I decided a long time ago that I would believe the Bible is the word of God, and that if a church doctrine conflicted with Scripture, the church doctrine was wrong. Such is the case with the doctrine of Partial Preterism, Dominion Theology and the “Pre-Trib Rapture”. Most preachers relegate teaching ‘end times’ to lesser importance, even though a large amount of Scripture is about the Messiah’s coming kingdom. And I suspect this happens because they have not personally made sense of what the Bible says is going to happen.
In 2000, I began studying three books, “The Prewrath Rapture of the Church”, by Marvin Rosenthal, “The Sign” and “The Rapture Question Answered, plain and simple, by Robert Van Kampen, that presented an understanding of “the seventieth week of Daniel” in a way that made sense, reconciling all Scripture on the topic. It basically separates “the great tribulation” of Antichrist from “the wrath of God” aka “the Day of the Lord” with “the rapture of the saints” occurring post-tribulation and pre-wrath. Hence adherents to this view gather under the name “Pre Wrath Rapture.
It seems everywhere I turn I hear that the Doctrine of Eschatology (namely the Second Advent of Christ) is not an essential Doctrine. Who has the authority to determine that? After all it is only the second largest doctrine found in Scripture next to the Gospel of Salvation. An untold number of books have been written, numerous blogs exist centered around it and thousands of sermons have been preached. There is so much confusion in the minds of people about what exactly is going to happen in the future, when will Christ come and what is going to take place when he does? It appears you can believe anything you want and teach anything you want concerning the Second Coming of Christ so long as you tag “Christian” on it it’s acceptable. There are so many views varying from preterist to partial preterist, from pre-millennial to post millennial, from pre-trib to post-trib, it’s no wonder why people through up their hands and just say forget it.
Heated debates exist today which has caused division, resentments, and hostility within the Church and unfortunately some divided lines need to be in place as much heresy exist around the subject. One such heresy is Partial Preterism pedaled off today as Victorious Eschatology. A book came out in 2006 written by Harold R. Eberle and Martin Trench called Victorious Eschatology and is viewed as the Victorious View. In truth, Partial Preterism should be called Partial Eschatology as the majority of the doctrine and book centers around past history rather than future end-time event. So let’s look at a few definitions as this article is a critic of the book Victorious Eschatology.
Eschatology simply put is the study of last things. It is a part of theology, physics, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the “end of the world” or “end time.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “The department of theological science concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell’.” Eschatology is victorious in that the world began with God and is constantly headed toward God’s final goal for creation, which is the world to come. The Second Coming of Christ is the central event in Christian eschatology. Most Christians believe that death and suffering will continue to exist until Christ’s return, that mankind is errantly wicked by nature outside of the “new birth” provided by Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross. However, even born again Christians are still prone to sin existing in sinful flesh.
Partial preterism holds that most eschatological prophecies, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, and the advent of the Day of the Lord as a “judgment-coming” of Christ, were fulfilled in A.D. 70 during the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Nero. They still view Christ’s Second Coming as future yet no signs exist heralding His return. He simple returns to destroy the world and recreates the new heaven and new earth.
Most view the partial preterist viewpoint as unbiblical due to its inconsistent hermeneutics, subjective interpretation, and allegorization of many biblical prophecies as well as their symbolic interpretation. They view prophecy through an historical lens and are subjective in their interpretations. Partial Preterism is like a two legged stool, it cannot stand within the confines of Scripture using a face value method of interpretation.
The earliest references to preterism comes from Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 263 – 339). One preterist has been said to hold that the view was developed in the 17th century, a view also held by many non-preterists.
