"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim.4:3-4).
This study is a reply to the system of Biblical interpretation promoted by the preterists, a system which asserts that the prophecies uttered by the Lord Jesus in His Olivet discourse (Matthew 24) have already been fulfilled. The word "preterist" is a grammatical term describing what is "past." I have used the writings of Gary DeMar as an example of this system. I do not want any of my following remarks to be construed as impunging his sincerity or character. However, I do question his judgment when it comes to interpreting the Holy Scriptures.
Let us take a look at the following verses and examine Gary DeMar's interpretation of them:
"For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city."
"3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle."
"4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives" (Zech.14:2-4).
In regard to verse two, Gary DeMar says: "This happened when the Roman armies, made up of soldiers from the nations it conquered, went to war against Jerusalem...Zechariah is describing the events surrounding Jerusalem's destruction in A.D.70" (DeMar, Last Days Madness [American Vision; Fourth Revised Edition, 1999], 438).
He then attempts to explain verse three,saying,"After using Rome as His rod to smite Jerusalem, God turns on Rome in judgment" (Ibid., 439).
Since the Lord did not fight against the nation of Rome during the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 Gary DeMar quotes G.N.M Collins: "It is significant that the decline of the Roman Empire dates from the fall of Jerusalem" [emphasis mine] (Collins, Zechariah, The New Bible Commentary, 761).
Gary DeMar continues: "Thomas Scott concurs: 'It is also observable, that the Romans after having been made the executioners of divine vengence on the Jewish nation, never prospered as they had done before; but the Lord evidently fought against them, and all the nations which composed their overgrown empire; till at last it was subverted, and their fairest cities and provinces were ravaged by barbarous invaders' "[emphasis mine] (DeMar,Last Days Madness, 439).
According to Gary DeMar the battle when the Lord fights against the nations that came against Jerusalem is nothing more than the idea that the Roman Empire "never prospered as they had before." We are supposed to believe that this battle was not really a battle but instead only represents the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire where she "never prospered as they had done before".
However, Zechariah wrote,"Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle."
As when He fought in the day of battle. These words should lead those who read them to think of the following events which describe the Lord as a "Man of War."
"The LORD is a Man of War: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea" (Ex.15:3-4).
If the Lord is going to fight against those nations "as when He fought in the day of battle" then the battle will not be a matter of a single nation "not prospering" as she did before but instead it will be comparable to when the Lord destroyed Pharaoh's army.
The battle which Zechariah describes is not in regard to a decline of a single nation that lasts for hundreds years until at last she is subverted!
Gary DeMar employs what Robert L. Thomas describes as an "extreme allegorical approach" of interpreting prophecy. This approach leaves his interpretations lacking any resemblance to what Zechariah originally wrote. He does not seem to realize that his method of interpreting these verses brings prophecy into contempt and ridicule.
Gary DeMar has been deceived into believing that these prophecies have already been fulfilled and now he is unwittingly deceiving others. He continues to turn his ears from the truth and in doing so he is now misleading others into believing these fables invented by the preterists.
Sir Robert Anderson writes:"In no other sphere save that of religion do men of intelligence and culture willingly subject their minds to delusions. The historic Church once tried to compel belief that this planet was the fixed centre of the solar system; but who believes it now? Men cannot be made to believe that water runs uphill, or that five and five make anything but ten. In no other sphere can they be induced to stultify reason and common sense. But in religion there seems to be no limit to their credulity" (Anderson, The Bible or the Church? [London: Pickering & Inglis, Second Edition], 61).
The fables invented by the preterists in regard to Bibical eschatology are easily shown to be nothing more that delusions.