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Matthew 24-25 and the Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant Age in AD 70

Matthew 24-25 and the Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by the End of the Old Covenant Age in AD 70  

By Michael J. Sullivan

Introduction

I have good news for you!  Bible prophecy and the Olivet Discourse (OD) is not as hard to understand as your Futurist Pastor and or scholarly commentaries would try and suggest.  But they are at least correct on one thing, there are a lot of conflicting positions taken on the OD that have resulted in forming multiple views of Bible prophecy in general.

My Approach 

My approach will be forming a synthesis (“Reformed and always reforming”) between three main views of the OD and thus demonstrating that these views have actually formed Sovereign Grace Full Preterism.  Note below how there are several contradictions within these views without SGFPism to “bridging the gap” and unite them into a consistent and exegetical interpretation:

“1.” = Classic Amillennialism & Historic Premillennialism

“2.” = Partial Preterism (mostly Postmillennial)

“3.” = Sovereign Grace Full Preterism:

The Disciples Question(s)

  1.  The disciples were confused and wrong to associate the Temple’s destruction with His Second Coming and end of the age.
  2.  The disciples were not confused to associate the Temple’s destruction with His coming and the end of the age.
  3.  The disciples were not confused and wrong to associate the Temple’s destruction with His Second Coming and end of the age.

The End of the Age

  1. The consummation (the ONE Second Coming, judgment & resurrection) takes place at the “end of the age.”
  2.  The “end of the age” is the OC age which ended in AD 70.
  3.  The consummation (the ONE Second Coming, judgment & resurrection) was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.

General Signs

  1. General signs continue till consummation.
  2. General signs all fulfilled prior to AD 70.
  3.  General signs continued till the consummation of the OC age in AD 70.

Two Specific Signs Marking Nearness of Fulfillment1.

1. When the specific sign of Great Commission (GC) is fulfilled, then the Second Coming & consummation takes place. But the specific sign of the armies surrounding Jerusalem was fulfilled in AD 70.

2.  The two specific signs of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies & the G.C. were fulfilled by AD 70.

3.  When the two signs of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies and the G.C. were fulfilled the consummation (the ONE Second Coming, judgment and resurrection) was fulfilled in AD 70.

The Coming of the Son of Man

  1.  The Coming of Son of Man throughout OD is Christ’s ONE Second Coming event.
  2.  The Coming of Son of Man throughout OD is Christ’s spiritual apocalyptic coming to close OC age in AD 70.  Some try and create two Comings of Christ.
  3.  The Coming of the Son of Man throughout the OD is His ONE Second Coming event which was fulfilled using apocalyptic language and closed the OC age in AD 70.

The De-Creation Stars Falling etc…

  1.  The de-creation is the literal creation followed by the new creation and is the end of the age event ushered in by Christ’s ONE Second Coming event.
  2.  The de-creation is descriptive of the OC and Temple system followed by the new creation of the NC system (common apocalyptic language) and is the end of the OC age ushered in by Christ’s coming in AD 70.
  3.  The de-creation is descriptive of the OC and Temple system followed by the new creation of the NC system (common apocalyptic language) and is the end of the OC age ushered in by Christ’s ONE Second Coming event in AD 70.

The Trumpet Gathering 

  1.  The gathering of the elect with the trumpet call at the end of the age is the resurrection event of Dan. 12:2-3/Mt. 13:39-43, 1 Thess. 4:15-17 and 1 Cor. 15 that takes place at Christ’s ONE Second Coming event.
  2.  The gathering of the elect with the trumpet call at the end of the OC age is the resurrection event of Dan. 12:2-3/Mt. 13:39-43, 1 Thess. 4:15-17 and 1 Cor. 15 and was fulfilled in AD 70 (partially).  Others claim it is a spiritual gathering of a second G.C. post AD 70 that is in view here.
  3.  The gathering of the elect with the trumpet call at the end of the OC age is the resurrection event of Dan. 12:2-3/Mt. 13:39-43, 1 Thess. 4:15-17 and 1 Cor. 15 and was fulfilled at Christ’s ONE Second Coming event in AD 70.

This Generation

  1. Conflicting views of “this generation” and “all these things” ends up being some of those things.
  2. “This generation” is the AD 30 – AD 70 generation.
  3.  “This generation” is the AD 30 – AD 70 generation that witnessed the fulfillment of “all these things” (all the signs, the Temple’s destruction, the Second Coming and end of the OC age).

On Double or Multiple Fulfillments

  1. Since the OD is addressing Jesus’ ONE Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the dead event at the end of the age, there is no double fulfilling these events.  Some try to have double or multiple fulfillments.
  2. One cannot give the OD and it’s AD 70 fulfillments double or multiple fulfillments.
  3.  Since the OD is addressing Jesus’ ONE Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the dead event at the end of the OC age in AD 70, there is no giving these events double or multiple fulfillments.

“1.” = Orthodox Partial Preterism

“2.” = Orthodox Partial Preterism

“3.” = Sovereign Grace Full Preterism

Heaven and Earth Pass Away 

  1. Heaven and earth passing away is the literal creation followed by a literal new creation and only takes place once within redemptive history at the end of the age.
  2. Heaven and earth passing away is the OC system followed by the establishing of the NC system and was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.
  3.  Heaven and earth passing away is the OC system followed by the establishing of the NC system and is only prophesied to take place once within redemptive history – at the end of the OC age in AD 70.

The Day and Hour Unknown

  1. The “day and hour” refers to Jesus’ Second Coming event described in the rest of Mt. 24:39—25:31.
  2. The “day and hour” refers to Christ’s coming in AD 70 as do the other references to His coming throughout Mt. 24:39—25:31.
  3.  The “day and hour” refers to Jesus’ Second Coming in AD 70 as do the other references to His Second Coming throughout Mt. 24:39–25:31.
As a Thief
1.  Christ coming as a thief is His ONE Second Coming event.
2.  Christ coming as a thief is His coming in AD 70 to close the OC age.
3.  Christ coming as a thief is His ONE Second Coming event which closed the OC age in AD 70.
The Long Time
1. The “long time” is the eschatological “already and not yet” or millennial period before the Second Coming takes place.
2. The “long time” is the eschatological “already and not yet” of the OC “last days” that ended in AD 70.
3. The “long time” is the eschatological “already and not yet” / millennial period / “last days” that ended the OC age in AD 70 – at Christ’s Second Coming.

PREMISE #1: – IF it is true that the coming of the Son of Man in Mt. 24-25 is His ONE Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection event that takes place at the end of the age (The Classic Amillennial/Premillennial Views agree with Full Preterism).

PREMISE #2 – AND IF it is true that the coming of the Son of Man in Mt. 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually (using apocalyptic language) in AD 70 to close the Old Covenant (OC) age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” with a spiritual judgment and resurrection taking place as well (The Partial Preterist View agrees with Full Preterism).

CONCLUSION: – THEN it must be true that the ONE Second Coming event in Mt. 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually using apocalyptic language and was attended with the Judgment and Resurrection event in AD 70 to close the OC age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Full Preterism “Reformed and always reforming”).

The Analogy of Faith and Importance of the OD

Although all futurists cannot agree on the content and various alleged divisions of the OD, they do tend to agree one one thing, and that is whatever your interpretation of Matthew 24-25 is, it will dictate your interpretation on all of the prophetic passages in the rest of the NT.

For example, those that hold to the Classic Amillennial or Premillennial views deny Jesus’s statement that He would come in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation,” therefore they consistently try to deny NT imminence and spiritualize it away as well (“at hand,” “soon,” “quickly,” etc…).

Since those that hold to Postmillennial Partial Preterism see two comings of Christ in the OD separated by thousands of years, they likewise believe there are two comings or parousias in the NT as well – one fulfilled in AD 70 spiritually and one to end world history that will be physical.

There are some Postmillennial Partial Preterists that believe Christ’s coming and parousia throughout both Matthew 24 and 25 was fulfilled in AD 70.  For this group there is not as much harmony between the OD and the eschatology of the NT.  Instead of trying to show the harmony between Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 with say Paul’s eschatology, they end up creating a dichotomy between Jesus’ eschatology and Paul’s.  They insist that Jesus didn’t really teach on His Second Coming in the gospels, but rather His actual Second Coming was developed later by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.

The Full Preterist view correctly understands the OD in that since Jesus is teaching about His ONE Second Coming event to be fulfilled in His contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (to close the OC age in AD 70), it is only natural as that generation was ending the NT (under divine inspiration) accurately declares that His Second Coming would to be fulfilled “at hand,” “soon,” “quickly,” “shortly,” “in a very little while and would not tarry” to close the OC age and bring to maturity the NC age that was “about to come.”

The Inclusio, Chiasm and Recapitulatory Structure of the OD

Matthew 23-25 forms and involves three very familiar Hebraic prophetic structures: inclusio, chiam and recapitulation which revolve around Jesus’ coming in judgment upon OC Jerusalem in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation”:

 

A.  Prediction of persecution coming and vindication [judgment of living and dead] at Christ’s coming in “this generation” (Mt. 23:29-36, 39).

          B.  Prediction of Temple’s destruction being at Second Coming. The   time or sign will be during the Feasts – when Song of Ascent is sung (Mt. 23:38-39).

          B.  Disciples understanding the prediction of the Temple’s destruction will be at Second Coming. Time and signs more thoroughly covered (Mt. 24:1-3; 4-15, 30-31 – and this coming and judgment is recapitulated again in Mt. 24:35–25:31-46).

A.  Prediction of persecution coming and vindication [judgment of the living and the dead] at Christ’s coming in “this generation” (Mt. 24:9-10, 30-34).

Reformed theologian John Murray correctly pointed out the OD is laid out in a common and prophetic recapitulation format:

“The [OD – Matthew 24], as to structure, is recapitulatory…” “It is not, therefore, continuously progressive. We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, concomitants, and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41; 25:31-46).” (John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2: Systematic Theology, [Banner of Truth Pub., 1977] 398).

Inclusio – Is when the author begins and ends a discourse with a very important, specific, phrase, subject matter, or trigger (Mt. 23 “this generation” –> Mt. 24 “this generation”).

Chiasm – A chiasm is a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and/or emphasis.

Recapitulation – An act or instance of summarizing and restating the main points of something: “his recapitulation of the argument.” Often times prophecy is written in this circular or recapitulatory manner – the same judgment is described differently (bowls, seals, trumpets) with the good or bad characters described differently, the battle scene depicted differently etc… (as in the book of Revelation).

The climatic question that was begging in the minds of the disciples is that they wanted to know more specifically when and what signs Jesus might give concerning his coming to vindicate the persecutions coming and the blood of the martyrs, destroy the city and temple within their generation. Jesus had already given a subtle sign of Him coming during one of the feasts when they would be singing the Son of Ascent on the walls (Mt. 23:38-39/Ps. 118). And they already understood He would come in judgment to close their OC age (cf. Mt. 13:39-51). They were not “confused” to associate His coming with the destruction of the temple and the end of their OC age. They knew it would take place in their lifetimes (cf. Mt. 10:17-23; Mt. 16:27-28) and generation (Mt. 23:36-39), they just wanted more clarity when Jesus brings up the Temple and it’s destruction again in Matthew 24 and Jesus gave it to them. The climatic and concluding answer given by Jesus to the disciples as to when all of these things would take place was “this generation” (Mt. 24:34). This closes the inclusio of His “this generation” which was begun in Matthew 23.

Matthew 23-25 involves ONE Second Coming event to close the OC age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” The discourse has NOTHING to do with a literal bodily coming of Jesus to close world history. The recapitulation structure of the OD dismantles the division theories of futurists and even that of Postmillennial Partial Preterists. Selah. The coming of Christ in Matthew 23:38-39–24:27-31 is the Second Coming. The “gathering” (Mt. 24:30-31) is the rising of the dead (of all the dead) that takes place at the end of the age already discussed in Matthew 13:36-43/Daniel 12:1-4 and is not a post AD 70 Great Commission “gathering.” It is the end result of the harvest G.C. that ends at the end of the OC age Matthew 24:14/Cols. 1:5-6, 23. And the coming judgment in Matthew 25:30-46 is not a progressive one post AD 70 during a post AD 70 G.C., but rather the coming judgment in AD 70 that closes the OC age at which time the dead and Satan (Rms. 16:20) would be judged. There have been clever eisegetical inventions by Partial Preterists to keep them “creedal” while not making a division, but even these fall short of the structure and time frame Jesus gives in the discourse.

  1. Matthew 24:1-3: The Disciple’s Question(s) – Were They “Confused” or Are Futurists? 

Futurists impose upon or read into the text (eisegesis) that the disciples were “confused” to associate the coming of the Son of Man and the end of the age with the destruction of the Temple they were looking at.  Why?  Because this eisegesis now gives them an excuse to claim Jesus allegedly goes on to discuss the end of world history, when in fact the context makes clear this was never the subject of the OD.

Here are the actual facts:

  • Jesus previously taught the disciples that He would come in some of their lifetimes (Mt. 10:22-23; Mt. 16:27-28).
  • Jesus previously taught the disciples that the eschatological consummation would take place at the end of their “this age” (which was their OC age).  Jesus asked them if they understood His teaching about the end of the age and they emphatically said “yes” (Mt. 13:39-43, 51).
  • The immediate context informs us that Jesus connects the vindication of all the martyrs (this is the judgment and resurrection of the dead event – per Rev. 20) with His coming to judge Jerusalem and the Temple in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 23:30-39).
  • It is the custom of Jesus in His teaching (or Matthew as a narrator of his gospel) to point out when the disciples are confused or ask a question that needs correction (cf. Mt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).  Therefore, since we don’t find Jesus or Matthew claiming the disciples were “confused,” we need to actually follow the actual teaching of the text (a new concept for futurists I know).
  • If the “end of the age” means the end of world history, then Mark and Luke forgot to add this very important information in their accounts of the OD.  But since this phrase “end of the age” is only used three times in Matthew’s gospel and one time in Hebrews, it communicates a Jewish flavor to His audience about the end of their age.  The Jew understood the meaning of “this age” to mean the OC Mosaic age and the “age to come” as the NC Messianic age.  Futurists are the one’s “confused” in that they have identified “this age” with our current NC age, and the “age to come” to mean the end of world history.
  • The disciples had the OT scriptures that supports that the eschatological “time of the end” (not end of time) would take place with the destruction of their Temple and City (Dan. 9:24-27; 12:1-7).
  • Therefore, since Jesus has previously taught the disciples that He was going to come on the clouds in judgment upon Jerusalem and her Temple at the end of their OC “this age,” in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation,” there is no exegetical evidence to support the disciples were “confused” to associate these events together.

Pure exegesis demonstrates that the disciples wanted confirmation as to when these events were going to take place, but this time they wanted specific signs they could look to indicating the nearness of His coming to close their OC age (with the destruction of the Temple).

  1. General Signs: False Messiahs, Wars, Earthquakes, Famines, Pestilences, Persectution, Signs in the Heavens. 

Jesus gives general signs that would characterize events in their generation, but would not be indicators as to when “the end” or “end of the age” would take place.  In spite of what Jesus says here, many alleged Dispensational futurist “prophecy experts” actually point to these general signs as an indicator that the “rapture” or Second Coming is genuinely near to take place in our generation.  Let’s go through them and demonstrate that all of them were fulfilled prior to AD 70.

False Christ’s / Messiah’s

Just a trip through the NT demonstrates how this was fulfilled:  Theudas (Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few.  In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) the first century Church that they knew it was “the last hour” because the Antichrist’s had arrived (1 John 2:17-18). For those who understand the “Antichrist” and “Man of Sin” to be the same person, we should point out that this individual was alive and “already at work” during the time of Paul (cf. 2 Thess. 2:3-8).

The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:

“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

“In AD 40 at Mesopotamia, there was an upheaval that resulted in the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, at Jerusalem 10,000 to 20,000 died.  At Caesarea, over 20,000 Jews were killed.  The Syrians killed an additional 20,000.  At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed.  In Alexandria 50,000 were killed.  At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in just an hour’s time.

Famines and Earthquakes

Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic OC age and generation (Acts 11:27-29).

In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered.

The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26).  Prior to AD 70 Roman and Jewish historians record there were earthquakes in Rome, Judea, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, etc…

It should be pointed out that these signs are OC cursing signs that would come upon Israel when she broke covenant (Deut. 11; 28; 32; Lev. 26).  Prior to AD 70, the OC was still in force but was “ready to vanish” (Heb. 8:13; 9:8 – has legal standing) therefore God was enforcing the curses upon Israel for rejecting Him.  Post AD 70 there is no OC, so for futurists to apply these to current events is an exegetical error on many levels.

Persecutions & the Holy Spirit

Matthew 10:17-23 is a snap shot of what is further developed here in the OD, so let’s briefly examine this passage alongside the OD.

  • “Before the Son of Man comes” –  Again, this is a reference to the Second Coming of Jesus described for us in Daniel 7:13.  He would come before these first century disciples would run out of cities (of refuge) to flee to (as they preached the gospel to the towns of Israel) in AD 70.
  • “The end” here is Daniel’s “the time of the end” (not the end of time) and is referring to the end of the OC age addressed in Daniel 9 and 12 in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 or when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered (cf. Dan. 12:7).
  • The preaching of the gospel to the towns of Israel here is obviously a local event and therefore could have been and was accomplished prior to Christ coming and closing “the end” to the OC age in AD 70.
  • The disciples did not run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted (preaching the gospel to Israel) before the Son of Man came in the judgment of AD 70.  They fled to Pella and were safe.
  • The book of Acts confirms these first century disciples were handed over to local councils and flogged in their synagogues and brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles just prior to AD 70.  These are the persecutions predicted in Daniel 7 that would take place right before the Son of Man would come upon the clouds and the righteous would poses or inherit the kingdom.
  • Matthew 10 & Parallels with the OD:
  • Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Matthew 10:17 = Mark. 13:9
  • Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Matthew 10:18 = Mark 13:9.
  • Holy Spirit would speak through them – Matthew 10:19-20 = Mark 13:11
  • Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” (OC age) would be saved – Matthew 10:22 = Mark 13:12-13.
  • Although the first century disciples and Apostles would be persecuted as they preached the gospel to the cities of Israel, they would not run out of cities of refuge to flee to for safety before the Son of Man would come- Matthew 10:23 = Matthew 24:14 = Romans 10:18; Mark 13:10 = Romans. 16:25-26.
  • Kingdom was “at hand” / Christ’s coming and kingdom arrived in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and was thus “at hand” or “near” at that time – Matthew 10:7 = Luke 21:30-32

In comparing Matthew 10:19-20 and Mark 13:11 with Luke 21:14 we learn that the Holy Spirit was miraculously giving these disciples what to say in the midst of their persecutions.  As I point out in my article on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, this was the miraculous gift of knowledge that was given to the early church to correctly interpret OT Scripture as they pertained to the Messiah, the mystery, and an immiennt judgment coming upon their first century enemies (even in the midst of persecutions).

Signs in the Heavens

Josephus records that there were comets and blazing stars – a flaming sword (or a comet like one) hanging over Jerusalem, and angelic armies in the air warring against each other.  Some claim to have seen a man on a cloud over Jerusalem with flaming swords.

  1. Specific signs:  Jerusalem Surrounded by Armies in Fulfillment of ALL OT Prophecy & the Great Commission

Now Jesus shares with the disciples two very specific signs which would mark the nearness of “the end” or “end of the (OC) age” – namely Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (the abomination that causes desolation), and the fulfillment of the Great Commission (GC).

Jerusalem was surrounded by the armies of the Idumeans and then the Romans and we know that the Christians fled to Pella when they observed this sign.  But the clear meaning of the words of Jesus and history itself is not enough for Futurists because they feel more of a need to defend their eschatological systems.

