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Exposing Sam Frost’s Sloppy “Exegesis” of Matthew 16:27-28 Part 1 – The Use of Similar Identical or Parallel Language Within Matthew and the NT

Exposing Sam Frost’s Sloppy “Exegesis” of Matthew 16:27-28

Part 1 – The Use of Similar Identical or Parallel Language Within Matthew and the NT

Michael J. Sullivan

Introduction

Partial Preterist Sam Frost has attempted to deal with one passage of what theologians have termed as “the big three” (Matt. 10:17-23; Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:27-34) which addresses the question, “Did Jesus promise that His actual Second Coming would take place within the generation and lifetimes of some of His first century audience?”  The Full Preterist answers this question and approaching these passages (and how they are developed in the rest of the NT) with a simple, certain and confident “yes” while others such as Frost approach our text with not much certainty at all.

In part 1 of this series, I want to focus on doing a proper exegesis of Matt. 16:27-28 which involves letting Jesus interpret Himself here within the same gospel – Matt. 13:39-43 and Matt. 24:30—25:31 and then how these passages are developed in Pauline eschatology – 1 Thess. 4-5 and 1 Cor. 15.  Sam falsely claims that Full Preterism is “built upon” the “popular” “Left Behind” heremeneutical approach in stringing certain passages together when it comes to using similar or identical language between texts, when the actual truth is we build our approach the same way Reformed eschatology (Partial Preterism and the classic Amillennialism) has been built when it comes to using the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation when approaching these key texts.  There is much hypocrisy here when it comes to a parallelism in approaching Matt. 16:27-28 and Matt. 24-25 in developing AD 70 fulfillment throughout the NT which is something I will also address.

The facts will reveal not only is our analogy of Scripture parallelism found in our exegesis developed within the hermeneutics found within Partial Preterism and Amillennialism, but the truth is that it is Sam Frost who has more in common with the poor scholarship of the “Left Behind” approach to these texts.  First, Sam denies the parallels between Matt. 16:27/Matt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 as does the pre-tribulationl rapture “Left Behind” view.  Secondly, he adopts a ridiculous hyper-literal hermeneutic in the OT and NT as these men do which results in an imminent expectation of the Second Coming which isn’t really imminent!

To sum up – Sam been dishonest in his “exegesis” and article of Matthew 16:27-28 in the following ways:

1)      Matthew 16:27-28 does not stand on its own in Matthew gospel and it is the same consummation judgment and resurrection as depicted in Matthew 13:39-43 and more specifically Matthew 24:30—25:31 as describing Christ’s actual Second Coming consummation event (which includes the resurrection) at the end of the OC age.

2)      Portraying that we get our parallel analogy of Scripture hermeneutic from “Left Behind” eschatology when in fact we get it from Partial Preterism and the classic Amillennial views!

3)      His RCM site has felt justified in condemning us literally to hell for adopting this hermeneutic from within reformed eschatology.  He also feels comfortable to condemn us to hell when you can’t find much certainty in any of his articles.  If he doesn’t really know what Matt. 16:27-28 teaches or if it is the Second Coming event (as most scholars believe) because “scholars disagree,” then how can he be so certain to condemn us to hell?

Sam Frost writes,

Recently, on Facebook, where the Hyper Preterist community is probably at its most visible, there was considerable discussion over these verses:

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom (ESV). [1]

This reference to Facebook is interesting in light of the fact that Sam has boasted on several forums that he has co-authored a book with myself, David Green and  Ed Hassertt and yet instead of citing or dealing with my exegesis of this passage in our book[2] or article on my site,[3] he has chosen to interact with comments on Facebook?!?  Since Sam has been trying to set himself up as an authority in refuting Full Preterism or as a “scholar,” one would think that he would attempt to deal with this passage from more credible sources.  And yet I challenged Sam on Facebook (FB) to give his interpretation of Matthew 16:27-28 in light of Matthew 24:30 and 25:31-46 and none came forth on FB or in his article published on his RCM site from which I will be quoting and interacting with.  Sam is a self-promoted “scholar” and expert at refuting Full Preterism and he can’t even address challenges of Matthew 16:27-28 on Facebook, interact with the arguments presented on the text in a book he co-authored or cite and interact with his older material on the passage as a Full Preterist?!?[4]  All to say, there are several issues Sam did not deal with and will be covered in what follows.

Frost goes on,

Supposedly, these verses go a long way in demonstrating the Hyper Preterist contention that all prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70.  Now, it must be fair to note that I know of no one who teaches that these two verses alone conclude the matter.  Even Hyper Preterist teacher Larry Siegle, who often frequents here for discussion, recently admitted this.  However, if it is conceded that these verses do, in fact, teach the idea that the Son of Man’s “coming in his kingdom” is to be related solely, that is, exclusively to the razing of Jerusalem in the Jewish War of 66-70 AD, then the Hyper Preterist thinks he or she has virtually demonstrated the point that all prophecy was fulfilled by this time.  All that needs to be done is to connect a few more verses from the Bible in order to make this point: if these two verses were fulfilled in AD 70, then these few other verses must also be fulfilled in AD 70, because these other verses are talking about the same eventThese other verses, of course, are referencing the resurrection of the dead and the other events associated with eschatology.

