pastors blog

To Fulfill All That Is Written

Jason L Bradfield

While on Facebook yesterday, i stumbled upon yet another thread where a hyperpreterist was ranting and raving about Sam and i. It never ceases to amaze me how some hyperpreterists will whine about being called names, yet a week doesn’t go by where i can’t do a little surfing, just on Facebook alone, and see my name being trashed all over the place…coming from people i have little to no interaction with at all.

That was the unfortunate part. But, what some intended for harm, God caused for good. As a result of the “exposure”, a hyperpreterist messaged me, expressed an open mind, and asked a sincere question about Luke 21.22. For those of you unfamiliar with this verse, here it is:

…for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. (Luke 21.22 ESV)

Let’s expand the context a bit:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21.20-24 ESV)

Mr HyperPreterist himself, Don Preston, argues:

Do you realize Jesus said when all prophecy would be fulfilled? Read Luke 21:22. Here is the context. Jesus was predicting the fall of Jerusalem, see verses 5-7. In describing that event he said “all things that are written must be fulfilled.”…When it is admitted that Luke 21:22 speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem and that generation, Luke 21:32, you are thereby admitting there are no further prophecies to be fulfilled! Jesus said in those days of Israel’s fall “all things that are written must be fulfilled.” How many prophecies are left out of that “all?” Did Jesus say all prophecies “except” a few would be fulfilled at that time? Jesus’ words here should make us rethink our concepts of prophecy and the “last things.” (Source)

I can quote a number of hyperpreterists, but this paragraph from Don will suffice. It is no secret that this is standard, hyperpreterist fare. So, the question posed to us “partial preterists” is a simple one: if Jerusalem was destroyed in ad70 and by that event, Jesus said that “all things that are written must be fulfilled”; how can we argue that there is prophecy left to be fulfilled post ad70?

Seems fairly plain, right? Well, not so fast.

First, just from a literary and logical standpoint, the word “all” comes into question. “Does the word ‘all’ always mean ‘all’?” Well, yes. However, we have to ask the question: “all” of WHAT?

The first entry for the word “all” in my trusty 1828 Webster’s Dictionary is as follows: “Every one, or the whole number of particulars.”

The “whole number of particulars”…think about that for a second. What “particulars”? Well, the word “all”, in and of itself, doesn’t tell us what “particulars” are in mind. The context determines this.

Let me give you an illustration from everyday, normal English usage. At my church, there are 8 people who attend and have the last name “Bradfield”; my wife and our four children, my mom and dad, and myself. Due to his work schedule, my dad is not always able to make it. Now, suppose a friend from church called me today and asked, “Are all the Bradfields going to be at church this Sunday?” And i answer, “Yes.”

What is this person asking? Is he asking me whether or not every single Bradfield on this planet is going to be at our church on Sunday? Of course not. In fact, if i interpreted his question as such and answered, “Well of course not. How are we going to fit thousands of people into that little room”, i would get either a strange look or a laugh. Can it mean that? Sure. But the “particulars” that both the questioner and i understand, in this context, are the 8 Bradfields who regularly come to church. And this narrow use of the word “all” is perfectly valid.

Context determines what “particulars” are in mind.

This simple, objective, literary and logical fact alone ought to cause us to pause for a second when reading Lk 21.22 and have us ask, “what particulars are in mind?” No doubt, Jesus said, “all things that are written…” But we must ask, “all things that are written about WHAT?”

Hyperpreterists would have us believe that the “all things that are written” refers to the whole of Scripture! Now, is such an interpretation possible on literary grounds alone? Sure. It’s possible. I mean, the word “all” can be used to refer to each and every Bible prophecy and if that was the only statement we had, then sure. The word “all” can include the “particulars” of every single prophecy. But the context defines for us what “particulars” are in mind. And if you are one to ignore context, then perhaps you can explain to my friend how thousands of Bradfields are going to fit in our building this Sunday.

There are two immediate reasons why the hyperpreterist interpretation of defining the “particulars” of Lk 21.22 as referring to every single prophecy fails:

1. The immediate context of Lk 21.22 is clearly speaking of judgment on Israel. Therefore, the “particulars” in question are “all” of that which attends the judgment of Israel…nothing more. In other words, “all things that are written” about Israel’s judgment is what will be “fulfilled.”

