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My Full Preterist Response to John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” (Cessationist) v. Michael Brown’s “Authentic Fire” (Charismatic) Part 3 – Argument #1 An Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12


Just a reminder — I will be debating Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 Nov. 15th., 2017 at Calvary Chapel Charlotte, NC at 6:30.

Resolved (Michael J. Sullivan):  The Bible teaches that the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, (and the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12) would “cease” when “that which is perfect” comes. This was fulfilled in AD 70 at the “soon” Second Coming of the Lord.

Resolved (Dr. Michael Brown):  The Bible teaches that the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, (and the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12) are to “cease” when “that which is perfect” comes.  This is referring to the Second Coming of Jesus which has not yet come to pass.

In part 2 of this series responding to Cessationist Pastor John MacArthur (author of Strange Fire) and Charismatic Michael Brown (author of Authentic Fire) we looked at the various views of “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) giving special attention to the errors MacArthur makes on the passage due to his commitment to a false religious system – i.e. Futuristic Premillennial Pre-Trib. Dispensationalism.  At this point I want to begin addressing Brown’s Charismatic arguments (that used to be mine that I gave Pastor MacArthur and the faculty at The Master’s College as a student).  Although we have spent sometime on 1 Corinthians 13:10 and examining the various views, it is now time to give a more positive exegesis of the passage which will demonstrate that Dr. Brown and the modern Charismatic movement are in serious doctrinal error.

Harmonizing the Eschatological Views of “That Which is Perfect”

The debate hinges on the meaning of “that which is perfect.”  There have been many views proposed within the eschatological framework which I believe do not fall under an “either or” scenario but rather an “all of the above are true” one.  The ones that fall within the eschatological framework that are all correct:

  • That which is perfect is the coming to full maturity of the corporate New Covenant Body/Man from being dependent and connected with or upon the OC Body of Judaism — and this was reached by AD 70 (parallels between Ephesians and 1 Corinthians are made – I would add parallels between seeing the covenant context and seeing God through a mirror in 2 Cor. 3-4 and 1 Cor. 13:8-12 should have also been stressed and developed within this view).
  • That which is perfect is the arrival of the New Creation which brings the face to face restoration of God’s presence to His people (1 Cor. 13:10-12=Rev. 22:4-7).
  • That which is perfect is the arrival of the New Covenant Bride/Temple of Christ in the eschatological marriage union (Rev. 19; 21–22:4-7, 20).
  • That which is perfect is the Second Coming of Jesus as Paul has earlier discussed in the letter (1 Cor. 1:4-8=1 Cor. 13:10-12=Rev. 22:4-7).

I will be arguing “the perfect” thing is the “soon” Second Coming of Jesus which closed the OC age in AD 70 and is therefore the event which brought all the others (see above) into their realization or fulfillment in the coming NC age.

My approach here is similar to my approach in bridging the gap in the debate over eschatology in general.  You have those that teach the coming of Jesus in Matthew 24 and throughout the book of Revelation was fulfilled spiritually in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and thus “soon” and “shortly” fulfilled in AD 70 (as that generation was ending), while others argue that the coming of the Son of Man in those texts is referring to His ONE Second Coming event.  BOTH views are accurate and form the Biblical or Full Preterist view.

Puzzle meme

“That Which is Perfect” is Not the Completing of the NT Cannon

The completion of the NT Cannon view maybe popular today in some Cessationist circles, but the historical truth is that it is new and more importantly exegetically wrong.  Even though the NT Cannon was written prior to AD 70 (even liberals are changing their views on this and agreeing with us and other conservatives at this point), it is not the completion of the writing process that is in view, but rather the fulfillment of that revelation or prophetic material — “seal up vision and prophecy/prophet” or fulfilling “all” OT prophecy which brings about “everlasting righteousness” or the New Creation / “world of righteousness” whereby we see God’s face clearly (cf. Dan. 9:24/Lk. 21:20-22; Isa. 65-66/2 Pet. 3/Rev. 21-22).

My View – The Covenantal Transition Position 

We have often heard the phrase, “The OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed.”  Let’s expand upon this briefly.  The NT isn’t coming up with new eschatological material that wasn’t in the OT.  Jesus said He came to fulfilled all the law and the prophets and Paul taught no other things except that which could be found in the law and prophets.  Roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 the OC age and NC age overlapped.  Per Jesus, Paul and the writer to the Hebrews — the OC age was “passing away” and was “ready to vanish” while the NC age was “about to” fully break in at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the last days of the OC age.

