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ISRAEL DESERVED GOD’S WRATH

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  Leave a comment
AD 70

Preterists believe that Jesus called down judgment upon Israel, and that this judgment was deserved by the people of Israel. Because of our modern historical situation — post-Holocaust — this view is deemed by some to be an immoral position because of its latent anti-Semitism. But is the charge legitimately brought against the preterist?

This is the second in a series on the question. More will follow. But now let us consider:

Introductory caution

Before I even start with the general defense of preterism against this charge, I will clearly and forthrightly state: anti-Semitism is evil and should not be held by any Christian. You cannot be anti-Semitic and follow Jesus’ command: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I will also declare that I myself am opposed to anti-Semitism and have never held to it or any form of racism.

But this issue is not about me. So I must speak to the broader issue regarding whether or not preterism as such is anti-Semitic. My answer to this question should be surmised from all that I have said before: No. Preterism as a theological construct is not anti-Semitic. Let me now respond to the “preterism = anti-Semitism” charge.


A Revelation of the Revelation (6 CDs by Ken Gentry)
This lecture series was designed to introduce the preterist approach
to Revelation to those who had never heard of it.
Very helpful for personal study, small group Bible study, or Sunday school classes.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Defending by Defining

I would point out that we need to define our terms. What is “anti-Semitism”? This term is thrown around a lot, but not often properly interpreted.

First, a basic, sufficient definition is found in Webster’s New Twentieth Century Unabridged Dictionary. There we learn that “anti-Semitism” is: “1. prejudice against Jews; dislike or fear of Jews and Jewish things. 2. discrimination against or persecution of Jews.” This is the only legitimate definition in alleging anti-Semitism. No plank in the preterist system suggests that preterism dislikes Jews, fears them, or wants to discriminate against or persecute them.

The belief that God will not once again exalt Israel above all other nations (as in the OT, e.g., Dt 7:6-8; Psa 147:19-20) is not anti-Semitic. It may be contra-Judaic, but it is not anti-Semitic. That is, preterism certainly contradicts religious Judaism theologically, but it does not seek to persecute ethnic Jews socially.

Second, I would point out another necessary definition in the debate. Preterism teaches that (1) God punished Israel; and he did so (2) in the events of the first century. Preterism holds neither that Christians were ever called upon to persecute Jews (in either the first century or today) nor that God’s judgment wrath is to continue against them today. The prophetically-determined, biblically-defined judgment of God came against them in the concrete, historical, non-repeatable events of the first century. That was the generation that rejected Christ; that temple was the focus of his wrath. Those people and that institution have long since perished.

We need to distinguish between an interpretation of a book written 2000 years ago in the context of great struggle for the life of the church and the ravings of modern racists, zealots, and hotheads. I am interpreting a book regarding events that occurred 20 centuries ago; I am not calling for a continued pogrom against the Jews. In fact, my evangelical Christian theology forbids it (do unto others) as well as my postmillennial expectations (all people-groups will be saved), as well as the obvious fact that my Savior and his apostles were Jewish.

In my next blog I will continue my preterist response to the anti-Semitism charge.


Satan Issues
A two-message consideration of Satan.
Actually one of the messages exposes a misunderstanding about Satan (he is not Lucifer),
while the other demonstrates that Satan was bound by Christ in the first century.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

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