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Back to the Future - The Preterist Perspective
www.kennethgentry.com ^ | 2003 | Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

Posted on 10/23/2008 10:18:08 AM PDT by topcat54

Evangelical (and reformed) preterists (e.g., R. C. Sproul) take seriously the time texts of Scripture and apply those prophecies to A.D. 70, a redemptive-historical event of enormous consequence. They argue that there God finally and conclusively broadened his redemptive focus from the Jews to all races (Matt. 28:19), from the land of Israel to all the world (Acts 1:8), and from the temple-based worship to a simpler spiritual-based worship (John 4:21-24). Where such time markers are absent from eschatological texts, though, evangelical preterists apply the prophecies to the Second Advent at the end of history. The judgments in A.D. 70 are similar to those associated with the Second Advent (and to the Babylonian conquest in the Old Testament) and are actually adumbrations of the Second Advent.

So, the preterist urges the Christian interested in biblical prophecy to go "back to the future." That is, in many cases we must go back to the original audience and look to the near future. And to understand the historical nature of preterism itself, we must look beyond the current debate to the stream of interpretation running throughout Christian history.

(Excerpt) Read more at kennethgentry.com ...


TOPICS: Theology
KEYWORDS: eschatology; preterism

1 posted on 10/23/2008 10:18:11 AM PDT by topcat54
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To: ItsOurTimeNow; HarleyD; suzyjaruki; nobdysfool; jkl1122; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Dr. Eckleburg; ...
Reformed Eschatology Ping List (REPL)
Biblically Optimistic and Gospel-Based Commentary

"For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22)

2 posted on 10/23/2008 10:20:16 AM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: topcat54
Yep, those immanency statements sure make the case. Just take this passage, for example:
"So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.

"If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

"Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.

"And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul." (Deu. 30:1-10)

And this is exactly why, before Joshua passed away, Israel went into the Land, sinned, was carried off in exile, repented, and returned to the Land, all in a single generation. /sarc

If we applied preterism's standards of how to interpret the time statements in the Bible consistently, we would also have to conclude that the Apostles screwed up in citing Isa. 7:14, Hos. 11:1, the Psalms of David, etc. to Yeshua.

You'd think that preterists would be more wary of applying an interpretive method to the prophecies of the Second Coming that would disqualify Yeshua as the object of the prophecies of the First.

Shalom.

3 posted on 10/23/2008 10:34:40 AM PDT by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman
Yep, those immanency statements sure make the case. Just take this passage, for example:

Did you mean imminence?

And this is exactly why, before Joshua passed away, Israel went into the Land, sinned, was carried off in exile, repented, and returned to the Land, all in a single generation.

Unlike Matthew 24 and Luke 21 there is no time text ("this generation") in Deuteronomy 30. The preterist position, as you well know, is built on the presence of time texts to determine what is imminent and what is not, e.g., Rev. 1:1, "which must shortly take place".

Of course the context of Deuteronomy explicitly provides us with the multi-generational perspective (cf. Exo. 20:4) that God was giving to Israel in that day:

19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
The Jews were taking an oath that would bind them and their posterity. The blessing of long life extended to "a thousand generations" (Exo. 20:5).

Yet there is no suggestion of "in the day you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17) as you apparently wish to read it.

But this is all Hermeneutics 101. It's not rocket science.

Shalom, my friend. Always good to hear from you.

4 posted on 10/23/2008 11:00:27 AM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: topcat54

Time markers are not absent from eschatological texts, search the Scriptures, the “tribulation” periods during the time of Jacob and the years leading up to the destruction of Judah are “patterns” for what is happening right now. The “Preterist” eschatological view is wrong, we are now in the Great Tribulation, the “man of sin” has already taken his seat “in the temple”. Christ’s return will be 5/21/2011, when His elect body will join Him. The destruction of this entire world is very near. I would be pleased to send anyone who wants the information to contact me, I will email it to you-everything is strictly from the Scriptures.