In short, the temporary revelatory and sign gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge were revealing when (their generation and literally “near” and “soon” as it was ending) and how (spiritually) the promises of Messiah’s salvation and the Church (the Jew/Gentile “mystery” – the OT concealed but the NT was revealing through the Charismata) would be fulfilled and fully revealed at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming to close the OC age and bring the NC age to maturity in AD 70.   Peter addresses this concept in 1 and 2 Peter.  In chapter 1 he tells us the “when” of the OT inheritance and salvation promises would be fulfilled – they were “ready” to be revealed and the “end of all things was at hand” for the first century Church.  He also tells us “what manner” or how they would be fulfilled – that is spiritually “the salvation of the soul” and that God was building up a spiritual Nation, Temple, Priesthood etc…

Since these gifts served to show us when and how Christ and the Church fulfilled the OT promises, AND Christ fulfilled “all” OT/OC prophecy by the end of His AD 30 – AD 70 generation (Lk. 21:20-22), then their function/purpose has “ceased” and “passed away” along with the OC age.

Charismatic Dr. Brown’s Bizarre Attempts to Bring Unity v. My Approach

I found it bizarre that Dr. Brown is trying to reconcile non-charismatics with charismatics by discussing “left brain” and “right brain” differences.  He claims that Charismatics are more emotional and gullible (his word) and yet more willing to trust God for the miraculous, while non-charismatics are more logical and doctrinally oriented but allegedly more prone to explain miracles away and not open to trust God for the miraculous.

This of course is NO solution to the differences and doesn’t even remotely touch the problem.  The problem is eschatological — with the common faulty premise for both being that the Second Coming was not fulfilled as and when Jesus and the NT authors teach it would.

While the non-charismatic group is correct in their conclusion that the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts have ceased and are not present today, their faulty premise and view that the Second Coming is still future undermines their conclusion.  The charismatics are correct in their assertion that the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts last through the last days and until Christ comes and brings us that “face to face” relationship (cf. Rev. 22:4), but they fail to see this seeing of God’s face would take place at Christ’s AD 70 “soon” coming (Rev. 22:4-7).

Reformed Partial Preterists are correct that the Church is now seeing God’s face spiritually in the new creation because Christ came “soon” (Rev. 22:4-7), but error in that this wasn’t His actual Second Coming event.  The other error is that they don’t connect the Revelation 22:4-7 as being parallel with 1 Corinthians 13:12 with both being fulfilled in AD 70 to close the OC age.

So in order to be true peacemakers, we must educate and harmonize these views exegetically and historically:

Premise #1:  If it is true and orthodox to believe the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts last throughout the last days and until the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation with 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 and Revelation 22:4-7 being parallel eschatological events (Charismatics and Full Preterists agree to this common sense analogy of faith interpretation).

Premise #2:  And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that we don’t see the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts being practiced today even remotely close to how they were during the NT times — we just see people speaking gibberish, flopping on the floor (learned behavior), and those that alleged have the “gift” of healing ” avoiding people such as Joni Erickson Tada who are paralyzed etc… (Cessationist and Full Preterists agree to this common sense reality).

Premise #3:  And if it is also true and orthodox to believe the last days ended the OC age and the church is currently in the New Heavens and New Earth spiritually seeing God’s face because Jesus came “soon” in AD 70 per Revelation 22:4-7 (Partial Preterists [such as R.C. Sproul who spoke at the Strange Fire Conference] agree with Full Preterists on the common sense interpretation concerning taking NT imminence literally and apocalyptic language non-literally).  The problem with R.C. Sproul’s Partial Preterism and the corporate body/maturity of the Church views by AD 70, are that they give double or multiple fulfillments of the Church’s maturity or the New Creation arriving (one in AD 70 and another at the end of time) when the NT only see’s ONE consummation – to take place at the “end of the age” at Christ’s ONE Second Coming.  This is very close to the truth, but because of creedal commitments (compromise and the fear of man), these positions cannot bring the healing and peace needed in this debate.

Premise #4:  And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation is Jesus’ one and actual Second Coming event and there is only one arrival of the New Creation not two (Amillennialists, Premillennialists and Full Preterists agree on this common sense approach to NT eschatology and the book of Revelation).

