Q109 : The Preterist Interpretation of the Olivet Discourse

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Q109 : The Preterist Interpretation of the Olivet Discourse

Dr. Woods,

I am writing my dissertation on the topic of a pastors guide for teaching the Olivet Discourse. focusing on the Book of Matthew, but I plan to cover the differences in Mark and Luke.

Although I do not agree with any of the interpretations held by historical and modern day Preterists, if you read selected passages in Matthew and take the passage literally the preterists seem to have some grounds for their arguments.

The problem however in light of other prophetic passages individual passages cannot be interpreted as stand alone text The real problem is context, context and context.

However, I am curious about what the original language may have said. Did the translators inject problems into the text that may not have been intended by the Holy Spirit. (Please comment.)

Another point of interest is that the apostles that wrote about the discourse in their Gospels were not privileged to hear the words directly from Jesus. (Please comment.)

I am finding some disagreement with respects to false christs and prophets in the first century. Dr. Ice said this was not a problem, but R.C. Sproul indicated that Josephus said there were many false christs and prophets during the first century. Have you had any opportunity to investigate this subject?

A109 : by Andy Woods

Let me try to answer your questions in the order that you asked them.

  1. I am really not aware of any translation issues that would have a bearing on how the Olivet Discourse is interpreted. I have not studied this in depth. In general, there are an extremely small number of verses in Scripture that are in dispute on text critical grounds. Those verses that are in dispute do not impact any major area of doctrine.

  2. Even though some of the Gospel writers (like Mark and Luke) were presumably not present to hear Christ's Olivet Discourse, this absence has no bearing on the accuracy of what they recorded. John 14:26 specifically indicates that the Spirit would bring the remembrance of those things that Christ said and taught to those who wrote the pages of God's word.

  3. Sproul and other preterists miss a crucial point in trying to connect Matt 24:4-5 to the events of A.D. 70. Although there were certainly many false prophets in this era, there were none that claimed to be the Messiah as these verses demand. For documentation on this point, see An Interpretation of Matthew 24-25 (Part 5)a by Dr. Thomas Ice at www.pre-trib.org.

Hope this helps.

[Editor’s note: A straightforward reading of Zechariah 12 precludes the preterist interpretation of Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 as having been fulfilled in 70 A.D. See Rev. 1:7 - Past or Future?b for additional background on this important point.]

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