Things Coming on the Earth

Gary DeMar has not yet addressed the words of the Lord Jesus in regard to what will happen at the "end of the age". He refuses to believe that those events will involve a world wide judgment. He continues to mislead others into believing that the events of the "end of the age" have already taken place and were confined to Judea. Gary DeMar says that the following words of the Lord Jesus are only in regard to Judea:

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Mt.24:30).

As already demonstrated in my article "The Coming of the Son of Man" at the coming of the Lord Jesus there will a distress of "nations" because the people in those nations will be fearful of the things coming upon the earth:

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Lk.21:25-27).

The first thing that must be understood about the events described here is the fact that the great tribulation will be over by the time when the signs are seen in the sky (see Matthew 24:29). So the events described at Luke 21:25-27 have nothing to do with the great tribulation.

Oikoumene

At Luke 21: 26 we can can see that there will be distress of nations on the earth because the people of the nations will be "looking after those things which are coming on the earth (oikoumene)."

Gary DeMar himself gives a meaning for the word "oikoumene" here:

"The case can be made that 'oikoumene' is used exclusively for the geographical area generally limited to the Roman empire of the first-century and the territories immediately adjacent which were known and accessible to first-century travelers. When first-century Christians read the word 'oikoumene,' they thought of what they knew of their world" [emphasis mine] (Gary DeMar, "The Gospel Preached to All the World, Part 3 of 4; The Preterist Archive).

In the same discourse the Lord Jesus used the same word at another place:

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (oikoumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Mt.24:14).

If we are to remain consistent then if oikoumene means the inhabited earth (or the Roman Empire) at Matthew 24:14 then it should mean the same thing at Luke 21:26.

With the meaning which Gary DeMar himself places on the Greek word oikoumene established let us now once again examine Luke 21:26-27:

"Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth (oikoumene): for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Lk. 21: 25-27).

The Lord's words here are in regard to a judgment that is coming on the inhabited earth. That did not happen in A.D.70.

Even if we accept Gary DeMar's idea that the meaning of the word oikoumen is limited to only the Roman Empire then we can also know that these prophecies were not fulfilled in A.D.70 since no judgment came upon the Roman Empire at that time.

The words of the Lord Jesus cannot be misunderstood except by those who place more faith in their preconceived ideas than they do in the words of the Lord Jesus. The judgment that will take place after the signs in the sky and the coming of the Lord Jesus is in regard to a world wide judgment.

Despite the clear Bibical evidence that a world wide judgment is in view Gary DeMar continues to mislead others by attempting to prove that the Greek word oikoumene at Luke 21:26 refers only to "the surroundings of Judea":

"Luke uses 'oikoumene' eight times, more than any other New Testament author, three times in his gospel and five times in Acts. Everyone agrees that its use in Luke 2:1 refers to the boundaries of the Roman empire. Its use in 21:26 fits well with how preterists interpret the Olivet Discourse since it takes place before verse 32: 'Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.' The imminent conflagration predicted by Jesus is not world-wide but is confined to the surroundings of Judea (Matt. 24:16; Luke 21:21). This includes 'the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world [oikoumene]' (Luke 21 26)" (DeMar,"The Gospel Preached to All the World", Part 3; http://www.preteristarchive.com/PartialPreterism/demar-gary_03_01.html).

Gary DeMar quotes no Greek experts to support his idea here as to the meaning of the word oikoumene (since no Greek expert says that the word can mean "the surroundings of Judea") and denies the very translation that he quoted at another place (the "New American Standard Version") and denies the meaning of the word which he himself gave at another place (the inhabited earth).

Gary DeMar accuses dispensationalists of practicing the fine art of "eisegesis", and then he does the same thing: "To make such a claim is practicing the fine art of eisegesis...reading an interpretation 'into' a text so that it will say what you want it to say" (DeMar, Last Days Madness, 383).

Gary DeMar reads his interpretation of Luke 21: 32 "into" the text at Luke 21: 26 so he can make that verse say what he wants it to say.

If the Bible can be interpreted so "the inhabited earth" can mean "the surroundings of Judea" then the Bible can mean anything and nothing.

Revelation 6: 12-16

In a parallel passage to Luke 21: 25-27 we can see that after the signs in the heavens "nations" will indeed be in distress:

"...the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth...And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (Rev.6:12-16).

Here the Apostle John describes the things which will occur after the signs in the sky, and it is clear that these events are not limited to the land of Judea: "the kings of the earth"and "every free man". Despite this Gary DeMar denies that these verses are speaking of a world wide judgment and says that they are only speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70:

"As Jerusalem's destruction drew near for that generation, 'they said to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?' (Rev.6:16-17)" [emphasis mine] (DeMar,Last Days Madness, 125).

The way that Gary DeMar deals with Revelation 6: 16-17 is fairly typical of how the preterists interpret verses in the "Revelation" that speak of a world wide judgment, as witnessed by the words of preterist Dr. Kenneth Gentry. First he quotes Revelation 9: 14-16:

"[The angel] said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops were two hundred million. I heard their number." [emphasis mine]

Notice that this prophecy speaks of "a third of mankind" being killed.

Dr. Gentry then says,"Because of the mounting space pressures I can only offer a brief insight into this passage...Besides the supernatural backdrop involving four angels, this imagery portrays in the most terrifying form the overwhelming forces arrayed against Israel during the Jewish war" [emphasis mine] (Pate,Four Views of the Book of Revelation, [Zondervan Publishing House,1998], 63-64).

Because of "mounting space pressures" Dr. Gentry offers no explanation as to how the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 could possibly be in regard to the killing of "a third of mankind." Surely he is aware of the problem that this brings to his interpretation of these verses but despite this he makes no effort whatsoever to attempt to reconcile the words "a third of mankind" with his ideas.

This arbitrary manner of dealing with the prophecies that reveal a world wide judgment has proven to be a foundation of sand for the entire prophetic system called preterism.

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