Matthew’s “abomination that causes desolation” connected to the “holy place” and Luke’s description of this event as the armies surrounding Jerusalem making her “desolate” are not “closely associated” events separated by thousands of years (as some Dispensationalists would interpret), but rather they are two different descriptions of the SAME event!  The Jews understood their land to be a “holy place” (2 Maccabees 1:7; 2; 3:1).  So when the Christians saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem (the holy place that would become desolate), they fled.

The description of the flight indicates a first century historical situation as well.  The keeping of “Sabbath” and the fact that they needed to pray that it would not take place at this time (Mt. 24:21), was important to that first century “this generation” audience, because historically the gates of Jerusalem would be closed on the Sabbath – thus this would hinder their flight.

In Fulfillment of “All That is Written”

Jesus informs us that the Christians flight from Jerusalem in AD 66 and then her imminent desolation would be the “time of punishment” that would fulfill “all that is written” (Luke 21:20-22).  Daniel indeed does see all of the major eschatological events to be fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed or “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (cf. Dan. 12:1-7):

  1. The Great Tribulation (Dan. 12:1 = Mt. 24:21/Lk. 21:23).
  2. Abomination & Desolation (Dan. 9:26-27 = Mt. 24:15/Lk.   21:20).
  3. Judgment & Deliverance (Dan. 12:1 = Mt. 24:13/Lk. 21:18-28).
  4. The Resurrection of the Dead (Dan. 12:2-3 = Mt. 24:30-31).
  5. The End or End of the (OC) age (Dan. 12:4, 6… = Mt. 24:3, 14).

The NT follows and confirms Jesus’ teaching here in that the “end of ALL things was AT HAND” not some things (cf. 1 Pet. 4:5-7; 1 Pet. 1:1-12; 1 Cor. 10:11; Acts 24:15YLT; Rev. 1:1–22:20).

Partial Preterists on Luke 21:22 / Matthew 5:17-18 / Daniel 12:2 / John 4-5 / Matthew 13:39-43

First the beliefs:

It has become common for futurists to appeal to Luke 18:31 to limit the “all things” here of Luke 21:22.  There Jesus says that when He and His disciples go up to Jerusalem (in about AD 30), “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.” For example Keith Mathison argues that since the Second Coming did not occur at that time, it follows that when Jesus says in Luke 21:22 that “all things written” will be fulfilled when Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70, He is referring only to prophetic predictions that concerned the destruction of Jerusalem and not to all eschatological prophecy in general (WSTTB?, 172).

Response: 

Of course no one disagrees with Mathison’s observation that the context of Luke 18:31 limits Jesus’ phrase of “all things” to prophetic material pertaining to His passion.  But Mathison assumes what he needs to prove when he assumes that the context of Christ’s coming in Matthew 24 is only dealing with the fall of Jerusalem, and not His actual Second Coming connected to all eschatological prophecy in general.  Later we will see that Mathison is not in line with the creeds or the historic church when it comes to what the Olivet Discourse actually covers.  In Luke 18:31 “all things” concern all OT prophecies about Christ’s passion, and in Luke 21:22 Jesus uses “all things” to refer to all OT prophecies addressing His Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the dead.

Gentry claims Jesus’ statement that “all that is written” in Luke 21:22, refers to, “all things written in the Old Testament.  That being the case, the final resurrection (for instance) is outside of this declaration (Jn. 5:28-29).” (Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, Third Edition, 544).

Let’s address Gentry and the Partial Preterist arguments here on all OT prophecy being fulfilled in AD 70 and then Gentry’s appeals to an alleged future resurrection in John 5:28-29.

First, Partial Preterists do not seem to realize what their teaching implies when they admit that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 while connected with their teaching on all OT prophecy being fulfilled per Luke 21:22 or say Matthew 5:17-18.

If all the “jots” and “tittles” of the OC law (Mt. 5:17-18) were fulfilled in AD 70, and the resurrection of Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13:14; and Daniel 12:2 are apart of those jots and tittles of that “heaven and earth” system that passed away and was fulfilled in AD 70 (per John Brow, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, etc…) then the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 was also fulfilled in AD 70.  Especially since the Apostle Paul never said he came to present a new set of promises on the judgment and resurrection of the dead, but that he taught no other things except that which could be found in the OT law and prophets (Acts 26:21-23) and considered the resurrection of the “just and unjust” of Daniel 12:2 “about to be” fulfilled in his day (Acts 24:15YLT).  As we will see the OD fulfills Isaiah 24-28; 64-65; Daniel 7; 9:24-27; 12:1-7, 13; Zach. 12-14; etc… – literally “all things written” about “the time of the end” or “end of the age” eschatological events (i.e. the Second Coming, judgment and resurrection of the dead, judgment of Satan and new creation promises).  Per Jesus “all these things” would be fulfilled in His generation.

As previously stated, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, and James Jordan are now claiming the resurrection of Daniel 12:2, 13 was fulfilled spiritually, covenatally, corporately in AD 70 with Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 (Kenneth Gentry, Ibid.; James Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, 618-628).  Gentry once believed the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was only ONE final resurrection in arguing against Premillennialists that proposed two, but now he gives the passage a double fulfillment or proposes his own version of a two resurrection theory:  1. a spiritual resurrection in AD 70 and 2. a literal one at the end of world history.

Let’s now consider Gentry’s second point that he raises on the resurrection of John 5:28-29 in connection with Luke 21:22.  First, Gentry affirms the “not yet” coming hour in John 4 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet then arbitrarily claims the “not yet” eschatological coming “hour” of John 5 is a different “hour” being fulfilled at the end of world history.  Gentry’s other problem is that the resurrection “hour” of John 5 is the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 that he admits was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.

Daniel 12:1-4 / John 4-5

There is no exegetical evidence that there are two different “not yet” coming “hours” in John 4 and John 5, and if the “not yet” coming hour in John 4 was fulfilled in AD 70, then why not the “not yet” coming hour in John 5:28-29?  John appears to be using the already and not yet of the coming eschatological hour in John 4-5 with a chiastic structure:

The Not Yet

A  John 4:21 NRSV-CE  Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

The Already

B  John 4:23 NRSV-CE  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.

The Already

B  John 5:25 NRSV-CE  ‘Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

The Not Yet

A  John 5:28-29 NRSV-CE  Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  (29)  and will come out–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.  (The Resurrection in John 5: A Time is Coming: Chiasmus in John 4-5, Guest Article by Jerald Davis on eschatology.org)

Therefore, when the eschatological coming “hour” of OC Jerusalem’s destruction and judgment (with it’s Temple worship system ceasing) would be fulfilled in AD 70, is when the resurrection would occur (in perfect harmony with Dan. 12:2-7, 13).  As that generation was ending John informed his first century readers that the OC world was passing away and he knew it was the “last hour” (1 Jn. 2:17-18; Rev. 14:6-7).  It is more than inconsistency which causes Partial Preterists such as Gentry to take very eschatological “hour” of John to be fulfilled in AD 70 except John 5:28-29!  It is merely following blind tradition and an adherence to hyper-creedalism – which oddly even Gentry’s WCF exhorts him not to do!

Having discussed the eschatological already and not yet of John 4-5, here is the already and not yet of Daniel 12:1-4 and John 5:24-29:

The Already

  1.  Daniel 12:1-2 – At the hour they will be raised to eternal life.
  2.  John 5:24-25 – At the hour they will believe and be raised to eternal life.

The Not Yet

  1.  Daniel 12:1-2 – At the hour many will rise [anastesontai] to eternal life and to eternal shame.
  2.  John 5:28-29 – At the hour all partake in a resurrection [anastasin] of life or judgment.

Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2 and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection – in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers:

“The phrase “eternal life” is found in the LXX only in Dan. 12:2, so that John 5:24’s reference to the same phrase is an allusion to that text.  We will also see directly below that John’s use of “hour” is an end-time sense derives from the OG of Dan. 8; 11-12, where it is equivalent to explicit end-time expressions in the Hebrew and refers to end-time events (e.g., Dan. 8:18, 19; 11:35, 40).  And as we hust have seen, in Dan. 12:1-2 it refers to the hour of tribulation followed by resurrection.  In fact, the “hour” of Dan. 12:1 OG is further understood as “the hour of the end” in Dan. 12:4 OG.”  (G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131-132).

Those that slept in the dust of Daniel 12:2 did so in a figurative sense – obviously their rotting corpses were in the dust (they weren’t literally sleeping there) while their souls or spirits were very much alive (not literally sleeping) in Abraham’s Bosom awaiting the resurrection (Luke 16).  The “many” here are simply a “great multitude” of the just and unjust and John 5:28-29 clarifies this is “all” the dead just prior to the resurrection in AD 70.  In John 5:24-29 both the physically alive and physically dead were spiritually dead needing to hear the voice of Christ through the gospel in order for them to be raised from the dead (separation from God) to inherit eternal life.  The living heard it for a generation leading to AD 70, and Jesus preached the gospel to the dead (cf. 1 Peter 4:5-6).  Those coming out of the “graves” are no more literal graves than those described for us in the “graves” of (Ezek. 37:12).  And in context, there is no support for two different kinds of “voices” that raise two different kinds of death (one spiritual and one physical).

No “Double-Fulfillments”

As I document and discuss HD, Partial Preterists are now admitting that the “end of this age” judgment and resurrection harvest of Matthew 13:39-43 (when the righteous shine Mt. 13:43=Dan. 12:2-3) was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 and not at the end of the world history.  Therefore, Jesus places Daniel’s resurrection “time of the end” or “the hour of the end” at the “end of [His OC] this age” i.e. in AD 70 and NO OTHER AGE!  Jesus doesn’t give the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 a double fulfillment of two totally different kinds of resurrections ending in two totally different ages!

Not only is the separation and rewarding “gathering” at the end of the OC age the resurrection and judgment of the dead event that took place in AD 70 (Dan. 12:1-4/Mt. 13:39-43/Mt. 24:30-31), but so is the separation and rewarding of the sheep and the goats (Dan. 12:1-4/Mt. 25:31-46) which also took place at the coming of Christ to close the end of the OC age (Dan. 12:1-4/Mt. 25:31-46).  DeMar once again has painted himself into a corner.  Partial Preterists cannot argue that “the tribulation cannot be made to fit into some “double-fulfillment” scheme of interpretation…” because “…AD 70 was an absolutely unique event, never to be repeated,” and then turn around and try and cherry-pick and “double-fulfill” the historically unique judgment and resurrection/harvest separation event that immediately followed the Tribulation and was fulfilled at the end of the OC age (Dan. 12:1-2/Mt. 24:29-31)!

Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar tell us the content of the OD cannot have a double or multiple fulfillments,

“Either the Olivet Discourse applies to a generation located in the distant future from the time the gospel writers composed the Olivet Discourse or to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking; it can’t be a little bit of both.  As well will see, the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in any of the synoptic gospels does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion.  Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it.” (DeMar, The Olivet Discourse:  The Test of Truth, americanvision.org/blog/?p=190)

The problem for DeMar, is that we (and other Reformed Amillennialists) have established the eschatological gathering at the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3/Matthew 24:31 is ONE and the same event (the resurrection and judgment of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4).  That being the case, it cannot have a double fulfillment per Partial Preterism.  As we will see in Matthew 25:31-46, DeMar hits this wall once again in connection with Daniel 12:1-4 – that he avoids.

The fulfillment that has been wrought in Christ is no piecemeal fulfillment that has remained a “yes and no” fulfillment/non-fulfillment for 2,000 years, as Futurists imagine. The Law of Moses does not remain “imposed” as it did between the Cross and the Parousia (Heb. 9:10, NASB). Rather, Christ returned and the OC vanished in His Presence forty years after His Cross (Heb. 8:13). If He did not return, and if the dead were not raised in Him, then the OC never vanished, and we are still in our sins. This is the inevitable implication of denying that literally “all things written” are fulfilled in Christ today.

The Great Commission & End of the Age

In Matthew’s account, Jesus gives another specific sign – the fulfillment of the GC before “the end” or “end of the (OC) age” would transpire (Mt. 24:14).  This too was fulfilled as a specific sign just prior to AD 70 per Paul’s inspired instruction:

Prophecy and Fulfillment

  • “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)
  • “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:  ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)

*  One def. of oikumene – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5).  Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”

  • “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Greek ethnos] “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos] “‘. . . I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20)
  • “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)

*  These are “all the nations [ethnos] under heaven” in (Acts 2:4-5)

  • “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world  [Greek kosmos] and preach the gospel to every creature” “. . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;they shall speak with new tongues.” [Greek glossa] (Mark 16:15, 17)
  • “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)

*  One def. of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”

  • “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15)
  • “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)

 

*  One def. of kitisis –  “In rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).”  The creation of men not literally the planet earth.

  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8)
  • “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom. 10:18)

*  One def. of ge – “The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…”

  • Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Greek glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Greek ethnos] under heaven. (Acts 2:4-5)
  • Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly”: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land [Greek ge], and to every nation [Greek ethnos], and kindred [Greek phile] and tongue [Greek glossa], and people.” [Greek laos] (Rev.14:6).  “The scene is Pentecost, 30 A.D. (cf. Heb. 12:22-24).  This is when the gospel began to be preached under the authority of the great commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 33; 1 Pet. 1:12).  From here the gospel was preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (cf. Matt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10; Rom. 1:16; 10:18; Col. 1:23).” (Arthur Ogden, The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets Commentary on Revelation, pp. 292-293).

The Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul use every Greek word Jesus used to describe the Great Commission being fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to close the OC age — to make it CLEAR it was fulfilled in Paul’s day!

  1. The Great Tribulation/Distress and Wrath “In the Land” “Against This People”

Jesus continues describing the destruction of Jerusalem in the events leading to AD 66 – AD 70 when He describes the conditions of the flight and the time of great distress/tribulation and wrath coming against the Jews.  Its hard to avoid the grammatical connections of “those days” and connectors such as “for…”

Again we have Luke describing the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:18-21 somewhat differently due to his Gentile audience, but again this is just a different author describing the same event using different terminology.  Some Dispensational authors have tried to make a big distinction here between “great tribulation” and “great distress.”  Apparently because there are two different words, Matthew’s account is an alleged future event to us, while Luke’s description was fulfilled in AD 70.  But lexicons list the two terms ananke and thlipsis as synonymous terms.

Many Futurists insist that this time of tribulation/distress and wrath against this people (the first century Jews) could not have happened in AD 70 because these are global terms and not local.  Yet Jesus in Luke tells us this time of great tribulation/distress and wrath would be “in the land” (Lk. 21:23) and poured out upon “this people” (those first century Jews that rejected Him).  But one will object that in verse 26 Jesus states these were coming expectations about events that would encompass the “earth.”  These two verses are easily harmonized when we understand that the Greek word here for “earth” (oikouménē) simply means literally “the inhabited land.”  It was originally used of the Greeks to describe their land verses others.  Some dictionaries give the meaning of the Roman Empire or the local land of Palestine.  The context dictates the meaning and clearly the focus is on a great tribulation or distress “in the land” against the Jews to be fulfilled in their generation.

Many Dispensationalists are confused and assume much over the Jesus’s phrase, “…unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Mt. 24:21).  This language is exagerated speech (hyberbolic or proverbial).  An example of this can be seen in the Babylonian judgment/exile on the Jews in (Ezekiel 5:9) – “And because all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again.”

Even Josephus commented that “the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews [at the destruction of Jerusalem], are not so considerable as they were” (Wars of the Jews, Preface, 4). He obviously knew of numerous destructions prior to A.D. 70, even the flood, nevertheless, Jerusalem’s misery eclipsed even that.

If the Tribulation takes place at the end of world history (per the reasoning of Dispensationalists), it makes Jesus’ statement “nor every shall be” meaningless.  Those that point to WWII for example (and claim the “Jews” suffered more then than in AD 66-AD 70) to try and disprove AD 66-AD 70 was not the fulfillment of Jesus’ words here don’t 1.  understand the phraseology of Jesus, 2.  the time He says this would be fulfilled “this generation,” nor do they understand 3.  that post AD 70 there is no OC national “Israel” to fulfill these words.  Period.

Fall by the Sword and be Led Captive into All Nations  

The immediate context continues to inform us this is about events taking place in AD 66 – AD 70 and are not global events.  110,000 were slain by the sword and famine. When Rome desolated Jerusalem: they kept the young men parading them as spoil, those older than 70 were taken to Egypt for slaves, and those younger than 70 were distributed throughout Rome as slaves or slain in the theatres (this group alone was 97,000).

And Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled

The “times of the Gentiles” refers to a period of prophetic time (42 months the Romans trampled Jerusalem), or the time in which the Gentile world powers (ex. Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece & Rome) would no longer be able to trample and dominate Israel.  In AD 70, OC Jerusalem was trampled for the last time because the Kingdom was “taken” from her and given to the NC Jerusalem (spiritual) which cannot be “shaken” or trampled by the nations of the world.  The NC spiritual & everlasting Kingdom came during the Roman Empire – at Christ’s coming in the AD 30 – AD 70 generation and through the gospel (sword of the Spirit) she now brings healing to the nations (cf. Dan. 2; 7/Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32; Rev. 22:17-20).

Analogy of Faith:

  1. “[A]nd they [“the nations”] will trample under foot the holy city for forty-two months (Rev. 11:2).
  2. “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the nations until the times of the nations [forty-two months”] be fulfilled (Lk. 21:24).

In both of these verses, the nations trample Jerusalem for a period of time.  There is more than similarity of language here.  Jesus and John prophesied the same event — an event that was “near” and that took place in Christ’s “generation” (Lk. 21:32; Rev. 1:3; 22:10).  Forty-two months or “a time, times, and half a time” does not signify 2,000+ years & counting, but rather some months or years between AD 66 – AD 70 (the destruction of city & sanctuary) – when the consummation was fulfilled (i.e. when the “power of the holy people was completely shattered” Dan. 12:7).

Having dealt with what “the times of the Gentiles” means in the context of the OD and Daniel, let me deal with how others misapply it to Romans 11 while also demonstrating how the salvation of all Israel was fulfilled in AD 70 as well.  There is a great debate between Amillennialists, Premillennialists and Postmillennialists on the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25–26. Postmillennialists such as Gentry and Mathison argue that “all Israel” being saved refers to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before Christ comes in our future while other Partial Preteterist Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar and James Jordan admit this passage was fulfilled in AD 70.  Amillennialists understand “all Israel” being saved to refer to the salvation of the church as the new Israel of God.

As for the view that “all Israel” refers to ethnic Jews in our future, we can immediately know that this view is incorrect. With the passing of the old covenant in AD 70, there is no covenantal Israel other than the united Jew-Gentile church. The things of the old order passed away. So the covenant promises in Romans 11 cannot refer to the modern nation of Israel or to the modern Jewish race or community. The only “Israel” in the New Testament that was to be cleansed from sin is the Jew-Gentile church, the body of Israel’s Messiah. This is the “Israel” (“all” of it) that entered into the Holiest of Holies in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8). Let us briefly summarize Paul’s argument in Romans 11.

Even though God’s OC people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1– 2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that OC Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel”—fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”—partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here’s how:

  •  By means of OC Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the gospel) were coming to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18). As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes.” (Rom. 11:28)
  •  The salvation of the Gentiles was making last days Israel “jealous,” so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness and being saved. (Rom. 11:2–10,11,13,14)
  •  The hardening, or reprobation, of OC Israel in her last generation was to continue until the fullness of the Gentiles came in, i.e., came into Israel. (Rom. 11:25)
  •  In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic, OC Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along with the last days remnant, and with the believing Gentiles who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in AD 70, according to the promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 11:26)

That is when Israel died, and was raised up a new, transformed Israel. That is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last days Jewish remnant, and the believing Gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was thus that all Israel was saved.

