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Unbiblical Eschatology, 11/9/14

Many in the body of Christ have not yet received a revelation of the last days plan of God.  But God has beautiful, amazing plans for the church, the Revelation of the Sons of God, which is yet to come, and the revelation of the glorious, overcoming Warrior Bride of Christ.  Without these revelations and a good understanding of True Eschatology, many are tempted to fear when they read the biblical and modern prophecies about the fearsome things that will come upon the earth in these times.  But God has plan to raise up many sons to himself, little brothers to Jesus, men and women who walk in total holiness and Christlikeness:

Hebrews 2:10New King James Version (NKJV)
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Romans 8:29New King James Version (NKJV)
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This is such a big deal in the whole eternal plan of God that the whole universe is yearning for it:

Romans 8:19New King James Version (NKJV0
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

The sons of God will do even greater things than Jesus did:

John 14:12New King James Version (NKJV)
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

Our Father will soon pour out the Baptism of Fire to help bring this glorious promise this into present day reality.  Can you imagine this planet crawling with thousands and thousands of little Jesuses?  How mind-blowing is this revelation when we consider that these sons, according to God's plan for the last days, are going to walk in even more supernatural miracle-working and delivering power than Jesus did when he was here on earth?  GLORIOUS!!!! Yes, it is an amazing thing to contemplate but this what the scripture clearly tells us.  Now THAT is reason for us to have a very joyful view about the last days, isn't it?  As I hope you can easily imagine, an army of brothers of Jesus like this will surely be able to take back this world for our King and give it back to him.  So we see that true biblical eschatology is truly glorious and yes, victorious.  But we need to be careful about how we try to encourage the body of Christ to embrace hope for the future.

It is important that we have an eschatology that is full of faith, hope and an overcoming attitude but is also reality-based in regards to all the very great challenges that the scripture tells us we will face in the last days when it will be the most difficult time in the history of the earth:

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such ås has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Harold Eberle has become a sought after speaker on the subject of eschatology in many prominent circles in the body of Christ in America.  I agree with Eberle that we can and should have a hopeful attitude in looking at the last days.  But I have sharp disagreement with him in how he goes about trying to defend such a view from the scripture. Eberle puts forth the argument in his book, Victorious Eschatology, that we should relinquish what he calls the "Futurist" view of eschatology in favor of the "Preterist " view.  He says the Futurist view includes the belief that all of Matthew 24 and parts of Revelation are yet unfulfilled prophecies, plus some other details. He says the Preterist view claims that all of Matt. 24 up to verse 34 was already fulfilled when Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and that parts of Revelation have also already been permanently fulfilled and can have no fulfillment in the future.  The preterist argument that the early part of Matt. 24 has been already been fulfilled once in history by the Roman attack on Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is not totally without merit.  It is indeed accurate to acknowledge that there was a measure of fulfillment of the prophecy at that time but biblical prophecy is much deeper than just one fulfillment.  So the fact that this one fulfillment has happened does not make preterism the correct view.  Likewise the accuracy of the futurist view that there will be fulfillment of this prophecy in the future does not make it the correct view.  The mistake is in trying to paint the question as needing to be answered by one view or the other.  It's not an 'either/or', it's a 'both/and': there is some truth in both views.

But since Eberle attempts to refute the idea that this prophecy applies to the future as well as to the time of Rome's invasion, let us examine the accuracy of this claim.  The fact is that his argument absolutely does not hold up to scrutiny.  In early verses of the chapter, long before we ever get to verse 34 where Eberle says the past fulfillment ends, we see clearly that the Lord is speaking also of the time of the end of the age.  In fact he is emphatic  about it, repeating it three different times:

Matthew 24:6New King James Version (NKJV)
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the END is not yet.

Matthew 24:13New King James Version (NKJV)
13 But he who endures to the END shall be saved.

Matthew 24:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the END will come.

The Lord's use of the word END here is an obvious answer to the question in verse 3:

Matthew 24:3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the END of the age?”