5 posted on 10/23/2008 11:03:14 AM PDT by orchestra
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To: iThinkBig; DarthVader; John Leland 1789

MORE UNMITIGATED UNBIBLICAL HOGWASH

pretending to be rational.

What a surprise
/s


6 posted on 10/23/2008 11:13:40 AM PDT by Quix (GLOBALIST PLANS FM 1900 ON #76 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2031425/posts?page=77#77)
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To: orchestra
Time markers are not absent from eschatological texts, search the Scriptures, the “tribulation” periods during the time of Jacob and the years leading up to the destruction of Judah are “patterns” for what is happening right now.

That's one theory. Unfortunately there's really nothing to support it without a whole lot of hand-waving and questionable assumptions.

Christ’s return will be 5/21/2011,

Sure it will.

7 posted on 10/23/2008 11:23:58 AM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: topcat54
Did you mean imminence?

Let he who is without typo cast the first stnoe. ;^)

Unlike Matthew 24 and Luke 21 there is no time text ("this generation") in Deuteronomy 30.

Ah, but there is, which is why I kept bolding and italicizing, "You and your children." If only "you" was said, we might suppose that by "you," Moses was speaking to all of Israel's generations, but since he specifies both the "you" standing there and "your children," this constitutes at least as clear a time statement as "this generation."

It's good to "see" you too. I haven't always responded to your threads, but I've read them whenever I've come across them. They provide a welcome respite from the political season. Since developing a greater appreciation for the cyclical nature of Biblical prophecy, I've enjoyed reading preterist and historicist commentaries more than I used to. I still reject the replacement theology inherent in both, but I enjoy the historical arguments.

Shalom.

8 posted on 10/23/2008 11:31:26 AM PDT by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Quix; topcat54
MORE UNMITIGATED UNBIBLICAL HOGWASH

pretending to be rational.

What a surprise

MORE EMOTIONAL NON-RESPONSE

pretending to be a rebuttal

What a surprise </sarcasm>

9 posted on 10/23/2008 11:41:34 AM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord ((I have come here to kick @$$ and chew bubblegum...and I'm all outta bubblegum! ~Roddy Piper))
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To: All

Last year at the Pre-Trib Study Group conference in Dallas, TX, futurist Dr. Mark Hitchcock clearly and decisively won the debate against partial Preterist (though he refuses to call himself that) Hank Hanegraaff.

Here’s a link to order either an MP3 CD or a DVD that includes that debate -
http://www.pre-trib.org/pdf/2007-PTSG-Audio-Video-Order.pdf

Not long after, Dr. Hitchcock spoke at another conference, discussing material presented at the debate.

That can be viewed free at Google video online:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4055956683971707127&q=source:003702538068374327654&hl=en

An mp3 audio version is also available free online:
http://deanbible.org/Media/Audio%20Files/WHBC%20Specials/2008%20-%20Chafer%20Theological%20Seminary%20Conf/Dr.%20Mark%20Hitchcock.mp3

In addition, here are some articles:

Has Bible Prophecy Already Been Fulfilled?
Dr. Thomas Ice
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=55

A Case for the Futurist Interpretation of the Book of Revelation
by Andy Woods
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=333

Preterism
by Dr. Randall Price
http://www.raptureready.com/featured/price/15rp.pdf

Gary Demar’s End Times Fiction
by Dr. Thomas Ice
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=23

The Date of the Book of Revelation
by Dr. Thomas Ice
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=232

A Review of Hank Hanegraaff’s The Apocalypse Code
by Dr. Thomas Ice
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=316

An Assessment of Kenneth L. Gentry’s Internal Evidence for Dating Revelation
by Dr. Robert Thomas
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=181

Preterism and Zechariah 12-14
by Dr. Thomas Ice
http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=77


10 posted on 10/23/2008 12:20:23 PM PDT by onthelookout777
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To: Buggman
Ah, but there is, which is why I kept bolding and italicizing, "You and your children." If only "you" was said, we might suppose that by "you," Moses was speaking to all of Israel's generations, but since he specifies both the "you" standing there and "your children," this constitutes at least as clear a time statement as "this generation."

