2:14-16 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation [genea: GENERATION], among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Clearly, Paul knew he was in the midst of perverse generation because the day of Christ is at hand.) (This is another example of the complete mistranslation of genea as if it were genos or ethnos.)
Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages [aion: AGES] and from generations [genea: GENERATIONS], but now is made manifest to his saints: (This verse illustrates PERFECTLY what I spoke about in regards to Eph 3:5, 21! Here Paul specifically uses BOTH aion and genea in the very same verse because he wants to emphasize (and understands) the differences between both terms….one relates to time only and the other relates to people IN time.)
Heb 3:7-11 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation [genea], and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (The writer warned the Jewish Christians not to fall back into Judaism as the Israelites did in the wilderness for 40 years with Moses. He further shows that many did not enter the typical rest (promised land) because of unbelief or apostasy, thereby exhorting the believers to remain faithful lest they fall after the same example of unbelief. That generation was a “wilderness” period for the church (30 to 70 AD). Now we have entered His rest and inherited the kingdom of God, New Jerusalem since 70 AD. Read and study carefully in chapters 3 and 4 of this book. [Hebrews])
Lastly, here is a quotation from the Jewish historian, Josephus, which he wrote about the Jewish War in his generation. When the Jews revolted against Rome, he wrote, “It is, therefore, impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men’s iniquity. I shall, therefore, speak my mind here at once briefly, that neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world” (Josephus’ War V:X:5 c.f. V:XIII:6; Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1) (emphasis mine DWH). What Josephus saw after the destruction of Jerusalem, he wrote, “…and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul], upon Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasion of this its overthrow” (Josephus’ Wars VII.IX.5).
Now, I challenge you to determine which of these verses refers to a time of our future. Did you know that the liberal responds about this in the following way: “We know Jesus didn’t return in the first century. Therefore, the NT writers were mistaken in their predictions of an imminent return; and since inspired men cannot write mistaken things, they must not have been inspired!” When God communicates time to man, He reasons with His people in a way that man can understand Him. So, if the futurists really want to get to the heart of the issue, they had better deal with the immanency statements. In other words, to say that “this generation, at hand, quickly, or near” meant two thousands years is to put the integrity of the NT at risk.
Since I am Reformed in my soteriology (doctrine of salvation), I have gladly adopted the full or consistent Preterist position of eschatology. I have realized that it is the only Biblical system that truly cries “sola scriptura!” It allows the Scripture to interpret itself and upholds the law of hermeneutics – the grammatical-historical hermeneutic.
This study of “genea” has revealed additional insights as to how the KJV translators arbitrarily chose words which are inaccurate and which do not convey the true meaning of the original writers in many instances, especially so in passages with eschatological import. This was true on a much larger degree with “mello,” but is also seen consistently with “genea.” Translation issues aside, the real problems with “genea” stem from its misapplication by futurist scholars who refuse to acknowledge that Christ was definitively referring ONLY to HIS particular generation of people actually living when he walked the earth. They insist that the word “generation” simply CANNOT be limited with regard to a SPECIFIC PEOPLE born at a SPECIFIC TIME and, like the translators, arbitrarily choose to endow the word “generation” with the magical properties of open-ended, multi-millenial elasticity! And they MUST do this in order to pervert the true meaning of words to maintain their futurist eschatological heritage. This is both dishonest and ridiculous. It makes Jesus Christ out to be a false prophet and completely annihilates the established meaning of words. Futurist Dr. Michael Brown repeatedly used the phrase “If words have ANY meaning…” (while ignoring it himself repeatedly) in his debate with Full Preterist Dr. Don Preston in early June of 2014 to defend his position that the Parousia could not possibly have already happened. I use the very same phrase “If words have ANY meaning…” to demand that we stop WRESTING the scriptures and CEASE burdening them with our own private interpretations! Let the scriptures interpret themselves! Again, as it is written, may GOD be true, but every man a LIAR!
