Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Debating the Dating of Revelation

I stumbled across these videos yesterday.

I have not watched them in their entirety just yet, but I understand Hank gets "pwnd" pretty bad by Hitchcock. I figure some folks are gonna say, "Hank Hanegraaff? Why such easy pickins'?" Though I certainly agree that debating Hank on any theological subject is like shotgun blasting a bunch of baby ducks swimming in a pond, as I understand it, both Ken Gentry and Gary Demar were approached first to do the debate and both declined for whatever reason. Hank was the third choice, and next to Gentry and Demar, he is certainly a recognizable preterist popularizer who has published on the subject.

Hitchcock's dissertation was on the dating of Revelation. Though a 95 AD writing of John's Revelation does nothing to impact a futurist view of the prophecy, that date certainly does impact the preterist interpretation of the book making it unworkable.

Hitchcock's dissertation is available for free PDF download here:

A Defense of the Domitianic Date of the Book of Revelation

(BTW, the download was agonizingly slow and I am running on a superfast internet connection. You folks with dial-up in Cave City, Arkansas may want to do some chores while you wait).

Debate is watchable in three parts:

Debate on the Date of the Book of Revelation (Part 1 of 3) from Thomas Ice on Vimeo.

Debate on the Date of the Book of Revelation (Part 2 of 3) from Thomas Ice on Vimeo.

Debate on the Date of the Book of Revelation (Part 3 of 3) from Thomas Ice on Vimeo.

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Blogger Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

I have watched the entire debate between Hanegraaff and Hitchcock and I believe I commented on it on Dan’s blog last year. As I think I said then, not only does Hanegraaff get “pwnd” but he, IMO, comes across angry.

I never liked the way he finally “came out” with his end-times beliefs, by first trying to sell a novel (along the lines of the “Left Behind” books but with a Preterist spin) and then a “non-fiction book that was pretty much an attack on Tim LaHaye.

I think the personal attacks made him look petty and the Preterist position tainted his other biblical beliefs and his ministry has suffered appropriately.

Despite these things I will always be appreciative to Hanegraaff because it was while listening to his show (back when I did) that I decided to follow his advice and take my Christian beliefs “seriously” and start to look more into why I believe what I believe.

9:31 AM, November 16, 2011  
Blogger DJP said...

I think Haaank is a not-much-of-anyone who got a really nice gig. He's done some good things with it, thanks to good staff (takedown of Word-faithers, etc.), but I don't think he's much beyond his cutesy little memorized phrases.

1:32 PM, November 16, 2011  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

A full preterist position is indefensible. So then you have to be a partial preterist which rests solely on interpretations of the words "this generation" in Matthew 24 and the dating of Revelation prior to AD 70.

2:32 PM, November 16, 2011  
Blogger DJP said...

Or, you could say, using one possibly woodenly literal reading of "this generation" to pulverize even a remotely literal reading of any other prophetic Scripture.

7:23 AM, November 17, 2011  
Blogger Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

"I think Haaank is a not-much-of-anyone who got a really nice gig…his cutesy little memorized phrases "

And how he got that gig and learned those memorization techniques is a sad story in of itself. I think I linked to this before but just in case I didn’t:

Letter from Walter Martin’s daughter

Verification word:flamly

As in flim-flam which means as a Noun: Nonsensical or insincere talk, IOW, Preterism
As Verb: Swindle (someone) with a confidence game, IOW, Haneegraff???

9:27 AM, November 17, 2011  
Blogger Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

”using one possibly woodenly literal reading of "this generation" to pulverize even a remotely literal reading…

And that’s the thing that really amazed me back when I looked into Preterism. I couldn’t believe how much scripture these guys were willing to twist just so they could satisfy themselves with what “they thought” made more sense of the word “generation”.

9:32 AM, November 17, 2011  
Blogger Dave said...

I would like to thank you for presenting this debate. I have never had the opportunity to find out Mr. Hanegraaff's position on these subjects; and I do not think he supported his position very well, yet merely wandered in circles: While, Dr. Hitchcock presented his case very well. I hold to a literal reading of the Scriptures[unless otherwise indicated]; so this was very enjoyable for me:) God Bless; and MYITAUT:)

8:54 AM, November 18, 2011  
Blogger Ken said...


In all fairness to Hank, there are other Walter Martin family members who have brought forth evidence against the charges against Hank H.. (see above) As to who is right, I honestly don't know. But at least both sides of the issues need to be presented, and the first few comments seemed to "poison the well" from the get-go against Hank.

Both sides did a good job in presenting the facts and issues, if people would listen to the whole thing first. I listened and watched the whole thing.

HH was a little defensive, but that is understandable given that he was indeed in a sort of "lions den" of dispensational audience.

And historically, within dispensational circles, it seems that other views are labeled as heresy quite a bit. That was my experience in a dispensational church for years. I have appreciated the writings of Kenneth Gentry and Gary DeMar in at least presenting lots of historical evidence from Josephus and Eusebius about AD 70, that we never heard about in prophesy conferences in our dispy churches when they would bring in Dwight Pentecost or John Walvoord or Charles Ryrie or a Hal Lindsay type.