How exactly is that a time text?

Which of these similar passages is meant to delineate a specific (near) point in time?

"You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your children's children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have. " (Gen. 45:10)

"You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your sons after you, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord. … Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your sons after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. " (Deut. 12:25,28)

"May the Lord give you increase more and more, You and your sons. " (Ps. 115:14)

BTW, the Hebrew word in Deut 30 is better translated "descendents". It is the same word used in passages like Deut. 4:37, "Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them. And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power,". It is not meant to necessarily convey a specific father/son or single inter-generational relationship. In fact if you look at the occurrences in Deuteronomy, you will see that idea of "posterity" is the most fitting interpretation in most cases.

Besides, the only time factor on the blessings and cures are listed with the moral law in Ex. 20:4,5.

I still reject the replacement theology inherent in both, but I enjoy the historical arguments.

We like to think of it as expansion, not replacement, since the children of Israel have always been an integral part of the expanded kingdom of God, which now is made up of all the nations.

11 posted on 10/23/2008 12:21:50 PM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: Calvinist_Dark_Lord

It’s migration time for the multi-colored, empty-headed snipes that inhabit this forum.


12 posted on 10/23/2008 12:23:56 PM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: onthelookout777
Welcome to Free Republic - will you be staying with us for very long?

onthelookout777
Since Oct 18, 2008

13 posted on 10/23/2008 12:33:37 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (What can I say? It's a gift. And I didn't get a receipt, so I can't exchange it.)
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To: onthelookout777
futurist Dr. Mark Hitchcock

There are any number of real (partial-)preterists who could clean the clock of the futurists in a debate. I would not take poor half-hearted Hank as a good rep.

by Dr. Robert Thomas

Is this the same dispensationalist Dr. Thomas who basically thinks that the apostles got it wrong when they gave us non-literal interpretations of certain Old Testament passages? He is quoted as saying, "Because Israel rejected the Messiah, the apostles had to reinterpret the Old Testament to open the door for salvation to a new church that included Gentiles."

by Dr. Thomas Ice

Has there Iceman found the elusive "holy grail" of a pre-trib rapture quotation prior to 1830?

14 posted on 10/23/2008 12:36:38 PM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: topcat54
You're actually making my point for me. The Bible consistently speaks to future generations in a present tense quite frequently--and this literary trait does not simply vanish in the NT. Therefore, when you consider a statement like, "this generation," you cannot rule out the possibility that:

a) "this generation" refers to the generation that would see the events described in the Olivet Discourse, which could be far in the future,

b) "this generation" refers to "this people," which is a perfectly acceptable translation of the Greek genea, or

c) as in Moses' prophecy, multiple fulfillments are in view.

The last option is the one that I accept, on the basis that that's simply how Biblical prophecy works. Take the Immanuel prophecy, for example: First, the prophecy is about a sign to Ahaz, not something that wouldn't be seen for 700 years. Second, the child is supposed to be too young to know right from wrong when the fulfillment comes, not unborn for 700 years. Third, the fulfillment of the prophecy is arguably given in the very next chapter (ch. 8) of the book.

So why then do we accept Matthew's exegesis of the passage as Messianic? Because there are unfulfilled details and loopholes in the "time" statements that lend it to that interpretation: First, there is no definition of the Hebrew word 'almah that fits Isaiah's wife, since she had already had a son who was old enough to accompany Isaiah when he went to speak to the king. Second, the child is supposed to be called Emmanu'El, not Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, as Isaiah's son was named in chapter 8. Third, the passage does not end in chapter 8, but goes on to describe the Messiah in chapter 9, still speaking of the "the Child [who] is born . . . the Son [who] is given."

Matthew, inspired by the Spirit and seeking to understand the Virgin Birth in light of the prophecies of the Tanakh, saw the fine details of this passage fitting perfectly with Yeshua's birth and destiny. The time-statements of the passage did not bother him because a) Isaiah offered the ultimate fulfillment of this sign not just to Ahaz but to the whole House of David, and b) while it truly is a loophole, a child who is unborn is too young to know good and evil.