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A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek Mello – Part One
A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek
Part One – “mello” [μέλλω]
Strong – G3195
A strengthened form of G3199 (through the idea of expectation); to intend, that is, be about to be, do, or suffer something (of persons or things, especially events; in the sense of purpose, duty, necessity, probability, possibility, or hesitation): – about, after that, be (almost), (that which is, things, + which was for) to come, intend, was to (be), mean, mind, be at the point, (be) ready, + return, shall (begin), (which, that) should (after, afterwards, hereafter) tarry, which was for, will, would, be yet.
Thayer – G3195
1) to be about
1a) to be on the point of doing or suffering something
1b) to intend, have in mind, think to
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: a strengthened form of G3199 (through the idea of expectation)
King James Concordance – Total KJV Occurrences: 82
Mar_10:32, Luk_9:31, Luk_19:11, Luk_22:23, Luk_24:21, Joh_6:71, Joh_7:39, Joh_11:51, Joh_12:4, Joh_12:33, Joh_18:32, Act_11:28, Act_19:27, Act_20:38, Act_22:29, Act_23:27, Act_26:22-23 (2), Act_28:6, Gal_3:23, 1Th_3:4, 1Ti_1:16, Heb_11:8, 2Pe_2:6, Rev_6:11
Mat_3:7, Mat_12:32, Luk_3:7, Act_24:25, Rom_5:14, Rom_8:38, 1Co_3:22, Eph_1:21, Col_2:17, 1Ti_4:8, 1Ti_6:19, Heb_6:5 (2), Heb_9:11, Heb_10:1, Heb_11:20, Heb_13:14
Luk_10:1, Joh_6:6, Joh_6:15, Act_12:6, Act_16:27, Act_23:15, Act_23:20, Act_25:4, Act_27:30
Mat_2:13, Joh_7:35 (2), Act_17:31, Act_27:10, Rev_3:16
Act_3:3, Act_18:14, Act_20:3, Heb_8:5, Rev_10:4
Luk_7:2, Act_20:7, Rev_3:2, Rev_12:4
Luk_13:9, Heb_11:8, 2Pe_2:6
Concordance to the Greek Scriptures – G3195
Total Occurrences: 124
Luk_9:31, Luk_10:1, Joh_6:6, Joh_11:51, Act_12:6, Act_16:27, Act_27:33
Joh_7:39, Act_21:27, Rev_10:4
Luk_7:2, Luk_19:4, Joh_4:47, Joh_6:71, Joh_12:33, Joh_18:32, Heb_11:8
Mat_2:13, Mat_16:27, Mat_17:12, Mat_17:22, Luk_9:44, Luk_19:11, Joh_7:35 (2), Act_17:31, Act_23:3, Act_26:23, Rom_4:24, Rev_1:19, Rev_2:10, Rev_3:2, Rev_12:5, Rev_17:8
Act_11:28, Act_19:27, Act_23:30, Act_24:15, Act_25:4, Act_27:10, Act_28:6
Joh_14:22, Act_22:16, Act_22:26, Rev_2:10
Mar_13:4, Luk_21:7, Rev_10:7
Mar_10:32, Luk_21:36, Act_13:34, Act_23:27, Rom_8:38, 1Co_3:22
Act_3:3, Act_23:15, Heb_1:14
Act_20:13, Act_22:29, Act_23:20, Act_27:2, Jam_2:12, Rev_6:11
Mat_12:32, Act_20:3, Eph_1:21
Act_18:14, Act_24:25, Rom_5:14, 2Ti_4:1, Heb_6:5, Heb_10:27
Act_26:22, Act_27:30, Col_2:17, 1Ti_1:16, Heb_9:11, Heb_10:1, Heb_11:20, 2Pe_2:6, Rev_8:13
Rom_8:18, Gal_3:23, Heb_2:5, Heb_13:14
Mat_3:7, Luk_3:7, 1Ti_4:8, 1Pe_5:1, Rev_3:10, Rev_12:4
Gen_25:22, Gen_43:25, Exo_4:12, Job_3:8, Job_19:25, Job_26:2, Psa_65:1, Pro_15:18, Isa_15:7, Isa_28:24, Isa_47:13, Isa_48:6, Isa_59:5, Jer_29:10, Mat_20:22, Rev_3:16