2. The Scriptures clearly speak to the time following the destruction of Jerusalem, ie. the age to come. Even hyperpreterists, with the exception of two or three hyper-hyperpreterists, admit this. And to this, we would point out that these hyper-hypers are actually being consistent to the hyperpreterist interpretation of Lk 21.22 as argued by men like Don Preston…for this simple reason: if ALL Biblical prophecy (unqualified) was fulfilled by ad70, then the Scriptures can have no prophetic relevance for the world whatsoever, beyond ad70. Hyperpreterism leaves us in complete darkness.

And while Don Preston does not consistently carry this out, i have pointed out in previous posts that he does carry it out to some extent. Hyperpreterists still, to this day, have completely ignored the problem Don Preston’s hyperpreterism creates. Oh, they have argued about whether particular tsunamis are judgments or not, but they have ignored the over-arching argument from Don altogether; that is, God does not, nor CAN NOT, judge any nation today!

Hyperprets have a choice. Either go the route of the “RiverofEden” types and remove themselves from the Biblical picture altogether, being able to say absolutely NOTHING at all about the post ad70 world, or continue to contradict their interpretation of Lk 21.22 each and every time they wish to speak of any Biblical relevance to the post ad70 world.

In closing, let me give another reason why the hyperpreterist interpretation of Lk 21.22 fails.

Hyperpreterists love to cheer on the principle of analogia fidei – the analogy of faith. This principle, simply put, is that Scripture interprets Scripture. Of course, there is more to this principle than what hyperprets let on. For starters, this principle involves more than just cutting and pasting together a bunch of verses that use the same words, and then hollering for “consistency.” The principle assumes that the hard task of exegesis, on a systematic level, has taken place. And systematic exegesis (exegeting in light of the whole) simply does not exist in the hyperpreterist world. They have not even come close.

But let’s, just for a moment, pretend that it does exist and go along with their typical use of analogia fidei. If we flip just a few chapters back in Luke, we find the following:

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. (Luke 18:31-34 ESV)

Did you notice that? “Everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” When? “See, we are going up to Jerusalem”.

Hmm…is Jesus saying that every single thing that has ever been written about him will be accomplished upon entering the city of Jerusalem? Luke is using the same language he used in chapter 21. Does it not CLEARLY say, “everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished”?! “Are you telling me that ‘everything’ doesn’t mean ‘everything’?”

Well, if he is, then not only is “partial preterism” false, “full preterism” is false as well. Did the “coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of glory” happen then? Nope, not even for a hyperpreterist.

If we were to utilize the hyperpreterist hermeneutic for chapter 18 that they use in chapter 21, PreteristRadio would have been hosted at and not

Again, we must ask the question that every interpreter does ask, even the hyperpreterists, with this verse: what “particulars” does the word “everything” refer to in context? And the answer is simple: “For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

“All” of those particulars are going to come to pass when the Son of Man enters Jerusalem. “Everything that is written” about those particulars “will be accomplished.”

Not that hard, is it? I have another one for ya:

Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. (Acts 13:26-31 ESV)

Did you see that? “When they had carried out ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.”

Even a hyperpreterist would have to admit that it would be absolutely insane to argue that every single prophecy that was written of Christ (unqualified) was fulfilled while Christ hung on the cross.

“But it says, ‘they had carried out all that was written of him‘, does it not? Does ‘all’ not mean ‘all’ here?”

Well, of course it does. ‘All’ always means ‘all’. That isn’t the debate. The debate is, “all” of what? And for whatever reason, hyperpreterists completely ignore this natural and necessary question when it comes to Luke 21.22. Even when we lay aside, for the sake of argument, the fact that hyperpreterists misuse the principle of analogia fidei, and we attempt to read Lk 21.22 as a hyperpreterist should read it (principally), we still can’t arrive at their interpretation of v.22 “consistently”.

We must ask what particulars does the “all” of Lk 21.22 include. And i believe the context of Lk 21 spells that out plainly, with the whole of Scripture informing us of what it does not include as well.

Well, that is all i have to say on it…for now. ( ;

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