In the same way, I fully believe that the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD is within the scope of the Olivet Discourse. Indeed, I believe that Luke intentionally paraphrased the Lord's prophecy to bring out that aspect of it (a practice that was perfectly acceptable by the standards of the day). However, there remain fine details of the prophecy that have never been fulfilled:

1) Titus did not set up the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place the way that Antiochus did or that Paul described in 2Th. 2:4.

2) "All flesh" was never at risk in 70 AD. The Romans knew that the rebellion was being driven by a minority of the Jews, primarily the Zealots, and had no problem with Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai establishing an academy in Yavneh in order to ensure the survival of Judaism as a religion. They didn't really crack down on Judaism as a whole until the Bar-Kochba revolt.

3) The Lord's Coming--and yes, He did come in a spiritual sense in judgment--was neither visible to those who pierced Him, nor was it accompanied by the gathering of the Elect into the clouds nor by the Resurrection of the Dead as Paul anticipated (1Th 4:15ff, 2Th 2:1ff).

Since just as in Isaiah's prophecy, there are these little details that don't quite fit, while I agree that there was a fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse in 70 AD, I also anticipate a future fulfillment where, just as in the Immanuel prophecy, those details will be fulfilled more literally.

We like to think of it as expansion, not replacement, since the children of Israel have always been an integral part of the expanded kingdom of God, which now is made up of all the nations.

You're so close to the truth. Where we disagree is on what it means that "all Israel will be saved."

Shalom!

15 posted on 10/23/2008 1:11:46 PM PDT by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman
You're actually making my point for me. The Bible consistently speaks to future generations in a present tense quite frequently--and this literary trait does not simply vanish in the NT. Therefore, when you consider a statement like, "this generation," you cannot rule out the possibility that:

However, the phrase "this generation" as we find it in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 is unlike anything you quoted in those passages from Deuteronomy. "You and your descendent" does not mean a single generation as I pointed out. And neither it nor "this generation" carries some mythical multiple fulfillments.

Of course you also fail to see that Deuteronomy is not a prophecy, but language flowing from the giving of the Law. It is a statement of conditions; do this and be blessed, don’t do this and be cursed. It is part of God’s legal code; conditions of the covenant. The choice was before Israel. There is no language of predication of events that must happen by necessity.

By way of contrast, there is no conditional language ala Deut. 30 in Matthew 24 or Luke 21. It is a prophecy (prediction) of what will be.

In fact, if you wished you could find similar language in the OT to see its meaning. E.g.,: "Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers," (Deut. 1:35, cf. Gen. 7:1)

A specific generation was in view, the one that failed to enter into the promised land because of their sin. They wandered for 40 years until "this generation" eventually died off.

Then of course there are all the other places in the NT where the phrase is plainly referring to the contemporary 1st century generation (cf. Matt. 12:41).

However, there remain fine details of the prophecy that have never been fulfilled:

That is a matter of debate based on interpretative principles. It can only be said that the prophecy has not been fulfilled it one requires an unnecessarily literal interpretation of the text, or confuses those portions which are near in view vs. those which are more distant. Again, reading the time text is critical to a proper interpretation.

You're so close to the truth. Where we disagree is on what it means that "all Israel will be saved."

Interesting. How can you be sure? I don’t believe you have ever said what you believe it means.

16 posted on 10/23/2008 1:46:41 PM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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To: Buggman

Love your Biblical valiant efforts, patience, tough hide and hazmat suit collection.


17 posted on 10/23/2008 2:01:56 PM PDT by Quix (GLOBALIST PLANS FM 1900 ON #76 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2031425/posts?page=77#77)
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To: topcat54
<> Rather than rely on hearsay and slander, some might like to take a direct look at Dr. Robert Thomas's interesting paper: The New Testament Use of the Old Testament http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj13d.pdf <> Yep, a number of papers have been written about pre-Darby references to the pre-Trib rapture, as well as debunking the nonsense about Margaret MacDonald.
18 posted on 10/23/2008 2:02:14 PM PDT by onthelookout777
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To: Alex Murphy

Ha, dontcha just love the newbies? :-)


19 posted on 10/23/2008 2:03:46 PM PDT by onthelookout777
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To: topcat54
"You and your descendent" does not mean a single generation as I pointed out.