Conclusion:  Therefore, it is also true and orthodox to believe the common sense position that last days ended the OC age and Christ’s ONE Second Coming event described throughout the book of Revelation was fulfilled “soon” in AD 70 (Rev. 22:4-7).  This event ushered in the New Heavens and New Earth whereby the Church sees God’s face spiritually (without the veil of the OC age of law still being in the process of fading or being fulfilled – for that “heaven and earth” “passed” and “fled away”) when the NC age was “about to” come and did in AD 70.  The sign and revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge helped the early church mature from OC Judaism and now stands mature and complete from that system.   There is no need to return to the “childish” state of the church let alone pretend that the gibberish spoken in Charismatic churches are a “miracle” or a continuance of what really was a miracle in Acts 2 (Full Preterism).

1 Cor. 13 meme

The Church has traditionally seen this debate formed in such a way as giving only two options – option “A” or “B” (see above).  But the truth is that there is a third option that is not an “either or” situation, but rather a third or “both and” option — “C” which in essence says, “BOTH ‘A’ and ‘B’ above are true.”  It’s time to bring healing with exegesis and bringing together historical views of the church on these texts — not by discussing alleged right brain and left brain nonsense – or creating “tunnels of fire” and shouting “fire, fire, fire” and watching people fall down due to manipulation and learned behavior.  That’s not a “revival” that ANY Christian is called to be engaged in Mr. Brown!        

ARGUMENT #1 1 Corinthians 13:8-12

By far the most appealed to text by Charismatics to support that tongues and prophecy continue today is 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.  It is argued that since “that which is perfect” (the Second Coming & New Creation) has not arrived, then these gifts have not “ceased” yet.

While part of the argument is valid, it neglects to connect with it the exegetical fact that the NT places Jesus’ Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation to be a truly imminent event in the first century which closed the OC age in AD 70.

Let’s examine the context in which 1 Corinthians 13 rests, and then give a rigorous and positive exegesis of the passage that settles this debate once and for all.

 1).  1 Corinthians 1:5-8

“that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Corinthians were “eagerly expecting” Christ to come and “the end” (of the OC age) to take place in their lifetimes because that is what Jesus taught (as I covered in part 1 of this series – Matt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:34).

Christ through the Holy Spirit and the miraculous gifts were confirming the Corinthians until Jesus would be revealed and the end of the OC age arrived in AD 70.  If Christ’s coming and “the end” have not arrived, then this “confirming” the Church with the gifts continues.

The Corinthians would be “blameless” or “spotless” at Christ’s coming which brings with it the eschatological marriage and resurrection motifs (cf. Isa. 25:6-7).  Jesus taught that the eschatological wedding or wedding feast of Isaiah 25:6-9 would be fulfilled in AD 70 when the sons of the OC kingdom would be “cast out” and when God would send the Roman armies to burn the city between AD 66-AD 70 (Mt. 8:10-12; 22:2-7).  Since Reformed theology has conceded to Full Preterism and their Futurist opponents, that these passages were fulfilled in AD 70 and that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 and throughout the book of Revelation (along with the resurrection of Dan. 12:2) was fulfilled in AD 70, then the marriage, judgment and resurrection of the dead as described for us in Matthew 24:31; 25:1-13, 31-46; Revelation 19-21 was fulfilled in AD 70.  Reformed theology also teaches us that the NT does not teach that there are TWO eschatological marriages and TWO judgments and resurrections of the dead.  These two Reformed positions lead us to Full Preterism.

There are connections with this passage and 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.  Both involve the gifts lasting until the Second Coming arrives.  And both carry with them the marriage motif.  The Church would be “blameless” or “spotless” when Christ (the Groom) comes or when the Groom would “know” and consummate His relationship with His bride “face to face” (1 Cor. 13:10-12 – see comments by Holland later in the article).

During Jewish betrothal and weddings, the groom would give a “gift” or “gifts” to the bride and her family as a confirmation and pledge of his love and promise that he would return for her.  The Holy Spirit and the charismata functioned as this gift during the transition period.  The bride was also baptized symbolizing a transition period of status (usually one year) — from a daughter to becoming a wife.  These confirmatory betrothal / miraculous “gifts” of the Holy Spirit and call to covenant rituals (which pictured the process of being saved and raised between AD 30 – AD 70) were transitional and temporal.