Mat_11:14, Luk_22:23, Luk_24:21, Joh_12:4, Act_20:7, Act_20:13, Act_21:37, Act_26:2, Heb_8:5
NT GREEK Concordance
Mat_2:13 Mat_3:7 Mat_11:14 Mat_12:32 Mat_16:27 Mat_17:12 Mat_17:22 Mat_20:22 Mat_24:6 Mar_10:32 Mar_13:4 Luk_3:7 Luk_7:2 Luk_9:31 Luk_9:44 Luk_10:1 Luk_13:9 Luk_19:4 Luk_19:11 Luk_21:7 Luk_21:36 Luk_22:23 Luk_24:21 Joh_4:47 Joh_6:6 Joh_6:15 Joh_6:71 Joh_7:35 Joh_7:39 Joh_11:51 Joh_12:4 Joh_12:33 Joh_14:22 Joh_18:32 Act_3:3 Act_5:35 Act_11:28 Act_12:6 Act_13:34 Act_16:27 Act_17:31 Act_18:14 Act_19:27 Act_20:3 Act_20:7 Act_20:13 Act_20:38 Act_21:27 Act_21:37 Act_22:16 Act_22:26 Act_22:29 Act_23:3 Act_23:15 Act_23:20 Act_23:27 Act_23:30 Act_24:15 Act_24:25 Act_25:4 Act_26:2 Act_26:22-23 Act_27:2 Act_27:10 Act_27:30 Act_27:33 Act_28:6 Rom_4:24 Rom_5:14 Rom_8:13 Rom_8:18 Rom_8:38 1Co_3:22 Gal_3:23 Eph_1:21 Col_2:17 1Th_3:4 1Ti_1:16 1Ti_4:8 1Ti_6:19 2Ti_4:1 Heb_1:14 Heb_2:5 Heb_6:5 Heb_8:5 Heb_9:11 Heb_10:1 Heb_10:27 Heb_11:8 Heb_11:20 Heb_13:14 Jam_2:12 1Pe_5:1 2Pe_2:6 Rev_1:19 Rev_2:10 Rev_3:2 Rev_3:10 Rev_3:16 Rev_6:11 Rev_8:13 Rev_10:4 Rev_10:7 Rev_12:4 Rev 12:5 Rev_17:8
Orange Verse Headers = Eschatological or Time/imminency statements involving “mello”
Blue Verse Headers = General Instances of “mello”
Red Scripture Text = Words of Christ
Original study text in purple by Donald Hochner, copied from http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/mello.html)
(with additional scripture references and comments in green by Kingdom Christian)
This is the first of five articles examining the Greek words as used in the Bible. I want to share with you why the full Preterist position is consistent with the Scripture, especially these passages that speak of things about to come. We are going to look into the lexicons with the Greek word “mello” (with its root words) which means “to be about to be, to be the point of doing” (Analytical Greek Lexicon, p. 262; Arndt, p. 500; Thayer, p. 396). I think this word “mello” is one of the most neglected English translations (NASB, KJV, NIV, etc.) of the eschatological passages in the NT. I was shocked to find out about this. The English translators may be guilty of removing or distorting God’s Holy Word (Deut. 4:2). I believe it is because of the futurists’ views that have affected or influenced translations of the Bible. This is pure eisegesis.
I would recommend you to check some books in Greek and English with the interlinear translation, “The New Englishman’s Concordance and Lexicon” and “Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible.” These books may be very helpful for you. You will see why.
Mat 2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod
will [mello: IS ABOUT TO] seek the young child to destroy him.
Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath [mello: ABOUT] to come? (In this context, John the Baptist was preaching to the Jewish people. He warned the Jewish religious leaders about God’s wrath to come shortly and it happened in 66-70 AD (3 1/2 years). The Old Covenant temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Roman armies. Many Jewish people had been completely scattered or killed and all these things were fulfilled in 70 AD. See Daniel 12:7-13 and Luke 21:5-36.)
Mat 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was
for [mello: ABOUT] to come.
Mat 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world [mello: ABOUT] to come. (Why did Jesus say it shall not be forgiven, either in this age OR the age about to come? He is speaking of sins committed in the time before the destruction of the Jewish temple before 70 AD (“this age”) and afterward (“the age to come”). We will study the Greek word “age” which is “aion” in Part Five.)
Mat 16:27-28 For the Son of man
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (These passages are the most clear and straightforward from the mouth of Jesus Christ, otherwise He is a false prophet. This is why I believe Jesus returned in the glory of His Father with the angels to take the Kingdom away from God’s enemies and give it back to His Father who now is all in all.)
Mat 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise
shall also the Son of man [mello: is ABOUT to] suffer of them.
Mat 17:22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] be betrayed into the hands of men:
Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I
shall [mello: am ABOUT to] drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
Mat 24:6 And ye
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Jesus was speaking to His disciples in their GENERATION. (Matt. 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.) (See Part Two study of “genea.”)
Mar 10:32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things
should [mello: WERE ABOUT TO] happen unto him,
Mar 13:4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] be fulfilled?
Luk 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath [mello: ABOUT] to come?
Luk 7:2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready [mello: ABOUT] to die. (Proper translation, non-eschatological passage.)
Luk 9:31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he
should [mello: was ABOUT to] accomplish at Jerusalem.
Luk 9:44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] be delivered into the hands of men.
Luk 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself
would [mello: was ABOUT to] come.
Luk 13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt [mello: not TARRY/HESITATE to] cut it down.
Luk 19:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was [mello: ABOUT] to pass that way.
Luk 19:11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God
should [mello: was ABOUT to] immediately [parachrema: INSTANTLY] appear.
Luk 21:7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] come to pass?
Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (The removal of “about to” here is complete eisegesis. The presence of “ye” several places in this chapter indicates Christ was speaking directly to his disciples, not to us or future third parties.)
Luk 22:23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that
should [mello: was ABOUT to] do this thing.
Luk 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which
should [mello: was ABOUT to] have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Joh 4:47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. [mello apothnesko] (Properly translated version of mello and apothnesko together, non-eschatological passage.)
Joh 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he
would [mello: was ABOUT to] do.
Joh 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they
would [mello: were ABOUT to] come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
Joh 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that
should [mello: was ABOUT to] betray him, being one of the twelve.
Joh 7:35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither
will he [mello: is he ABOUT to] go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
Joh 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him
should [mello: were ABOUT to] receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Joh 11:51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus
should [mello: was ABOUT to] die for that nation;
Joh 12:4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which
should [mello: was ABOUT to] betray him,
Joh 12:33 This he said, signifying what death he
should [mello: was ABOUT to] die.
Joh 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou
wilt [mello: are ABOUT to] manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Joh 18:32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he
should [mello: was ABOUT to] die.
Act 3:3 Who seeing Peter and John about [mello: ABOUT] to go into the temple asked an alms. (A perfectly rendered instance of mello! Another non-eschatological verse.)
Act 5:35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye
intend [mello: are ABOUT] to do as touching these men. (Intend is acceptable here, but does not precisely convey the sense of intense urgency and imminence clearly evident in the context of this passage. They were preparing to slay these disciples.)
Act 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there
should [mello: was ABOUT to] be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Act 12:6 And when Herod
would have brought [mello: was ABOUT to bring] him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
Act 13:34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to [maketi mello: no longer have in mind to, no more intend to] return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
Act 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and
would [mello: was ABOUT to] have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he
will [mello: is ABOUT to] judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Paul made it very clear that God was ABOUT to judge the world in his generation. This is a strong case for the Preterist view of Scripture.)