Now, that this is the argument I so once deeply espoused is, in turn, based upon another assumption, already well exposed on this website: since these other verses contain the same language they must be referring to the same event.  Upon these considerations the whole Hyper Preterist scheme is built, and once this has been supposedly demonstrated, the unwary victim of such an assault can only say, “Yes, I see your point.  All prophecy must have been fulfilled before the passing away of all those standing there!”

However, upon a sober analysis, and having once been a teacher of the above ruse, we should come at the text as objectively as possible, taking in the contentions noted above as well as the several suggestions of how the scholars, both past and present, have dealt with these verses.  We should use all of the tools available.  After all, we are only trying to figure what Jesus meant, right?  We don’t want to prove our position, but, hopefully, what the text is actually saying.

The first thing we should do is note that this passage occurs in the other Synoptics (Mark, Luke).  Thus, we should include a harmony of these other accounts, with the variations of their wordings as well.

So let’s cover what Sam means when he writes this:

“…if these two verses were fulfilled in AD 70, then these few other verses must also be fulfilled in AD 70, because these other verses are talking about the same eventThese other verses, of course, are referencing the resurrection of the dead and the other events associated with eschatology.”

“…since these other verses contain the same language they must be referring to the same event. Upon these considerations the whole Hyper Preterist scheme is built,…”

What Sam is referring to here is the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation which he has avoided like the plague in this article and is the same principle of interpretation that reformed eschatology is built upon – not just Full or “Hyper” Preterism.  Sam doesn’t want Jesus to interpret Himself here so he avoids “these few other verses.”  Which ones might these be?  Since Sam is too “lazy” let’s do the work he is unwilling to do because he can’t.

1)      (Matthew 13:39-43, 49-50)

He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Here is a passage which Sam Frost and other Partial Preterists such as Joel McDurmon take as being fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant (OC) “this age” in AD 70.  Let’s make some exegetical observations (which other Reformed and Evangelicals have noted of this passage – not just ones Full or “Hyper-Preterists” are making).

Perhaps not just quoting others using the same analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation we will be using, lets also use some logic.  In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C.  Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

  • A = (Matt. 13:39-43 – Sam says end of OC age in AD 70)
  • B = (Matt. 16:27-28 – Sam doesn’t seem to know)
  • C = (Matt. 24:30-31—25:31-46 – ?)

“If A (Matt. 13:39-43) bears some relation to B (Matt. 16:27-28)”:

Matthew 13:38-43, 49 Matthew 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1
  • Matt. 13:41 Christ sends out His angles, at which time…

 

  • Matt. 16:27 Christ was about to come with His angels at which time…
  • Matt. 13:42-43  The time of judgment and rewards are given.
  • The wicked are gathered and burned where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  • The righteous are rewarded and…
  • Inherit the kingdom – thus raised and glorified (Dan. 12:2-3).
 
  • Matt. 16:27 / Mrk. 9:1 He would reward each person which would obvious include two groups…
  • (the wicked and
  • the righteous)

…according to what he has done.

  • At which time they would be able to look back and see that the kingdom of God had already come in power.

As we will see not only does the orthodox church make the same exegetical connections the Full Preterist does with these passages, but Frost immediately runs into another problem at this point in the teachings of Christ.  In Sam’s article on Daniel 12:2 he claimed he agreed with the “consensus” of the “scholars” that this is an end of time fleshly resurrection.  However, Frost did not touch my challenge to him in that the “consensus” of the “scholars” posits this “future” resurrection at the end of the age – Sam (and Joel McDurmon) claim was the OC age (not the end of time) ending in AD 70.  Here are some examples of the “consensus” on the resurrection/glorification of Daniel 12:3/Matt. 13:43 which Sam avoided:

13:43 shine like the sun.  An allusion to Dan. 12:3, a promise of the future resurrection.[5]

The allusion is to Daniel 12:3 LXX…   …in v. 41. These righteous people (see on 5:20, 45; 9:13; 10:41; 13:17; 25:37, 46), once the light of the world (5:13–16), now radiate perfections and experience bliss in the consummation of their hopes.[6]

In Sam’s article on Daniel 12:2 he also failed to successfully refute the latest cutting edge “scholarly consensus” among his own Partial Preterists which take the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as being  fulfilled in AD 70 (ex: Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, James Jordan, etc…).  According to these men, Daniel 12:2-3, 13 was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection for the Church and one in which Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence – in AD 70.  This is in essence the Full Preterist view of the resurrection.  In his article on Daniel 12:2 he once again did not successfully deal with or touch the “all things” of verse 7 which connects the judgment and resurrection of vss. 1-3 with the tribulation – that Jesus said would be fulfilled by AD 70 and within that generation.  And as I already stated he did not touch or seek to reconcile this judgment and resurrection taking place at the end of the OC age he says took place in AD 70 (Matt. 13:39-43=Dan. 12:1-3).[7]

Clearly identifying these two passages Matt. 13:38-50; Matt. 16:27-28 and Matthew 24-25 as the same end of the age consummation event is not unique to Full Preterism.  It isn’t a similarity we have with “Left Behind” “popular Christianity” here, but a similarity we have with “popular Christianity” as can be found within the creeds of the historic church and Reformed eschatology.