“The praeterist view found no favour and was hardly so much as thought of in the time of primitive Christianity. Those who lived near the date of the book of Revelation itself had no idea that its groups of imagery were intended merely to describe things then passing, and to be in a few years completed. This view is said to have been first promulgated in anything like completeness by the Jesuit Alcasar, in his “Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi” (1614). Very nearly, the same plan was adopted by Grotius. The next great name among this school of interpreters is that of Bossuet the great antagonist of Protestantism’, (Alford, Henry, ‘The New Testament For English Readers’ (1872)”
“Now with regard to the Præterist Scheme, on the review of which we are first to enter, it may be remembered that I stated it to have had its origin with the Jesuit Alcasar’, Elliott, EB, (‘Horae Apocalypticae’, Volume IV, 4th edition (1862)”
There has historically been general agreement with non-preterists that the first systematic preterist exposition of prophecy was written by the Jesuit Luis de Alcasar during the Counter Reformation. Moses Stuart noted that Alcasar’s preterist interpretation was of considerable benefit to the Roman Catholic Church during its arguments with Protestants, and preterism has been described in modern eschatological commentary as a Catholic defense against the Protestant Historicist view which identified the Roman Catholic Church as a persecution apostasy.1
SOME GROUND WORK
Prior to the writing of this article I was contacted by Martin Trench who informed me I should amend an article I wrote on Victorious Eschatology. Mr. Trench made it quite clear he was neither Word of Faith nor NAR (New Apostolic Reformation), and I quote; “ I just stumbled upon your article, which calls me a “false teacher” yet you do not know me, have never attempted to contact me, and totally miss-represent me. I am not WoF or NAR, nor do I believe “the church” will take over the world.” Mr. Trench went on to say; ” I believe that our goal as believers is to see God’s kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” However, my response to Mr. Trench was over the fact that C. Peter Wagner indorsed his book who’s endorsement is found at the front of the book. As it turns out, Harold R. Eberle (Co-Author of Victorious Eschatology) has ties to the NAR and has many appearances and speaking engagements on IBethel.TV and is friends with Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Redding, CA. Rather Mr. Trench is NAR or not matters not, he is in my opinion guilty by association and seems to have no problem profiting from his book sales scoffed up by the Charismania group. He himself may not be NAR but he does have ties to the NAR!
Partial Preterism and the book “Victorious Eschatology” fits seamlessly into Dominion Theology known also as Kingdom Now Theology highly regarded by the NAR/C. Peter Wagner, Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner. And the comment above by Mr. Trench; “I believe that our goal as believers is to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven” just happens to be the mission statement of Bill Johnson. I’m sorry but the dots are connected, maybe Mr. Trench should amend his eschatological theology if he doesn’t want to be counted in the NAR’s number.
There is however one fundamental difference between Dominion Theology/Kingdom Now and Partial Preterist/Victorious Eschatology. The Partial Preterist teach that the kingdom of God will progressively grow until it fills the earth before Christ returns. Dominion Theology teaches an end time transformational army of God which will conquer the nations creating a church without spot or wrinkle. Now let me briefly commentate on both.
First, Ephesians 5:27 states: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Notice where it says, “That he might present it to himself.” Scripture is clear, though we are born again, a new creation in Christ, the flesh is and will always be corrupt up to the very moment Christ returns. The Greek word for “present” is paristánō meaning; to cause to stand near or before. This only occurs at the resurrection/rapture. Further evidences is given in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53; “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Taking the text at face value, even the dead are corrupt until the resurrection. It is clear by the text that the flesh is corrupt and it’s not until Christ return to rapture the dead and living in Christ that we become without spot and wrinkle as we are changed into that which is incorruptible.
Second, nowhere in Scripture can it be substantiated or demonstrated that the kingdom of God will progressively grow until it fills the earth without changing the plain meaning of the text, nor without spiritualizing any text. Unfortunately the entire book (Victorious Eschatology) is a chock-block of spiritualization. Only were it fits the need to advance Partial Preterism do they hold to a literal interpretation. Let me give you an example:
“Who then was this beast referred to as the great red dragon in Revelation 12? Well, we are told that the dragon tried to kill the Male Child. So who tried to kill Jesus at His birth? It was Herod, but he acted in his authority under the Roman government….We have further indicators that the dragon was the Roman government when we read that the great red dragon had “seven heads and ten horns” (Rev. 12:3).” – (Victorious Eschatology ‘Kindle Edition-2373-2381’) (Emphasis mine)
Hmmm, according to Mr. Trench and Mr. Eberle it is the Roman government that is the great red dragon and Herod acted in his authority under the Roman government. I find this a little comical as if you look at the context, just a few verse below you find that; “… war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9 (Emphasis mine)
Now if you listen to Mr. Trench and Mr. Eberle they will tell you that we have to understand this is spiritual terms, it’s spiritual dynamics that have consequences in this natural world. But if you are a Bible believer and hold to a literal method of interpretation the great red dragon is Satan, who I might add “deceives the whole world,” including the Roman government and Herod. It does get a little confusing as later they also say the dragon is Satan working through the Roman government so take it as you may they are not consistent.
