Presented via Internet – Pilgrim Preterist Conference – July 15, 2011
by Marty Angelo
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First of all I would like to apologize for not being able to get to Oklahoma this weekend to personally attend this year’s conference. I am stuck in Los Angeles where a major freeway closing has affected the entire southern California region. I was so excited when Don officially announced the conference back in January of this year and I asked him if he would give me a few minutes to speak there and was really blessed when he agreed. I immediately booked my flights which was my first mistake. Now no one knew back then of the major freeway closing and by the time it was announced only a few weeks ago it was way too late to change my reservations. The airline was extremely un-cooperative.
I am really thankful to be a part of this great conference. I’ve only had the pleasure of listening to some of the past conferences via audio tapes and/or cds and always wanted to be present at one of them. It looks like I almost came full circle. Not only was I going to attend this fantastic conference but I am actually scheduled to speak at one. It seems like we found a practical way of at least getting my message across. What a blessing! What an honor! This is a very humbling experience for me. And thank you Don for having me. I hope to be asked back again at one of your future conferences.
Donald K. Preston, D.Div
I’ve read all of Don Preston’s books, listened to practically all of his audio files and now that he is a YouTube video star… watched most of those as well.
Some of you may know I worked in the entertainment business for 15 years prior to becoming a Christian in 1981. I worked with many superstars along the way and watched this type of behavior develop amongst their fans. In most cases they turned out to be “groupies” …. Which I guess that makes me an official Don Preston “groupie.” Don’s excellent materials confirmed a lot of what I learned on my own dating way back to 1981. I discovered Don’s materials via the Internet back in 2006.
Being raised in Roman Catholicism has made me very gun-shy of all “isms.” And there are a ton of them around today. Over the last 30 years I watched the preterist end-time teaching slowly evolve into something called “preterism” and I am very reluctant to call myself one. I learned back in 1982 after finding out there were four main end-time teachings including the popular dispensationalism pre-trib rapture and preterist. I got stopped dead in my tracks and wanted to make sure whatever happened to me since becoming a Christian had to line up with the word of God when it came to what I was being taught out of textbooks regarding the end-times.
God showed me while sitting in a prison cell that He came and not only proclaimed the Kingdom of God but also taught it. I realized very early in my walk with Jesus that it wasn’t about His second coming that I needed to concern myself with… but His first. I later accepted His words as being true about Him coming within the His “this generation” in judgment upon Israel to destroy its’ religion and Old Jerusalem temple and law. I learned and believed Jesus came to fulfill the law and He did so perfectly in AD70…. Right on the money …. At the expect moment it was supposed to happen.
I even wrote a book on the subject back in 1982-84 entitled, “Vision of New Jerusalem: Now!” which I hope to have published later this year.
At first it took a bit of convincing on God’s part but after that wrestling match I learned not to mess with His word…. I was to let it change me and not make the slightest attempt to change it myself to fit whatever I wanted it to say. “If He said it… He meant it.” If Jesus said “Matthew 24:34 – “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” than He meant just that. No “ifs, ands, or buts!” It was not very hard for me to believe Jesus’ words.
Being raised in Roman Catholicism back when the Bible was a forbidden book my life was in real turmoil and it took an electrifying miracle to be drawn out of all those dogmas, doctrines and creeds. I had to stand spiritually naked in front of the Word of God to believe what happened to me upon becoming a real biblical Christian and to understand that Jesus Christ actually came inside of me. I had to drop all RC teachings. And I did very willingly … especially after being exposed to the Bible. I had enough half-truths that only led me straight into brick walls most of my life. I was in trouble every time I turned around.
I always believed as a Roman Catholic that the God of the New Testament was broken down into three actual people…. The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost. However, after reading the scriptures I came to an understanding that those were only three of God’s names or titles in the New Testament and He actually had over approx 170 other names throughout the entire Bible. – Spirit of God … Spirit of Jesus Christ …. Holy Ghost… Holy Spirit … Wonderful…., Counsellor, …..The Mighty God … The Everlasting Father…. The Prince of Peace) – Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
My first exposure to this confusing concept was in Jesus’ words when he commanded His disciples to baptize new believers in the name of the father, and of the son and of the holy ghost. Matthew 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
They actually did not officially do that until after the Day of Pentecost. That is when they received the promised and prophesied power in order to proclaim the Kingdom of God and understand the NAME … of Jesus.