  1. De-creation, the Coming of the Son of Man and Apocalyptic, Metaphoric or Common Prophetic Language

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such OT passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Ps. 18; Ps. 104; Hab. 1:2ff.).  Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?  Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in (Isa. 34:4-5)?  No, this was common metaphoric language used by the OT & NT prophets.

Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Luke 21:25-26 (or its parallel in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35) and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the OC system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70 (cf. John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke, Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).” (Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).

Since stars in the Bible can refer to people, rulers and nations/kingdoms, contextually the stars falling from heaven in our text are the civil and religious rulers of Jerusalem falling from their places of power in the judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.  Even going back to the previous immediate context of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the Temple there, Jesus pronounces seven woes upon the Pharisees and here in chapter 24 they are described as falling from their places of power.

Revelation 6:13-17 is a cross reference to Matthew 24:29 and here we see people trying to hide in caves from this event.  Well, obviously there is no hiding from a single star let alone many of them falling to the earth!  The Tribulation of those days is not an end of the planet earth event that takes place at the end of world history, it is an event that took place within time (i.e. AD 70), of which people could escape by merely fleeing to the mountains per Jesus.  And the Christians fled to Pella and escaped it’s wrath.

The Coming of the Son of Man Like Lightning or the Sun?  

“For as the [lightning or Sunlight] comes from the east and [flashes or shines] to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Mt. 24:27)

This passage is usually interpreted by partial preterists and preterists to mean Christ’s coming with the Roman armies would be sudden and quick like lightning and this very well may be true. But it is also possible to see Christ’s parousia here and the Greek word associated with it (astrape), as making reference to Christ’s presence being manifested within the hearts of His people in AD 70 while at the same time burining up the wicked–using the illustration of the sun’s rays shining “from east and flashing to the west.”  Astrape, simply means “bright light.”  The Greek word for “shine” is phaino which according to the Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon can mean, “of growing vegetation, to come to light.”  The Second Coming of Christ is referred to as being “high time” and “the night is far spent and the day is at hand” (Rms. 13:11-12).  “…as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19).  And “…I will give Him the morning star” and “I am the bright and morning star” (Rev. 2:28; 22:16).  The idea here is that Christ’s presence and His righteousness is in and of itself, the chief reward and joy for His Church at His return.  If this isn’t exciting enough for you go get a Hal Lindsey book at a garage sale for a twenty-five cents!

Jesus would not be revealing Himself in some dark inner secret room as the false Christ’s would shamefully being doing for they were of the darkness.  For on that day, “they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:6; 19-25; cf. Mal. 1:1, 4:1-2, 5-6).  He would shine seven fold on that day burning up the wicked while at the same time His heat and light would not harm the remnant but only cause them to flourish and bear fruit to be gathered in His kingdom (Mt. 13:6-9/Jms. 1:11-18/5:1-9; Mt. 13:43; Judges 5:31; 2 Sam. 23:4-7; Ps. 121:6-7; Isa. 30:26-27; Isa. 16:19-20/Rev. 21:23, 22:5).

In that Day, Christ as the “Sun of righteousness would rise with healing in His wings” and would cause the remnant of Israel and the Gentile nations to have blossomed or put forth their leaves together as the very Garden of God in His everlasting Kingdom (Rms. 9-11; Cols. 1:5-6; Isa. 27:7; 35; 44; 55:10-13; 60:20; 61:10-11/Ezek. 16:7/Rev. 21:9- chapter 22).

A type of eternal life can be found in Josh. 10:12-14 when God listened to Joshua and the sun stood still.  Every day in the new creation is a day without darkness or bearing the reproach of our sins.  In Joshua’s day this miracle was a sign to all that Jehovah was fighting for Israel.  When those who are in darkness outside the gates of the City look at your life and see the joy, light, and warmth of God’s presence radiating from your inner being, God uses this to cause His elect to crave this enduring light and righteousness that can only come from your Lord. This also serves to harden the reprobate – as the sun melts the wax and hardens the clay. In Joshuah’s day this was a sign that the Lord was fighting for Israel and today Christ’s presence and eternal Day within His church demonstrates that nothing will ever be able to withstand her. The gates are always open which not only indicates evangelism for those outside, but that she is completely secure from any attack and invasion (unlike OC Israel).

As plants receive life from the sun’s light and energy through photosynthesis, so the Church receives eternal life from Christ alone.  In union with Christ, the Church becomes the leaves on the Tree of Life and the light of the New Jerusalem/Creation brings healing to the nations of the world.  It is the light and living waters of the gospel preached to sinners that serves as “special revelation” to a thirsty sinner’s soul.  No luminary lights of the physical creation can fully demonstrate the righteous ways of God!  Only Christ and His Church serving as a heavenly Kingdom can bring the revelation needed for sinners to be saved.  Without the “Sun of Righteousness” the light and glory of God’s imputed righteousness beaming in upon the heart and mind of man, all is lost.  The world truly does revolve around the “Sun/Son of Righteousness.”

The Coming of the Son of Man Cont.

Daniel 7:13 and Matthew 24:30

The OT source for this is taken from Daniel 7:13.  Unfortunately, many Partial Preterists try and claim the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:30 is both His ascension and His coming in AD 70.  My interpretation is similar to that of F.F. Bruce.  According to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the Ancient of Days.” This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and gave the saints the kingdom.

Also, the New Testament does not give the slightest hint that “the coming

of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the Ascension. And as Keil and Delitzch commented regarding Daniel 7:13-14,

“…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth.  If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly

indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark

18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.” (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F., Commentary on the Old Testament.(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), (Daniel 7:13-14), bold emphasis MJS).

I would agree with Keil and Delitzch that the context of Dan. 7:13 and how the NT develops it, forms the foundation for the Second Coming event with Him coming down from heaven in judgment upon His enemies (who are upon the earth rising in opposition to Him) and not Him going “up” at the ascension event.

It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation alludes to Dan. 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as being both the Son of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those whom had pierced Him (first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Rev. 1:7, 13-17.  Again the context is developing Christ’s future “soon” (Rev. 1:1) Second Coming in AD 70 not His ascension.

Matthew 16:27–28 and Matthew 24:30

Since this is not the first mention of the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew’s Gospel, we should seek to harmonize what we are seeing in the OD with Jesus’ teaching on the same subject matter in Matthew 16:27-28

“For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  Assuredly, I say to you there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Matthew 16:27-28 & The Olivet Discourse Parallels

  1.  Christ comes in glory Luke 9:26 = Matt. 24:30
  2.  Christ comes with angels Matt. 16:27 = Matt. 24:31
  3.  Christ comes in judgment Matt. 16:27 = Matt. 24:28-31;25:31-34
  4.  Christ and the kingdom come in power Mark 8:38 = Luke 21:27-32
  5.  Some of the disciples would live Matt. 16:28 = Luke 21:16-18
  6.  Some of the disciples would die Matt. 16:28 = Luke 21:16
  7.  Christ would be ashamed of some in His generation / All of this would occur in His generation Mark 8:38 = Matt. 24:34

For the Son of Man is about to Come

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), the Darby Bible, Wuest’s Expanded Translation of the New Testament, and Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech all translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to come.” These translations reflect the consistent usage of the Greek word mello in Matthew’s gospel, and its predominant usage in the New Testament.  Christ’s imminent coming in verse 27 is consistent with Christ’s coming in the lifetime of “some” in the crowd who were listening to him in verse 28.  After having waited thousands of years for the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of forty years (AD 30–70) was a relatively short time.

Verily I say unto you

Jesus uses the term “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly” 99 times in the gospels. The Greek word is “amen,” and it means “absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled.” It is never used to introduce a new subject.  Dispensational author and editor of another multi-authored book seeking to refute preterism, Thomas Ice, says of Matthew 16:27 and 28 that these “are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly

I say to you.’” (Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy: The SecondComing Under Attack (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87). But Mr. Ice fails to produce a single passage in which Jesus’ phrase, “Verily I say unto you,” separates one subject from another.  To the contrary, the phrase always signals an amplification of the previous thought.

Some standing here shall not taste of death until

Thomas Ice says of this verse: “A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said, ‘some of those standing here . . . .’ It is clear that the term ‘some’ would have to include at least two or more individuals.   . . . Peter notes that John only survived among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem” (Ice, Controversy, 88).

In other words, according to Ice, Jesus said that “some” would survive, but the reality is that among His twelve disciples only John survived.  Ice’s argument would possibly have some validity if Jesus had been speaking only to His twelve apostles; but He was not. According to Mark’s account, “ . . . He called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said . . . ” (Mk. 8:34–9:1). So much for Ice’s arguments.

Until they see the kingdom of God already come in power

According to Mark’s account, some of the disciples would not die until they looked back on this event, knowing that the Lord and His kingdom had come in power. (Literally, “until they see the kingdom of God having come in power.”) According to Jesus, some of those who were listening to Him that day would see His Parousia, look back on the event, and afterwards die. Gentry concedes this point citing J.A. Alexander:

Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or already come, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect parti-ciple here employed.” (Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler, TX: Institutefor Christian Economics, 1992), 215–216 (emphasis added).

The Greek word here for “see” is eido.  As with the English word, eido not only refers to physical sight, but it can also mean “perceive” or “understand.”  Through observing with the physical senses, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary audience would be able to look back on the destruction of the OC kingdom’s temple and city in AD 70 and “perceive” that Christ’s kingdom had arrived among and within them (Lk. 17:20–37; Col. 1:27; Jn. 14:2–3, 23, 29).

On that note of what “seeing” the Son of Man coming upon the clouds means in relation to all the tribes of the earth/land mourning, we should examine another NT parallel passage to Matthew 24:30 – Revelation 1:7, and there OT references.

Revelation 1:7 / Zechariah 12-14 and Matthew 24:30

The “tribes of the earth” who mourn are either the Jewish tribes of the “land” (a better translation of ge here) or the Jewish tribes scattered throughout the Empire.  Revelation 1:7  Is a parallel passage to Matthew 24:30 and both are taken from Zechariah 12:10.  In the Revelation 1:7 text it is even clearer that the “mourning” involved here is coming from a judgment scene in which Christ is judging those Jews that were responsible for “piercing” Him.

They would “see” “understand’ or “perceive” (cf. Mrk. 1:44; Lk. 17:22; Jn. 3:36) through the sign of the troops surrounding Jerusalem and its destruction that Christ had indeed come just as He had promised.  The church would now be able to spiritually perceive and understand that the scepter had departed from Judah and that Christ had glorified Himself in and through His people.  The troops surrounding Jerusalem and its destruction would indicate that Christ had indeed come just as He had promised.  The church would now be able to spiritually perceive and understand that the scepter had departed from Judah and that Christ had glorified Himself in and through His people.

Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 are also taken from the “In that Day” prophecy of  (Zech. 9-14) in which the Messianic King comes to establish His Kingdom (Zech. 14:8-9/Lk.21:27-32) in a day only known by the Lord 14:7/Mt.24:36 to destroy the enemies of the True Jerusalem (the remnant or Church).  These enemies include the nations or tribes making up fleshly OC Israel whom were persecuting the remnant and the various nations of the Roman Empire she stirred up to make war against the Church.  Since the prophecy as a whole describes two Jerusalem’s it is also describing two kinds of mourning:  1) A godly sorrow for Jerusalem from above leading to salvation from sin and deliverance from her enemies, and 2) A worldly mourning and sorrow resulting in further hardening and judgment.  In a similar way that Pharaoh’s mourning in loosing his first born son led to further hardening and judgment upon himself and his armies, so to the context of the (Mt. 24:30/Rev. 1:7) “mourning” of the tribes of Israel’s land should be seen which resulted in God’s wrath being poured out upon them.  The prophecy is fulfilled with the Messiah’s return to set up His Kingdom and thus the New Creation comes whereby there is no “unclean” Canaanite entering Jerusalem (Zech. 14:20-21cf. Rev. 21-22).

Acts 1:11 and Matthew 24:30

After speaking to His apostles about the kingdom over a period of forty days, Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the fulfillment of the Father’s promise of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said would take place “not many days from now.” This prompted the disciples to ask Him in verse six about the timing of the kingdom’s arrival. “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus did not give them a day or hour, but He reminded them in verse eight of the sign of the Great Commission which had to be accomplished before He would restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:8; Matt. 24:3, 14).  Keith Mathison, ignoring the immediate context, states:

The first thing that must be observed when we examine this account is that no reference to time is connected with the prediction of the return of Christ. (WSTTB? 185)

However, in another book Mathison #2 admits:

The time frame is hinted at in the preceding context. The disciples are given a commission to be Christ’s witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The implication is that Christ’s visible return will follow the completion of the mission to the remotest part of the earth.” (Postmillennialism, 117).

According to Mathison in the above quote, when the Great Commission in verse 8 is fulfilled, then the Second Coming of verse 11 will occur. Mathison’s contention that there are two Great Commissions given in the New Testament—one fulfilled before AD 70 and another that will be fulfilled before the allegedly yet-future Second (Third) Coming—is altogether arbitrary. It is a position he is forced to take because of his flawed, partial preterist framework—like his doctrines of two “last days” in the New Testament, and of two future “comings” of Christ in the New Testament, and of his divided sections separated by 2000+ years in Matthew 24 and in Matthew 16:27–28 and in other Scriptures.

Mathison breaks again from the majority of Reformed, Evangelical, and preterist theologians, who see one Great Commission in the Gospels and in the book of Acts, instead of two. Mathison’s dichotomizing approach to the Great Commission does not merit a serious rebuttal and can be rejected out of hand.

Since the Second Coming is fulfilled after the Great Commission, and since there is only one Great Commission, and since the Great Commission was fulfilled in Christ’s generation, it follows that the Second Coming was fulfilled in those days as well. As previously demonstrated, the gospel was preached to the world and to all nations; “then” the end came (Matt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10; Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26). Therefore, I have proven that the in-like-manner Second Coming of Christ was also fulfilled in the first century.   After commanding His disciples to take possession of the kingdom through the Great Commission, Jesus ascended in a cloud, hidden from the disciples’ sight (Acts 1:9).

Mathison and others insist that Jesus’ physical body was seen for some period of time as He ascended into the sky. However, verse nine simply says, “He was lifted up, and a cloud received Him from their eyes.” Jesus was certainly seen just before He was “lifted up” (Acts 1:9). But it is not at all certain that He was directly seen as He ascended into the sky.

In verse 11, the disciples were told that Jesus would come in the manner that they had seen Him enter heaven (the sky). The continuity of Him coming as He had entered heaven is found in the fact that He would come in the heavenly glory-cloud of His Father (Matt. 16:27). Jesus was not physically seen after He was received into the glory-cloud. It was while He was hidden from sight in that cloud that He was indirectly seen entering the sky. And He was to come in like manner. Therefore, He would not be physically or directly seen when He came “in like manner,” in the cloud, to indwell His church in the end of the old covenant age (Luke 17:20–37; John 14:2–3, 23).

Mathison errs when he says that Jesus was going to come back in the same way that He “departed.” The Scriptures say that Jesus would come in the same way He had entered the sky. He entered the sky hidden from literal eye sight in the cloud of God’s glory.

Here is the order of events:

  1. As they looked, He was taken up (Acts 1:9).
  2. A cloud received Him from their eyes (Acts 1:9).

These first two events could very well have happened simultaneously. As Mathison himself admits, the verse could be translated, “He was lifted up; that is, a cloud received Him out of their sight.”[2] It is a very real possibility that Jesus was instantly hidden in the cloud at the moment His feet left the earth.

  1. Then the disciples saw Him going into the sky. That is, they looked intently into the sky as He was ascending in the cloud (Acts 1:10–11).

In the Old Testament, God was never literally or directly seen coming in His glory when He judged or saved Israel and other nations. Jesus was not literally seen again after He entered the cloud of God’s glory. He was “taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16) and He would come in glory as the Ancient of Days.

The Lord God had become flesh. John bore testimony to the fact that looking at and touching Jesus was to look at and touch God Himself (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1). God was physically seen in the flesh, but this was temporary for the second person of the Godhead (Heb. 5:7), even as He had been born into and under the old covenant system with its temporal types and shadows (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 5–8; 2 Cor. 3; Heb. 8:13).[3]

Ironically, the point of the question, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky,” was that Jesus was not going to return to His physical form. It was futile for the disciples to long for Jesus to return to the earthly form He had taken when He was born of Mary. In His ascension, Jesus had returned to His pre-incarnate glory. The question of the two men was rhetorical, and it meant, “There is no use in standing here longing for Jesus to return to you and to be as He was in the days of His flesh. He will come, but He will come in the manner you saw Him enter heaven—hidden from physical eyes in the cloud of the Father’s glory.”

We agree with the majority of commentators and cross reference systems which see the in-like-manner coming of Jesus in Acts 1:11 as being parallel with the coming of Jesus on or in the cloud(s) in Matthew 16:27–28, 24:30–31, 26:64–68; Luke 21:27, and Revelation 1:7. Mathison and Gentry, however, wrench Acts 1:11 from those Scriptures. They admit that Christ was figuratively “seen” (perceived, understood) at a figurative “coming” in/on the clouds in AD 70, but they deny that this was the fulfillment of Acts 1:11.

Partial Preterist Milton Terry, in contrast, took a lucid, biblical approach, seeing Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 as all being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in the end of the age:

“Whatever the real nature of the parousia, as contemplated in this prophetic discourse, our Lord unmistakably associates it with the destruction of the temple and city, which he represents as the signal termination of the pre-Messianic age. The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets.

Acts i, 11, is often cited to show that Christ’s coming must needs be spectacular, “in like manner as ye beheld him going into the heaven.” But (1) in the only other three places where [“in like manner”] occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not some particular manner in which Moses killed the Egyptian that is notable, but rather the certain fact of it. In 2 Tim. iii, 8, it is likewise the fact of strenuous opposition rather than the special manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. And in Matt. xxiii, 37, and Luke xiii, 34, it is the general thought of protection rather than the visible manner of a mother bird that is intended. Again (2), if Jesus did not come in that generation, and immediately after the great tribulation that attended the fall of Jerusalem, his words in Matt. xvi, 27, 28, xxiv, 29, and parallel passages are in the highest degree misleading. (3) To make the one statement of the angel in Acts i, 11, override all the sayings of Jesus on the same subject and control their meaning is a very one-sided method of biblical interpretation. But all the angel’s words necessarily mean is that as Jesus has ascended into heaven so he will come from heaven. And this main thought agrees with the language of Jesus and the prophets.” (Milton S. Terry, A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 246-247).

As Mathison admits in one book but denies in another, the immediate context links Christ’s in-like-manner return to the fulfillment of the Great Commission (v. 8; Matt. 24:14, 27, 30; Rom. 10:18). The Great Commission was fulfilled in Christ’s generation. Jesus was “lifted up” and hidden from sight in the cloud of glory. He ascended into the sky hidden in the cloud, as His disciples watched. He was to come in the same manner in which the disciples saw Him enter into the sky: hidden in the cloud of the glory of His Father. He was “seen” in that Day in the same way that Yahweh was “seen” whenever He came on a cloud to judge nations in the Old Testament.

This was the one and only future coming of Christ that was promised in the New Testament. Therefore, Christ returned in AD 70. The analogy of Faith confirms this interpretation. It does not confirm Mathison’s, which rips Acts 1:9–11 from its immediate and broader New Testament contexts. We agree with Terry’s comments on Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7. “We accept upon the testimony of the Scriptures” (Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutic (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1990), 468, n.1 (emphases added), that Christ returned on/in a cloud/clouds in that generation.

Futurism is obviously hopelessly divided over Matthew 24:30 and Acts 1:11.  On the one hand they are the same event to be fulfilled together (ex. the WCF).  On the other, Matthew 24:30 was fulfilled in AD 70.  Then you have one of the greatest and most cited Partial Preterists (Milton Terry) saying both were fulfilled in AD 70.