Again, "you," when coupled with "your descendants" necessarily implies that the "you" refers to those present right at that moment.

Put it this way: If I said to an audience of Republicans, "Someday, you will have back the government the Founders intended," one could easily infer that by "you" I was speaking to the country as a whole, and that I might expect that such a change could take more than one generation.

If, on the other hand, I said, "Someday, you and your children will have back the government the Founders intended," that would imply that I expected it to happen in one generation, since "your children" would cover all future generations, making the "you" redundant and misleading unless I expected those actually there to experience that event. It establishes a time marker.

Either Moses didn't know what he was talking about, or Hebraic thought handles such "markers" differently than Western thought does.

The answer of the rabbis is that why so phrasing his speech, Moses was making the prophecy imminent for all generations, and giving all generations the responsibility to repent. In the same way, all of the prophetic writers spoke of the Day of the Lord as "near," "at hand," etc., even when the events, even by preterist standards, were centuries away. Why? Because their goal was to get Israel to repent now, not forty, a hundred, or a thousand years from now.

So too it is with Yeshua's warnings to "this generation." There was indeed a judgment for that generation, but His words have another meaning: Israel as a people will not pass away until all has been fulfilled--a fact of history at this point--and every generation has the responsibility to repent with the expectation of the imminent judgment of God.

One last point, and then I have to run: Of course you also fail to see that Deuteronomy is not a prophecy, but language flowing from the giving of the Law.

On the contrary, the Torah is indeed a book of prophecy. Why else do you think that Yeshua repeatedly claimed that it prophesied of Him? Indeed, the more I study it, the more I realize the truth of the rabbinic tradition that all that the later prophets prophesied can be found in the Torah, if you know where to look.

The prophetic nature of the Torah, even to the point that the history that it records points to Yeshua, has long been accepted by Christian scholars. Here are a couple of refresher courses if you need them: The Feasts and the Exodus and The Messiah in Genesis.

Hopefully I'll have more chance to post tomorrow at lunch. Shalom!

20 posted on 10/23/2008 2:09:28 PM PDT by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: topcat54

Sorry, my post’s formatting got lost. It was supposed to look like this:

topcat54 wrote: “Is this the same dispensationalist Dr. Thomas who basically thinks that the apostles got it wrong when they gave us non-literal interpretations of certain Old Testament passages? He is quoted as saying, ‘Because Israel rejected the Messiah, the apostles had to reinterpret the Old Testament to open the door for salvation to a new church that included Gentiles.’”

Reply:
Rather than rely on hearsay and slander, some might like to take a direct look at Dr. Robert Thomas’s interesting paper: The New Testament Use of the Old Testament http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj13d.pdf

topcat54 wrote: “Has there Iceman found the elusive “holy grail” of a pre-trib rapture quotation prior to 1830?”

Reply:
Yep, a number of papers have been written about pre-Darby references to the pre-Trib rapture, as well as debunking the nonsense about Margaret MacDonald.


21 posted on 10/23/2008 2:24:12 PM PDT by onthelookout777
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To: onthelookout777
Rather than rely on hearsay and slander, some might like to take a direct look at Dr. Robert Thomas’s interesting paper:

No hearsay or slander. I was quoting Thomas' own words.

Yep, a number of papers have been written about pre-Darby references to the pre-Trib rapture, as well as debunking the nonsense about Margaret MacDonald.

Speaking of debunking, none of Tommy's papers had stood up to careful scrutiny. It has been demonstrated clearly that in the case of his treatment of pseudo-Ephraem he sliced up a quote to make it say something that was not in the original.

Fact is there are no pre-Darby pre-trib rapture quotes to be found.

22 posted on 10/25/2008 12:46:01 PM PDT by topcat54 ("The selling of bad beer is a crime against Christian love.")
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