I really first noticed the difference in Acts 2:38 forward when all the Apostles did was baptize in the name of Jesus, which is really New Testament title for God. Therefore I figured they found out something on THAT day … Pentecost … that turned what Jesus said into a reality. They were using the name …. Of the father… Jesus… and the name of the Son… Jesus… and the name of the Holy Ghost … Jesus. There is only one name that man can be saved …. JESUS. (Acts 4:12 – Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.)
Now I am not here to teach or debate “Oneness vs Trinitarian.” There are thousands of people coming into the fulfilled movement from all walks of life and from many different denominations. I really believe we all have to leave our pre-conceived doctrines at the door of AD70 … and should really question most of the other doctrines and creeds we bring along with us into this movement… not just our end-times beliefs. If our denominations got that wrong… I ask what else is needed to be looked at and studied? Half-truths and outright lies got the church where it is today…. “very dysfunctional.” No one really knows what to believe anymore.
This is where I feel a lot of confusion comes in to not only futurism but also with the fulfilled movement. Futurism is waiting for a physical Jesus to come back. Fulfilled believers teach Jesus already came back in AD70. However, I honestly feel a further study of the scriptures in needed by both sides.
We can debate until we are blue in the face and still be back to square one if we do not come to a proper understanding of the Kingdom of God that Jesus and His apostles proclaimed and taught. We shouldn’t try to prove anyone one of us is right or wrong. We need to allow God to be God and He will prove Himself… to be right … all of the time. He really does not need us to mess with His word.
While both Jerusalems were fighting it out within Jesus’ “this generation” He was already there… living within the 1st Century believers. He came to the Jew first and moved right into His Jewish followers on the Day of Pentecost and continued throughout to the Samaritans and finally to the Gentiles … just as He commanded and prophesied would happen.
Where many are missing the mark is trying to understand the 2nd Coming for more than what it really was. What was expected to happen did happen within the 40-year generation of Christ… be it judgment, resurrection, rapture, physical return, etc. What truly did happen was He did return and fulfilled Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy… and His own clearly stated in Matt., Mark and Luke. Whatever happened …. Happened… and it will not happen again. PERIOD. It is finished. Man can acquire forgiveness of sin and finally live right.
However, I feel the real important issue here is not dwelling on the 2nd Coming but to concern ourselves in understanding first who exactly is Jesus… where is He today … and what is His plan and purpose for each one of our lives.
We should not get all hung up on fighting out who is right and wrong on AD70 or His second coming being anything more than He said would happen… Today’s fulfilled scholars have that pretty well understood just what that all entails.
However ….. the question here is “What think ye of Christ?” – Matthew 22:42
Read entire Matthew 22:41-46 – While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
Our concentration can get hung up when we refuse to apply God’s spiritual kingdom principles to our lives today. We have to live in the present …. And fulfilled believers should know this more than anyone else… Futurists have an excuse. However, we don’t. The buck stops here.
Jesus commanded us to love God first and our neighbors as ourselves. Matthew 22:36-40 – Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
This hasn’t changed over the years. But, believing He is not with us and in us makes it very difficult to listen to His still soft voice and follow His commands. He does want to guide us into all truth. (Matthew 25:35 – feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, came unto the prisoners, caring for the widows, orphans.)
I think a very good question to ask and to study if there was only one other coming in the New Testament and which was in AD70 is: then where did Jesus go after AD70? Where is He now? That should be the all-important critical issue for fulfilled believers.
We know He came spiritually and/or physically … in AD70 to end religious Judaism, etc. But who changed non-believers into believers throughout that 1st generation? Who was living inside not only the apostles but everyone else who believed in Jesus through their doctrine of proclaiming and teaching the Kingdom of God?