I would love at this point for Mr. Trench and Mr. Eberle to Biblical show how Satan was defeated and cast to the earth by Michael in or around A.D. 70 because that would mean that he has been on the earth for some 2000 years, after all, the text says “nor was a place found for them (Satan and His angles) in heaven any longer” and his role as “accuser of the brethren Rev. 12:10” is over as he no longer has access to God.
To say that Herod or the Roman Government is the great red dragon is illogical and unsound. Satan and he alone is the dragon. Furthermore, nowhere in the confines of Revelation does it state or imply God was judging the Roman Empire.
And then there is the quandary of exactly who the “women” is that gave birth to the Male Child in Revelations 12. Again, Mr. Trench and Mr. Eberle teach we have to think in spiritual terms in order to identify her (Kindle 2335). According to the authors of Victorious Eschatology; “it is Eve. It is Abraham. It is David. It is the Jewish people. It is Mary. It is God’s heart, His promises being received by God’s people. It is God’s Spirit mothering His own Son so that the Son could come into the world” (Kindle 2351). Wow, what a mouth full! Ok, then maybe they could answer this question. Revelation 12:13-17 says that the dragon (Satan) persecuted the women who gave birth to the male Child. The women was able to flee into the wilderness to a place where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time from the presence of the serpent. The dragon then was so enraged with the woman because she escaped his persecution he went to make war with the “rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 12:17″ Who then did he persecute, if she found flight from his presence, and who is her offspring whom he made war with? Since (according to Mr. Trench and Mr. Eberle) the women is Eve, Abraham, David, the Jewish people, Mary, God’s heart, His promises, His Spirit, and the Church who did the dragon persecute, and what of her offspring?
Somehow, we can believe Jesus literally was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life in complete obedience to His Father’s Will, Died on a cross as payment for our sin, was buried, rose from the dead three days later, ascended to the right hand of God yet everything pertaining to His return has to be realized and understood as a spiritual dynamic, you can’t take it literal. And you have to interpret prophecy based on past history which equals to Eschatology, huh!
THE PAROUSIA PROBLEM
What I’m about to show you total destroys Partial Preterism and all I have to use is one Greek word, ” παρουσία “parousía.” Before we get into how parousia thoroughly makes Victorious Eschatology/Partial Preterism null and void let me first give you 3 different methods of interpretation we see today, then 5 Hermeneutical points of proper interpretation, after which I will give a few definitions of the Greek word parousia and it’s proper usage in Biblical texts. Then it will become apparent as to why Partial Preterism doesn’t work.
THREE METHODS OF INTERPRETATION
Spiritualization: The practice of interpretation in which the interpreter finds a broader, or figurative, or typical meaning given to the passage by the Holy Spirit. This method of interpretation looks for multiple meanings in the text, going beyond the literal meaning, to what have been called the literal, allegorical, tropological (moral) and anagogical senses of the passage. These are the deeper meanings that the Holy Spirit has “hidden” beneath the literal text, and it is the job of the interpreter to draw them out. The problem inherent with this method of interpretation is that the interpreter becomes the judge of the meaning of the text. There is no objective standard by which to measure the accuracy of our interpretation. Ten people can interpret the text in ten different ways as they are led by the Holy Spirit, and we would be unable to say that one is right and the other nine are incorrect. Who is to say what God intended us to understand?
Allegorical: The method of interpreting a text that regards the literal sense as the vehicle for a secondary, more spiritual and more profound sense, hidden beneath the text. A common theme of allegorical interpretation is to assign definitions to common terms. For example, water represents the Holy Spirit, tree represents new life, rainbow represents promise, valley represents sin, and so on. For allegorical interpreters, every biblical story, no matter how seemingly mundane or boring, is meant to convey spiritual, deeper truth. The literal understanding is ignored and seen as merely a vehicle for the deeper spiritual meaning. Once again, the problem with this understanding of Scripture is that each person can define terms as they see fit and see whatever deeper truths they want to see. There is no objective “dictionary of allegories” that we consult to understand Scripture. Each person can have their own interpretation and there is no way of saying who is right and who is wrong.
