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House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 2 Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 

Chapter Seven

The Resurrection of the Dead

Part 2 Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3

 

David A. Green

Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Strimple Argument #2: According to Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3,

when the resurrection of the dead takes place, the heavens and the earth

—the whole physical creation—will be physically transformed and

physically renewed. Therefore the resurrection of the dead will also be

physical and will involve a physical transformation/renewal (321-326).

 

Answer: When Paul and Peter wrote their epistles:

 

1. God was “ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Pet. 4:5).

2. It was “time for the judgment to begin” (1 Pet. 4:17).

3. Believers were living in “the last days” (2 Tim. 3:1; 2 Pet. 3:3).

4. Believers were living in “the last times” (1 Pet. 1:20).

5. Believers were “hastening” the coming of the day of God, when

the Morning Star would arise in their hearts (2 Pet. 1:19-20;

3:3, 5, 11-12).

6. The glory and salvation of Israel was “about to be

revealed”/“ready to be revealed” (Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 1:5; 5:1).

7. The night was “almost gone” (Rom. 13:12).

8. The day of salvation was “at hand” (Rom. 13:12).

9. God was “soon” to crush the ancient enemy, Satan, under the

feet of the first-century church (Rom. 16:20), in fulfillment of

Genesis 3:15.

10. “The end of all things” was “at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7).

 

If we are to let the words of Scripture say what they say in their

context, we must admit that the biblical time of eschatological crisis is

now history. The apostles Paul and Peter, through the inspiration of the

Holy Spirit, fully expected the heavens and the earth (the world) to burn

and dissolve in their own generation (2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12). Therefore, we

are to rest in faith that this event, according to God’s faithful and sure

prophetic word, was fulfilled in the apostolic generation.

 

Futurist objections notwithstanding, it requires no stretch of the

imagination to believe God’s word in this regard. We know that when

Peter spoke of the “heavens” and the “earth,” he did not mean the literal

sky and the planet. Peter believed that the heavens and the earth of

Noah’s day were destroyed (2 Pet. 3:5-6). Peter certainly did not think

that the literal stars (“the heavens”) were destroyed in Noah’s flood.

 

When Peter spoke of the end of the world (“the end of all things”), he

was speaking of the world-order in which he lived. He was speaking of

the pre-redemption world that was speedily coming to a consummation

through the power of the recently slain Lamb of God. Peter was not

writing in scientific terms concerning hydrogen and oxygen melting.

He was writing in the fervent, poetic language of the prophets concerning

the impending end of the old covenant age and the resulting liberation

of “the creature” / “all Israel” (all the saints, living and dead) from

the slavery and futility of the spiritual corruption of Sin.

 

Peter’s prophecy in 2 Peter 3 was a reiteration of Isaiah 24. In that

chapter, Isaiah spoke of the time when the sun and the moon (the heavens)

would be confounded and ashamed (Isa. 24:23) and when the earth

would be burned, broken down, dissolved, and would fade away (Isa.

24:4, 6, 19-20). Isaiah was speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

The heavens and the earth” referred to the pre-Messianic, dead-in-

Sin world of God’s people. That old creation or cosmos was dissolved,

and it vanished shortly after Peter wrote his epistles, in AD 70. There is

no biblical rationale for appending a “resurrection of the flesh at the end

of human history” to the teachings of the apostles.

 

One final note: The Bible says that after the Parousia, after the fulfillment

of all prophecy, in the new heavens and the new earth, there will

be cursed nations that will, year by year, refuse to worship God (Zech.

14:16-19). After the fulfillment of all prophecy, there will be those who

attack God’s people, though ultimately to no avail (Isa. 54:15-17). After

the fulfillment of all prophecy, there will be people loving and practicing

lies outside the city of God in the new heavens and new earth (Rev.

22:14-15).

 

Strimple says that this biblical doctrine is “incredible” and that it

does not “satisfy” him (323). It is the task of futurists to believe and to

be satisfied with what God’s word teaches concerning the eternal, Messianic

world in which we live today.

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