That was the Apostles’ message/doctrine. Jesus is our solid rock chief cornerstone in our New Jerusalem (church, bride, kingdom) within us and the Apostles doctrine being our wall’s foundation …… Sure… the Apostles knew something was going to happen within their generation … they knew Jesus was returning according to His words…. HOWEVER according to the apostles’ doctrine Jesus was really already in them. That is what Paul stressed to the Colossians…. “Christ in you… the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 – To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory)
Wait…. What was that again? “Christ in you?” Then to make matters even more thrilling to learn… Paul went so far as to teach the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Now just hold on here! Say that again Paul. Was he saying what I think he was saying….? Was he really commanding the Corinthians to examine themselves …. That they were not their own selves how that JESUS CHRIST is in them?
Hmmmmmmmmm ….. A HUGE RED FLAG AND QUESTION MARK should pop up on that scripture alone.
How can Jesus Christ be in them/us when He is suppose to be in heaven to return someday … whether it is in AD70 or on May 21, 2011 ala Harold Camping? Or sometime else in the future according to Lindsey, Ice, Haggie, Lahaye etc. etc. etc. ?
We have a slight … no not slight … we have a major dilemma here!!!
This has to take us back to the question Jesus asked “What think ye of Christ?” in Matthew 22:42.
“We have a problem here Houston.”
If Jesus Christ was living in his followers then that has to get us back digging into our bibles to double check on just what the “coming” of Christ really means.
We really do have the AD70 truth thing pretty much beaten to death… don’t we? I wonder how many more books need to be written to get to the bottom of that issue? How many more debates? How many more conferences do we need to attend?
What’s next? A Fulfilled/Preterist denomination? Is this what we need is another church building? Will it come down to like all the others: “us four, Lord .. and no more?” Will it turn out to be another “us against them?”
During today’s major paradigm shift within Christianity I think we all need to take one step back and re-examine exactly what we all really believe in. It is one thing to debate AD70 but another to debate “what think ye of Christ?” Just where is Christ right now and where exactly was He during the 1st generation? Is He allowed by us to be everywhere at the same time? Didn’t He ask Job – “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” Job 38:4
Is He here… no there …. Is He down the street … or is He over there? Wait… was He is my old jail cell? Someone’s foxhole? A dying person’s hospital bed? Is He a part of the thousands of “isms” boxes man wants to build for Him. OR … Is He truly … I mean honestly…. This is a real honest question…. Is He really living inside of each one of us? Was He alive and well and changing people’s hearts during 1st Century Christianity and throughout the future age to come after AD70? Maybe a better question is… Is AD70 really that important of an issue?
Is Christ living inside of us, what is the Kingdom of God, New Jerusalem, the Bride, the Church really all about? Does Christ really live in us? None of us would be here right now if it wasn’t for the fact that Jesus Christ changed us and continues to change each and everyone one of us … and does it all at the same time. Some grow faster than others (for those who are forgiven much, love much… some get it faster than others who want to dilly dally with their faith… maybe even live in willful sin)… However, change does continually happen… on a very personal individual manner which eventually forms us all into His image corporately. Paul taught this principle to the Galatians. Christ will be formed in them… and us if we want to let it happen. Galatians 4:19 – My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
The Apostle Paul teaching
Paul clearly taught the Romans in 14:7 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” I honestly feel that the world nowadays really does not care very much about what happened in AD70 or any other so-called future coming of Christ. Oh sure… many carry around a false futurist hope or as fulfilled believers we say “it is done.” But the bottom line in anyone’s faith and what continues to draw people to Christ is His everyday coming … His bringing of “peace and joy and righteousness.”
Paul also taught the Romans that if any man that does not have the Spirit of God while also calling the Spirit… “the Spirit of Christ…” dwelling within them, he is none of his. Romans 8:9 – “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
When I teach in prisons I do not, cannot and refuse to dwell on future or past 2nd coming of Christ. Because I believe there is more to Jesus than just that. I teach that Christ can give inmates peace right now TODAY …. real peace …. Peace that passes all understanding…. That only comes through Jesus Christ the real “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and His peace is the only peace we should be concentrating on (Philippians 4:7 – “ And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. RIGHT NOW…. Today. It has nothing to do about who is right or wrong concerning their eschatology.