  1. The Trumpet Call and Eschatological Gathering – i.e. THE RESURRECTION   

The gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 that is the result of the Second Coming and the redemption in Luke 21:28 – are again different ways of describing the same event or the result of the Second Coming – i.e. the resurrection.  This is not a post AD 70 second G.C. as Partial Preterists propose.

Jesus has already informed us that the gathering at the end of the (OC) “this age” was the fulfillment of Daniel 12’s resurrection and glorification (cf. Mt. 13:39-43=Dan. 12:2-3).  As I document in HD Orthodox Partial Preterists are now agreeing with us that the end of the OC age in AD 70 is what is in view in the parable of the Wheat and Tares (not the end of the NC age or world history) and therefore the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 must have been fulfilled at this time.  Their problem is that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is not “a” resurrection, but rather “the” resurrection:

Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13):

  • Tribulation on National Israel as never before – Daniel 12:1 = Matthew 13:40-42
  • Time of the end / end of “this” age separation – Daniel 12:1, 4, 9, 13 = Matthew 13:39-41
  • Saints rise and shine in the eternal kingdom – Daniel 12:2-3 = Matthew 13:43
  • Wicked rise to shame in eternal condemnation – Daniel 12:2 = Matthew 13:39-42

And B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):

  • Pre-kingdom evangelism by Jesus’ evangelism – Matthew 13:37-38 = Matthew 24:14
  • Tribulation on National Israel as never before – Matthew 13:40-42 = Matthew 24:21-22
  • End of “this” age / end of the age separation – Matthew 13:39-41 = Matthew 24:30-31; 25:31-41
  • The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son – Matthew 13:43 = Matthew 24:27, 30-31, 36
  • Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom – Matthew 13:43 = Matthew 25:34/Luke 21:30-32

Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):

  • Tribulation and sanctification / Great Tribulation – Daniel 12:1, 10 = Matthew 24:21-22
  • Time / day / hour of the judgment (aka separation) – Daniel 12:1-2, 4 (OG LXX) = Matthew 24:36; 25:31-33
  • Fulfillment at the time of the end / end of the age / the shattering of Israel’s world/power or her “heaven and earth” (the Temple etc…) – Daniel 12:4, 7, 9, 13 = Matthew 24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35
  • Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom – Daniel 12:2-3, 13 = Matthew 25:34/Luke 21:30-32
  • The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son of life – Daniel 12:3 = Matthew 24:27, 36, 25:34
  • Kingdom age evangelism via God’s shining ones – Daniel 12:3 = Matthew 24:14, 25:29

Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other:

  • Kingdom age evangelism – A (Daniel 12) = B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)
  • Tribulation like never before – A (Daniel 12) = B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)
  • Time of the end (shattering of Israel’s power) / end of the Old Covenant age (destruction of OC Israel’s Temple) – A (Daniel 12) = B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)
  • Chosen ones raised and shine to eternal life and wicked raised to eternal condemnation / the righteous raised to shine and tares burn / sheep inherit eternal life goats to eternal punishment – A (Daniel 12) = B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)

A (Daniel 12)

Premise #1:  IF it is true that the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (some Partial Preterists and all Full Preterists agree).

Premise #2:  AND IF it is also true that the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is ONE judgment and resurrection event that cannot be double-fulfilled (some Partial Preterists, classic Amillennialists, and all Full Preterists agree).

Conclusion:  THEN it must also be true that the ONE (that cannot be double-fulfilled) judgment and resurrection of the dead event in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism – “reformed and always reforming”).

B (Matthew 13)

Premise #1:  IF it is true that the parable of the wheat and tares was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (some Partial Preterists and all Full Preterists agree).

Premise #2:  AND IF it is also true that the parable of the wheat and tares at the end of the age is the judgment and resurrection event of Daniel 12 and is ONE event that cannot be double-fulfilled (some Partial Preterists, Amillennialists and all Full Preterists agree).

Conclusion:  THEN it must also be true that the ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead event as depicted Daniel 12 and Matthew 13 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism “reformed and always reforming”).

C (Matthew 24-25)

Premise #1:  IF it is true that the coming of the Son of Man in both Matthew 24 and 25 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (some Partial Preterists and all Full Preterists agree)

Premise #2:  AND IF it is also true that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24 and 25 describes Jesus’ ONE Second Coming event which brings about the ONE (not to be double-fulfilled) judgment and resurrection of the dead (of Daniel 12 and Matthew 13) – at the end of the age (Premillennialists, Amillennialists and all Full Preterists agree).

Conclusion:  THEN it must also be true that the ONE Second Coming, judgment and resurrection of the dead event (not to be double-fulfilled of Daniel 12 and Matthew 13) was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism – “reformed and always reforming”).

A (Daniel 12) = B (Matthew 13) = (Matthew 24-25)

Conclusion:  The ONE (not to be double-fulfilled) Second Coming, judgment and resurrection of the dead event was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70.

The analogy of faith, cross references and parallels between Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:12-58 make it clear that the gathering of the elect at the sound of the trumpet is the resurrection event:

Since A (Matthew 24) is = to B (1 Thessalonians 4-5):

  • Christ returns from heaven – Matthew 24:30 = 1 Thessalonians 4:16
  • With the voice of an Arch angel – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Thessalonians 4:16
  • With the trumpet of God – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Thessalonians 4:16
  • Caught/gathered together with/to Christ – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Thessalonians 4:17
  • “Meet” the Lord in the clouds – Matthew 24:30, 25:6 = 1 Thessalonians 4:17
  • Exact time unknown – Matthew 24:36 = 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
  • Christ comes as a thief – Matthew 24:43 = 1 Thessalonians 5:2
  • Unbelievers caught off guard – Matthew 24:37-39 = 1 Thessalonians 5:3
  • Time of birth pains – Matthew 24:8 = 1 Thessalonians 5:3
  • Believers not deceived – Matthew 24:43 = 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5
  • Believers to be watchful – Matthew 24:42 = 1 Thessalonians 5:6
  • Exhorted to sobriety – Matthew 24:49 = 1 Thessalonians 5:7
  • The Son/Sun light shines from east to west in order to manifest sons of the day – Matthew 24:27, 36, 38 = 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8

And B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)

  • The sleeping to be raised – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 = 1 Corinthians 15:12-18
  • The living to be caught/changed – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  • Christ’s coming (Greek parousia) – 1 Thessalonians 4:15 = 1 Corinthians 15:23
  • At the sound of the trumpet – 1 Thessalonians 4:16 = 1 Corinthians 15:52
  • Encouraged to stand firm – 1 Thessalonians 4:18 = 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • Same contemporary “we” – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Then A (Matthew 24) = C (1 Corinthians 15)

  • Christ to come (Greek parousia) – Matthew 24:27 = 1 Corinthians 15:23
  • His people to be gathered/changed – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  • Comes with the sound of a trumpet – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:52
  • To be “the end” (Greek telos – the goal) – Matthew 24:3, 14 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  • Kingdom consummation (goal reached) – Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  • All prophecy fulfilled at this time – Luke 21:22 = 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
  • Victory over the law/temple – Matthew 24:1  = 1 Corinthians 15:55-56
  • Same contemporary “you” or “we” – Matthew 24:2ff. = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other:

  • At His coming (Greek parousia) – A (Matthew 24:27) = B (1 Thessalonians 4:16) = (1 Corinthians 15:23)
  • At the trumpet – A (Matthew 24:31) = B (1 Thessalonians 4:16) = (1 Corinthians 15:52
  • All dead saints gathered/raised – A (Matthew 24:31) = (1 Thessalonians 4:16) = (1 Corinthians 15:35-44)
  • All living saints gathered/caught/changed – A (Matthew 24:31) = B (1 Thessalonians 4:17) = C (1 Corinthians 15:51)
  • The parallels between Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 as well make it clear that this is the resurrection event:

PREMISE #1: IF it is true that the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds in Matthew 24 is His ONE Second Coming event with it’s parallels (analogy of faith) to 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 confirming this. (Amillennialism, Historic Premillennialism and Sovereign Grace Full Preterism agree)

PREMISE #2: AND if it’s also true that the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds in Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” using common prophetic apocalyptic language (Partial Preterist Postmillennialism and Sovereign Grace Full Preterism agree).

CONCLUSION/SYNTHESIS: THEN Christ’s ONE Second Coming event in Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 was also fulfilled spiritually in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and is using common prophetic apocalyptic language (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and Matthew 24:30-31

Partial Preterists attempt to avoid the unified parallels between Matthew 24–25 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 by claiming that their Amillennial Reformed brothers some Premillennialists and “hyper-preterists” merely assume that Jesus is speaking of his second advent when he speaks of ‘the coming of the Son of Man’ in Matthew 24 and that Paul is speaking of the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 4.  The self-evident fact of the matter however is that these same Partial Preterists turn a blind eye to overwhelming evidence because they assume that Partial Preterism is right.  It is more than inconsistent to claim Preterist parallels between Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 and between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5, and then deny the obvious parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4. But this is what many Partial Preterists arbitrarily do.

Kenneth Gentry, to support his argument that 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled

in AD 70, says that “Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.  Unfortunately Gentry’s sources of authority end up proving too much. For example, both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman make virtually the same parallels between Matthew 24–25 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do.

To make matters worse, Gentry also now concedes that Matthew 24–25 does not necessarily need to be divided and that all of Matthew 24 could be addressing one coming of Christ in AD 70:

“Orthodox preterists see no doctrinal problems arising if we apply all of Matthew 24 to A.D. 70. We generally do not do so because of certain exegetical markers in the text. But if these are not sufficient to distinguish the latter part of Matthew 24 from the earlier part, it would not matter.”[10]

But virtually all scholars and commentators tell us that Matthew 24–25 forms the foundation to and contains parallel prophetic material to Matthew 13; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4–5; 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 20–21. Yet Mathison claims Matthew 24–25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry doesn’t see a problem with it? How can these things be, indeed?  This is why partial preterism gains a following for a short period, and then its students end up coming to “hyper-preterism” for a more consistent and exegetical approach that is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture.

Another problem for Mathison and Gentry is that in their other writings they admit that the last trumpet of Revelation 11 was fulfilled in AD 70, but they do not discuss the fact that the time of the last trumpet was the time for “the dead” to be judged (Rev. 11:18). This is the same problem they face in the immediate context of 1 Peter 4:7. How were the dead judged in AD 70 without the resurrection of the dead taking place? And

how is this time for the dead being judged different from the time in which the dead are judged in Revelation 20?

And how is this trumpet judgment in Revelation 11 different from the one in Matthew 24:30–31, 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15? The analogy of Faith nullifies with finality the arbitrary Scripture-dichotomizations of Partial Preterism.

I should point out that some Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry or say Mike Bull admit that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 are the same coming of Christ and both fulfilled in AD 70.

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver believers from their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously

“caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

We can know that Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17 are not to be interpreted literally (a literal trumpet, etc.) because the Scriptures tell us elsewhere not to interpret them literally. In Exodus 19 and 20, the Lord came down in a cloud over Mount Sinai. He spoke with a loud voice. There was the sound of a loud trumpet. And Moses met the Lord on Mount Sinai. Then God established His covenant with His people.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that though the trumpet and the voice

of the old covenant were literal, the “trumpet” and the “voice” of the new covenant are not literal (Heb. 12:18–19). Neither is the mountain (Mount Zion) literal in the new covenant (Heb. 12:18, 22). Therefore, neither is the cloud (which descended to cover the mountain) literal in the new covenant.

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

The “rapture” passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14. In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on

their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.  As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His

power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn. 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, His spiritual Body, the New Man, the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor.

Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “ . . . whether we live or

die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Per Orthodox Partial Preterism, in AD 70 the righteous dead such as Daniel, were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades and gathered in the Kingdom (or into God’s presence) to inherit eternal life.  I propose that 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is that spiritual resurrection and that the living were likewise spiritually gathered into the Kingdom or in God’s presence (God making His home or Kingdom “within” them) to inherit eternal life in the NC age.

The “catching away” is when the eschatological “not yet” entrance and inheritance of the Kingdom takes place (1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 1:5).  The concept behind the Greek word harpazo – “catching away” or “gathering up” (NCV) of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is to take one’s plunder from another.  In this case, it is God taking His people from the spiritual slavery of sin or Satan/demonic (the kingdom of darkness).  A study of the word indicates this is a spiritual inward snatching (Mt. 11:12; 12:29; 13:19; Jn. 10:12, 28-29; Acts 8:39 [This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere and the Eunuch did not see him again.  There is nothing in the text to support that Philip was physically “raptured” into the atmosphere (waved to some birds) and was then dropped off miles and miles away from where he originally was].

The harpazo takes place “in the air” (Greek eros).  Strong’s Greek Dictionary, defines it as: “From “aemi”, to breath unconsciously, to respire. By analogy, to blow.  (1) The air, particularly thelower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.” So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains lists (Eph 2:2; 1 Th 4:17; and Rev 16:17) in its definition of eros as meaning, “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.”  The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of Ephesians 2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”

Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “Prince and Power of the AER.” He dwelt in the spiritual realm not the physical flying through the literal clouds and sky with the birds.  The war we see Christ and Satan fighting over in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds.  Paul goes on to say that Satan, “now works in the children of disobedience.” And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men and transforming them into His image.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possesses” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being.  Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs. 2:1-10. Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind, when He said, “It is finished” Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1Cor. 15! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70 and for those that put their faith in Him.

Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos.”

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence “within” us.  Just as we see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence with His Church here.

This concept is further brought out in that this harpazo would be a “meeting.”  This Greek word for “meet” was often used of a King or dignitary coming to make his home in a city in which his Empire or Kingdom had conquered. On the news of the imminent coming of the King or dignitary, the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” him and escort him back to their home/town. The King’s presence is established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.

The other historical context for this concept of a “meeting” at the sound of a trumpet represented the marriage between the groom and bride (Mt. 24:6).  If the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 per Partial Preterists, then the eschatological wedding was fulfilled.  And if the wedding took place, then so has the resurrection (Isa. 25:6-8; 25:12-12).

Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” in 2 Thessalonians 2 by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves?  Obviously He has not come!”  But since Paul did not hold to the literal rapture view or a literal resurrection view attended with Christ’s parousia (and was a Real or Full Preterist) he did not argue in such a way.

The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15 of which there are Christian survivors (66:19) whom are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the New Creation.  This is consistent with what we saw in Mark 9:1 and after the consummation the gospel continues in the NC age (Rev. 22:17).

Now back to our text in which Luke’s account describes Christ’s coming as “redemption” (Lk. 21:28).  Redemption (Greek apolútrōsis) carries with it the same idea of harpazo in that it is a buying back of men from the captivity of inward sin/death and the kingdom of darkness.  It’s also a coming physical salvation or redemption from the physical calamities that were on the horizon for Jerusalem in the years AD 66 – AD 70.  This looking up for this redemption, gathering in the Kingdom, or harpazo is not a literal snatching of bodies off the earth or their transformation, anymore than David was taken off the planet when he was delivered from his enemies in Psalm 18:6-17:

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked (physically?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (physically?); they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils (physically?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”) , burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (physically?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal or physical voice?).  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (physically?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.  He reached down from on high and took hold of me (physically?); he drew me out of deep waters (physically?).  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.”

Christ’s parousia or Second Coming in AD 70 resulted in the inward salvation / redemption from the slavery of spiritual sin / death and the kingdom of darkness, while at the same time deliverance from the coming destruction of the city from the powerful armies of the Idumeans and Romans that God was sending in judgment.

1 Corinthians 15 and Matthew 24:30-31

There are several exegetical observations that demonstrate that Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a depiction of a biological resurrection for all men that will occur at the end of world history:

  • The parallels and analogy of faith with Matthew 24 demonstrates a first century generation fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15.
  • Paul’s argumentation and use of logic (modus tollens) demonstrates the resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth were not denying resurrection in general, but a resurrection for a particular group (the OC dead of Israel).
  • Paul’s use of the present tense of the resurrection already taking place demonstrates it is not an end of time biological resurrection.
  • Paul’s use of familiar corporate body words and phrases within the Corinthian letters and within his other Epistles demonstrates an individual biological corpse resurrection is wrong.
  • Paul’s appeal to Hosea 13 and Isaiah 25 demonstrate that an end of the world biological resurrection is not in view.
  • There would be no victory over “the death” until victory over the Mosaic OC “the law” was reached. This does not fit within a futurist frame work, but does within the Full Preterist one, because “the law” (administration of death) was “soon” to vanish at the end of the OC age in AD 70 in Paul’s day.

The Parallels – Analogy of Faith

Again, let’s look at those parallels that demonstrate Paul’s eschatology here in 1 Corinthians 15 is that of Jesus’ in Matthew 24/Luke 21:

  • Christ to come (Greek parousia) – Matthew 24:27 = 1 Corinthians 15:23
  • His people to be gathered/changed – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  • Comes with the sound of a trumpet – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:52
  • To be “the end” (Greek telos – the goal) – Matthew 24:3, 14 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  • Kingdom consummation (goal reached) – Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  • All prophecy fulfilled at this time – Luke 21:22 = 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
  • Victory over the law/temple – Matthew 24:1 = 1 Corinthians 15:55-56
  • Same contemporary “you” or “we” – Matthew 24:2ff. = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Premise #1:  If it is true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Premise #2:  And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the trumpet coming-end of the age- gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 is the coming and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15.

Conclusion/Synthesis:  Then it is also true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ in both 1 Corinthians 15 and Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70.

 1 Corinthians 15:1-15

 ONE Gospel Preached

Most futurist commentaries on 1 Corinthians 15 merely assume the resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth denied the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection in general.  They believe Paul’s appeal to the 500 who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of his correction that the group rejected Jesus’ resurrection.

This view has many problems which we will cover shortly, but in reality Paul lays forth the historical resurrection of Christ in the beginning of the resurrection conflict at Corinth NOT because the resurrection deniers at Corinth denied Jesus’ resurrection, but because the Gentile Christians were pridefully and ignorantly denying the resurrection of a Jewish sect (the OC dead one’s whom had died prior to Christ).  This denial was similar to what some Gentile believers were saying about Israel and the Church at Rome (see Romans 11).  One group or party was denying the resurrection of the other.  The schisms of the various groups at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10 – 3:23) reach their main conflict here in chapter 15 in which Paul now desires to set straight.  Paul being the leader of the erring gentile party whom boasted of themselves and Paul as their leader, now humbles himself among the Apostles (vss. 7-9) in order to correct this arrogant spirit.  He ties his gospel message in as being ONE with the leaders of the Jewish leaders (v. 11-12).  The resurrection of Jesus and gospel message was united and agreed upon in the preaching of Christ’s resurrection by all the parties!  Paul will use this agreement to make his case against them!

Perhaps some of their misunderstandings and arrogance began as early as (Acts 18) when they heard Paul say, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  I believe that a misunderstanding of Paul here and perhaps some of his teaching that gentiles were one body with the Jews and that a true Jew was one who had been circumcised of heart led to a replacement theology and denial of an OC Jewish (the dead ones) eschaton/resurrection.  After humbling himself and showing his solidarity with the Jewish leaders in preaching the same doctrine, Paul now begins to correct their error.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

 Paul’s Modus Tollens form of Argumentation

To further prove that the resurrection of the dead deniers were not denying Christ’s resurrection or the resurrection for all in general, we need to take a look at Paul’s form of argumentation.  The futurist view makes no contextual sense if you follow Paul’s argumentation and the logic he uses.  Paul uses a familiar modus tollens or if then logical argument.  That is, “If P, then Q.  Therefore, not P.”

1)       “If P”

“If there is no resurrection of the dead ones…”

2)       “Then Q”

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then not even Christ has been raised.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then our preaching is useless…

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then and so is your faith [useless].