Michael Brown – In Brown’s debate with James White and Sam Waldron, this was the first passage he opened with in connecting the passage with 1 Corinthians 13:10-12.  James White literally never addressed these passages and Waldron attempted some explanation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (which made no sense) while avoiding it’s connection to 1 Corinthians 1:5-8.

John MacArthur (like Jame White and Sam Waldron) – willfully ignores that the passages is teaching that the charismata, gifts, and confirming process extends until Christ is revealed from heaven in His Second Coming event — which the NT affirms over and over again as being fulfilled in the “near” the first century generation (not ours).  And yet at the same time MacArthur should know that “Reformed” theology does allow for the interpretation that the coming of Christ here in 1 Corinthians 1:5-8 was fulfilled in AD 70?  Obviously this is a more exegetical approach than what Pastor MacArthur has offered on this text up to this point.

2).  I Corinthians 2:9

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things (of the NC New Creation) God has prepared for those who love him.”

Not all agree, but many exegetes point out that Paul combines Isa. 64:4 with the New Creation of Isa. 65:17 in this OT echo.   Paul in verses 10-14 teaches that the natural man could not accept these NC or New Creation “things” that were being revealed by the Spirit – because these were “spiritual truths.”  The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit – the new birth or God’s people becoming a spiritual “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17/Isa. 65).

If the New Creation of Isaiah 65 is in Paul’s mind here, then we have a connection with the “face to face” and “soon” coming of Christ described for us in 1 Corinthians 13:12/Revelation 22:4-7.

 3).  1 Corinthians 3:22 YLT

 So then, let no one glory in men, for all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things about to be — all are yours,”

Some commentators correctly claim the “things” (in context) that were coming in the future for the Corinthians would be the blessings of the New Creation.  If so, again, Paul is instructing the Corinthians that they were “about to” receive the New Creation and this would result in the seeing of God’s face in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12.

4)  1 Corinthians 6:20

“You were bought at a price.”

Tom Holland points out that Paul’s statement here coupled with Jesus declaring that the giving of His life will be a “ransom for many” (cf. Mark 10:45) is marital and new exodus language.  This wife and dowry purchase and not slave purchase are in view here.  And the only OT reference to giving a life for another centered around the Levites substituting the firstborn life of a lamb for Israel following the Passover.  God’s betrothal/marriage process to Israel was understood to have begun during this time.

The Son has given the dowry price for His NC bride through His blood, and has given the earnest of the betrothal gifts to the early church as a confirmatory seal of His “soon” coming to consummate the marriage.  On the timing of the marriage see my comments on 1 Cor. 1:5-8.

 5).  1 Corinthians 7:26-27, 29-31

“I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress (that Jesus predicted would come in their generation – Luke 21:12-17, 23)––that it is good for a man to remain as he is:  Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.”  “But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world (OC world) is passing away.”

With the Jewish and Roman persecutions coming (the eschatological birth pains & persecution coming before the parousia), it was not a good time to get married and start a family.

Partial Preterist exegesis that informs us the “world” that was in the process of “passing away” was the OC world (giving way to the NC world) and that this event would would be fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70, helps us with what is coming in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12.  This is the arrival of the NC world that would “shortly” come whereby the Church would see God’s face (spiritually) in the NC age/world.  The imminent time statements here and in our next passage easily flow into 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.

6).  1 Corinthians 10:11

 “Now all these things happened to them as examples (or “types” DARBY), and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

The NCV translates, “…They were written down to teach us, because we live in a time when all these things of the past have reached their goal.”

The NLT, “…They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”

And although the Greek word mello is not in the text, the GNT has the right idea as far as imminence is concerned, “…For we live at a time when the end is about to come.”

Some connect Paul’s statement that love “never falls/fails [piptei]” (1 Cor. 13:8) within an eschatological or marital context and connect it with an exhortation to not “fall” in (1 Cor. 10:11–12).  To “fall” or “fail” here has to do with the OC bride falling into spiritual harlotry and unfaithfulness to God as her Groom by worshiping the golden calf etc…  However, unlike Moses and OC Israel, Jesus and the Church remained faithful, spotless and blameless.

