Many would like to make the subject of the resurrection a matter
of the nature of the resurrection body only. While it is valid to
address and identify the nature of the resurrection body, it is also
valid to address Preterism’s timing of the resurrection in eschatology
if futurists and other rapture ready advocates expect to build a
“When Shall These Things Be” edited by Keith A. Mathison a book that
sought to address the major issues of the preterit view with the hope
of convincingly refuting them, Robert Strimple had these comments
on the issue of time and resurrection.
“Obviously an orthodox Christian response to hyper-preterism must
address the prophetic “time texts” of the New Testament…” , p 290.
Strimple however passes on that attempt, trusting that the editor has
done an adequate job. However, it seems that this impressive line up of
authors did not take the time to read and fully understand the
implications and ramifications of what they had written previously
on the subject of time.
In other words, Kenneth Gentry, Jr. and Keith Mathison, use the very
same text to teach the exact opposite views. This seriously impacts
Strimple’s assumptions on the nature of the resurrection body.
It eats the heart out of his more desirable “methodology” approach.
Gentry ‘s Preterist Implications on the Timing of the Resurrection
In seeking to bolster the claim that time is not a matter of critical
importance in establishing the nature of resurrection, Strimple
waves a hand of approval to Mathison’s arguments on the
eschatological time texts.
However, Mathison and Gentry are at odds on the most critical
argument offered by Mathison. What is the net result? It weakens
the argument of Strimple on the nature of bodily resurrection.
Mathison, not at all confident in his previous arguments,
(p. 180), asks us to “assume” that this generation in
Matthew 24:34, “refers to the generation of Jews who heard
Jesus’ words,” i.e. meaning the first century generation.
One does not have to assume anything by reading the message
addressed to those same Jews in Matthew 23:36, a brief while
before Jesus’ offered the same phrase in chapter 24:34. Compare
the two phrases.
“Assuredly, I say to you , all these things will come upon
this generation. (Matthew 23:36)
“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass
away till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34)
Now for just a moment, imagine you are Peter, James John and
Andrew listening to Christ utter the words in chapter 23:36.
Later, you ask him what he meant by those words and he offers
the wording in Matthew 24:34.
Would you come away with the understanding that “this generation”
in the former chapter is emphatically a reference to the overthrow of
the temple in A.D. 70, while “this generation in chapter 24, is not?
Mathison realized he could not escape the force of the text. He has
no confidence in the floundering “double-fulfillment prophetic
telescoping arguments offered by dispensationalists though he
does not categorically dismiss them.
He timidly offers the linguistic argument on “ginetai” as an
ingressive aorist, (signifying action in its beginning or entrance
in a state or condition). In other words he would not take a firm
position on this speculative argument that “ginetai” means to
“begin to come to pass,” versus a completed action.
Mathison notes that dispensationalists believe the coming of the
Son of Man (Matthew 24:30) refers to the second coming but they
disagree that this generation means the first century Jews.
He also acknowledges that Preterists believe the coming of the
Son of Man is the second coming but accept the consistency of
“this generation” to mean the Jews of the first century in both
Mathew 23:36, and 24:34.
What is his solution? Acknowledging that both views above accept
the coming of the Son of Man as the second coming, he denies
exegetically and linguistically that “this generation” refers to
a future generation.
In this he agrees with Preterists on the time of the text. However,
he opts for a totally different view of the coming of the Son of Man,
namely that it is not Christ’s coming in A.D. 70.
But in the words of Amos, Mathison has “fled from a lion and a bear
met him! He went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall and a
serpent bit him,” as far as this exegetical “new twist” is concerned.
One of Mathison’s contributors, Kenneth Gentry, Jr. offers arguments
on the very text in question that the coming of the Son of Man,
is the A.D. 70 coming of Christ in judgment upon Jerusalem, defending
a preterist interpretation of the chapter against dispensationalist
Dr. Thomas Ice, “The Great Tribulation, Past or Future?, pp. 53-61,
For an excellent resource to help in understanding the time texts related
to eschatology, see Don Preston’s “Can God Tell Time?”