Again, THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE makes the same exegetical connections as we do,

…the language of [Matt. 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31

Leon Morris writes of Matthew 13:41,

The picture of harvest is carried on, with the reapers defined as the angels. The angels are associated with the consummation elsewhere (16:27; 24:31; 25:31). Jesus assigns to them an important part.[8]

The Reformation Study Bible with all of its “scholarship” and Leon Morris lead us to not only Matthew 13:41 to help us interpret the same “consummation” of Matthew 16:27, but their exegesis and “parallels” lead us to another place where Sam Frost didn’t want to go in his article – Matthew 24-25

2)      (Matthew 24:30-31—25:31-46)

30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [9]

“…and B bears the same relation to C:      

 

1) Christ comes in glory

Luke 9:26

1) Christ comes in glory

Matthew 24:30

2) Christ comes with angels

Matthew 16:27

2) Christ comes with angels

Matthew 24:31

3) Christ comes in judgment

Matthew 16:27

3) Christ comes in judgment

Matthew 24:28-31; 25:31-34

4) Christ and the kingdom come in power

Mark 8:38

4) Christ and the kingdom come in power

Luke 21:27-32

5) Some of the disciples would live

Matthew 16:28

5) Some of the disciples would live

Luke 21:16-18

6) Some of the disciples would die

Matthew 16:28

6) Some of the disciples would die

Luke 21:16

7) Christ would be ashamed of the disciples  generation Mark 8:38

7) All of this would occur in the disciples  generation Matthew 24:34

Jesus in the Olivet discourse ties the same subject matter in with both Mt. 16:27 & 28.  Not only is the same subject matter taken as one unit, but the same time frame for the Second Coming is reiterated by Christ, ie. in His/their first century, “this generation.” This is a very specific historical event and is not addressing several comings of Christ at: 1)  the ascension, 2) Pentecost, 3)  A.D. 70, and 4) an imagined future coming to end history.

As we will see in further examining Sam’s article, he casts much doubt on the certainty of Matthew 16:27’s meaning and avoiding any interaction with Matthew 24-25.  However, Partial Preterist Gary DeMar is very “certain” of its meaning based upon a method condemned by Frost – that is using “identical” (or “similar”) language and “jumping” to Matthew 24-25,

“…there is little evidence that the “coming of the Son of Man” in Matthew 24:27, 30, 39, and 42 is different from the coming of the Son of Man” in 25:31.  Compare 25:31 with 16:27, a certain reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70…  These verses are almost identical.”[10]

For DeMar “identical” or “similar” language is used as a valid hermeneutical/exegetical approach in determining that the coming of the Son of Man in Matt. 16:27; Matt. 24:30 and Matt. 25:31 “certainly” refer to the same coming at the destruction of Jerusalem.

But can we find the resurrection in Matthew 24:30-31 in the context of the judgment of the dead in 25:31-46?  We now come full circle.

“…then A (Matt. 13:39-43) bears it to C (Matt. 24:30-31—25:31-46)”:

Matthew 13:39-43 Matthew 24:30-31—25:31-46
1 Evangelism within the local “world” takes place (Matt. 13:38). 1 Evangelism within the local “world” takes place (Matt. 24:14).
2 There is persecution, tribulation, apostasy, & faithfulness (Matt. 13:19-30). 2 There is persecution, tribulation, apostasy, & faithfulness (Matt. 24:9-13).
3 The subject is the growth and reception of the kingdom at which time the judgment at the “end of the age” takes place (Matt.13:40). 3 The subject is the growth and reception of the kingdom at which time the judgment at the “end of the age” takes place (Lk. 21:31-32/; Mt. 24:3).
4 The Son of Man comes with His angels to gather the sheep/wheat into His barn/kingdom and the wicked goats/tares are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned (Matt. 13:39-42). 4 The Son of Man comes with His angels to gather the sheep/wheat into His barn/kingdom and the wicked goats/tares are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned (Matt. 24:30-31, 25:31-41).
5 The righteous are gathered into the Kingdom at the end of the OC age at which time they are raised and glorified and shine like the sun  (Matt. 13:43/Dan. 12:2-3). 5 Christ’s coming is most likely described as the sun or bright light coming for the east to the west (Mt. 24:27).

The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is not only evident when allowing Jesus to interpret Himself regarding the end of the OC age gathering into the kingdom of Matthew 13:39-43 with Matthew 24:30-31, but it is also evident in that Jesus references the eschatological gathering and trumpet call of Isaiah’s little apocalypse which includes the time of resurrection (cf. Isaiah 25:8–27:13).  Jesus tells us that His teaching in the Olivet discourse and His coming at the end of the OC age within that “this generation” would be the “…days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.” (Luke 21:22).  “All that is written” would include the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 that would take place at the “time of the end” in AD 70 and not the “end of time.”  “All that is written” would also include the judgment and resurrection of Isaiah 25—27:13.