This passage is also important in understanding the seeing of God’s face more clearly (1 Cor. 13:10-12).  Some Rabbis believed that in their “this age” (the OC age – of darkness and evil) they saw God in a mirror dimly like the prophets had, but when the “age to come” (the NC or Messianic age – of light and righteousness) came, they would be more like Moses who saw God’s face/glory/image in a clearer “polished” mirror than what the other prophets had access to.  In the NC age, “All” (Isa. 40:5) of them would see the glory/image of God much clearer than the OC age they were currently in.

There is an obvious connection here with 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, in that Paul was teaching the promises contained in the OT (that would include the Second Coming, end of the age, arrival of the NC age, the New Creation, the redemption of Israel and seeing God’s glory “eye to eye” and thus the consummation of the “mystery” or Jew/Gentile maturity) would reach their end and or the goal — within the lifetimes of the Corinthians.

Michael Brown – It is bizarre to find Brown citing 1 Corinthians 10:11 as alleged evidence that WE (Christians 2000 years removed from Paul and the Corinthians) are still in the last days awaiting the end of the age and therefore the gifts continue.  He writes,

“Could anything be clearer? Were the apostles mistaken in what they wrote?”[1]

Of course it is on the basis that Paul couldn’t have been “mistaken” (being under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – being “led into all truth”), that Brown’s view is completely refuted and negated!  Paul was teaching that the “eschaton” and end of the OC age would be fulfilled within the lifetimes of his first century audience!  And therefore, it couldn’t be any clearer that the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts ceased at that time.

7).  1 Corinthians 14:21-22:

In the Law it is written, “BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME,” says the Lord.  So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.

John MacArthur – Of this passage MacArthur writes,

“When the apostles spoke at Pentecost and were heard in their own language by Jews from many countries (Acts 2:7-11), those Jews should have known that God’s judgment was imminent.  His judgment had fallen on rebellious Israel [through the Assyrians] and then on rebellious Judah [through the Babylonians].  How much more would it fall on those of His people who now had crucified the Son of God?  In AD 70 that great judgment fell, when Jerusalem was utterly destroyed by the Roman general Titus.  “…After the destruction of Jerusalem, and especially of the Temple, the reason for tongues ceased to exist.  The judgment of which it was a sign had come.  After the Pentecost manifestation of tongues, Peter, by implication, reminded his hearers of that judgment:  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36; vv. 22-23).”[2]

What MacArthur fails to discuss is that when God came on the clouds in judgment upon Israel and Judah through the Assyrians and Babylonians, He used apocalyptic and symbolic language.  So why isn’t the coming of Christ and the language in Acts 2:20-23, 40 also apocalyptic and cannot be separated from Peter’s exhortations for them to be saved from their “corrupt generation” that crucified Christ?!?  Peter is quoting from Israel’s last days “perverse and crooked generation” of Deuteronomy 31-32:5, 20.  Here in the Song of Moses, Moses taught Israel’s national and OC “end” (not the end to the material universe) would be “near” when that generation arrived.  Peter not only informs HIS generation that they are THAT GENERATION, but under inspiration he follows Moses teaching and says “the end of all things is NEAR” (1 Pet. 4:5-7).  Peter is informing them that the Second Coming according to Joel’s prophecy and the time for “THE judgment” was “NEAR” in THEIR “perverse and crooked generation.”  So MacArthur isn’t exegetical and he doesn’t go far enough to help the Charismatic in connecting the coming judgment of 1 Corinthians 14 and Acts 2:20-40 with AD 70.

If Paul and the Corinthians were expecting an imminent judgment of God in AD 70, then why doesn’t the imminence in 1 Corinthians point to that event?

The contextual connection between 1 Corinthians 13-14 should be obvious.  Per MacArthur, if Paul is placing the judgment event of AD 70 to be the point at which tongues “ceased,” then AD 70 should also be seen in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 in relation to prophecy and knowledge ceasing or passing with the same event!  MacArthur has no sound exegetical or contextual case in separating the ceasing of tongues in AD 70, and then re-defining the miraculous nature of prophecy and knowledge claiming they pass away at a future point (the arrival of the New Creation).

8).  1 Corinthians 15:

“We” – Paul has a first century expectation (not a 2,000+ years and counting) of Christ’s parousia in view (cf. 1 Cor. 15:23, 51).  Why?  It’s not difficult since Christ taught His parousia would take place in that contemporary generation (Matt. 24:27-34).