Hitchcock did a good job of amassing the external evidence for 95 AD, but, to me, it seemed, he should not have Origen in that group, for the quote he offered did not seem to necessitate a 95 AD date.

Jerome believed in, and defended the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, but Irenaeus did not. In fact the evidence in Irenaeus is against the Perpetual Virginity of Mary in Irenaeus. (See Eric Svendsen's work, "Who is My Mother?" I can find exact reference later if necessary.)

But most of the ECF's did seem to believe in baptismal regeneration, beginning with Justin Martyr.

I was surprised that Hank did not bring out Kenneth Gentry's evidence that Irenaeus seems to be saying that it was John who was still alive, "he was seen as still alive", rather than when the vision was seen.

Also, the Galatian church is rebuked by Paul for very quickly sliding into apostasy and allowing the false teachers to teach a different gospel. (Galatians 1-2)
So, it is possible that after Paul's execution by Nero, that John came to Ephesus and so, there is no necessity that Paul had to mention John.

Gary DeMar or Kenneth Gentry would probably have been better, but Hank H. did not do so bad and I don't think he was Pwnd so much.

I was surprised I had not heard about this debate before now, as I see it took place in 2007. Wow.

7:21 AM, November 20, 2011  
Blogger Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

Opps, when I was poisoning the well earlier I forgot to mention Hanegraaff suing “Christian” apologist Bill Alnor for defamation, although I guess somebody did decide who was right in that one:


3:02 AM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Ken said...

Thanks for more information. I honestly did not know about that stuff about Bill Alnor.

I confess I stopped listening to the Bible Answer Man Program after all the accusations against HH started coming out. I still get the CRI Journal, but since that time, around 2002 (?); I get deeper apologetic study from listening and reading Dr. James White and other Reformed folks.)

The whole HH controversy thing was very depressing, because I appreciated him and his work against the Word of Faith heretics. (Christianity in Crisis, Counterfeit Revival) But then when another daughter of Walter Martin came out with lots of other information (videos, audio tapes, others who have testified in a more positive light for HH) for another side to the issue; I was encouraged that maybe I should reserve judgment for now.

But, I was disappointed in Hank and his taking the "Libertarian free will" / Arminian side of the Reformed debate. Other than that, generally, the content of his material and the CRI Journal seems really good. I loved Walter Martin and his passion and his boldness and quickness. I wish they (HH with all of the Martin family) were all together in Christian unity and that all of HH's good material was still together with W. Martin's material, for he has some really great contributions to discernment and rebuking false teachings and cults. There is some of Walter Martin's material that is absolutely irreplaceable in content and boldness and passion.

6:42 AM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Ken said...

Getting back to the issue of the date of the writing of Revelation and the debate, including other issues from Matthew 24 and Eschatology - they do seem to have direct relevance to the overall debate of futurism vs. Partial Preterism, when trying to harmonize the whole issue.

I think Hitchcock's point of "soon" at the beginning and end of Rev. was one that does seem to be one of the reasons for full-Preterism, however, one could argue that just because John ends with "soon" and "near" in 22:6, 22:7: 22:10: 22:12: 22:20, does not necessarily mean that he "includes" the second coming and judgment day and resurrection of the flesh in chapters 19-22 in that.

I do think it is clearer (than the "soon" inclusio) that 22:16 - "for the churches" is an inclusion that teaches us that the whole book of Revelation was written for the seven churches (chapters 1-3) and that 22:16 shows that chapters 4-19 are also about things that pertain to "the churches". So the whole book applies to all churches for all time until the second coming, and that seems to destroy arguments that chapters 4-18 have nothing to do with "the church", etc. It does seem like Rev. 1:4, 1:9-11 with 22:16 are indeed the kind of “inclusion” that Hitchcock contends for regarding “near” and “soon”. Since time is still going, and we are still on this earth; there seems to me to be a lot of wisdom in the whole “already, not yet” theological thinking.

11:14 AM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Being a part of a radio ministry allows me certain knowledge of other similar radio ministries that may not be necessarily public. I am not entirely familiar with the Bill Alnor accusations and law suit, either, though I will say the mail scandal involving Hank was picked up by secular media and I knew about it through the Orange County Register and the LA Times.

Any ways, there is a rather large number of disgruntled, formal employees of CRI who alleged a lot of mismanagement and shady stuff against the ministry since Hank's involvement. Granted, all ministries will have their share of formal, disgruntled employees, but not a large contingency. One particular formal employee got Hank in trouble with the ECFA because of some "financal mismanagement".

It may be that Hank was picked by Martin before his death, but even if just half his family has no problems with him, there is a lot of "other stuff" that makes me question him.

4:23 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Ken said...

there is a lot of "other stuff" that makes me question him.