So let’s stop here briefly and ponder what we have seen when we allow Jesus to interpret Himself (something Sam can’t do) and what we have gleaned from not just a Full Preterist  exegesis and comparison of the pertinent texts, but one also derived from orthodox REFORMED SCHOLARS as well.

  • Matthew 13:39-43 is the same end of the age consummation event as Matthew 16:27.
  • Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 16:27 and Matthew 24:30-31—25:31ff. are also the same end of the age consummation event.
  • But Matthew 13:39-43 is the time of the resurrection and consummation at the end of the age as predicted by Daniel 12:2-3.
  • More modern cutting edge Partial Preterist “scholars” and “exegetes” than Sam Frost posit the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 at the end of the OC age in AD 70.
  • Conclusion:  The end of the OC age coming of Christ with his angels to gather His elect into the Kingdom is the time of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 – which took place in a spiritual, covenantal, corporate manner for the Church and at which time Daniel’s soul (and other souls) was/were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom and inherited eternal life in God’s presence.

How did I arrive at this conclusion?  Was it reading or referencing any unscholarly Dispensational “Left Behind” material?  Lol.  No, it was referencing Reformed and standard Evangelical sources on the analogy of Scripture that led us to this conclusion.  But let’s continue filling in the gaps to Sam’s quote:

“…if these two verses were fulfilled in AD 70 [Matt. 16:27-28], then these few other verses [Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3; Matt. 24:30-31—25:31-46 must also be fulfilled in AD 70, because these other verses are talking about the same eventThese other verses, of course, are referencing the resurrection of the dead [Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3=Matt. 24-25] and the other events associated with eschatology [the judgment “weeping and gnashing of teeth & everlasting punishment with the Devil and his angles].”

“…since these other verses contain the same language they must be referring to the same event. Upon these considerations the whole Hyper Preterist scheme is built,…”

There are of course other verses I believe Sam has in mind here – specifically now allowing Jesus’ teaching in the passages I have covered within the gospel of Matthew which form and develop Pauline or NT eschatology on the coming of the Son of Man in judgment to reward each person and raise the dead at the end of the OC age (1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15).  But as we have seen, this is not just how Full Preterism is “built,” it is how traditional, orthodox and “popular” eschatology is built.  So let’s move on interacting with what Sam has written here.

Is it scholarly to understand that if Matthew 16:27-28 is the same event as Matthew 24-25 then these passages form the foundation to Pauline and NT eschatology?

D.A Carson wrote the following concerning Matthew 24-25 in the development of NT eschatology:    

Fourth, the discourse itself is undoubtedly a source for the Thessalonian Epistles (cf. G. Henry Waterman, “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” JETS 18 [1975]: 105–13; David Wenham, “Paul and the Synoptic Apocalypse,” France and Wenham, 2:345–75) and Revelation (cf. Gregory Kimball Beale, “The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John” [Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1980], pp. 260–64, and the literature cited there). If so, then we may say that Jesus himself sets the pattern for the church’s eschatology.[11]

Of the trumpet call and gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 he wrote:

The sound of a loud trumpet (cf. Isa 27:13; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16) is an eschatological figure (see on 24:30). Only with considerable difficulty can v. 31 be interpreted as referring to Christian missions: its natural linguistic relations are in 13:41. For comments on “his elect,” see on 22:14; 24:22. The “four winds” represent the four points of the compass (Ezek 37:9; Dan 8:8; 11:4): the elect are gathered from all over (cf. Mt 8:11), “from one end of the heavens to the other” (from every place under the sky), since that is how far the gospel of the kingdom will have been preached (24:14).[12]

Carson is correct to equate the eschatological coming, gathering and trumpet call of Matt. 24:30-31 with 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:16 as the same consummative event.  He is also correct to connect the eschatological gathering of Matt. 24:30-31 as being the consummation of the Great Commission in 24:14.  But Jesus is not discussing a Great Commission that covers the globe before He would float down on a literal cloud at the end of time, but is rather addressing the world as they knew it or the Roman world.  Therefore, Paul taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that it had been fulfilled toward the end of their generation (Rom. 10:18; 16:25-26; Col. 1:5-6, 23).

 

We have examined what THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE had to say in connecting Matt. 16:27 with 13:41 and Matt. 24:31/25:31 as the same event and consummation, but let’s see how reformed theologians now connect Jesus’ teaching in the gospel of Matthew with resurrection texts in the NT as Full Preterists do:

 

“…the language of [Matt. 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31 [already covered], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17.”[13]

Since others such as G.K. Beale have produced “parallel” charts as we have, let’s not just revisit the analogy of Scripture principle but also now address these three Scriptures the way we did with Matt. 13:39-43; 16:27-28; 24:30—25:31ff.  If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C.  Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

  • A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)
  • B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)
  • C = (1 Cor. 15)

In addressing these texts, I will also cover the arbitrary parallel hermeneutics of Partial Preterism.  This is also an issue I dealt with in our book (cf. House Divided pp. 107-110), which is a subject Sam has also not dealt with in his “exegesis” of 1 Thess. 4:15-17 on his RCM site either.