Act 18:14 And when Paul was now about to [mello: ABOUT to] open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: (Another rare, but perfect rendering of mello here. Again, a non-eschatological passage.)
Act 19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence
should [mello kai: is ABOUT to] be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. (What is interesting here is that the english phrase “should be” is rendered twice in this verse, yet only the second instance contains the Greek “mello.” These generic, “time-neutral” words such as “shall” and “should” are useless in conveying the true sense of urgency when the context clearly demands that urgency and imminence are both evident. It is odd that in other passages, such as Acts 18:14 above, the translators have no problem rendering “mello” as “about to.”)
Act 20:3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to [mello: ABOUT to] sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. (Perfect rendering of mello here. Non-eschatological passage.)
Act 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to [mello: ABOUT to] depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Perfectly acceptable rendering in proper context. Non-eschatological passage.)
Act 20:13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending [mello: ABOUT, INTENDING] to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. (Proper rendering of mello here as “intending.” “About to” would work also. Non-eschatological passage.)
Act 20:38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they
should [mello: were ABOUT to] see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.
Act 21:27 And when the seven days were almost [mello: ABOUT to be] ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, (Acceptable rendering of mello here as “almost.” Still conveys imminency. Non-eschatological passage.)
Act 21:37 And as Paul was
to [mello: ABOUT to] be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?
Act 22:16 And now why tarriest [mello: HESITATE, TARRY, DELAY] thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (“Tarriest” is a proper contextual rendering of mello here. The concept of “about to” rightly indicates and agrees with “tarry,” “hesitation,” or “delay,” but not multi-millenial, indefinite suspension!)
Act 22:26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou
doest [mello poieo: are ABOUT to do]: for this man is a Roman.
Act 22:29 Then straightway they departed from him which
should [mello: were ABOUT to] have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
Act 23:3 Then said Paul unto him, God
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
Act 23:15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye
would [mello: were ABOUT to] enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
Act 23:20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they
would [mello: were ABOUT to] enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
Act 23:27 This man was taken of the Jews, and
should [mello: was ABOUT to] have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.
Act 23:30 And when it was told me
how that the Jews laid wait for the man [epiboule eis ho aner mello esomai hupo ho Ioudiaous: “of a plot against the man about to be carried out by the Jews”], I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.
Act 24:14-15 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Again, Paul made it very clear. He was expecting everything that [was] written to be fulfilled very soon in his lifetime including the resurrection. Throughout the NT, we have seen the proclamation of the fulfillment of Israel’s promises for the gospel going “to the Jews first, then the Greek”; the on-going Post-Pentecost transition from the Old Covenant to the New which is a pervasive and emphatic testimony for first century imminence of the time of the end.)
Act 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment [mello: ABOUT] to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Young’s Literal Translation renders it “and the judgment that is about to be.” Felix didn’t tremble and send Paul away because of a judgment that was “to come” at some unknown, far distant undetermined time…he was afraid because Paul clearly and distinctly proclaimed it WAS ABOUT TO COME!)
Act 25:4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself
would [mello: was ABOUT to] depart shortly thither.
Act 26:2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I
shall [mello: am ABOUT to] answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
Act 26:22-23 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say
should [mello: are ABOUT to] come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should [mello: is ABOUT to] shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. (The things which were prophesied by Moses and the prophets were not related by THEM with a sense of imminency. However, for Paul, they WERE now imminent, as the appointed time for their fulfillment had drawn near. The use of “should” here is probably acceptable, as is “would” because, from the perspectives of the Old Testament prophets, these things were NOT imminent with regard to THEIR TIME. On the other hand, this is a MAJOR PROPHETIC STATEMENT by Paul that CLEARLY indicates he believed “those [things] which the prophets and Moses did say” are ABOUT TO COME! Clearly, Christ had already shown light with his message of the kingdom and by his miraculous life and resurrection, but it was now about to come in perfect fullness and radiance with the judgment, vengeance of the martyrs, resurrection, and kingdom establishment all happening at the same time…the Parousia in A.D. 70 where “all things that are written may be fulfilled.”)