That is what confuses so many people today. Even within fulfilled and futuristic circles. We debate and argue and point fingers and condemn and call each other heretics and all the while we are basically kicking the can down the road never even taking the time to fully understand “What think ye of Christ?”
Here is more proof that Christ was living within 1st century Christianity …. The Apostle Paul taught the Galatians…. Gal 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
He also taught Colossians …. Col 3:11 – Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
He taught the Corinthians… 1 Cor 3:16 – Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Listen to what Paul taught the Ephesians – Ephesians 3:16-17 – That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Listen again very clearly what Paul taught the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
Now listen to what Jesus says in the book of Revelation: Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
All of this didn’t happen at AD70 now did it? When did Jesus come into people? What day did He command His disciples to wait for all of this to happen?
Listen to what He said to them after the resurrection and prior to His departing …. John 14:16-20 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
We can spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out on charts, graphs, slide rules, church pews, John Hagee telecasts, Hal Lindsey books or preterist conferences …. just when did or will Jesus came back… but the real truth is Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of God is within us. I am sure He knew people would be debating this issue for generations to come but His simple instruction is: Luke 17:21 – Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
The Day of Pentecost – “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost”
What happened on the Day of Pentecost should not be lightly brushed over. Sometimes we look at it as a non-important event … but it was the day Christ spiritually came into His believers. (Acts 2:16-17 – But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:) This is the Jesus people are looking for… searching for… debating about … and fighting about ….
The simple message of the Gospel that Jesus taught and all of the apostles taught was the big mystery… “Christ in you… the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 – To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory)
He broke down the wall of perdition between Jew and Gentile and made us both one…. Spiritually. Ephesians 2:14 – “or he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall,” Now the only door left into the Kingdom of God is JESUS. John 10:9 – I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
There is no need to look here…. look there…. for Jesus. Yes… AD70 was a very important date to say the least … It was the end of the Jewish world or age as they knew it … and a very significant moment in time when Jesus fulfilled all prophesy … However, Jesus Christ was living within 1st Century believers and in us now is the real issue we should be discussing and concentrating on here. This is what should be debated, studied and understood.
God was always King. All we have to do is study the first or old testament and ask Egypt’s Pharaoh or Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar if God wasn’t always King. The Jews were not happy with God being their spiritual king. They wanted to be like the Gentiles and have a physical king. Just like what is being taught over the generations up to and including today.
However….. We have the honor today to have that King living inside of us today. The King of Kings — The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! – Jesus Christ taught in John 4:24 – God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Paul clearly taught the Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Isn’t this what we are all really searching for? I know when I was a substance abuser I tried to get all that “fruit” from all the wrong people, places and things. The world only offers counterfeits… that only last for a split moment in time. However, once Jesus Christ comes into us …. We bear the fruit that only He can freely give us…. That is how we know He is alive and living in and changing us from the inside. You can snort all the cocaine the world has to offer and it will never satisfy you. But one sip of Jesus’ water … and look out!!! We are filled to overflowing … and able to overcome our troubles to being able to help others. That is the Kingdom of God. It is not out there hidden somewhere. It is right here living inside of us just like it was living inside of 1st Century believers. There really is not much difference.
Does this have anything to do with AD70 or off into some future moment in time?
Like the old hymn “I serve a risen Savior” clearly reminds us …. “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”
Where the writer of that song missed it was in verse two …. In all the world around me, I see His loving care, And though my heart grows weary, I never will despair; I know that He is leading, Through all the stormy blast; The day of His appearing, Will come at last.
The second coming was not understood over time and confused with a literal coming to set up God’s kingdom … but His kingdom is already set up …. Within us … with Jesus sitting on the thrones of our hearts…. When? Right this very moment … just like He did within 1st Century Christianity.
please see this site for more information: http://martyangelo.com/what_think_christ.htm