A Response to Robert Kramer #1
Robert Kramer produces an On-Line “Journal” entitled “Second Thoughts.” In the past, he has written some articles critical of the true preterist view of eschatology. In 2010 I wrote a six part response to some of his thoughts and he and I corresponded some as well. You can find article #1 here.
In his Issue #119, 2014 version, he offered some thoughts once again. Under his point #2 he says “The destruction of Jerusalem was not the time of Jesus’ return.” He offers several “reasons” that he believes this.
His first point, the focus of this brief response, is that Jesus “warned his disciples not to believe those who would say that He has come and could be found in this place or that, maybe in the wilderness or some inner room (Matthew 24:23 &26). He makes the clarifying point that when He does return it will be like lightning flashing in the east visible in the west (v. 27).”
There are several inherent problems with Kramer’s latest charge.
First of all, Kramer seems to be oblivious to Hebraic thought and expression.
Second, directly related to that is that he ignores the OT source of the expressions used by Jesus.
Third, he makes a claim that totally ignores the point Jesus was making.
In the Tanakh, YHVH operated “like the lightning”:
“Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. A fire goes before Him, And burns up His enemies round about. His lightnings light the world; The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.”
What Kramer– and many others– fail to see is that YHVH manifested Himself in glorious ways– even as the lightning– and yet, those manifestations were never literally “global.” His manifestations in the past, His appearing like the lightning, was manifested to the nations with whom He was dealing.
I think Perriman expresses it well: “This powerful image (lightning, DKP) has usually been understood to describe the effulgence of Christ’s bodily coming at the end of the age. The contrast, however, is not with the ordinariness of these imposters– after all, they will perform great signs and wonders’ – but with the false announcements about a concrete, localized and embodied mode of being. A more careful reading of the simile suggests that it signifies the immaterial and universal nature of Christ’s presence.” (Andrew Perriman, The Coming of the Son of Man, (London, Paternoster, 2005)35f). Robert Kramer clearly misses– or ignores this idea.
The point is that in Matthew 24 Jesus was warning his disciples to not believe that he had appeared in the flesh, in the desert, or in an inner room, privately and unknown. Even this point refutes Kramer, since he is looking for the appearance of a 5’5″ Jewish man to come out of the sky.
Kramer Versus Paul on the Nature of Christ’s Coming
Was Jesus’ AD 70 parousia to be a localized, “obscure” event? Not according to scripture. Compare what Peter said of Jesus’ passion in Acts 26:26f as Paul stood on trial before Agrippa, he recounted the story of Jesus’ trial and passion. Here is what he said of that event:
“For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.” (My emphasis).
Now, if Paul could confidently remind Agrippa that Jesus trial and passion were not so limited as to be unknown, then surely, it is specious for Kramer to argue that the fall of the Jewish capital, that had empire wide repercussions was a strictly local event!
So, Kramer has failed to honor the prophetic source of Jesus’ language. He has failed to honor the Hebraic expressions utilized by Jesus. He has failed to see the significance of the fall of Jerusalem.
Finally, it has to be noted that Kramer has simply ignored– or distorted– the fact that in Matthew 24:34 Jesus said that all of the events that he was predicting were to be fulfilled in his generation. Not some far off, distant generation, but his very own generation. This alone falsifies and answers Kramer’s initial objection. We will look at Kramer‘s other objections in the next installment.
Be sure to get a copy of my book: Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory, in which I address in depth the nature of Christ’s “second coming.”