Face Value (Literal): The method of interpreting a text that interprets terms in their normal, customary designation. Each word is given the basic meaning it would have in normal, ordinary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking or thinking. This method has also been called the historical-grammatical method of interpretation. In this method, the primary goal is to understand the original intent of the author when he wrote. The underlying assumption of the face value method is that God intended to communicate His word to man so that we could understand it. God did not try and hide truths in the Scriptures; His intent is not to make it as difficult as possible to understand. Rather, He wants us to read and understand His word. The apostle Paul says the same thing to the Corinthians when he writes: “For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end.” (2 Cor. 1:13).
FIVE PRINCIPLES OF FACE VALUE HERMENEUTICS
1. Seek to understand the author/Author’s intended meaning. As stated above, the overriding principle of our Bible study must be to understand what the human author (and divine Author) intended to communicate. The only way to accurately do this is to take words in their normal meaning. As the adage goes, “if the plain sense makes sense you have the right sense.”
2. All Scripture must be taken in its proper context. This means that the interpretation of Scripture should be looked at in the light of the verses and book in which the passage is found. The argument of the author must be taken into account. The historical and cultural context should be remembered as well. This is perhaps the most violated of all the principles and is, in my opinion, the number one violation of biblical interpretation which plagues the church today. A text without context is a pretext!
3. Always compare Scripture with other Scripture. In other words, Scripture is its own best commentary. All the passages touching on a particular matter need to be studied and harmonized before truth is found. If one is studying the return of Christ, then one needs to compare passages from Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Matthew, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, Jude, Revelation, etc. Only once all relevant passages have been studied and compared, can we be sure of our interpretation. Martin Luther said, “The best interpreter of Scripture is other Scripture.”
4. Determine the literal references of figures of speech that provide comparison, substitution, and amplification. Scripture, like any serious literature, uses figures of speech. These include similes, metaphors, hyperbole, idioms, metonymies, parallelism, etc. It is our job to recognize these figures of speech and discover what the author intended in his usage. What is the literal reference the author wishes us to understand?
5. Recognize the near/far implications and applications in prophetic passages. It is common in prophetic literature for there to be both a near application and a far application to a certain prophecy. A few examples will illustrate this. A near future judgment will be predicted on a nation followed by a prediction of far future judgment on the whole world. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation were relevant to their immediate audience and included specific items of praise and condemnation by Christ. These letters also mention the Coming of Christ and are thus relevant to the final generation which will be on earth when He returns. And finally, there are several OT passages which speak of the two Comings of Christ back to back, as if they were one event. This is a phenomenon called “telescoping”. J. Barton Payne says, “Biblical prophecy may leap from one prominent peak in predictive topography to another, without notice of the valley between which may involve no inconsiderable lapse in chronology” (J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, p. 137).2
DEFINITIONS OF PAROUSIA
1. “The parousia of Christ is 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.”– The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon
2. The Greek noun parousia (translated “coming”) has the primary meaning of ‘presence,’ and often the derived connotations ‘coming or advent’—that is, of becoming present by ones arrival or appearance.
3. A technical term used of the coming of Christ (Mat_24:3; 1Co_15:23; 1Th_2:19; 2Th_2:8; 2Pe_3:4; 1Jn_2:28); the Son of Man (Mat_24:27, Mat_24:37, Mat_24:39); the Lord (1Th_3:13; 1Th_4:15; 1Th_5:23; 2Th_2:1; Jas_5:7-8; 2Pe_1:16); the day of God (2Pe_3:12). The term parousía refers to the Second Coming of the Lord, but the Second Coming is not just one event taking place at a particular time. Rather it is made up of a series of events. We can understand which event is referred to only by a careful examination of the context in which the terms parousía or érchomai ([G2064], to come) occur.