This very clearly shows us that the early part of the chapter, at least up through verse 14, is also about the time leading up to the end the age.  But Eberle claims that this whole section of the chapter, all the way up to verse 34, has already been fulfilled permanently and will not be fulfilled again. From this alone we can see it is obvious that his claim is unbiblical.  But if Eberles's argument is not sound there should be other holes in it, so let's see if there are any other problems with it. 

Many of the Old Testament prophecies had a fulfillment then and will have another in the last days.  So it is it with this.  Both futurists and preterists make the same mistake: that of trying to pack God into little box of their making that is based on partial revelation. These boxes are way to small for how great God is and how many layers of truth there are in every word of scripture.  This is what happens to people who try to study their way to revelation(an act of the soul) without being led by the Spirit(an act of the spirit).  But only those led by the Spirit will be called the sons of God:

Romans 8:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

We also know that there is also a 'now/future' fulfillment of early part of Matt. 24 because the best true prophets in the world today are getting it straight from heaven.

There is danger in holding too closely to either the futurist or the preterist view as Harold Eberle describes them in Victorious Eschatology.  The futurist view that things will get worse and worse for the church and only rescue from heaven will save us is indeed a profound misunderstanding of scripture.  The truth is, that, yes, there will be very great worldwide persecution.  But church history shows and any mature understanding of God's ways understands that persecution makes the church thrive and grow and mature.  Thus principle dictates and the scripture shows  that the church will wax stronger and and stronger and ultimately win the struggle for the control of earth.  This is clearly upheld in prophecy where Daniel says we will do great things in the last days:

Daniel 11:32
Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

So we have clear biblical prophecy for an overcoming church in the last days and thus do not need to twist scripture to try to achieve the goal of encouraging our brethren to believe in an overcoming attitude towards eschatology.

The preterist view that the early part of Matt. 24 does not refer to the future at all is actually very dangerous because it sets people up for the false impression that they will not face those things in the future.  Things like fearsome judgments from God in the earth and great persecution of us as believers.  But not having a reality-based view of what is coming in the future is set up for trouble.  Many who have been believing as Eberle does will get caught unawares when the present/future fulfillment of these prophecies is manifest.  It is a very natural human reaction to not want to suffer.  But we need to understand that suffering for righteousness is a huge part to of the economy of heaven.  It is the primary way for the believer to become conformed to the likeness of Jesus, as should our primary.  The scripture is clear that it is the way that Jesus was perfected himself:

Hebrews 2:10New King James Version (NKJV)
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

So if we want to be like Jesus we need to welcome sufferings for him gladly, not seek out theologies that protect us from our fears and hold us in weakness.  Jesus taught us to count persecution as a blessings:

Matthew 5:10-12New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I expect that the typical western christian mindset of cowardice and immaturity about matters of real persecution is a motivating factor in those who are preaching and believing the preterist view.  But we would do well to embrace the biblical mindset of greatly desiring to enter into the sufferings of our Lord as the apostle Paul did:

Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Without this, there is no hope of us to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus and share in his glory because the scripture says we must suffer with him in order to be glorified with him:

Romans 8:17New King James Version (NKJV)
17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

So clearly we need to have an attitude of being not only willing but eager to suffer for the Lord and the Kingdom.  It follows from this that we need to steer clear of any way of thinking/believing/acting that tempts us not think we do not need to endure persecution for the name if the Lord.  For more scriptural support of these principles please refer to this study of scripture on the subject of Suffering for Righteousness.

While the general view that we can and should have a hopeful, faith-filled "victorious' view of eschatology is absolutely true, there are some very serious problems with how Eberle goes about this. His use of scripture is not consistent with the totality of scripture. Eberle's  preterist view starts to even more weak when he claims that all of Matt. 24 up until verse 34 has already been fulfilled and has no future fulfillment.  If he had claimed that everything up to verse 21 had already happened then he might been somewhat accurate, but he stretches it all the way to verse 34, well into more territory that is clearly speaking of future events.  Verse 22 makes it clear that there will be a time when all the living will be under threat at of death:

Matthew 24:22New King James Version (NKJV)
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

 The idea that the events of 70 A.D. fulfill this is a gross error.  Those historical events clearly do not come anywhere near to presenting a threat to ALL FLESH, not even close. It was an event that was isolated to one small part of the globe.  When this verse says ALL FLESH it means ALL FLESH and thus is referring to a worldwide threat.