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then we are found to be false witnesses about God.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then your and my baptism (of suffering & martyrdom) on the part of the dead is meaningless.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then the Father is subject to Christ.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then some of you are ignorant of God.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then why are some undergoing a baptism (of suffering & persecution) on behalf of the dead?

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then there will be no resurrection for anyone and why all might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

3)      “Therefore, not P”

Therefore, your (resurrection of the dead deniers) premise that the resurrection of the (OC) dead will not take place is false (or “therefore, not P”).

Paul’s argument is also known as reduction ad absurdum.  This form of argument demonstrates that a statement is false (the dead will not rise) by showing that a false, untenable, undesirable or absurd result follows from its acceptance.  Again, Paul is using things he has in common with them and that they would affirm in order to overthrow and show how absurd their false premise that the dead ones would not rise actually was.

The Error Identified

Since the Corinthians believed in Christ’s resurrection and a resurrection for those whom had died “in Christ,” then to whom is left to deny a resurrection for?  In short, the error at Corinth was an extreme view (or a hyper-dispensational or replacement theology of sorts) that divided up the people of God in extreme ways.  They could not reconcile how the dead prior to Christ’s arrival could be raised into or with the Body of Christ.  In short, they were denying a key ingredient to “the better resurrection” that the writer to the Hebrews outlines:

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they [the OT or Old Covenant dead] might obtain a better resurrection:   And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they (“the [OT/OC] dead”) without us (the NT/NC saints “in Christ”) should not be made perfect (Heb. 11:35-40).

The resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth saw the “better things” for those who were “in Christ” (dead or alive – their side of the cross), but could not reconcile how the OT or Old Covenant dead (on the other side of the cross) could participate in order for both groups to be “made perfect” together in the Body of Christ.  They had the NC “better things,” and thus the OT or OC dead were left without participation in the better resurrection to come – was their reasoning and error.  They did not deny the doctrine of the resurrection in general, just the all-ness or oneness (with all of God’s of people) to the resurrection.

Extreme views and excluding the righteous dead was not uncommon – even among the Jews.  Some Jews believed that anyone who died outside of the Promised Land would not participate in the resurrection:

“The Talmud records speculations on the various matters connected with the process of Resurrection.  There was a firm belief that the momentous event would take place in the Holy Land.  Some Rabbi took the extreme view that only they who were interred there would share in the future life.  ‘Those who die outside the land of Israel will not live again; as it is said, “I will set delight in the land of the living.”  (Ezek. 26:20)—those who die in the land of My delight will live again, but they who do not die there will not’…” “Even a Cananite maidservant in the land of Israel is assured of inheriting the World to Come’…” (Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. DUTTON & CO., INC., 1949), 361-362).

So in this extreme view those righteous dead who died outside of being “in the land” would not participate in Israel’s corporate resurrection.  Similarly, some at Corinth took Paul’s teaching that all prophecy or all the promises of God were fulfilled spiritually “in Christ,” too far in that they concluded the resurrection could only take place for those who believed “in Christ” (their side of the cross) – and all others perished outside of being in Him.  Therefore, since the OC dead were not present to place their faith in Christ, then they couldn’t be apart of the spiritual body that was in the process of being raised in their day.  They lost sight of the great cloud of witnesses whom saw Christ’s day and were glad and would thus share in the “better resurrection” with them.  According to both of these extreme views, men such as Moses had no resurrection hope but perished outside of being “in the land” or perished outside of being “in Christ.”

We see a similar inability to reconcile the OT promises made to Israel and how they would be fulfilled in the NT Body of Christ coming from modern day Dispensationalists whom think there are opposing theologies between the OT and NT.  There are two complete separate bodies of believers or peoples of God needing two separate comings of Christ or programs of salvation etc…  Of particular interest to our discussion here is in the comparison of dividing the OT dead from those that died “in Christ.”  Dispensationalists such as Charles Ryrie and Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer argue,

“those who died before Christ’s first advent” are not among “the dead in Christ” (Charles Ryrie).  “The Old Testament saints were not part of the New Creation in Christ,” and “the nation of Israel sustains no relation to the resurrection of Christ” (Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer).  And again per Chafer, the dead OT saints were not “in the new federal headship of the resurrected Christ…” (taken from:  Curtis Crenshaw and Grove Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, p. 204).

In 1937 William Everett Bell argued against Pretribulationalism providing evidence that at Christ’s Second Coming (after the Tribulation period), all the righteous dead were to be raised.  The ever evolving pertrib rapture theory countered with a two resurrection view – one for those that died “in Christ” at the “rapture” “coming,” and then one for those that died outside of being “in Christ” (OT dead not “in Christ”) seven years later (after the Tribulation) at the Second Coming.  The resurrection of the dead deniers also divided God’s people up in a way that was contrary to the teachings of Paul, except for them, the best way to avoid the problem (they created for themselves) was to deny resurrection for the dead – period and only accept a resurrection for those “in Christ.”

These examples (one within the Talmud and modern ones) should be sufficient to demonstrate how it could be possible for some to miss how the OT dead could or even would participate in the salvation of the ONE NC Body of Christ.

Romans 11 & 1 Corinthians 15

Perhaps the best parallel to what is taking place among the Gentile resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth can be found in Romans 11.  Paul has to explain that the Gentiles did not replace OC Israel and that there remained a future eschaton and expectation of fulfillment for her.  And this future is explained in such a way that without God fulfilling those promises to OC Israel, there would be no forgiveness of sin or resurrection life for the Gentiles (cf. Roms. 11:13-27).  In Romans the Gentile arrogance over against the Jews was illustrated by an olive tree, branches, and the root to demonstrate the solidarity of the Gentiles with Israel’s resurrection and covenant promises.  As we will see in our next point, Paul uses the illustration of the “first-fruits” harvest to connect the two.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

First-fruits and Solidarity

Paul is going to now further his argument to connect Christ’s resurrection with that of Israel’s, by using the first-fruits analogy.  How could the gentiles deny Israel’s role in the resurrection when they themselves (along with the believing Jews) were apart of the first-fruits awaiting the harvest at Christ’s return (Jms. 1:18, Rms. 8, Rev. 14)?  Paul’s resurrection hope was the “hope of Israel” and the harvest is Israel’s harvest of which they were blessed to be apart of.  To deny “the dead” or Israel’s future role in the resurrection/harvest was akin to theologically denying Christ’s and theirs at the end of the OC age harvest.

First-fruits, Imminence & Analogy of Faith

Whenever the first-fruits were offered up as a pledge this was a symbol that not only the harvest was guaranteed, but that it was already ripe and being cut.  Paul uses this argument of Christ being the “first-fruits” resurrection to teach that He controls the destiny of Israel’s harvest (the dead) – that Paul’s first century “we” audience would experience at “the end” of the OC age.

The imminence of this coming harvest judgment was first developed by John the Baptist.  He warned of an “about to” come wrath and punishment (Mt. 3:7GNT).  His ax and winnowing fork were already in His hand – indicating that the judgment and end time harvest would take place in some of their lifetimes (Mt. 3:10-12).

Jesus also taught a spiritual sowing and coming judgment / resurrection harvest which would take place at “the end” of His Jewish audiences “this age” (which was the OC age) in Matthew 13.

The first-fruits and harvest resurrection and judgment of Revelation 7 and 14 was to be fulfilled “shortly” at Christ’s “soon” and “at hand” AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 1:1—22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Paul’s inspired teaching on an imminent harvest resurrection to take place at “the end” (of the OC age) is in harmony with the teaching and eschatology of John the Baptist, John the Apostle and Jesus.

Premise #1:  If it is true and orthodox to believe the harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 7 and 14 were fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Partial Preterist view)…,

Premise #2:  And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 7 & 14 and 1 Corinthians 15 is ONE and the same event (Classic Amillennial view)…,

Conclusion/Synthesis:  THEN it is also true and orthodox to believe that the ONE harvest judgment / resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 7 & 14 and 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

First-fruits and the Nature of Jesus’ Resurrection Body

In Pauline theology, Christ is described as the “First” (first-fruit or first-born Cols. 1:18) from among the dead ones.  Since clearly Jesus was not the first to be raised from biological death, many futurists reason that this must then mean He was the first to be raised with a glorified and immortal body the third day – which they assert was different because it could walk through walls and could never biologically die again.  But there is no exegetical evidence that Jesus’ biological body that was raised the third day was substantially different (glorified) than the one He had before He was crucified.  Prior to His resurrection, He was able to walk on water, disappear in the midst of a crowd and transport/teleport Himself and a boat full of disciples instantly to the shore (i.e. defy physics).  So to assume that just because Jesus could appear or disappear after His resurrection, does not prove that His body was different and that somehow at the end of history we too will get a “body” like His (that can defy the laws of physics etc…).

The truth however, is that Jesus’ body wouldn’t be glorified until some 40 days later at His ascension/enthronement and just prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the resurrection body of Christ that came out of the tomb is not the “same” or “first” “immortal” and “glorified” body that we allegedly will get at the end of world history.  If it was and ours will be just like it, then since Jesus still had His wounds, then will Christians be raised without limbs, deformities etc…?

But Jesus was the “first” to overcome covenantal sin/death or spiritual separation that came from Adam the very day he sinned against God and was banished from His presence.  Jesus “became sin for us…” – that is He took the full curse (of separation) for His posterity, was raised and 40 days later glorified and restored into the “glory” and presence of the Father He had before the world began.  Exactly how Jesus “became sin” for us and was abandoned by the Father’s presence contains concepts that we will not be able to fully understand (such as the incarnation and trinity) – but it is what Scripture teaches nonetheless.  At Christ’s parousia in AD 70, He restored God’s presence with the righteous dead (OC & NC) along with the living.

Therefore, the purpose of Jesus being raised from the dead on the third day was to be a sign (like all of His other miracles that pointed to a deeper spiritual truth) that validated He alone had conquered the curse (sin/death/separation) which came through Adam.  Jesus never came to conquer biological death for Christians.  Jesus repeatedly taught that those who believe on Him (alive or dead – Jn. 8:51; 11:25-26) would “never die.”  In other word’s “never die” is synonymous with “eternal life” (i.e. spiritual life and existence in God’s presence).

In Adam or in Christ

Through the corporate body of Adam – “all” come into this world spiritually dead and separated from God (15:21-22), while through Christ and His overcoming of that death, “all” His corporate body or covenant posterity will be restored to God’s presence and have their sin completely taken away at His parousia.  We will pick up Paul’s in Adam or in Christ doctrine and how he addresses these terms and concepts in Romans 5-8 in verses 44-58.

At His Parousia

Paul’s teaching on the parousia (15:23) is not different than what Christ taught of His parousia to take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:27-34).

Then Comes the End & the Kingdom

“The end” (15:24) here is consistent with Jesus’ teaching on the end of the OC “this age” to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24).

It is Daniel’s “time of the end” (not the end of time) when the resurrection would occur at Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70 – i.e. “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:1-7).

In harmony with Jesus’ teaching on the end of the age, before we approach 1 Corinthians 15, Paul has already informed us that “the end” of the world was “shortened” and the end of the age was to take place in the lifetime of the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 10:11).

Paul taught that the NC Church age was an “age without end” (Ephs. 3:20-21) so why would he here teach that he expected its end to take place within the lifetime of the Corinthians?  It is the OC age that is in view and indeed did pass away within the lifetime of Paul’s audience.  The NC age was “about to” fully come in – therefore, the OC age was about to end (Ephs. 1:21WUEST).  The “increase” (that is the everlasting gospel) of Jesus’ government (that is His kingdom and thus His rule in the NC age) is also described as having “no end” (Isa. 9:7).

Concerning the timing of the consummation of the Kingdom: – Per Daniel chapter seven, the Kingdom would arrive in its fulfilled inherited form just after a time of severe persecution (Dan. 7:21) and at Christ’s Second Coming (Dan. 7:13, 18, 22).  Jesus informs us when Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in Matthew 24.  He instructs His disciples that just after a severe persecution takes place, the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies (the abomination that causes desolation), and just prior to His parousia, the Kingdom would be inherited in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:1-32).

Christ’s Pre-parousia Reign & His Enemies Placed Under His Feet

As David and Solomon’s reigns over Israel were 40 years, so too was Jesus’ pre-parousia reign (roughly from AD 30 – AD 70).  Through the proclamation and power of the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit given in the midst of imprisonment and persecutions, and the imprecatory prayer’s of the saints against their first century Jewish persecutors, Christ’s enemies were being placed under His feet and would at the end of the OC age.  This is consistent with the teaching of the author to the Hebrews when He instructs us that the first century Jewish “enemies” to be “made his footstool” were “about to” experience a judgment of fire at Christ’s “in a very little while” AD 70 coming that could not be delayed (Heb. 10:13-37YLT).

Last Enemy “The Death” Was in the Process of Being Destroyed

Note that death was in the process of BEING destroyed (present passive indicative):

“As a last enemy, [the] death is being abolished, for all things He put in subjection under His feet.” (Wuest, K. S. (1997). The New Testament : An expanded translation (1 Co 15:20–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Gordon Fee in his work on 1 Corinthians puzzles over this,

“The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling…” “The sentence literally reads, “The last enemy is being destroyed.” (Gordon D. Fee, THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans pub., 1987, 756).

Others comment on the reality of the present tense here:

“It is difficult to do justice to the present passive καταργεῖται in translation. As it stands, the Greek states, The last enemy is being annihilated, (namely) death (v. 26). It is arguable that Paul uses the present to denote the process of annihilation already set in motion by Christ’s (past) death and resurrection. (Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek text (1234). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, emphasis MJS).

There is no confusion or difficulty over the last enemy of “the death” being destroyed during Paul’s day when we realize that this death was spiritual Adamic death which was being magnified through Israel’s OC Torah – “the law” or “administration of death” (1 Cor. 15:56-57; 2 Cor. 3).  When the definite article “the” is in front of death, it is the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned that is in view.

However, there is understandable confusion and difficulty for the present tense of the death being destroyed for futurists who assume it is biological death and resurrection that is the last enemy to be destroyed throughout 1 Corinthians 15.  How was biological death in the process of being destroyed in Paul’s day and up to ours for the last 2,000 years?!?  Are arms sticking up out of the graveyards today – with biological corpses in the process of rising and overcoming death?!?  Obviously Paul has something else in view and futurists are not understanding him correctly.

The Present Passive Indicative – The Dead Were Rising

Related to the problem for the futurist for “the death” in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, is Paul’s use of the present passive indicative in other places in this chapter.  Although it is rare that a translation or commentator will point this issue out here in 15:26 (as I have cited above), they are all virtually silent when the present tense is being used in the following verses:

“But God is giving it a body” (v.32).

“…it is being sown…” (v. 38).

“…it is being raised in glory…” (43).

“…it is being raised in power…” (v. 43)

“…It is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body…” (v. 43).

Since most think that the giving of a “body” and it being “sown” a natural body and then being raised in glory and power is allegedly addressing a biologically transformed individual body at Christ’s parousia to end world history, the present tense seems impossible.  But when the corporate body of Christ (the OC dead, those dead “in Christ” and those alive – that constitute that ONE body) is in view, Paul’s theology/eschatology begins to make more sense.

That God May Be All in All

This is the eschatological goal of the NT – that “all” of God’s presence would be in “all” of God’s people (the NC body Jew and Gentile).  The Holy Spirit’s presence was with the early church through the charismata and in forming Christ’s image (a spiritual transformation) in the Church.  But it was only at the Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70 that the Father and the Son would then make their home within the Church (ex. John 14:2-3, 23, 29; Lk. 17:20-21ff.; Cols. 1:27).  At the “end” of Christ’s pre-parousia reign, He would deliver the kingdom up to the Father and its process of being changed (2 Cor. 3) would be complete and consummated into it’s heavenly form.

1 Corinthians 15:29-34

Baptism on Behalf of the Dead

There has been much debate on the meaning of those being baptized on behalf of the dead (15:29).  However, the context would seem to indicate this is a baptism of suffering that is in view (vss. 30-32; see also Lk. 12:50/Mt. 20:20-23; Mt. 23:29-36; Heb. 11:39-40).  Paul’s point and overall argument is that if the OC dead were not and would not participate in the resurrection, then those Christians (such as Himself) that were undergoing a baptism of suffering, persecution and death/martyrdom on their behalf (the ONE body of Christ that included the OC dead) – were suffering and perishing in vain.  If the dead would not rise with those who had fallen asleep “in Christ,” then one might as well adopt the fatalistic mindset of “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” – for there would be no resurrection for anyone.

1 Corinthians 15:35-58

The Body (Greek soma) & Consistency within Pauline Theological Terms & Motifs

Much has been said and debated in recent years in regards to Paul’s use of the “body” (Greek soma) in his various epistles.  Many would insist that when Paul uses “body” in his letters to the various churches, he is mostly referring to an individualistic biological or fleshly body.  However, theologians such as Tom Holland are developing a proper cultural context in which Paul is writing with a Hebraic mindset or within a worldview that is rooted in the OT Scriptures – which sees the body more in a corporate sense and context.  Holland does a great job developing this in Romans 5-7 and 1 Corinthians 1-12 but we find him inconsistent and drops the ball in Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Holland also has correctly observed that most of the time Paul uses particular theological phrases and terms in a consist way in writing to various churches – so that there is little confusion among them.  (Holland, Tom, CONTOURS IN PAULINE THEOLOGY, Mentor Imprint Christian Focus Pub., 2004, see pages 90 – 107 for this discussion).  And while we agree with this, we believe Holland is inconsistent with Paul’s consistent use of “the law” “the sin” and “the death” in relationship to being “in Adam” or “in Christ” when addressed in Romans 5-8 and then how he understands these terms and themes in 1 Corinthians 15.  In Romans Paul does not use these terms and the Adam / Christ motif to be discussing biological death and resurrection, but rather corporate modes of existence.  We argue that Paul uses these terms and motifs virtually the same way in 1 Corinthians 15 and thus is not addressing a biological death and resurrection motif of biological corpses.

Paul’s Seed Analogy & Being Buried Alive

Since the resurrection of the dead deniers did not deny a corporate bodily resurrection for themselves and those that had died “in Christ” (their side of the cross), then what is Paul’s point in using the seed analogy?  If Paul was correct in what he was saying thus far in his argumentation, then their objection would be something like, “How or what kind of body could the OC dead ones possibly be raised in since they died in the state of death found in Adam prior to Christ’s coming (thus they were susceptible to weakness, perishable and merely natural) – unattached from us who are “in Christ” where resurrection life is being realized (cf. 15:35)?”

Paul’s statement, “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be,…” summarizes their thinking and error.  For them, they were the one spiritual body that was BOTH being sown spiritually and would be raised spiritually.  In other word’s they thought they sowed the same spiritual body that would be, which couldn’t be attached to the OC body that perished outside of Christ.  Paul uses the seed analogy to demonstrate that they (along with the OC dead ones) were not sown a spiritual body, but rather they had the same sowing/seed origins that the OC dead ones were in – i.e. still in a “perishable,” “dishonorable,” “weak,” “natural,” “Adamic” body of death.  The corporate body of Christ did not originate their side of the cross out of thin air, it originated in and came out of the form of the Adamic OC body (along with the OC dead ones).  The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to see that they were still apart of the OC body/world (with the OC dead) that had not passed away yet.

If Paul has a resurrection of biological corpses in view, then he doesn’t know how to teach and use illustrations very well.  Futurists believe the passage teaches that in biological death the body dies and then is buried or sown into the earth to be raised at the end of world history into a different form.  But for Paul in verse 36, the seed/body was not only in the process of being sown (under the earth), it was still alive and concurrently dying only to be raised into a different form.  Futurists are at odds with Paul’s teaching and illustration – which would amount to burrying  corpses while alive, only to undergo a process of dying and then be raised.