You are right. It certainly does not give him great credibility with those folks to go to Word of Faith type churches and know about his own financial issues, even though he has the right orthodoxy / doctrine against the Word of Faith teachings, some of the accusations against him are the same problems of greed and materialism, extravagant spending. There was some of that accusation before. This stuff gives the those that listen to Word of Faith teachings cause to not listen to the critique of their doctrines. And that is very unfortunate; very grievous.

4:49 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Ken said...

Matthew 23:36 - "all these things will come upon this generation" - seems strong to mean "the generation of unbelieving Jews at that time who had rejected Messiah (Pharisees, chief priests, scribes, elders), "who killed the prophets", etc. and if one keeps reading it flows naturally into 24:1-3 and 24:34.

It seems to me that it is the disciples who, when asking their question about when the temple (Herod's temple standing in 30 AD), (24:3); it is they who mix the events of 70 AD with the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age.

It seems to me that Jesus, in answering them, mixes both things in together so that those "all things" in 23:36 and 24:34 are meaning the 7 year war of the Romans vs. Israel, destruction of the temple, etc. and also some things, especially some kind of great tribulation and the "coming in the clouds" in verses 29-31 are about Christ's future second coming.

I never agreed with Sproul in his otherwise very good book, The Last Days According to Jesus, that Matthew 13:39-42 is about "the end of the Jewish age" - that seemed forced, and I guess he got that from Gentry. ( I have not read all of Gentry.) I read all of DeMar's two main books, Last Days Madness and End Times Fiction, and Sproul's on the subject.(above).

Hitchcock said several times that Revelation is prophesy and not history; yet a partial Preterist (or Hank's "exegetical eschatology") agrees with that, that John prophesied about the soon coming judgement on Israel and the temple; yet when prophesy comes true, then it becomes history. This is one of the powerful pluses for the "soon coming" in judgment against the attacks by skeptics like Bertrand Russell and others who have attacked Jesus because they say He lied and was a false prophet because He didn't come back soon. He did in judgment on Israel in 70 AD, through His sovereign action in bringing the Romans to judge them and destroy the temple; but He will also come again physically in the second coming. ( I Thess. 4, 2 Thess 1, 2 Peter 3, I Cor. 15, Acts 1:11, Titus 2:13; Rev. 19-22, Matthew 24:36 - chapter 25.)

That "coming" is used as coming in judgement is clear - Revelation 2:5; 2:16; 3:3. (in allowing things to happen, wars, armies, etc. Romans, Barbarians, then Islam, to conquer areas and destroy churches - that Islam conquered many ancient areas seems to be fulfillments of Jesus' warnings against the churches.)

Revelation 1:7 (to me) seems to be able to include both the 70 AD and the second coming, since some it included the cross (John 19:37, from Zech.12:10), and the ascension. (Mark 14:61-64; Daniel 7:13-14)

One of the weakest aspects of partial preterism are all the other details in Revelation that seem hard to fit with 70 AD, which HH admits, which is why he seemed to indicate that he doesn't agree with seeing everything as fulfilled in 70 AD (until Rev. 20-22), as DeMar and Gentry do. And that is also the reason for him not to be dogmatic or committed to a Millennial position, it seems.

4:56 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I do have some other articles you may like addressing some of the things you raise at my Future Premillennial page

5:34 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Ken said...

Thanks Fred; I see a lot of interesting titles and issues!

6:23 PM, November 21, 2011  
Blogger Rocky2 said...

[Hip..Saw this on the net. Enjoy.]

Futurism Was, Is, and Is To Come

Preterists claim that the "Antichrist" and the "great tribulation" were fulfilled during the 70 AD period.
If so, why do we find that the arrival of the Antichrist was regarded as a future event by writers who lived during and after 70 AD?
Polycarp (70-167) wrote that "He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead."
Justin Martyr (100-168) said that "[Antichrist] shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians...."
Irenaeus (140-202) wrote that the ten kings (Rev. 17)"shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight."
It's not true that Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) "revived" futurism because it was never lost during the Middle Ages or prior to that period of time.
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) stated: "There remains only one thing - that the demon of noonday [Antichrist] should appear."
Roger Bacon (1214-1274) spoke of "future perils [for the Church] in the times of Antichrist...."
John Wycliffe (1320-1384) referred to "the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii."
Martin Luther (1483-1546): "[The book of Revelation] is intended as a revelation of things that are to happen in the future...."
(Google or Yahoo "Famous Rapture Watchers" to see quotes from many Christian leaders throughout the Church Age which prove that they expected a future Antichrist and a future great tribulation.)
Preterists use Matt. 24:34 ("This generation will not pass....") to try to prove a 70 AD fulfillment of "Antichrist." Since many of them see "these" (Matt. 25:46) fulfilled in the future in Rev. 20, why can't they apply futurism as easily to Matt. 24:34? After all, the word "this" is the singular form of "these"!
To see something that preterists, historicists, and futurists can all agree on, Google "Pretrib Rapture Secrets."

11:11 PM, February 29, 2012  

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