G.K. Beale wrote the following of Matthew 24-25 being the same consummative event as 1 Thessalonians 4-5:

“…4:15-17 describe generally the same end-time scenario as 5:1-10. Specifically, Paul narrates the resurrection at the end of the age and then recapitulates in chapter 5 by speaking about the timing of this event and about the judgment on unbelievers, which will happen at the same time. That both 4:15-18 and 5:1-11 explain the same events is discernible from observing that both passages actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24, as apparent from the chart…”

[“If A (Matt. 24-25) bears some relation to B (1 Thess. 4-5)”]:

1 Thessalonians Matthew
Christ returns 4:16 24:30
From heaven 4:16 24:30
Accompanied by angels 4:16 24:31
With a trumpet of God 4:16 24:31
Believers gathered to Christ 4:17 24:31, 40-41
In clouds 4:17 24:30
Time unknown 5:1-2 24:36
Coming like a thief 5:2 24:43
Unbelievers unaware of impending judgment 5:3 24:8
Judgment comes as pain upon an expectant mother 5:3 24:8
Believers not deceived 5:4-5 24:43
Believers to be watchful 5:6 24:37-39
Warning against drunkenness 5:7 24:49

“Other significant parallels include: the use of the word parousia for Christ’s coming, reference to Christ’s advent as “that day” (Mt.24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1Thess.5:2); and a description of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou, virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt 25:6; eis apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1Thess 4:17; see further Waterman 1975).[8]

“…(and although Matthew does not explicitly mention the idea of resurrection, he implies it in the phrase “gather his elect” in 24:31, which implies the gathering of all believers, both living and dead [Marshall 1983: 126]).”[9]

Beale further tightens the connection of 1Thessalonians 4-5 together by demonstrating that chapter 5 is also continuing the theme of the resurrection:

“Within the larger context, 5:9-10 (appointed to receive salvation…so that…we mayh live) provides the basis for being self-controlled 5:8, the main point thus far in 5:8-10. Being self controlled because of the prospect of salvation and resurrection culminates in the goal of 5:1-10 to which Paul has been aiming at throughout: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. The nearest thought sparking this final exhortation to encourage is the just mentioned consummated resurrection existence of God’s people who will join fellowship with the resurrected Christ 5:10. That the phrase we may live in 5:10 alludes to the resurrection of God’s people is borne out by observing the parallels between 5:10-11 and 4:13-18, which show that Paul has returned to the earlier theme of resurrection as the basis for encouragement:

4:13-18 5:10-11
(1) “Jesus died and rose” (4:14) (1) “he died for us” (5:10)
(2) “the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive…will be caught up together with [hama syn] them. …And so [in this manner of resurrection existence] we will be with the Lord forever” (4:16-17) (2) “Whether we are awake or asleep [a metaphor for living and deceased saints] we may live together with [hama syn] him” (5:10)
(3) “Therefore encourage each other [parakaleite allelous]” (4:18) (3) “Therefore encourage one another [parakaleite allelous]” (5:11)[10]

Partial Preterism’s Arbitrary Parallel Hermeneutics in Matt. 24 & 1-2 Thess.

Keith Mathison writes of 1 Thess. 5 in relationship to Matt. 24:

“The language used in 1 Thessalonians 5 is also used in passages describing the coming of Christ for judgment in A.D.70. We have already mentioned that the term “day of the Lord” (5:2) is used in 2Thessalonians 2 in a passage that refers to A.D. 70. Another interesting parallel is found in verse 3, where the coming of this destruction is compared to “birth pangs.” The same phrase is used in Matt. 24:8 to describe the judgments leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.”[14]

Mathison here has no problem paralleling similar “language” and “phrases” in 1 Thessalonians 5 with that of the Olivet Discourse. But did you notice that Mathison dishonestly left out the comparison of Christ coming as a “thief” in (1 Thessalonians 5:2) in paralleling it with the Olivet Discourse? Why? It is Because during the time Mathison wrote this, he incorrectly took Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24:43 as the alleged end of time (“second section” of the OD) coming, while taking Christ coming as a thief here in 1Thessalonians 5:2, as the A.D. 70 coming. To bring attention to this would be to expose his artificial division and two second comings theory of the Olivet Discourse so he avoids the comparison and hopes no one will notice it.

Gary DeMar does not divide Matt. 24-25 (and now does Mathison) so he doesn’t have a problem in harmonizing Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24:43 with 1 Thessalonians 5:2 as the same AD 70 coming of the Lord. But let’s examine his “you” argument once again,

“While [the Jews of the first century living in Jerusalem] are saying, “Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (5:3; cf. Matthew 24:15-25). The Thessalonians had been warned of this coming judgment: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief” (5:4). Paul had told the Thessalonians that certain indicators were available to them that would prepare them for the “day of the Lord.”[15]

Let’s look at some other examples in developing parallels from Mathison and DeMar between Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 with Pauline eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians:

“Some of these parallels are:

a. a coming of our Lord (2Thess.2:1; cf. Matt.24:27, 30),

b. a gathering together to Him (2Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt.24:31),

c. apostasy (2Thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),

d. the mystery of lawlessness (2Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),

e. satanic signs and wonders (2Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),

f. a deluding influence on unbelievers (2Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24).”[16]