In order to understand Paul’s buried alive and concurrently dying doctrine, or how “body” here in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a fleshly individual body but a corporate body, we must allow Paul to interpret himself elsewhere.  We will pick this subject up in Romans 5-8 when addressing the nature of the body in Adam or Christ when it surfaces again in verses 44-58.

Don K. Preston’s thesis of Paul using Hosea 6 – 13 as an inclusio and working outline in 1 Corinthians 15 has much warrant to it:

Hosea: The Outline for Paul’s Resurrection Hope! (Don K. Preston, 2005, 2712 Mt. Washington Rd.Ardmore, Ok.)

Hosea: “He has torn but he will heal, After two days He will raise us up.”

1 Corinthians 15: Christ rose 3rd Day according to the Scriptures Paul introduces Hosea at the very beginning of his discourse– and he closes his discourse by quoting Hosea.

 

Hosea: Israel the Seed (Jezreel–God sows): Israel sown in the earth (2.23).

1 Corinthians 15: Except a Seed– “That which you sow is not quickened unless it die” (Jhn. 12).

 

Hosea: Israel destroyed/died (1.5– I will cause to cease the house of Israel):  Continuity/discontinuity Israel destroyed–Israel restored.

1 Corinthians 15: You do not sow that which shall be (v. 37) That which you reap is not what you sow–that which is spiritual is not first, but the natural.

 

Hosea: Israel of Old carnal, sinful.

1 Corinthians 15: It is sown a natural body (v. 42f).

 

Hosea: Israel sown in the earth (2.23).

1 Corinthians 15: As we have borne the image of the earthy.

 

Hosea: Harvest appointed for Judah when I return my people (6.11).

1 Corinthians 15: Jesus the first fruits (Jesus of Judah), of those who slept; OT saints i.e. Israel!! (15.12f).

 

Hosea: Time of the harvest= resurrection (13.14).

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection when Hosea fulfilled (15:54-56).

 

Hosea: Israel like the first fruit (9:10).

1 Corinthians 15: Christ the first fruit of Israel (15:20f).

 

Hosea: They transgressed the covenant (6.7; they died, (v. 5; 13.1-2, 10)– Death for violating the Covenant.

1 Corinthians 15: The strength of sin is “the law.” (15.56)–Death for violating the Law.

 

Hosea: New Covenant of Peace (2:18; Cf. Ez. 37:12, 25f)—> Covenant is covenant of marriage.

1 Corinthians 15: 15:25– sit at my right hand…Heb. 10:14–time of the New Covenant (Rm. 11:26f.)– The marriage, thus, the Covenant —>Rev. 19:6.

 

Hosea: Israel restored in the last days when “David” rules (3.4-5).

1 Corinthians 15: End of the ages has arrived (10.11), “then comes the end (15.20f) Christ on the throne (15.24f).

 

Hosea: I will be your God. I will be your king! (Hos. 13:10).

1 Corinthians 15: 1 Corinthians 15:28 (God shall be all in all).

 

Hosea: Resurrection= restoration to fellowship.

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection when “the sin,” the sting of “the death, removed.

The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to be reminded that they were apart of OC Israel’s seed/body that was promised to be raised in the last day’s harvest to close her age.  Without their union in them into that seed/body, there would be no resurrection.

Israel had been sown in death and captivity but she was in the process of being raised, united together, and transformed through the good news of the new covenant.  Israel’s process of being transformed and being sown and rising from old covenant glory into new covenant glory in 1 Corinthians 15 & 2 Corinthians 3 should be viewed together.

The Natural Body & Spiritual Body

In the rest of the NT and within 1 Corinthians it’s self, “natural” does not have the meaning of a fleshly body or physicality:

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  (1Co 2:14)

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (Jas 3:15)

“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1:19)

The point of contrast is not the physical substance of man but rather man’s relationship to God under the realm of a covenant of death or being filled with the Holy Spirit walking in the newness of life under the NC.

It is difficult to see how the futurist view of a fleshly biological death and resurrection is in view when Paul goes out of his way to describe the resurrection for those in Christ were being raised into a “spiritual body” (15:44).  Or if they believe “flesh and blood” is literal, that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,…” (15:50).

As we will see below, it is not a stretch to understand Paul’s Adamic “natural body” to be the Pauline Adamic “body of sin and death” or “old man.” Likewise, Paul’s in Christ or being conformed to His image = “spiritual body” to be Paul’s “new man” that was in the process of dying and rising and being conformed to Christ’s image.  Paul’s doctrine of the Church being in the process of taking off the old man and putting on the new while dying and rising in Romans and Colossians is in harmony with the Adamic seed/body simultaneously dying and rising in 1 Corinthians 15.

In Adam or in Christ & the Corporate Body Cont.

 Let’s take a look at the Pauline view of being in the corporate bodies of Adam (as a type) and Christ.

 “But the death did reign from Adam till Moses, even upon those not having sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of him who is coming (Greek mello – or is about to come)” (Rms. 5:14 YLT).

To further demonstrate the resurrection for those in Christ is a spiritual resurrection is to notice that in Pauline “in Adam” or “in Christ” theology, Adam is a “type” and Christ the anti-type.  In the book of Hebrews the first was the physical type and shadow with the second and better being the spiritual anti-type.  The point is the anti-type is always spiritual, and that is what we see here in 1 Corinthians 15 of the second being a “spiritual body” that the NC Israel/Church is raised up into.

As I pointed out earlier, there are many similarities between Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Therefore, let’s spend some time here in Romans to see how Paul develops these themes.  Here in Romans 5:14, the context is involving an eschatological future (“about to”) coming of Christ who is the anti-type of Adam.  It will be when the future hope of glory in verse 1-5 is realized (which Rms. 8:18YLT says was “about to be revealed”) and when they would be saved from a coming wrath in verse 10.

Most futurists such as Keith Mathison believe Romans 5:12 teaches physical death for man and decay for the planet earth came through Adam’s sin and thus at Christ’s return He will reverse what Adam had brought upon the planet,

“As Paul explains, death entered the world because of Adam’s sin (Roms. 5:12).  God’s entire work of redemption from the moment of the Fall onward has been aimed at reversing the effects of sin in man and in creation.” (WSTTB?, p.196).

However, the immediate context of verse 12 is dealing with spiritual salvation described as “reconciliation” being given to the believer in verse 11.  The phrase “…death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” is discussing spiritual death not physical death or people would physically die when they “sin.”  As I discussed before in Genesis, Adam died spiritually the day he sinned.  Through Adam came the reign of spiritual “death” and “condemnation” in verse 18.  This spiritual death and condemnation that came through Adam is countered by Christ because through Him the “free gift” of the gospel which is “grace” (v. 15), “justification” (v. 16), a “reign of life” (v.17), of which makes one “righteous” (v. 19) before God is realized.  These are spiritual graces upon the heart of man undoing the reign of spiritual death and condemnation brought through Adam.

Verses 20-21 are important, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When the Mosaic law entered the picture it did not make physical death any worse, but it did increase and magnify the power and reign of spiritual death and sin in the heart of man.  This is most eloquently described by Paul in his struggle of what the law produced when it was brought upon his conscience in chapter 7.  Saul and the self righteous Jew thought they were “alive” under the law but when they realized that the law could only magnify their sin and it could not completely take it away they “died” (7:9).  Obviously Paul did not biologically die the day he realized this.  The entire context of Romans is dealing with overcoming the spiritual death passed down through Adam which was magnified through the giving of Torah.  This spiritual death was found in the corporate body of the sin, the death, and the flesh which Paul brings into and develops more in chapter 6.

As previously mentioned, fortunately, some Pauline reformed theologians are beginning to see what we have in these Pauline terms.  Paul is not addressing an individual resurrection of a physical “fleshly” corpse in Romans 6.

“the concrete mode of existence of sinful man, can sometimes be identified with sin as the ‘body of sin’ (Rom. 6:6), the ‘body of flesh’ (Col. 2:11), the ‘body of death’ (Rom. 7:24).  Accordingly, the life from Christ by the Holy Spirit can be typified as a ‘doing away with the body of sin’, ‘putting off of the body of the flesh, ‘putting to death the earthly members’, ‘deliverance from the body of this death’ Rom. 6:6; Col. 2:11; 3:5; Rom. 7:24) … All these expressions are obviously not intended of the body itself, but of the sinful mode of existence of man. (Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCE ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Mentor Imprint, Scotland, UK:  2004), 90, emphasis MJS).

Quoting T.F. Torrance,

“in his death, the many who inhered in him died too, and indeed the whole body of sin, the whole company of sinners into which he incorporated himself to make their guilt and their judgment his own, that through his death he might destroy the body of sin, redeem them from the power of guilt and death, and through his resurrection raise them up as the new Israel” (Holland, ibid, 91).

This corporate view of the “body of sin” is also shared by F.F. Bruce,

“This ‘body of sin’ is more than an individual affair, it is rather that old solidarity of sin and death which all share ‘in Adam, but which has been broken by the death of Christ with a view to the creation of the new solidarity of righteousness and life of which believers are made part ‘in Christ.’” (Holland, ibid, 91, emphasis MJS)

Holland feels that T.W. Manson has come the closest to the truth,

“He questioned the traditional assumption that in the phrase ‘body of Sin’ the term ‘of Sin’ is a genitive of quality; he argued that it ‘does not yield a very good sense’.  He took it to be a possessive genitive, and said, ‘It is perhaps better to regard “the body of sin” as the opposite of “the body of Christ”.  It is the mass of unredeemed humanity in bondage to the evil power.  Every conversion means that the body of sin loses a member and the body of Christ gains one’” (Holland, ibid, 91, emphasis MJS)

And developing the corporate body motif commenting on (Roms. 6:6),

“Also, in 6:6 Paul refers to ‘putting off the old man’.  Once again this has traditionally been seen as a reference to the sinful self that dominated the life of the believer in the pre-converted state.  However, the same terminology is used in the Ephesisans 2:15 where Paul says ‘to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace’.  He then goes on to say in 4:22-23, ‘put off your old self (anthropos – man), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’  The exhortation is parallel to that in Romans 6:6ff.  Thus, the new man, which Paul exhorts the Romans to put on, is corporate, for ‘the new man’ in Ephesians is the church, and the two who have been united to form this new man are the believing Jews and the believing Gentiles.  This corporate understanding is further supported by Colossians 3:9-15…  The realm where distinctions are abolished (here there is no Greek or Jew, v. 11) is clearly corporate.  This is indicated by two considerations.  First, ‘here’ is clearly the realm where all distinctions are abolished, and this is the new man.  Second, the meaning of the one body into which they were called (v. 15) is obviously corporate.  These descriptions of corporateness are in the context of the description of the old and new self (vv. 9, 10).  The rendering of anthropos as self by the NIV and sarx as flesh in the AV has inevitably promoted the individualistic understanding and confused the mind of the English reader.  Furthermore, that Paul’s exhortation is corporate is shown in that he appeals to them, “as God’s chosen people clothe yourselves’ (v. 12).  Thus, identifying the imagery of the old and new man as being corporate, and appreciating that it is part of the description of the ‘body of Sin’ in Romans 6:6, along with the other considerations we have presented, establishes a corporate meaning for the term the ‘body of Sin’.” (Holland, ibid, 95-96).

Holland, I believe is correct in seeing a corporate understanding of these Pauline terms and phrases and I would agree with him that Paul has a “system of theology” that he draws on when he uses certain words, terms, and phrases throughout his various writings:

“Also, it seems quite inconceivable that a man of Paul’s intellectual caliber should be so haphazard as to be indifferent to these alleged inconsistencies.  At Paul’s instruction, his letters were being passed around the churches (Cols. 4:16).  Was he not concerned with consistency?” (Holland, ibid, p.107, emphasis MJS).

Paul’s theme’s of being in a corporate body, whether in “Adam” or “Christ” in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15 and being raised in the likeness of Christ or experiencing deliverance from “law” (Adam in the garden) or “THE law” (Israel groaning under the Mosaic law) has nothing to do with a casket resurrection from biological death for believers.  This is a soteriological resurrection from the spiritual death inherited from Adam.  The order of being planted or buried first and then simultaneously dying only to be changed and resurrected into Christ’s image is also the same in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15.

David Green helps harmonize Paul’s corporate body motifs,

“To find Paul’s meaning, we need only find where in Scripture Paul elaborated on the doctrine of a human “body” that had to be sown/planted/entombed and concurrently put to death, in order that it could be made alive and changed in the resurrection of the dead.  This takes us to Romans 6-8, Colossians 2, and Philippians 3.

In these Scriptures, especially in Romans 6, Paul teaches that believers had been bodily “planted,” through Spirit-baptism, into death / into the death of Christ, in order that the body that had been planted/buried (the “body of Sin,” the “mortal body,” the “body of Death,” the “body of the sins of the flesh,” the “vile body”) would be abolished / put to death, and then be made alive and changed/conformed to the image of the Son of God in the kingdom of heaven. Note the order: Burial then death.

This sequence in Romans 6 is exactly, step by step, what Paul teaches concerning the resurrection of the body in 1 Cor. 15:36-37 and its context.  Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15 both speak of concurrent bodyburial and body-death, followed by consummated body-death, bodyresurrection, and body-change. Futurist assumptions notwithstanding, there is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 6-8 are speaking of the same burial, death, resurrection, and change—and therefore of the same body.

The Body

What then is “the body” that was being put to death in Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15? What is the meaning of the word “body” in these contexts?  Essentially, or basically, the “body” is the “self” or “person/personality” or “individual,” whether that of a singular saint or of the singular

church universal (the body of Christ). According to definition 1b of the word σωμα (body) in Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, the word “body” in Paul’s writings is sometimes “almost synonymous with the whole personality . . . σώματα [bodies] =themselves.”[5]

Note how that “body” and “yourselves” are used interchangeably in Romans 6:12-13:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting your members [of your mortal body] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness;

but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [of your mortal body] as instruments of righteousness to God.

Compare also 1 Corinthians 6:15 and 12:27, where “you” and “your bodies” are synonymous:

. . . your bodies are members of Christ . . . . (1 Cor. 6:15)

. . . you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

See also Ephesians 5:28, where a man’s body-union with his wife is equated with “himself”:

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

However, the word “body,” when it is used in reference to the eschatological resurrection, means more than merely the “self.” Paul is not using the word as a common reference to “the whole person.”

It does not refer to man’s anthropological wholeness (i.e., Material body+soul+spirit=the body). Paul is using the word in a theological eschatological sense to describe God’s people as they are defined either by the wholeness/fullness (body) of Adamic Sin and Death or the wholeness/fullness (body) of Christ. The body is either the “person” united with Sin and Death, or the “person” united with Christ, whether individually or corporately.

We can begin to see this in Colossians 3:5 (KJV), where the body parts (members) of the Sin-body are not arms and legs or other physical limbs. The members of the “earthly body” were death-producing “deeds,” such as “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness . . . ” (cf. Rom. 8:13). Thus John Calvin wrote in his commentary on Romans 6:6: “The body of sin . . . does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass . . . of sin.” Since a body is the sum of its parts, and since the parts of the Sin-body are sins/sinful deeds, it follows that “the body of Sin” is not the physical aspect of

man. Instead, the whole of the sins/deeds of the body equals the body of Sin. Or more accurately, the body of Sin was God’s people as they were identified with and defined by the Sin-reviving, Sin-increasing, Death-producing world of the Law.

When Paul said that believers were no longer walking according to “the flesh” (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9), he was saying that believers were putting to death the deeds of the “body” (Rom. 8:10-11, 13). The parts/members of the body equaled the deeds of “the body,” which equaled the walk of “the

flesh.” “Flesh” and “body” in this context, therefore, describe man as he was defined by Sin, not man as he was defined by material body parts.

In Colossians 2:11, Paul said that God had buried believers with Christ, raised them up with Him, and had removed “the body of the flesh.” “The body of the flesh” was not the physical body. It was the Adamic man/self/person that had been dead in transgressions and in the spiritual uncircumcision of his “flesh” (Col. 2:13). That “body” (or as Ridderbos puts it, that “sinful mode of existence”)[6] had been “removed” in Christ and was soon to be changed into the glorious, resurrected “body” of Christ.

As a comparison of Colossians 2:11 and Colossians 3:9 reveals, “the body” of Sin is virtually synonymous with “the old man”:

. . . the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh . . . . (Col. 2:11)

. . . having put off the old man with his practices (Col. 3:9; cf. Eph. 4:22)

Compare also 1 Corinthians 15:42 with Ephesians 4:22:

[The body] is sown in corruption . . . . (1 Cor. 15:42)

. . . the old man being corrupted . . . . (Eph. 4:22)

Compare also the references to “man” and “body” in Romans 7:24:

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of Death?

And in Romans 6:6:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Rom. 6:6)

And in 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45:

. . . There is a natural body [the old man], and there is a spiritual body [the new Man]. And so it is written, the first [old] man [the natural body] Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [the last Man, the spiritual body] a quickening spirit. Since the natural body is nearly synonymous with the old man, we should expect that the spiritual body is nearly synonymous with “the new man,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 with Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10 and Romans 13:14:

For this perishable [body] must put on the imperishable [body] . . . . (1 Cor. 15:53-54) and put on the new man [the spiritual body], which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Eph. 4:24) and have put on the new man [the spiritual body] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. (Col. 3:10)

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ [the new man, the spiritual body], and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)

As most futurists agree, “the old man” and “the new man” are not expressions that describe man in terms of physicality. “The old man” was man as he was in Adam, alienated from God and dead in Sin. He was “the body of Sin.” The new Man is man as he is reconciled to God in Christ, the lifegiving Spiritual Body.” (David Green, Ed Hassertt, Michael Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, Ramona, CA: 2009 Second Edition, 206-210).

The Eschatological Mystery

 Elsewhere in Paul’s teaching on God’s “mystery,” he demonstrates how the OT predicted (and the NT revelatory gifts developed) the Jew / Gentile unity in the body of Christ.  Here, Paul is demonstrating how the living will be changed and raised with “all” the dead (including the OC dead) together – into the ONE raised and glorified body of Christ.

The Trumpet Change

While no one disputes Paul’s trumpet change here is the same trumpet catching away in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Partial Preterist’s object that it is somehow different than Jesus’ trumpet gathering at His parousia in Matthew 24:27-31.  Of course this is pure eisegesis on their part and a failure to harmonize Jesus’ eschatology with Paul’s – as previously demonstrated.  Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison have to actually come to the conclusion that Christ’s coming in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 but is not His actually Second Coming event – which he sees only Paul developing in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.  While we agree that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, we disagree with Mathison’s un-creedal and unorthodox position that Matthew 24-25 is not the Second Coming event and disagree with his error that Matthew 24-25 is not the same parousia and resurrection event as described for us in 1 Corinthians 15!

Paul is in harmony with Jesus when he says not everyone in his contemporary audience would die before experiencing Christ’s Second Coming trumpet change/gathering into the Kingdom (Mt. 16:27-28; 24:30-34/Lk. 21:27-32).

The living would be “changed” not in their physical biological substance, but rather in their covenantal stance before God.  The Adamic and OC body of death was natural, weak, mortal, and subject to being perishable.  It needed to be clothed and changed by the heavenly man.

The Perishable to be Clothed with Imperishable – the Mortal with Immortality & 2 Cor. 3-6

 Paul is not describing an individuals biological body as being “perishable” and “mortal,” but rather the Adamic and Mosaic corporate body as “perishable” and “mortal” needing to be “clothed.”  To better understand Paul here, again it is important to let him interpret himself.