The “rapture” of the church and the second “advent” of Christ are not two different and unrelated events, but are one event covering a series of events. The parousia (coming) is a biblically precise (technical) term that in each and every usage concerning Christ’s return, is referring to a general time span that is initiated by the rapture of the church, through to and including the final event of Christ’s coming, the battle of Armageddon. In other words, the Parousia of the Lord Jesus is a period having a beginning (rapture), a course (Day of the Lord), and a conclusion (Armageddon).
As a technical term, parousia would represent a multifaceted event each time the word is used beginning with the rapture of the church. Each passage containing the word “parousia” must be evaluated in light of this context.
THE OLIVET DISCOURSE
If you have done any study on the word parousia translated (coming) in our English Bibles from the definitions and verses listed above you will notice that this Greek noun appears in every key rapture passage in the New Testament. Further study reveals there is only one coming (parousia) of Christ in view, not two. Ironically, parousia is found in Matthew 24 four times, 3,27,37,39. With the understanding that this Greek word has the core meaning of “Advent, presence,” we see the disciples inquiring of Christ’s coming in verse 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, and of the end of the world? KJV
The Disciples initially asked three questions here, “When will these things be” is in direct reference to Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. This was fulfilled in A.D 70, on this point everyone agrees. The next question was, “and what will be the sign of your coming?,” as stated above this question centers around the Second Coming of Christ. The third question was, “and what is the sign of the end of the world?” Again, I am in agreement with the partial preterist that this is dealing with the Second Coming of Christ in judgment. However, the partial preterist say concerning the second question that the disciples where not inquiring of the Second Coming but rather Christ coming into His kingdom:
When the disciples asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of Your coming?” they were asking Him, “When will You come into Your kingdom?” “When will You take Your position and reveal Yourself as king?” – (Victorious Eschatology ‘kindle 934)
They believe the second and third question is unrelated and are separated by time. To them, Christ came into His Kingdom in A.D 70 when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed and nothing prophetic needs to be fulfilled until Christ returns. It’s important to understand that words have meaning in Scripture, and grammar plays an important role in understanding what a verse or context is saying. In the middle of the second and third question is an conjunction, let’s look at it:
“What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age“
This conjunction “and” is used to indicate an additional thing, situation, or fact. “And” in this case links words and phrases of the same grammatical value. When the disciples were asking Jesus “What will be the sign of your coming” they were placing His coming in concurrence with the end of the age. Now you might at this point stop me and say, isn’t “and” used at the beginning of the second question? “And what will be the sign of your Coming.” Yes, it is. “And” is also a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force. In other words, “and” can be substituted with the world “also.” In the case of the disciples first question, “Tell us, when will these things be?” they completed the sentence, following up with “also,” what will be the sign of your Coming and of the end of the age. There are three questions here, however the sentence structure is broken up into two parts. If you noticed, there are only two question marks found in the verse, one at the end of the first question, and one after the third.
Add to the fact that the Greek noun parousia is used in this verse only adds weight to the evidence that the disciples were inquiring of Christ’s return, His Second Coming! And the end of the age! By now it should be clear as to how the partial preterist totally change the meaning of Scripture, adding to what otherwise the test doesn’t say. The disciples were not making inquiries to Christ coming into His kingdom, but of his physical, visible return. Unfortunately, these authors glaze over the meaning of Scripture with their inconsistent hermeneutics and subjective interpretation.
As noted above, the Greek word “parousia” is directly associated with the Rapture of the Church upon Christ’s return. Rather or not the Disciples know or understood there would be a rapture they were well acquainted with resurrection. Not everything Jesus taught and did was recorded, many of His deeds and teachings were not provided as John 21:25 states: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” It is any bodies guess to rather or not Jesus taught the disciples of the rapture, but it is obvious he had taught them of his Second Coming for the question was asked.