Act 27:2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched,
meaning [mello: being ABOUT] to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. (“Meaning” or “intending” is acceptable for mello here. But Young’s Literal translates it as “being about to.”)
Act 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage
will [mello: is ABOUT to] be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. (The translation of “will” for mello here is just too vague.)
Act 27:30 And as the shipmen were about to flee [zeteo pheugo: were seeking to flee] out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they
would [mello: were ABOUT to] have cast anchors out of the foreship, (Curiously, the KJV translators render “zeteo pheugo” in the first portion of the passage as “were about to flee,” and then in the latter portion, they completely ignore “about to” and render “mello” vaguely as “would.” Why the inconsistency?)
Act 27:33 And while the day was
coming on [mello: ABOUT to begin], Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. (Nothing wrong with “coming on” here, just showing another example where “about to” works equally well.)
Act 28:6 Howbeit they looked when he
should [mello: was ABOUT to] have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. (Young’s Literal translates this as “when they were expecting him to about to be inflamed.”)
Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that
was [mello: is ABOUT] to come. (Young’s translates this portion of the passage as “who is a type of him who is coming.”)
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (It is interesting to note that the KJV translators used “shall” in two places in this verse. Only the first instance involves mello. The second instance could rightly be translated “ye live” since mello is not present here in the text.)
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] be revealed in us. (It is important to read the whole context of this passage in Rom 8:18-25.)
Rom 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things [mello: ABOUT] to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Notice things present (Mosaic Age) and things about to come (Messianic Age) are associated with death, life, angels, etc. which shall not able to separate us from the love of God.)
1Cor 3:21-23 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things [mello: ABOUT] to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (This is the very same message given in Rom 8:38-39 speaking of the Old and New Covenant “things present, or things ABOUT to come.”)
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith
which should afterwards [mello: ABOUT to] be revealed.
Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is [mello: ABOUT] to come: (It is very important to understand the meaning of “this age” (Old Covenant) and “the age about to come” (New Covenant) because it is the Jewish interpretation of eschatology. You will see this in Part Five.)
Col 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things [mello: ABOUT] to come; but the body is of Christ. (These passages are the most important to understand the Old Covenant (Jewish festivals, ceremonial, promises, etc.) which was about to be completed in Christ. Some futurists believe all these things were completed at the cross, but it was not at the time of Paul’s writing. So, obviously we don’t practice these things for today because they were done away with in 70 AD.)
1Th 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we
should [mello: were ABOUT to] suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
1Ti 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which
should hereafter [mello: are ABOUT to] believe on him to life everlasting.
1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is [mello: ABOUT] to come.
1Ti 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time [mello: ABOUT] to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (This verse would close the case against the Futurist’s views. At Christ’s return the wicked were judged and cast into eternal torment, the same place where all other wicked go at death. The righteous inherited resurrection life back in the presence of God for the first time since Adam, the representative of the human race, lost it in the Garden. Resurrection life is Paradise restored (Rev. 2:7). Jesus (the tree of life) gave us the eternal life.)
Heb 1:13-14 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] be heirs of salvation? (Christ crushed the head of all enemies even Death, and sat down at the right hand of His Father to reign eternally, whose kingdom shall have no end. Notice all the saints since the Fall are ABOUT to inherit salvation (redemption) in heaven.) (Dr. Michael Brown, Messianic Jewish Scholar, in his debate with Dr. Don Preston in June 2014, argued a futurist position, stating that, since death was still present on the earth, Christ must not have come. In doing so, Dr. Brown DIRECTLY belittles and denies the efficacy of the work of Christ in crushing the enemy of death, both at the cross and at his coming in AD70. This is the standard futurist modus operandi…to constantly demand literal fulfillments of spiritual truths.)