Obviously Mathison has been influenced by DeMar or sources such as Waterman that Beale and Kenneth Gentry have appealed to in 1-2 Thessalonians,

1) 2Thess. 2:1 = Mt. 24:31
2) 2Thess. 2:1-2 = Mt. 24:27,30; Lk.21:27
3) 2Thess. 2:3 = Mt. 24:12; Mk. 13:14
4) 2Thess. 2:4 = Mt. 24:25
5) 2Thess. 2:7 = Mt. 24:12, 15
6) 2Thess. 2:8-12 = Mt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22
7) 2Thess. 2:13 = Mk. 13:27; Lk. 21:8
8) 2Thee. 2:15 = Mk. 13:23,31.”[17]

Interesting enough, Sam has now changed his view on 2 Peter 3 (as he continues his “make it up as he goes” response to FPism) and yet Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon use parallels between Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 to establish that 2 Peter 3 was fulfilled in AD 70!

Gary DeMar or Joel McDurmon and Full Preterism have no problems seeing these parallels:

  • Matthew 24:9-30 = 1 Peter 1:6-7
  • Matthew 25:31-46 = 1 Peter 4:4-7, 17/2 Peter 2:4, 9/2 Peter 3
  • Matthew 24:47; 25:19-23, 46 = 1 Peter 5:1, 4/2 Pet. 3
  • Luke 17:20-21/21:27-31 = 1 Peter 1:6-9/2 Peter 1:11/2 Peter 3:10-13
  • Matthew 24:35 = 2 Peter 3:10-13[18]

Gary DeMar is also on record as saying that John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation.  I will address these parallels once we cover more of Sam’s argument on what exactly this “rewarding” is in Matthew 16:27.  Sam wants to “jump” to Revelation 5 and yet most futurists and Full Preterists go to Revelation 20:5-15 or 22:10-12.

So the issue that Sam has been dishonest with here is that clearly Full Preterism is using the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation in developing “similar language,” “identical language” or “terms” “parallels” etc…, of passages that arise from the “popular Christian” reformed tradition of exegesis – NOT the novel and “popular”“Left Behind” “exegesis”!  But let’s further expose Sam on this alleged parallel (pun intended) approach between who is really building their system with “Left Behind” eschatology motifs.

Sam Frost and “Left Behind” Eschatology

Frost seeks to discredit the Full Preterist view when we use the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation and point out the “similar language” “identical language” “parallels” etc…, by saying this is what the unscholarly Dispensational pre-tribulation rapture “Left Behind” approach does.  And yet obviously I have been appealing to Reformed theologians or other scholars in which they would consider as reputable. A desperate tactic indeed for Frost to use.

But we must go farther in exposing Sam on this false affiliation between Full Preterists and “Left Behind” theology when it comes to the analogy of Scripture or developing parallels etc…  It is actually Sam Frost and the Partial Preterist system which has a great deal of similarities with “Left Behind” when it comes to denying paralleling Matthew 16:27/24:30—25:31 with 1 Thessalonians 4.  Since both the Partial Preterism and “Left Behind” pre-tribulation rapture folks embrace TWO COMINGS of Christ in the NT (one in AD 70 and one at the end of time / one at the secret “rapture” seven years before the Second Coming), the above parallels destroys both of  their systems and thus they both come together in agreement in hopes of shaking these similarities and parallels away because it does not support their two comings theory.[19]

Sam concludes his article with these words,

Always be ready.  Keep your wicks trimmed, and oil in your lamps – lest he come and remove his candle.

Frost must be rusty or a novice on his two coming Partial Preterist Postmillennial view.  There is NO imminent expectation of the Second Coming for us today per this system!  Perhaps Talbot-Sam is getting his eschatology mixed up with the “popular” Left Behind views?  The “signs” (so to speak) to take place before this coming can take place (when it is imagined) would include:

1.  The nations of the globe need to be Christianized and have no more wars before He returns.
2.  Men need to be living up to 900 years old again before He returns.
3.  Evidence of lions reverting to herbivores – eating straw with the ox needs to take place before He can return.
4.  Evidence of children being able to play with poisonous snakes and not getting hurt needs to be present in the creation before He can return again.

Indeed the science fiction and extreme literal hermeneutic that Frost imposes upon the OT and NT shares many things in common with “Left Behind” folks.  Per Postmillennialism this progressive/manifestation of fulfillment in the glorification of the creation is going to take thousands or possibly millions of years to take place before Christ’s “final” coming takes place.  Why should Sam be “always ready” or his exhortation to us be something to consider?  Per Sam’s eschatology should he be more concerned with progressive lion taming and or genetic research to make men live longer as parts of “the gospel” he espouses?  Not only is there no real imminent coming in Matt. 24-25 for us today within Postmillennialism (Sam’s exhortation), the one text he is appealing to here is the one DeMar (his publisher and conference speaker) says he is “certain” took place in AD 70 and is identical to the one found in Mt. 16:27.  Go figure!