The end will come” 1 Cor. 15:24 – Commentators are correct to understand this to be “the end” in connection with the resurrection of Daniel 12 and the “end of the age” in Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 13 & 24.  And yet at the same time it is “orthodox” and “reformed” to believe “the end” and resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70!  The Full Preterist view harmonizes these two competing and yet common sense orthodox views into one.

R.C. Sproul was not correct in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus  to portray Partial Preterism as not teaching the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (or any resurrection) was fulfilled in AD 70.  James Jordan, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry (among others) do teach this resurrection was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70.  This admission along with other Reformed admissions that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 15 are one and the same resurrection and only has ONE fulfillment — form the Full Preterist view.

The Present Passive Indicatives:  Gordon Fee in his commentary on 1 Corinthians puzzles over the grammar and tense Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15:

“The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling…” “The sentence literally reads, “The last enemy is being destroyed.”[3]

And yet the Greek and grammar being in the present passive indicatives could give these verses the following meaning as well:

“if the dead are not rising” (vss. 16, 29, 32), “But God is giving it a body,” (vs. 38) and, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is being sown in corruption; it is being raised in incorruption:  It is being sown in dishonour; it is being raised in glory: it is being sown in weakness; it is being raised in power:  It is being sown a natural body; it is being raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (vss. 42-44).

This doesn’t sound like Paul has a biological resurrection at the end of world history in view.  But since Reformed Partial Preterists believe there was a spiritual, progressive, covenantal resurrection taking place between AD 30 – AD 70 – they might want to begin surrendering 1 Corinthians 15 to us as well as they have Daniel 12:2-3?

The connection between 1 Corinthians 13 & 15 is that both passages are describing an “already—becoming—not yet” eschatological process.  Just as the Corinthians were in the process of “seeing” God’s face through a mirror (spiritually), they were also in the process of “rising” and being changed and transformed into His image (again a spiritual and non-biological fulfillment).

“Let us bear the image…”  Also, in 1 Corinthians 15:49 a reliable variant reading says, “let us bear the image of the heavenly man” (special thanks to Don Preston for this insight).  Along with the present tense of the living being saved, death being abolished, them being in the process of rising, and them actively being apart of bearing the image of Christ does not fit a physical or biological transformation or resurrection event.  Was Lazarus somehow active in his physical resurrection?!?   The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of Daniel 12.  Partial Preterists have admitted this was a progressive resurrection between AD 30 – AD 70 in which individuals were actively participating through their faith.  The “hour” and rising out of sleep in Romans 13:11-12 is also a reference to the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and has to do with ones faith.

Bearing the image of the heavenly man may also be a marital term.  The Jews believed Adam was created in God’s image and Eve in the image of her husband Adam.  The betrothed church was in the process of being created/changed/transformed into the heavenly image of Christ/God.  Adam was a “type” or pattern of Christ who was “about to come” with His “day” being “at hand” (Rms. 5:14 – Greek mello; 13:11-12).  At this time, as the Groom He would consummate His relationship with His bride/wife.  At that point (i.e. AD 70), the Church was transformed into Her Husband’s/God’s image and exercises dominion over the nations through the everlasting gospel.

The concept of being “clothed” may also carry with it a marital or wedding theme in putting on a wedding garment (cf. 1 Cor. 15:53-54).  While not addressing the marital aspect of being clothed (as possibly being Israel putting on her wedding garments Isa. 52:1), Daniel Rodgers does a good job of discussing how Paul’s terms of the perishable being clothed with imperishable and moral with immortality (along with Paul’s other phrases) as having nothing to do with a physical transformation of corpses or a biological transformation of the living.

Fulfilling “THE (OC) Law” and the Marriage Feast:  Paul quotes Isaiah 25:6-9 in 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 as the fulfillment of “THE (OC) Law” which in context is the marriage feast as well.  Most commentators believe the OC law was fulfilled at the cross and don’t fully understand why and how the resurrection is the fulfillment of “THE (Mosaic) Law.”

Paul’s Terminology Does not Necessitate a Biological Change for the Living or Resurrection of the Dead.  Daniel Rodgers offers great insight into Paul’s terminology,

“Corruption v Incorruption

Corruption (φθορά – G5356): Romans 8:21; Galatians 6:8; Colossians 2:22; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:12, 19

Incorruption (φθορά – G861): Romans 2:7; Ephesians 6:24; II Timothy 1:10; Titus 2:7

After reading the above verses to see how Paul and the other New Testament writers use them elsewhere, it can be seen that the term “corruption” has reference to life under the Law of Moses and life “in Adam.” Notice that it was possible to be under a state of “corruption” without having to be dead physically. Instead, this term had reference to life under the dominion of sin.