In 2 Corinthians 3-6 Paul contrasts the glories of the OC and NC with two houses/temples.  In 2 Corinthians 4 the resurrection is in view (vss. 13-14) and closes by expressing that this hope is not grounded on things which can be seen (that is physical and temporal), but on things that cannot be seen (that is spiritual and eternal) (v. 18).  The “earthly tent/house/temple” in 5:1 that would be destroyed is the corporate OC temple/house/system and the the spiritual “heavenly dwelling/temple/house” is the corporate NC system.  Their groaning for this house to be revealed from heaven to clothe them is realized in an AD 70 “soon” and “shortly” time frame in the form of the glorified New Jerusalem (which is the corporate body of the Church) coming down from heaven to earth in Revelation 21-22.  The NIV correctly captures the “already and not yet” of the New Jerusalem already being in the process of coming down (Rev. 3:12).  This already and not yet process is in harmony with the eschatological Pauline process of putting on Christ, being transformed into the image of Christ, dying and rising, and being sown and rising into a spiritual body.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16 further elaborates that the NC Temple promised in Ezekiel 37:27 (and thus that of 40-47), is the corporate body of the Church.  Premillennial Dispensationalists would do well to follow the contextual flow of Paul and heed his teaching instead of following their hyper-literal hermeneutic which forces them to believe Ezekiel’s Temple promise will be a literal structure with Jesus sitting on a throne smelling its animal sacrifices in an imaginary future 1,000 year millennial period.

The “groaning” to be further clothed in 2 Corinthians 5:2ff. which correlates to the clothing resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the “groaning” and AD 70 imminent “about to be revealing” of God’s glory within the Church – which in context, results in the full adoption of sons, the liberation of creation (of God’s people) and the “redemption of the body.”  Partial Preterist Gary DeMar admits the Greek word mello in Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70.  But to admit this is to admit the events of 18-23 were also fulfilled in AD 70.  Partial Preterist John Lightfoot concedes the Greek word kitisis “creation” in Romans 8 is not referring to the planet earth, but the creature/creation of God’s people (as in Cols. 1:23).      

Paul’s OT Echo’s – Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25

As there is a movement within the Reformed and Evangelical community that seeks to develop Paul’s Hebraic corporate body origins that is beginning to see what Full Preterist’s have for the last 30 years, there is also a movement led by Richard Hayes which emphasizes developing the OT context of an OT reference or echo mentioned in the NT.  For example Hayes writes,

“Thematic Coherence How well does the alleged echo fit into the line of argument that Paul is developing?  Does the proposed precursor text fit together with the point Paul is making?  Can one see in Paul’s use of the material a coherent “reading” of the source text?  Is his use of the Isaiah texts consonant with his overall argument and/or use made of other texts? (Richard Hays, The CONVERSION of the IMAGINATION Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, Eerdmans pub., 2005, 38).

“Satisfaction  Does the proposed intertextual reading illuminate the surrounding discourse and make some larger sense of Paul’s argument as a whole?  “…A proposed intertextual reading fulfills the test of satisfaction when we find ourselves saying, “Oh, so that is what Paul means here in passage x; and furthermore, if that’s right, then we can begin to understand what he means in passage y and why he uses these certain words in that place.”  (Hayes, ibid. 44).

In other words, one is encouraged to find and develop as many similarities between that OT original context with the context and flow of the NT author in order to understand how he is using it.  Therefore, it is important to examine what kind of bodily death and resurrection are taking place in Hosea 13 and in Isaiah’s little apocalypse Isaiah 24-28, to help understand Pauls use of them in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.  This will help us understand the kind of bodily resurrection Paul has in mind.

Isaiah 24-28 – Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse

Due to Israel breaking her OC law (primarily for persecuting and putting to death their poor brethren – the sin of blood guilt), Israel’s covenantal world undergoes an apocalyptic de-creation and shaking process and she corporately and spiritually dies in the form of being ruled over by Gentile leaders.  Through captivity and bondage, Babylon scattered her outside of her land.  When Israel repents and is gathered back into the land she undergoes a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37.

In other word’s Israel is a corporate Adam, and just as when Adam broke Edenic covenantal law and died a spiritual covenantal death resulting in Him being scattered from God’s presence, so too when Israel broke covenant, she underwent a covenantal spiritual death that resulted in her being scattered from God’s presence away from their temple and land.

The time of the eschatological wedding is the time of the resurrection (Isa. 25:6-8) and Jesus identifies the time of the wedding to take place when the Roman armies would judge and burn Jerusalem, or within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 22:1-14; Mt. 24:27-34—25:1-13).

Paul’s other reference to Isaiah is his trumpet change which takes place at Christ’s parousia bringing about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52 is the trumpet gathering of Isaiah 27:12-13.  And again, this is the OT echo and foundation to the trumpet gathering and trumpet catching away of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that would take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and of which Paul taught (under inspiration) and thus expected his first century “we” audience to experience.

 Hosea

Hosea’s context is clear enough as well.  Due to Israel’s spiritual adultery with Baal and breaking their OC law, God gave Israel a certificate of divorcement.  The corporate body of Israel breaking the OC law resulted not only in a divorce, but is also described as Israel dying a covenantal and spiritual death.  This death is described as God sowing Israel as a seed into the Gentile lands throughout the Assyrian Empire.  Once again we see the same kind of corporate covenantal death that came through Adam and Israel when they broke covenant and became spiritually dead and scattered/separated from God’s presence.

But Israel would once again be betrothed and married to God in her “last days.”  The “last days” are the last days of the OC age which ended in AD 70 and is consistent with the “this generation” coming of Christ that results in the eschatological wedding/marriage that takes place in the OD.

Don Preston’s parallels between Hosea and 1 Corinthians 15 are worth looking at again:

Hosea: The Outline for Paul’s Resurrection Hope! (Don K. Preston, 2005, 2712 Mt. Washington Rd.Ardmore, Ok.)

Hosea: “He has torn but he will heal, After two days He will raise us up.”

1 Corinthians 15: Christ rose 3rd Day according to the Scriptures Paul introduces Hosea at the very beginning of his discourse– and he closes his discourse by quoting Hosea.

 

Hosea: Israel the Seed (Jezreel–God sows): Israel sown in the earth (2.23).

1 Corinthians 15: Except a Seed– “That which you sow is not quickened unless it die” (Jhn. 12).

 

Hosea: Israel destroyed/died (1.5– I will cause to cease the house of Israel):  Continuity/discontinuity Israel destroyed–Israel restored.

1 Corinthians 15: You do not sow that which shall be (v. 37) That which you reap is not what you sow–that which is spiritual is not first, but the natural.

 

Hosea: Israel of Old carnal, sinful.

1 Corinthians 15: It is sown a natural body (v. 42f).

 

Hosea: Israel sown in the earth (2.23).

1 Corinthians 15: As we have borne the image of the earthy.

 

Hosea: Harvest appointed for Judah when I return my people (6.11).

1 Corinthians 15: Jesus the first fruits (Jesus of Judah), of those who slept; OT saints i.e. Israel!! (15.12f).

 

Hosea: Time of the harvest= resurrection (13.14).

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection when Hosea fulfilled (15:54-56).

 

Hosea: Israel like the first fruit (9:10).

1 Corinthians 15: Christ the first fruit of Israel (15:20f).

 

Hosea: They transgressed the covenant (6.7; they died, (v. 5; 13.1-2, 10)– Death for violating the Covenant.

1 Corinthians 15: The strength of sin is “the law.” (15.56)–Death for violating the Law.

 

Hosea: New Covenant of Peace (2:18; Cf. Ez. 37:12, 25f)—> Covenant is covenant of marriage.

1 Corinthians 15: 15:25– sit at my right hand…Heb. 10:14–time of the New Covenant (Rm. 11:26f.)– The marriage, thus, the Covenant —>Rev. 19:6.

 

Hosea: Israel restored in the last days when “David” rules (3.4-5).

1 Corinthians 15: End of the ages has arrived (10.11), “then comes the end (15.20f) Christ on the throne (15.24f).

 

Hosea: I will be your God. I will be your king! (Hos. 13:10).

1 Corinthians 15: 1 Corinthians 15:28 (God shall be all in all).

 

Hosea: Resurrection= restoration to fellowship.

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection when “the sin,” the sting of “the death, removed.

Simply put there is no biological casket resurrection that takes place at the end of world history found in Hosea or Isaiah – of which Paul uses as his source for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  The parallels are a spiritual corporate and covenantal resurrection – not an individual  biological resurrection.  This is consistent with what we have seen earlier when harmonizing Paul with Paul in Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Victory Over the Mosaic OC “the Law” = Victory Over “the Sin” and “the Death”

Some commentators not only puzzle over the present tense of “the death” being destroyed in Paul’s day, but they also puzzle over his reference to the OC “the law” thrown in with the timing of the victory over “the sin” and “the death.”  These last two references seem to correlate well with the resurrection, but what does the Mosaic OC “the law” have to do with it — especially since most futurists see the OC Mosaic law being done away with at the cross?

However, there is no problem for the Full Preterist who correctly sees the resurrection as “about to” take place in Paul’s day bringing an end to the OC’s “this age” at Christ’s “this generation” parousia (Acts 24:15YLT; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:27-31, 34).  When it came to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection before his accusers, he claimed he wasn’t teaching anything that couldn’t be found in the law and prophets – and Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25 / Daniel 12 are resurrection passages contained in the OC “the law” and prophets which Jesus said would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:22, 32).  Jesus does not posit the OC “heaven and earth” of the law and prophets to be fulfilled at the cross, but rather in His generation (Mt. 5:17-18 / Mt. 24:34-35).  This is when it was all fulfilled and that heaven and earth system “soon” “vanished” (Heb. 8:13).

Death would be swallowed up and victory over it’s sting would only be accomplished when victory over “the law” was attained.  This was brought to fruition at Christ’s first century generation parousia that closed the Mosaic OC age of “the law.”

Concluding 1 Corinthians 15          

After a careful examination of Paul’s modus tollens logical form of argumentation it becomes evident that the resurrection of the dead deniers were not denying Christ’s resurrection or those Christians that had died “in Christ” (the NC side of the cross).  They were in effect denying resurrection to a specific group – the OC dead, whom they assumed they had replaced or were not a part of the NC body of Christ as they were.

As we have seen the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 demonstrate that a AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and contemporary first century “we” expectation of the parousia and resurrection was realized and fulfilled in AD 70.

When we allowed Paul to interpret himself (using Romans 5-8) we came to a Scriptural understanding of “the body” that was in the process of concurrently dying and rising (present tense) and was “about to be” redeemed.  The corporate and covenantal context and transformation of 2 Corinthians 3-6 also helped us understand what kind of body the early church was “clothed” with (and continues to be clothed with) at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.

The examination of Paul’s OT texts (Isa. 25 & Hos. 13) to support His resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 were found to have nothing to do with a casket resurrection of individual biological corpses.  Rather, the cohesiveness and harmony for using those OT texts for Paul was to develop a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection.

When victory over the Mosaic OC “the law” came, then victory and resurrection over “the sin” and “the death” was realized.  Victory over the OC “the law” was realized when all of it’s promises were fulfilled and or it’s “heaven and earth” “soon” passed away at Christ’s imminent AD 70 “in a very little while” Second Coming which ended the last days of the OC age (Lk. 21:22-32; Mt. 5:17-18; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37).

“Orthodox” Partial Preterism is teaching that there was a spiritual, corporate covenantal resurrection for Israel and the church in AD 70 that resulted in souls being raised out from the realm of the dead into God’s presence at the parousia of Christ in AD 70 (per Dan. 12:1-7,13 and other texts).  As we have seen, THIS IS the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15!  Selah.

Isaiah 27:12-13 and Matthew 24:30-31

The trumpet signals many eschatological motifs all at once – the second exodus gathering at the mountain where in which the first God married Israel (Ex. 19-20 / Isa. 11), the end of the age harvest, the end of the age marriage, etc… With Isaiah 27:12-13 being one of the OT sources for Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:30-31, it evokes “Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse” (Isa. 24-28).  At the trumpet call Jesus is described as resting upon the holy mountain of Spiritual Jerusalem / Zion as a signal or banner in His glory cloud gathering His believing remnant and the Gentiles to Himself in His Kingdom in the resurrection at harvest time (to close the OC age).  The result of this is the resurrection event and “worship” in “spirit” that would take place at the coming “hour” of John 4-5.  This is when the marriage feast upon the mountain takes place and when death is swallowed up (cf. Isa. 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:52-55).   

Romans 8:18-23YLT/13:11-12 and Luke 21:27-28

As commentators are correct to connect the Second Coming and trumpet gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15, they are also correct to cross reference and understand the coming of Christ and the looking up for “redemption” in Luke 21:27-28 to be the consummative Second Coming event inseparably connected with the glorification and liberation of creation / “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23YLT and Romans 13:11-12.  Since I agree with these connections let me briefly address these passages and demonstrate how they too were fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70.

John Lightfoot associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet Earth— not even poetically.

. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.  (John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke).

When one combines some of the futurist observations in Genesis 1-2, we see the following:

  • Man was created a physical dying creature like all the plant and animal life around him.
  • The physics of the creation did not change after Adam
  • Genesis 1–2 uses the Hebrew word eretz, which should be translated as “land” or “ground” and not [planet] “earth.”
  • God’s emphases in the early chapters of Genesis are not scientific but theological, emphasizing the origins of sin in the heart and man’s need for the Seed of the woman to redeem him from Sin.

As the theological emphasis in Genesis 1–2 is on the local land of Eden, which is both theologically and geographically tied to Israel’s Promised Land, so too is the emphasis of the New Testament on a Great Commission preached to the nations of Israel and to the Roman Empire with a judgment that would affect the nations of that world.

Both the localized and covenantal judgment in Eden and the one in AD 70 affected and continue to affect all humankind. The introduction of spiritual death (condemnation and alienation from God within the heart and conscience of man through Adam) was overcome by Christ’s death, resurrection, and indwelling presence in AD 70. All men and nations of the world are either inside the new Israel and New Jerusalem or outside her gates — as the gospel continues to bring healing and judgment to the nations today and forever (cf. Rev. 21–22:17).

This is worth repeating – when we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when Full Preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed eschatology, anti-preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views.  Selah.

  1. “Look at the Fig Tree and All the Trees…”  “…So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” 

The Fig Tree and All the Trees

Some Dispensationalists such as Hal Lindsey have claimed that Israel is the fig tree here and her becoming a nation in 1948 was the beginning of her branch becoming tender and putting out its leaves – thus marking the “nearness” of summer – or the rapture.  They also connected this with the “this generation” of Matthew 24:34.  It was supposed to go something like this – a 40 year generation from the time Israel became a nation in 1948 places us at 1988, but one must minus 7 years for the rapture and this gives us 1981 for the time of the “soon” coming rapture.  Obviously nothing happened for several reasons.

  • Dispensationalists fail to look at Luke’s account which mentions not just the fig tree, but “all the trees” put forth their leaves with it.  So if 1948 is Israel becoming a nation (i.e. the fig tree bringing forth her leaves), then “all the trees” have to be all the Gentile nations and what exactly happened to them in 1948?!?
  • Per the OT law, Israel had to repent before she could be gathered back into the land. Obviously there was no repentance and acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah in 1948.  In Deuteronomy 4:25-31; 28 – 29; and Leviticus 26, God lays forth His covenant with Israel of blessings and cursings. If Israel obeyed God they would be blessed in the land and if they disobeyed, they would be “scattered” among the Nations. The condition for their re-gathering back into the land was repentance and faith. Even though this is clearly laid out in the texts above, Dispensational Premillennialists such as Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum assert (in order to defend their system that 1948 was a prophetic gathering), that Scripture actually addresses two re-gatherings of Israel in the land: 1) in un-belief, and 2) another re-gathering in belief.  Other Dispensationalists are embarrassed by this unsubstantial hermeneutic of the alleged 1948 prophetic re-gathering doctrine.
  • The vast majority of OT passages Dispensationalists try and use to support 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy have to do with Israel coming back into the land during the times of Nehemiah and Ezra in repentance and obedience.
  • Post AD 70, there is no OC for a national Israel in the literal land and therefore there is no literal national Israel or Jew today (Scripturally speaking).
  • Some Dispensationalists admit they are using “this generation” here in the OD in a way it is NEVER used in the gospels – admitting everywhere else it is used it means the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

Just for the sake of argument, if the fig tree is a veiled reference to Israel, then it is referring to OC Israel being transformed into the NC Israel or Jerusalem from above at Christ’s coming and the arrival of His Kingdom in AD 70.  Jesus taught that the Kingdom would be taken from OC Israel and given to a Nation (the Church the new and true Israel) and that She would bear the fruits of the Kingdom (Mt. 21:43-45).  Riches and resurrection life came to the Gentiles and the believing remnant of Jews in AD 70 with the kingdoms of this world becoming God’s at this time as well (Rms. 11; Rev. 11).

But in context, we should understand the parable of the fig tree to simply mean when you see it’s leaves becoming tender (this refers to the signs just mentioned coming to fruition), know that summer (Christ’s parousia and Kingdom) is near.

The Kingdom’s Arrival and “This Generation”

Jesus has already informed us that when the Kingdom would come at His return it would be spiritual or “within” the individual and not literally seen (Lk. 17:20-37).  Now He informs us that “all” – of the signs, the end, His coming, and the eschatological “not yet” of the Kingdom would be fulfilled within His audiences contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

Some Futurists have tried to avoid and twist Jesus’ teaching on “this generation” to mean the “Jewish race” would not cease to exist before all these things would be fulfilled.  Of course if Jesus wanted to communicate “Jewish race,” He would have used the Greek word genos but He didn’t!

Others have sought to make it a future generation.  In this view, the generation that is alive to see the signs fulfilled will live to witness the Second Coming.  First, Jesus didn’t say “that generation,” but “this (referring to His contemporaries) generation.”  And secondly, as I have demonstrated the “this” AD 30 – AD 70 generation did see all of the signs fulfilled.

Closer to the truth Collin Brown writes of “this generation” (Greek genea),

“In Matt. it has the sense of this generation, and according to the first evangelist, Jesus expected the end of this age (Time, art. aion) to occur in connection with the judgment on Jerusalem at the end of that first generation (see Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).” (Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).

And again,

“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.).” (Brown, Ibid., 38-39, bold emphasis mine).

Collin Brown is at least attempting to allow the Bible to interpret itself.  He also seems to be consenting that the “rapture” or resurrection passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 can been seen as fulfilled by the “historical event” of AD 70 using apocalyptic language just as Jesus uses in Matthew 24.  Partial Preterists have already consented that 2 Peter 3:10 and Revelation 6:12-17 should be interpreted this way.  And since Partial Preterists have also conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan) with souls being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life, this begs the question as to why 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is not referring to this spiritual resurrection for the dead in AD 70!

Unfortunately, Collin Brown was inconsistent in interpreting 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 elsewhere in his writings with a Preterist or using an OT apocalyptic/figurative “in history” (not at the end of history) hermeneutic.  I have provided the exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that demonstrates that Paul was not only following Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:30-31, but he is also using the same kind of apocalyptic (non-literal) language.