Now back to Beale and his chart.  Frost and other disciples of Dr. Talbot felt as if something was solved with Beale now flirting with some Partial Preterist [from R.T. France] concepts and trying to grapple with Christ promising to return in the clear time reference of “this generation.”  While in the futurist paradigm he understands this to be a “thorny problem” for him and no doubt the creedal church which has not been able to solve this within the box they have created:

“The clearest reference to Jesus as the Son of Man from Daniel 7:13 come in the third category (which he identifies as “those that refer to Jesus’ future coming in glory”), where there are quotations of Dan. 7:13 (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27).  However, it is likely better to see most of these third-category references fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.  The reference in Matt. 25:31 to “the Son of Man” who will “come in His glory” and “sit on His glorious throne” is not a quotation of but rather an allusion to Dan. 7:13-14, which clearly is applied to the very end of the age at Christ’s final comingIf this view is correct, it may be that the AD 70 coming of Christ in judgment as portrayed by the Synoptics is a typological foreshadowing of his final coming in judgment.  However, the traditional view that the coming of the Son of Man in the Synoptic eschatological discourse refers to Christ’s final coming certainly is plausible.  This issue is a thorny one that still deserves much more study.”[14]

Of course this becomes even more of a “thorny problem” after noting how other futurists such as Gary DeMar are “certain” that the coming of the Son of Man in Matt. 25:31 is not referring to the end of time but is also Christ’s invisible coming in AD 70!

Although not a Full Preterist, it would appear that Colin Brown sees Beale’s “thorny problem” as well in that if Matthew 24:27-31 was fulfilled in Jesus’ “this generation” and Paul is teaching the same event in 1 Thessalonians 4-5, perhaps 1 Thessalonians 4:16 should be interpreted with symbolic apocalyptic  language (events that take place within history not at the end of it) as is the case in Matthew 24.

“But if these events were expected within the first generation of Christians (and “generation” is the most probable translation of genea), either Jesus or the evangelists were mistaken…” or “…there is an alternative interpretation of the passage which points out that insufficient attention has been paid to the prophetic language of the passage as a whole.

The imagery of cosmic phenomena is used in the OT to describe this-worldly events and, in particular, historical acts of judgment. The following passages are significant, not least because of their affinities with the present context: Isa. 13:10 (predicting doom on Babylon); Isa. 34:4 (referring to “all the nations”, but especially to Edom); Ezek. 32:7 (concerning Egypt); Amos 8:9 (the Northern Kingdom of Israel); Joel 2:10 (Judah). The cosmic imagery draws attention to the divine dimension of the event in which the judgment of God is enacted. The use of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:15-21 provides an instance of the way in which such prophetic cosmic imagery is applied to historical events in the present (cf. also Lk. 10:18; Jn. 12:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:10ff.; Rev. 6:12-17; 18:1). Other OT passages relevant to the interpretation of the present context are Isa. 19:1; 27:13; Dn. 7:13; Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6; 12:10-14; Mal. 3:1. In view of this, Mk. 13:24-30 may be interpreted as a Son of man will be vindicated. Such prophecy of judgment on Israel in which a judgment took place with the destruction of Jerusalem, the desecration of the  Temple and the scattering of Israel – all of which happened within the  lifetime of “this generation.” “…Such an interpretation fits the preceding discourse and the introductory remarks of the disciples (Mk. 13:1ff. par.).”[11].

This is the position I take in our book.  Therefore, to conclude Carson and Beale’s position of Matthew 24:30-31/1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

  • Matthew 24:30 is the final Second Coming event but it also took place invisibly in AD 70.
  • Matthew 24:31 depicts the resurrection of the dead because the gathering of the elect at the end of the age points back to Matthew 13:39-43 and Daniel’s resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3.
  • The Second Coming and resurrection described by Jesus as the gathering of all the elect at the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 24:30-31 is Paul’s source of teaching and the same Second Coming event describe by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:15—5:10-11 in which all the dead (living and dead) will be raised together in the kingdom and will thus be together forever with the Lord.

Beale obviously can’t take both positions and remain a futurist.  He can’t say that Matthew 24:30-31 is the “final coming in judgment” and is addressing the “resurrection” being the same event as depicted by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:15—5:11 and yet also hold that Matthew 24:30 took place in AD 70.  It seems to me that Beale seems content (as Gary DeMar is) to have others such as Full Preterists do the “more study” to solve their “thorny problem” while they keep their creedal jobs and financial supporters (see Sam’s comment in House Divided, 228).