Heb 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world [mello: ABOUT] to come, whereof we speak. (The Hebrew writer was discussing the Mosaic age that was “put into effect through angels” (Acts 7:53 “Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”). The new covenant world would be in subjection to Jesus, not angels. Note that the writer wrote to the first century audience “concerning which we are speaking.” They did not see everything subject in Jesus THEN because the 70 AD judgment had not yet occurred.)
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world [mello: ABOUT] to come, (Also, the Greek “aion” here is mistranslated as “world.” But it really should consistently be translated “age.”)
Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to [mello: ABOUT to] make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (It is interesting to see mello properly translated as “about to” in passages where there is no possible eschatological significance, but elsewhere translated as something eschatologically neutral or futurist.)
Heb 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things [mello: ABOUT] to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (Read in Heb. 8:6-13, 9:8-12, 15. At the time of writing, the earthly temple was still there and Christ the High Priest had not yet been disclosed from the holy place in heaven. In the OT, the high priest sacrificed the animal and then brought the blood into the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement. When the high priest came out of the holy of holies, the actual atonement had been made (Leviticus 16:16-18). But the blood of bulls and goats did not take away sins (Heb. 10:4). Jesus already came out of the holy place and brought all of His elect into the glory of God in heaven. That is why all the elect, physical, Israel were saved by the time the Parousia took place at the destruction of the Temple as it is written in Rom. 11:5, 25-29 (c.f. Heb. 9:15, 28). Since then, all of God’s elect are no longer subject to Death (condemnation) and Hades (separation from God’s presence). I believe at death the elect shed their physical bodies, and continue living in their spiritual immortal bodies with God in heaven forever.)
Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things [mello: ABOUT] to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (The writer of Hebrews tried to remind the Jewish people about the promises of God which were about to be fulfilled in Christ.) (Obviously, the law was not a shadow of things that were IMMINENTLY “ABOUT” to come during the time the law was originally given. But those things WERE imminent and “about” to come at the time Hebrews was written. The OT prophets did not know the time nor the manner in which those things would actually occur which would later be NOW ABOUT TO COME in apostolic times.)
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] devour the adversaries. (Again, the writer warned the Jewish people of their time to turn to Jesus Christ, otherwise they would face the wrath of God. Read Heb. 10:25-39. These verses are vivid.)
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he
should after [mello: was ABOUT to] receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Heb 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things [mello: ABOUT] to come.
Heb 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one [mello: ABOUT] to come. (Clearly, this verse is speaking of the New Jerusalem after the Old Jerusalem would be destroyed and rendered obsolete. Read Heb. 11:16, Rev. 21:1-7, 9-10.)
Jas 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] be judged by the law of liberty.
1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] be revealed: (Peter understood and he was expecting the glory that was about to revealed. Remember, he was inspired by God. Read carefully in 1 Peter 1:4-13, 20; 2:6-8; 4:7.)
2Pe 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after
should [mello: were ABOUT to] live ungodly;
Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which
shall [mello: are ABOUT to] be hereafter; (In Rev. 1:9-20, these passages are “The things which thou hast seen.” In Rev. 2:1-3:22 are “The things which are,” and then in Rev. 4:1-22:5 are “the things which are ABOUT to be hereafter.” There are only three sections and notice the last section was about to take place in John’s generation. Read Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20. We must NOT attempt to explain away the statements of imminence. That is the rule of the interpretation. Some try to use 2 Peter 3:8 (“that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”) to interpret the overwhelming abundance of the statements of imminence. However, their hermeneutic is unacceptable.)
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou
shalt [mello: art ABOUT to] suffer: behold, the devil shall [mello: is ABOUT to] cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Rev 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready [mello: ABOUT] to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (Mello rendered “ready” here is acceptable.)
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will [mello: am ABOUT to] spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that
should [mello: were ABOUT to] be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Rev 8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are
yet [mello: ABOUT] to sound!
Rev 10:4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about [mello: ABOUT] to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Amazingly, the translators are quite happy to render “mello” here as “about”…yet elsewhere, they seem to go out of their way to render it anything BUT “about” apparently so as to avoid any sense of imminency or urgency and make the passage eschatologically neutral or futurist.)