Another misconception and blatant misinterpretation from the authors of “Victorious Eschatology” is there application of Matthew 24:28 to the invasion of the Romans upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
“Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
“Envision thousands of soldiers gathered on the mountains encircling Jerusalem. No add to that picture the banner under which they assembled, the banner of the vulture, which the Roman soldiers carried on flags and often painted on their shields. As a prophet, Jesus declared that the vultures would gather, and Jerusalem would be the corpse.” – (Victorious Eschatology ‘Kindle 871’)
Now let me give you a little context:
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” – Matthew 24:27-28 KJV
Again, the Greek word for “so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” is parousia. If you follow the context through to verse 44 you will discover that Jesus is answering the disciples last two questions, “and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.” In Matthew 24:27-31 Jesus is teaching on the subject of the rapture while verses 37-39 depict judgment upon Christ’s return, rapture, then judgment, in that order. Judgment then is the end of the age as Jesus Christ will then sit on His Millennial Throne as King of Kings. So let me give you another example in Scripture which shows the exact same thing, rapture then the end of the age:
“For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive. But each in his own rank and turn: Christ (the Messiah) [is] the firstfruits, then those who are Christ’s [own will be resurrected] at His coming (parousia). After that comes the end (the completion), when He delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every [other] rule and every authority and power. For [Christ] must be King and reign until He has put all [His] enemies under His feet. [Ps. 110:1.] The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death.” – 1 Cor. 15:22-26 AMP. Emphasis Mine
Notice again that the Greek word parousia is used in the context of resurrection, and then the end comes where Christ will abolish every rule and every authority and power, the last to be abolished is death. And as you may know ‘Death and Hades’ are thrown into the Lake of Fire at the Great White Throne Judgment after the 1000 year Millennial reign of Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:14).
What is important to remember is that in Matthew 24:27-44 Jesus is describing His Second Coming, not the Roman armies. Nowhere in the context is Rome in view, Israel and the Church are.
So let’s look a little deeper and see if what I said in the above sentence is so:
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31) NKJV
It is here I quote Robert Van Kampen as he gives an accurate interpretation of this section of Matthew 24.
There is one other Greek word that we need to look at before we finish this chapter. In its own subtle way, this special word demands that the Olivet Discourse is speaking of the rapture of the saints…”and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together [Episunago] His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other”
…The classic Rapture passage recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that when the Rapture occurs, we will “be caught up together with them [the dead in Christ] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” The peculiar Greek word episunago (“gather together”) used by Christ when He speaks to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse will prove that point. Sunago comes from two smaller Greek words that together mean “to bring together, come together, gather together, or assemble.” It is the root verb from which the noun sunagoge (“synagogue”) is derived. Basically, synagogue means a “gathering place,” where people assemble together.
In the Olivet Discourse, when we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds and sending His angels to gather together His elect, why is the Greek word episunago used to describe this gathering, rather than just the root Greek verb sunago?…Adding the Greek preposition epi to the verb sunago gives direction to the gathering. Epi basically means “on” or “upon” (just as epidermis refers to the top layer – epi– of one’s skin –dermis). So when this little preposition is added to the verb sunago, it gives an upward direction to the gathering. Therefore, episunago means a gathering together in an upward direction, or “a taking up and bringing together.”
You decide. Does that specific Greek word, used only eight times in the entire New Testament, mean a sideways gathering into the land of Israel, or an upward gathering to meet the Lord in the air at the rapture of Christ’s saints?…The original Greek text contains an important truth that Christ intended to convey to His disciples, and it is the same truth that Paul clearly conveys to his readers at Thessalonica: that we will be “caught up together…to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:27).
And once again, when we compare Scripture with Scripture, we find another clear reference to the Rapture that confirms the use of this special Greek word in the Olivet Discourse of Christ. Remember this passage we looked at in an earlier chapter? “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him…(2 Thess. 2:1)
In this passage, the “gathering together” to Christ is an undisputed reference to the Rapture of the saints of God. The Greek verb here is episunago! 3
I think it is clear enough, if you do a thorough investigation into the Coming [parousia] of Christ, using context as a rule, and then comparing Scripture with Scripture you will agree that partial preterism (Victorious Eschatology) is a house built on sand. I have learned, the only way to combat error is with truth rather than endless arguments. However, a healthy debate can produce fruit, but more often than not, those in error end in stubbornness, anger, and blindness. Only until we take an honest and humble look into the Word of God, allowing it to guide and correct us can we remove the scales from our eyes and find true freedom.
Van Kampen. The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple (Kindle Location 1737-1756). Kindle Edition.