There is the very big problem of Eberle totally sidestepping the issue that he has evidence that the false christs and prophets from verse 24,who supposedly completely fulfill the prophecy, preformed any of the lying signs and wonders that the verse so clearly refers to.

Matthew 24:24New King James Version (NKJV)
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

The idea that history would so clearly show that so many false christs lived in the 40 years between Jesus' departure and the attack on Jerusalem but all their great lying signs and wonders that Jesus prophesied somehow did not get recorded is very a transparent distortion. It is very obvious that Eberle is carefully sidestepping the fact that the false christs of that past time, as historical as they may be, do not fully fulfill the prophecy entirely.  Again we see that there absolutely has to be a future fulfillment of this prophecy.

Then there is the problem of the argument that somehow Jesus didn't come into his Kingdom in the spirit realm until 70 A.D.  The problem with that is that he very clearly said he had received all authority and in heaven and earth before he ever left earth:

Matthew 28:18New King James Version (NKJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Eberle demonstrates that he is clearly unaware about some of the realities about spiritual beings when he talks about the stars in verse 29 as being only the physical  astronomical bodies we call stars.

Matthew 24:29New King James Version (NKJV)
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

This word is is also a reference to spiritual beings called stars as we see in other places in the scripture:

Job 38:7
When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

2 Peter 1:19
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

Revelation 2:28
...and I will give him the morning star.

Revelation 22:16
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

So we see Jesus is a "star." I hope no one is foolish enough to think that he means that he is an astronomical body that just hangs in space.

For the best teaching I know of anywhere on the spiritual beings called stars, please seek out the ministry of Paul L. Cox of Aslan's Place.

Eberle is not true to his own stance in his selective use of when to take the scripture literally.  He chastises futurists for not taking the term "generation"(Matt. 23:36) literally but then is very liberal with himself in assigning many words of the prophets as figurative and saying that they cannot be taken literally.  The fact is that these prophetic utterances do refer to literal events in the heavens.  Eberle is absolutely wrong that there are no historical evidences of these things.  It happened in Egypt very dramatically:

Exodus 10:21
[ The Ninth Plague: Darkness ] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.”

Exodus 10:22
So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.

The prophecy of Joel was fulfilled once at the crucifixion:

Joel 2:31
The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

As evidenced by:

Matthew 27:45
[ Jesus Dies on the Cross ] Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

The spirit-led astronomical research of Rick Larsen, Star of Bethlehem, shows that there was a blood moon on the day of he crucifixion and obviously the people in Israel had seen it.   That is why the people were pricked to their hearts when Peter preached to them from the Joel 2 passage:

Acts 2:14-21New King James Version (NKJV)
Peter’s Sermon
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’[a]...

...37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

So we see that Eberle's claim that these scriptures about signs in the heavens could not be literal is totally unbiblical.

There is another major oversight and lack of understanding with the comments about the days of Noah.  Let me be clear, I am not saying that there is no validity to the point that the reference to the days of Noah includes the issue of surprise, as Eberle's claims, that is one layer of truth that is perfectly fine to accept.  But there is another layer of truth must not be ignored. Jesus refers to he days of Noah because of some of the things that were going on in Noah's time. In those days the Nephilim(giants) were on the earth and there had been widespread genetic tampering with all species from the agenda of the fallen watchers angels:

Genesis 6:1-7New King James Version (NKJV)
The Wickedness and Judgment of Man
6 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God[fallen watchers] saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive[a] with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 There were giants[Nephilim] on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
5 Then the Lord[b] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Some are confused about the term sons of God and thing that this means righteous men.  These are not at all to be confused with the sons of God who are the sons(brothers of Jesus) to be reveled in our time.  The original Hebrews words here are: BENAI(Strong's Heb. 1121) ELOHIYM(Strong's Heb. 430).  The latter is most often associated with angelic beings, not God himself, this indicating that these beings were not human but angelic.  We see that confirmed later in the scripture in a way that clarifies that the sons of God referred to here are fallen spiritual beings who work with Satan:

Job 1:6
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.