“And …B (1 Thess. 4-5) bears the same relation to C (1 Cor. 15)…” or “B=C”:

All agree that B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) bears the same relation to C (1 Cor. 15) or “B=C” and is referring to the second coming and resurrection events:

Those asleep will be raised                            1 Thess. 4:13-14 = 1 Cor. 15:12-18

The living will be “caught up” “changed”   1 Thess. 4:15-17 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52

At the sound of a “trumpet”                          1 Thess. 4:16 = 1 Cor. 15:52

At Christ’s coming (Greek parousia)            1 Thess. 4:15 = 1 Cor. 15:23

“Encourage” “Stand firm”                            1 Thess. 4:18 = 1 Cor. 15:58

Same contemporary audience “we”              1 Thess. 4:15-17 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52

 

“Then A (Matt. 24) bears it to C (1 Cor. 15)” or “A=C”:

 

Christ comes (Greek parousia)                      Matt. 24:27 = 1 Cor. 15:23

To “gather” or “change” His people             Matt. 24:31 = 1 Cor. 15:52

With a “trumpet”                                                 Matt. 24:31 = 1 Cor. 15:52

To bring “the end” (Greek telos)                   Matt. 24:3, 14 = 1 Cor. 15:24

Deliver up & fulfill “kingdom” promises    Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Cor. 15:24

The fulfillment of all OT prophecy                Luke 21:22 = 1 Cor. 15:54-55

Stones of temple & “the Law” destroyed    Matt. 24:1, 15 = 1 Cor. 15:55-56

Same contemporary audience “you” “we”  Matt. 24:2…, 34 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52

PREMISE #1:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 took place in AD 70 (according to Partial Preterists and Biblical Preterists)

PREMISE #2:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the same coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 (according to traditional Amillennialists and Biblical Preterists)

The parousia/coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 took place in AD 70.

Concluding Part 1:

Sam Frost’s attempts to discredit how Full Preterism is “built” using “parallels” “similar” or “identical language” etc…, has completely backfired on him.  I have appealed to the “Popular Christian” Reformed views [even DeMar Sam’s new publisher] and my sources for the most part in this article have not been “Left Behind” poor scholarship.  Full Preterism is “built” the same way the classic Reformed Amillennial and Partial Preterist systems are “built” up when it comes to using the analogy of Scripture and the use of the analogy of Scripture, parallels, etc…  And the facts are that it is Frost who has more in common with the “Left Behind” folks in:  1) denying the parallels between Matt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 because they both share a faulty two coming theory system in the NT, 2) create some extreme science fiction nonsense/theology based upon a hyper-literal interpretation of certain OT and NT texts, and 3) teach an imminent Second Coming or “rapture” of Christ which is not really imminent.

Sam’s position is so embarrassing and practically nonexistent when it comes to the analogy of Scripture in letting Jesus interpret Himself in Matthew’s gospel on Matt. 16:27-28=13:30-43= 24:30—25:31ff. or in letting Paul interpret Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 16:27-28=Matt. 24-25=1 Thess. 4-5=1 Cor. 15, that he simply couldn’t even mention let alone address these texts or challenges when it comes to giving a proper exegesis of Matt. 16;27-28.  I will be covering more passages that Sam cannot deal with in how Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 16:27-28 is develop in the rest of the NT.



[1] Sam Frost, Matthew 16:27-28, http://thereignofchrist.com/matthew-1627-28/

[2] Michael J. Sullivan, Edward Hassertt, David Green, Samuel Frost, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, (Ramona, CA:  Vision Publishin, 2009) 95-98.

[3] Michael J. Sullivan, An Exegesis of Matthew 16:27-28, http://www.treeoflifeministries.info/index.php?view=article&catid=35%3Apreterist-eschatology-all-prophecy-fulfilled-by-ad-70&id=56%3Aan-exegesis-of-matthew-1627-28&option=com_content&Itemid=75

[4] Sam Frost, Introduction to Matthew 16:27-28, http://www.restorationgj.com/id50.htm Follow links at bottom of page for the rest of his exegesis – which for the most part is very good.  Note how confident and sure Sam was a Full Preterist as you read this article and compare it to how evasive and unsure he is of Matthew 16:27-28’s meaning as a “hard hearted” (his term) Partial Preterist.

[5] R.C. Sproul General Editor, THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE (Philipsburg, NJ:  Ligonier Ministries, 2005), 1384. Bold emphasis mine.

[6] Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (327). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. Bold emphasis mine.

[7] Sam Frost, Daniel 12:2, http://thereignofchrist.com/daniel-122/

[8] Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew. The Pillar New Testament Commentary (357). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.

[9] The New King James Version. 1982 (Mt 25:31–46). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 1999) 200.  Bold and underlined emphasis mine.

[11] Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (489). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.  Emphasis mine.

[12] Carson, Ibid., 506.  Emphasis mine.

[13] THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE, Ibid., 1401

[14] Keith Mathison, Postmillennialism An Eschatology of Hope, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 226. Bold emphasis mine.

[15] Gary DeMar, LAST DAYS MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, Inc., 1994), 327.

[16] Mathison, Ibid., Postmillenialism, 230.

[17] DeMar, Ibid., 325.

[18] A Full Preterist Response To Joel McDurmon’s Article “The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth in Revelation 20:11 AND 20:1” Part 1 – 2 Peter 3, http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-partial-preterist-joel-mcdurmons-article-the-passing-away-of-heaven-and-earth-in-revelation-2011-and-201/

 

[19] Wayne House, Differences Between 1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/differences-between-1-thessalonians-4-and-matthew-24. Thomas Ice, Differences Between The Rapture And The Second Coming, http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/differences-between-rapture-and-second-coming

 

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