Rev 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready [mello: ABOUT] to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (“Ready” or “about” are both acceptable here for mello. And there is no eschatological difference.)
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who
was [mello: is ABOUT] to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (It is clearly about Jesus who was caught up to God and His throne in heaven, not on the earth. In John’s vision, Jesus was about to rule with a rod of iron.) (The translators chose to render mello here simply as “was” instead of “is about to.” This is a highly suspicious omission.)
Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and
shall [mello: is ABOUT to] ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (When mello is rendered properly here, this passage becomes a strikingly clear statement of imminence as this was a direct prophetic interpretation from one of the Seven Angels given to John ABOUT the vision as it unfolded before him.)
Here is a quote from Eusebius, the Christian historian in the late third century. This is what he wrote about James, the brother of the Lord, when James was in trial with the Jewish leaders, “And he (James) answered with a loud voice, ‘Why do ye ask me respecting Jesus the Son of Man? He is now sitting in the heavens, on the right hand of great Power, and is about to come on the clouds of heavens.’ in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, p. 77 (emphasis mine).
So, the Preterist view is consistent with the Scriptures. Let the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures. Check the Greek words and some historians, and you will find the Preterist view has the strongest case against any other eschatological views. I don’t know how the Futurists would defend themselves with these passages which I have shown. We ought to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
The Reformed Futurists (Amillennialism, Postmillennialism or Historic Premillennialism) cannot defend their eschatological views with dispensationalism, Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, Arminianism, Judaism, Liberal Theologians and the cults because they have some holes. Once the Reformed churches come into the full Preterist view, they will be able to defend the truth against the members of these false religions, and they will be able expose them with their errors. Reformed Preterists can make a big difference, no matter what others will think.
What do you think [about] all of this so far, especially after examining the Greek word “mello”? Hopefully this will help a lot and cause you to rethink the reasons for your eschatological view.
This study of “mello” has opened my eyes to the real possibility of eschatological bias on the part of scriptural translators for the King James Version of the bible. There are many places throughout the New Testament where “mello” is translated as “about to” in places where, to do so, has no eschatological connotations. Yet, in nearly ALL places where “mello” does have eschatological significance, a decided futurist or neutral rendering was used. The KJV translators quite consistently avoid properly rendering “mello” as “about to” in any scripture passage where the reader might possibly conclude by such rendering there was a strong, urgent sense of “imminence” with regard to fulfillment of prophetic statements and events expressly and exclusively within a first century time-frame. In my view, this is prima facie evidence of the presence of a decidedly futuristic eschatological bias. Whether such bias was intentionally and consciously applied during the rigors of translating holy writ, I cannot say. If it was done consciously and intentionally, then I would like to give the KJV translators the benefit of the doubt as to whether malice was also a factor. My instincts tell me that a futurist eschatological bias, while most likely applied consciously and intentionally, was probably not applied with malicious intent. It may also be that such a bias was applied subconsciously. However, all these questions aside, one cannot deny that the end effect of such futuristic biases in scriptural translation is to obscure, if not OBLITERATE, a wealth of ENORMOUSLY VITAL PROPHETIC TRUTHS. Truths regarding the timing, nature, and the PRESENT REALIZATION of the Kingdom of God have thus remained entirely undetected by the great majority of those who boldly profess that entrance into the Kingdom of God is the very PRIZE, the “Pearl of Great Price”, which they so earnestly seek. It is, then, of utmost importance and urgency that we continue to “study to shew ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In doing so, we must not study with “rose colored glasses” on merely with the goal of protecting our pet eschatological or theological presuppositions. Instead, we must let SCRIPTURE interpret SCRIPTURE and seek to use the most honest and truth-worthy hermeneutics possible. If, in the process, our closely held “beliefs” fail to stand up to the truth we find in scripture, after having been “rightly divided,” then let our petty and unscriptural “beliefs” DIE and, as it is written, may GOD be true, but every man a LIAR.
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