So, clearly the Nephilim/giants were not human but were the children of Satan from the mating of fallen spirits with earth woman.  The fallen beings die this genetic tampering with all species on earth, not just man, and polluted the gene pool of all of God's creation.  The creatures, which were never supposed to exist in God's plan are irredeemably wicked and cannot saved but must be only destroyed.  Thus this genetic tampering of all species was the reason for the wickedness that so grieved God and was the reason he cleansed the earth from all but Noah's family, who were the only ones left who had pure genes:

Genesis 6:8-9New King James Version (NKJV)
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations[genes]. Noah walked with God.

We know that God's motivation for this was a genetic issue of all species also because if it were only a matter of the sins of men then God would not have had to wipe out the animals as well. But he did, he wiped out all genetically tainted men and animals to rid his creation of the work of the enemy in polluting the gene pool with the mating of the fallen sons of God with women and animals.

Jesus is clearly saying that this problem of mixed species of will happen again in the last days as is consistent with the words of Old Testament prophets:

Daniel 2:43
As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed[genes] of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

Zechariah 9:6
“A [genetically] mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

This is another thing that did not happen in 70 A.D. and has been slumbering but is beginning to happen increasingly now with the genetic tampering that is being done in the name of science.  It is the same program as Genesis 6 and has its roots in the Satanic agenda of making creatures that God never intended to exist, just as in the day of Noah, that is why Jesus said this.  So this is another obvious proof that this prophecy has a now/future fulfillment as well as the past fulfillment it may had.

Another major distortion is Eberle saying that Jesus did not know the signs of his coming.  This is a dangerous twisting of what Jesus said when he said that he did not know the day or the hour:

Matthew 24:44New King James Version (NKJV)
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

This is tantamount heresy if not full blown heresy.

Jesus much emphasized knowing the signs of the times:

Matthew 16:1-4New King James Version (NKJV)
16 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites![a] You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet[b] Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

It is foolishness to think that Jesus would not know the signs of his own coming.  Eberle admits even in his own argument about the early part of Matt. 24 that Jesus is providing prophecy about signs that are to be known and paid attention to but then he turns around and claims that Jesus does not know the signs of his own coming, the most important event that will take place in history of earth and the Kingdom of God up until that moment.  This is absolutely absurd, patently hypocritical and profoundly disrespectful of our King.

Eberle’s idea that there will be no signs that indicate the second coming of Jesus is totally unbiblical.  There are always signs and they are always prophesied by the prophets:

Amos 3:7New King James Version (NKJV)
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

Although we should take a hopeful overcoming attitude towards eschatology, this teaching is actually very dangerous.  It very much disrespects some basic principles of prophecy and its twisting of the facts is most dishonest.  Not to mention the great disrespect for the Lord in saying that he will not even know the signs of his own coming.  The scripture is full of hopeful words about the last day and how God will reveal the sons of God, HIS sons not the fallen ones, and make the remnant of the church into a glorious overcoming warrior bride.  But Eberle's approach to accomplishing a healthy eschatology is extremely counterproductive.  For the very best current prophecy and teaching on the bride and the Sons of God please refer to a very great True Prophet Of God, a man named Neville Johnson, and his ministry, Living Word Academy.  Neville has lots of great messages on Youtube, here is a sample message on the subject, Sons of God. My heart is very heavy over my brothers in Christ who will be vulnerable and immature if they hold to what Eberle teaches.  Please don’t listen to Eberle's teaching, it will only lead you astray and set you up for disaster.  As much as I respect them for the many good things they do so well, I believe it is irresponsible of a ministry like Bethel Church of Redding, California, USA to call Harold Eberle'prophet' and espouse his confused and misleading teaching and use his book as a text in their training of future leaders.  This goes for all others who are teaching and espousing this idea as well.

May God bless you and may you increasingly be found in present prophetic truth and revelation from this day forward.

-Stephen Pursell, original 11/9/14, revised 11/25/14