The NT follows Jesus’ teaching that the eschatological “not yet” of Christ’s Kingdom and Second Coming would be fulfilled imminently by AD 70:

  • “I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign/kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).
  • The Hebrews were in the process of receiving a spiritual Kingdom that could not be shaken (as the OC was subject to) at Christ’s Second Appearing to close the OC age in a “very little while” of which He would “not delay” (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:37; chapt. 12).
  • As in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Paul’s first century “we” expectation in 1 Corinthians 15 communicates a fulfillment of the parousia, Kingdom and resurrection in some of their lifetimes – i.e. in AD 70. This is when “the end” (of the OC age) would be fulfilled or when the “Kingdom” would arrive (1 Cor. 15:24).  The last enemy to be destroyed or conquered was “the death” (spiritual death/separation that came through Adam the day he sinned) (1 Cor. 15:26).  The result of the parousia (presence of God) and these promises is that “God may be all (when the Father Son, and Holy Spirit) in all” (fully in Jew and Gentile) (1 Cor. 15:28).
  • The first century Christians were heirs to the Kingdom that would no doubt fully come at Christ’s “at hand” AD 70 coming (Jms. 2:5; 5:7-9).
  • The eschatological “not yet” salvation of the soul, glory, inheritance and “entrance into the everlasting Kingdom” prophesied in the OT would be fulfilled in the days of Peter’s first century audience  – thus “the end of all things was at hand” (1 Pet. 1; 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 1:11).
  • In the book of Revelation, at the seventh and last trumpet (the same as Mt. 24:30-31) when the Great City/Sodom/Egypt or the harlot Babylon (OC Jerusalem where Jesus was slain 11:8) would be judged, is when the kingdoms of this world became the Kingdoms of the Lord.  This was all to take place “shortly” at Christ’s “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand” AD 70 coming (Rev. 1:1; chpts. 10-11; 22:6-20).
  1. Division Theories Considered and Refuted

Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away

So far we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the OC age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from the places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple system was destroyed in AD 70.  But what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away? Surely that is referring to the end of planet earth?  We should continue using a grammatical, historical and contextual hermeneutical approach and within the Christian church we find such.

Jesus is simply stating that although the “heaven and earth” of the OC system will pass away in His generation, His words (that is the words of the NC heaven and earth -implied), will “never pass away.”

Scholars that aren’t even Preterists such as G.K. Beale are admitting that the Jew understood his land or Temple to be a “heaven and earth,”

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.” (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). See also J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.

Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:

“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.” (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170).

Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the OC system and not the planet earth. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth have not passed away, then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the Mosaic OC law.

And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:

“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principle reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] [or Matthew 24:35] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).

Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar are correct to identify the passing of “heaven and earth” here with the passing of the heaven and earth in Revelation 21 with both being the OC system passing in AD 70.  Then DeMar and his assistant Joel McDurmon arbitrarily claim the de-creation of Revelation 20:11 is literal.  Unfortunately all brands of Futurism cannot let go of some kind of future literal land or New Creation fulfillment.  So perhaps we should turn our attention to briefly address this.

Old Covenant Israel and New Covenant Salvation – Israel’s Inheritance Promises:  Seed, Land, Jerusalem/Tabernacle New Creation.

In typological form Israel’s promises were fulfilled during the reign of Solomon.  God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation and make his descendants as numerous as “the dust of the earth” and as the stars of the heavens was fulfilled in the OT (Gen. 12:2; 13:16 = 2 Chron. 1:9; 1 Chron. 27:23; 1 Kings 4:11).  Even Israel’s land promises “from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” were fulfilled (Gen. 12:7; 22:17 = 1 Kings 4:20; Josh. 11:23; 21:41-45; Neh. 9:21-25).

Once we reach the NT we learn that Israel’s promises have their ultimate fulfillment not in the literal land or literal real-estate, but rather in the New Covenant or being “in Christ.”  Christ Himself and those united to Him through faith are blessed with Abraham and fulfill the seed promise (Gal. 3:9, 16, 18, 28-29).  We also learn that Abraham’s faith in the promise was rooted in a spiritual fulfillment of a heavenly land and city that were “about to” be received at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the OC age (cf. Heb. 9:26-28—10:37—11:10-16—13:14YLT).  Even Paul’s statement that believers would inherit “the world” (Rms. 4:13) is understood in context to mean believers (Jew and Gentile) in all nations (Rms. 4:11-12, 16-17).

The heavenly land and city (New Jerusalem) that Abraham looked to for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise (along with the prophets promise of a New Creation – Isaiah 65-66) was in the process of coming down in John’s day and “shortly” did at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 1:1, 3:12 NIV—chapters 21:1–22:20).  This is not a literal cubed city/tabernacle/MHP that will someday float down to earth, but rather the perfecting of the New Covenant people of God or New Covenant believers (the “Jerusalem from above” – Gals. 4).  The coming Tabernacle/Temple of Ezekiel 37, 40-48 is referring to the Body – the Church (Ezek. 37:27=2 Cor. 6:16).  Again, the New Creation is not physical real-estate, but rather New Covenant believers (Isa. 65:17 = 2 Cor. 5:17).

Literal land or global real-estate inheritance concepts coming from say Premillennialism and Postmillennialism are “heretical” and on par with unbelieving “Jewish dreams and myths” originating in a hyper-literal non-apostolic hermeneutic and we reject them as such.

The Jew understood his Temple and Land to be a “heaven and earth” with the light of Torah radiating from it, while the Gentiles were in utter darkness outside.  Once a Gentile converted to the teaching of Torah and believed in Jehovah he entered the land and was declared a “new creation.”  This gives the historical context on how Revelation ends the way it does.  The Church is the spiritual New Jerusalem / Most Holy Place dwelling of God and a New Heaven and Earth with the light of the Gospel radiating from her bidding the nations to enter her with open gates.

Post AD 70 Salvation in the New Heaven and Earth is Complete – No More Death, Tears or Pain.

Because “the death” that came through Adam is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.

God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.

Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).

As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”

Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).

Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.

It is noteworthy that Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison avoid any mention of Paul’s declaration that Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” (Rom. 16:20) in his work on Postmillennialism and in his chapter addressing the time texts in WSTTB. The reason for this is that the majority consensus among all brands of commentators is that the “crushing” of Satan in Romans 16:20 is a direct reference to the final “crushing” of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 20. Manifestly , the judgment and wrath that came in AD 70 was not merely “a” “minor” judgment. It was “the” judgment. It was the crushing of Satan.

Future eschatologies would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?

There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church (Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).

Our salvation and Christ’s Second Appearing/Coming as the Churches great High Priest are not events that take place at the end of time, but rather within time – namely at the end of the OC age in AD 70.  The seed of the woman has overcome the Sin, the Death, the Law and crushed Satan for His heavenly people – the Church/New Creation.  You may not feel perfect or like a city of jewels and gold, but that is how God views you through His Son’s finished redemption –  accomplished and applied for you through His sacrificial work on the cross and His Second Appearing as our Great High Priest to finish atonement.  Now go and preach this wonderful message beloved (Rev. 22:17)!

“Those Days” v. “That Day”

Some Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry argue that since Jesus uses the plural “days” in Matthew 24:1-34 this refers to the days leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and when Jesus uses “day” in Matthew 24:36ff this refers to another future event or literal Second Coming of Jesus to end world history.  But closer to the truth are those Partial Preterists such as John Lightfoot, John Gill, Adam Clarke and Gary DeMar whom take the “day and hour” of (Matt. 24:36) as Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem (as do Full Preterists).  Others that see the “Day and hour” along with the parables in Matthew 24 being fulfilled in AD 70 would be Keith A. Mathison and N.T. Wright.

In Luke 17 both “days” and “day” are used interchangeably together describing the same event:

a). “For the Son of Man in His DAY will be like the lightening,…” (vs. 24).

b). “…so also will it be in the DAYS of the Son of Man” (vs. 26).

c). “It will be just like this on the DAY the Son of Man is revealed” (vs. 30).

d). “On that DAY…” (vs. 31).

Again, Jesus uses “days” (plural) and “day” (singular) in referring to the judgments of Noah and the destruction of Sodom as an example of His Second Coming in the fall of Jerusalem.  This is no complicated, “days” (plural) are a description of the period leading up to the “day” (singular) of the judgment upon Jerusalem.

Comparing Matthew 24 with Luke 17 Demonstrates There Are Not Two Sections or Comings of Christ in the OD

The parallels between Matthew 24 and Luke 17 also demonstrate that an alleged two section theory with two different comings of Christ separated by thousands of years is simply desperate assertion made by some Partial Preterists.

According to the two-section theory of interpreting the Olivet Discourse, the coming of false christs and the revealing of the Son of Man as “in the days of Noah” are two events that will take place at the end of world history (in section two of the Olivet Discourse: Matt. 24:37–39). But this causes a problem. Luke relates the events of the Olivet Discourse in a slightly different order than Matthew, and he puts those two supposedly end-of-world-history events in between the coming of the Son of Man “as the lightning” (Lk. 17:24) and the fleeing of people from their housetops and fields (Lk. 17:31). But those events are in the alleged “first section” of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:17–19, 24). Luke thus has two “second section” events (allegedly in the end of world history) sandwiched between two “first-section” events that were fulfilled in the first century.

Luke was not aware of the theory of a “telescoped” Olivet Discourse.  We see this problem present itself again when Jesus prophesies that one would be taken and one would be left. According to the two-section theory, that event will take place at the end of world history (in section two of the Olivet Discourse: Matt. 24:40–41). But Luke puts that event in between the fleeing of people from their housetops and fields (Lk. 17:31) and the vultures gathering at the corpse (Lk. 17:37). But those events are in the alleged “first section” of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:17–18, 28) and were fulfilled in the first century. Thus Luke again has a “second section” event (allegedly in the end of world history) sandwiched between two “first-section” events that were fulfilled in the first century.

According to the two-section theory, Luke 17:23–37 reads like this:

Lk. 17:23–24 (false christs; Son of Man as lightning in His day) AD 70

Lk. 17:26–30 (the days of Son of Man as the days of Noah) End of world history

Lk. 17:31–33 (people fleeing from housetops and fields) AD 70

Lk. 17:34–36 (one taken, one left) End of world history

Lk. 17:37 (vultures gathered at the corpse) AD 70

The absurdity that results in exegetically “ping-ponging” through this text is most pronounced in the last four verses. In verses 34–36, Jesus supposedly tells His disciples that at the end of world history, some people will be “taken,” (some have mistakenly understood this to mean literally raptured into the clouds Lk. 17:34–36).  Then in verse 37, the disciples ask Him, “Where, Lord?” That is, “Where will those people be taken?” According to the two-section theory, Jesus answered His disciples’ question about the Rapture at the end of world history by telling them about the corpses of Jews becoming the food of vultures in AD 70.

Two Comings?

As Partial Preterist Gary DeMar correctly points out,

“Similarly, 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.”

In Mark and Luke’s account of the OD there is only one mention of the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds.  If Jesus taught that there were two different comings separated by thousands of years, then Mark and Luke sure forgot to add this crucial information.  But as we saw on the “end of the age,” Matthew adds various things that are not in the other accounts due to his Jewish audience.  So if Matthew wants to add more references to the coming of the Son of Man and add more parables than Mark and Luke other he may.  But this doesn’t justify that Matthew has two different time periods or has Jesus discussing two different comings of the Son of Man separated by thousands of years in mind.  Gentry’s form of Partial Preterism in the OD is exegetically weak and hermeneutically inconsistent.

Signs v. No Signs

Some Partial Preterists such as Kennth Gentry try and reason that since there are specific signs that are mentioned before verse 34 and there are none mentioned after this verse, that this somehow proves there are two sections with two different comings of Christ involved. Hmm. But a more common sense approach might be that Jesus has finished answering the disciple’s questions as far as what specific signs to look for and not to look for in indicating His imminent return and is now going to give some further teaching and exhortations on being ready and watchful for these events! But doesn’t the fact Jesus exhorts the disciples after verse 34 to “watch,” “pray,” and “be ready” have some connection with being discerning of the signs He had just mentioned? Jesus has just finished answering the disciples question regarding the signs of His return and is now going to illustrate through the use of various parables the necessity of being ready and watching for the same events the disciples asked about and that He had just answered in verses 4-34. This is not difficult folks.

“This Generation” v. “A Long Time”

Again, some Partial Preterists such as Gentry argue that since before verse 34, there is a short time frame of forty years and yet after verse 34 the time frame is long (Mt. 24:48; 25:5, 19).  For Gentry this is evidence to support his two comings theory separated by thousands of years.

To be thorough, I will also cover Luke 19 since many appeal to this text as well. In Luke 19:11 many having listened to John the Baptist and Jesus’ declarations of the “kingdom being at hand” thought they were teaching the kingdom would come “immediately” or “at once” (Greek eggus). In response to that “immediate” mindset, Jesus gives the parable of the “Ten Minas” where He describes Himself as one going away into a far country to receive the rights to be King over Israel and then traveling back, as going into a “distant country” or taking a long journey (Lk. 19:12ff.). Jesus’ listeners would not gather from Jesus’ parable of the man going to a “distant country” as taking thousands of years! Jesus also understood that many false prophets would arise making premature statements that the kingdom was again “immediately” (Greek eutheos) going to appear when in fact it was not (Lk. 21:19). Jesus’ teaching of His coming and kingdom arriving in “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32) was some 40 years removed from the false concept that He was teaching an “immediate” arrival or that general wars and earthquakes marked the nearness of His parousia and kingdom. There were certain signs and events that needed to transpire first such as the great commission throughout the Jewish and Roman world and the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem.

Now let’s look at the first “long time” text in Matthew 24. The first appeal is to the wicked servant who interprets His master being gone as a “long time” and beats his fellow servants and drinks with other drunkards Matthew 24:48-49.  Obviously the servant was punished within his own lifetime so where is this delay of Christ for thousands of years taught here?!?

Another appeal of some Partial Preterists for a 2,000+ years “delay” of Christ’s return is found in Jesus’ teaching of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:5 where He says, “the bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” Jesus’ first century audience were aware of the Jewish wedding scene of a man being betrothed to a woman up to a year while he prepared a home for them. He could come at any time to “snatch” (1Thess. 4:17) her from her life and existence under her father to himself. Because of this she needed to be excited and ready not sluggish and doubtful of his love. The foolish virgins considered this a “long time” and were not ready and fell asleep. Because they viewed this as taking too long and were “foolish,” they did not make preparations of buying oil for His surprise arrival. No one listening to Jesus’ words here would consider this parable as teaching a 2,000 + years “long time” as some Partial Preterists have interpreted it to mean. They would interpret “long time” in the context of a person’s lifetime along with the other parables and consistent with Jesus’ 30 – 40 year “this generation” teaching and time frame.

The last reference is to the parable of the talents in Mattthew 25:19. Again all the points I made above apply here as well. The servant was not “alert” but “lazy” and “worthless”! What he had was given to the faithful servants in verses 28-29 as the kingdom would be taken from the faithless apostates and given to the Church – the true Israel/Nation of God (cf. Mt. 21:33-45).

It’s not exactly accurate for some Partial Preterists to assume that 40 years is a “short time.” Relatively speaking in the world and Israel waiting thousands of years for salvation of the Messiah – this could be true. But if one is 20-30 years old or older during the time Jesus utters His “this generation” statement, 40 years is making one nearing the end of his life 60 – 70 or older. Therefore, viewing it from Israel’s redemptive history, fulfillment within 40 years could easily be considered “at hand,” but in the context of a person’s lifetime, 40 years was enough time to be tempted to think it may not occur (as we see Peter having to deal with in regards to the “mockers” and false teachers in His letters).

Gary DeMar responds to other Partial Preterists who assume “long time” means thousands of years to justify two different comings in Matthew 24,

“In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:27; 23:8; John 5:6; Acts 8:11; 14:3, 28; 26:5, 29; 27:21; 28:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations.” (Gary DeMar, LAST DAYS MADNESS, Obsession of the Modern Church, Fourth Revised Edition, 199).

  1. The OD and the Analogy of Faith

Having spent some time critiquing and refuting the Partial Preterist division theories of Kenneth Gentry by using the exegesis of another Partial Preterist (Gary DeMar), I will turn some attention to Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison, and those Partial Preterists that see the coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 as being fulfilled in AD 70 – yet still claim the NT speaks of a future Second Coming.

Not only does DeMar believe the coming of Christ in both Matthew 24 and 25 took place in AD 70, but he affirms that “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation.” Apart of DeMar’s “exegetical” work is to compare and parallel Matthew 24 with the rest of the NT and find AD 70 fulfillments where Amillennialists and Dispensationalists don’t.  However, DeMar’s hermeneutic and exegetical method is more than arbitrary and inconsistent.  For example, DeMar won’t parallel Matthew 24-25 with Revelation 20:

Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 20:5-15

  • Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3; Matt. 25:31-46) = Revelation 20:5-15
  • De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matthew 24:29, 35 = Revelation20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
  • Christ on throne to judge / God on throne to judge Matthew 25:31 = Rev. 20:11
  • Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matthew 25:41-46 = Revelation 20:10, 14-15

Gary DeMar publishes James Jordan whom claims Daniel himself was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2, 13 and Revelation 20.  The Partial Preterists are also on record for saying things such as, “The Apostle John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off.”  So here is something that DeMar needs to address as well:

Daniel 12:1-2 and Revelation 20:5-15

  • Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation / lake of fire Daniel 12:1-4 = Revelation 20:12-15
  • This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Daniel 12:1-2 = Revelation 20:5-15

The Millennium of Revelation 20

Imminence

 Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT). Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.

Thousand Years

As G.K. Beale has said, the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands or millions of years).  Therefore, a thousand years millennium can be a symbolic depiction of relatively short period of time – forty years.

Rabbinic Typology of a Forty Years Millennium

It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/ world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land. This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT). And as we have noted from Reformed partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).

Harmonizing Orthodox Views

Reformed partial preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation. And amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22. Full preterists hold to both of these Reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation.

In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, amillennialists and many postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25. But it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the OC age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.

The analogy of faith and these parallels demonstrate DeMar’s view that we are still in the millennium and that the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead is still unfulfilled (while believing that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70) is creedally arbitrary and exegetically dishonest!  Daniel is told to seal up the content of this prophecy because the time of fulfillment was “far off” and John the opposite – don’t seal up the content of this prophecy because the time of fulfillment was “at hand.”  There is no exegetical evidence whatsoever that Revelation 20 is future while chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled by AD 70 – per Partial Preterism and Gary DeMar.  Partial Preterists such as Gentry, DeMar and Mathison want to teach Revelation 1-19, 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70 because of the imminent time texts and the recapitulation structure of the book, but then arbitrarily claim the time texts and recapitulation don’t and can’t be applied to Revelation 20!  Since there is NO exegetical support for the Partial Preterist view on Revelation 20, one has to wonder if they are afraid of losing creedal financial support or attacks from men such as Gary North?  If DeMar or Gentry are declared “unorthodox,” they knows their influence will be zip within those circles and Gentry’s contracts with IVP and P&R would be canceled.

Oddly Gary claims Postmillennial Partial Preterism is winning the eschatological battle.  Apparently it did not win the eschatological debate for Luther, Calvin and the WCF which have taught the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 is indeed the Second Coming (as Full Preterism teaches).  And what about today?  Mathison and DeMar didn’t win the battle over Matthew 24-25 in the Reformation Study Bible, which is in perfect harmony with Full Preterism in interpreting the parallel’s in Matthew 24:30-31 as being the same eschatological event with the following passages:

“But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31, as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14–17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.” (1716).

If DeMar’s Postmillennial Partial Preterism is winning the eschatological debate today, then why has he continued to duck debating Full Preterism for over 25 years?!?  Selah.  Isn’t it because we all know his Partial “Preterism” serves as nothing more than a stepping stone to Full or REAL Preterism, in the same way four point “Calvinism” inevitably leads to five point or REAL Calvinsim?

Conclusion

I have demonstrated how the Classic Amillennial, Historic Premillennial and Partial Preterist Postmillennial views of the OD have actually formed the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view of the OD and NT prophecy in general.  This has resulted in a contextual and consistent exegesis of our Lord’s teaching.  Without the SGFP view present to “bridge the gap” between these views, the Church will continue deadlocked in hopeless contradiction and will continue telling everyone how “difficult” the OD (and NT prophecy) is – when in fact it isn’t.  Please do share this article with your Pastor and friends.  Also write to the authors of When Shall These Things Be?… and ask them why they have not been able to answer or refute our book response to them, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…?”  Thank you.

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