Likewise, “incorruption” was used to describe those in the body of Christ. Those enjoying the “incorruption” or “immortality” were those who had been added to the body (church) of Christ by responding positively to the gospel. Just as the church had to progress towards perfection, the individual Christians within the church had “incorruption” while at the same time waiting for it to come on the day when God’s wrath would be revealed (Romans 2:7). This idea is called by some the “already but not yet” of Eschatology. Because the “already” was not of a physical nature, it makes sense that the “not yet” would be of the same nature. If you saw the head of a dog coming around a corner, you would expect you see the tail of a dog – not of a cat – following shortly thereafter. The dog doesn’t change into something else just because it is fully revealed. In like manner, the nature of the incorruption remains the same from initiation to consummation.

Dishonor v Glory

Dishonor (ἀτιμία – G819): Romans 1:26; Romans 9:21; 2 Timothy 2:20

Glory (δόξα – G1391): Romans 2:7, 10; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:18; Romans 9:23; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 3:8-18

While there are many more verses we could reference, these are sufficient to show that “dishonor” can reference things that are contrary to the will of God. Compared to the glorious body of Christ, the body of Adam (death) could certainly be labeled as dishonorable. It was this body, which had been overcome by the last enemy, that Jesus was saving His people from by translating them into the kingdom and into His body.

Glory describes God. We, being a people who wish to conform to His image, seek for glory and honor. This glory is only to be found in the body of Christ. Paul describes the glory of the Old Covenant world to be in the process of passing away in the first century (2 Corinthians 3:11). What was being revealed was something more glorious: the perfect stature of Christ. The whole creation was shaking off the rags of sin and death to reveal attire of righteousness, of glory, and of honor.

Weakness v Power

Weakness (ἀσθένεια – G769): Matthew 8:17; Romans 6:19; Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:2; Hebrews 7:28

Power (δύναμις – G1411): Matthew 24:30; Mark 9:1; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 6:5

The New Testament writers used the word “weakness” to describe anything from sin to physical infirmities. Paul said that “flesh” is weak because of sin (Romans 6:19). It was for this reason that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul also said that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). How then does one get out of a state of weakness? What force does God use to enact this change? Paul stated in Romans 8:26 that the Spirit assisted the first century church with their infirmities, and truly the Spirit was sent to change the Old Covenant body of weakness into the New Covenant body of power (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The “power” has reference to the kingdom of God, to the gospel of Christ, and to those who are in the spirit. The kingdom was to come in power within the generation of those living in the first century at the same time that Jesus would come with power (Matthew 16:27-28). This would come after the time that God’s power unto salvation (the gospel) was preached unto all of the world (Matthew 24:14). After that planted seed had time to grow, the harvest was gathered and what was sown in weakness was raised in power (1 Peter 1:9, 18).

Natural v Spiritual

Natural (ψυχικός – G5591): 1 Corinthians 2:14; James 3:15; Jude 1:19

Spiritual (πνευματικός – G4152): Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 2:13, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:1; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:19; 1 Peter 2:5

Within the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul compares the natural man and the spiritual man. Those were opposed to the gospel of Christ in Paul’s day were described as “natural.” Paul described them this way in 1 Corinthians 2:14 and 1 Corinthians 1:18. It was also used to describe those who were so focused on earthly things that they could not see the spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:1). Jude used this word to describe the Jews who were trying to bring the first century church under bondage (Jude 1:19).

On the other hand, the word spiritual describes the things that are from above. Those who have their focus on spiritual things can understand the importance of Jesus’ life-giving sacrifice while those who are more fleshly oriented cannot. The church is a spiritual organization made up of spiritual people (1 Peter 2:5). Christians, therefore, make up the spiritual body while those “in Adam” make up the natural body. Through the gospel of Christ, many were becoming dead to the natural body so that they could take part in the perfected spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Earthy v Heavenly

Earthy (χοΐκός – G5517): Only used in 1 Corinthians 15:47, 48, 49

Heavenly (ἐπουράνιος – G2032): John 3:12; Ephesians 2:6; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 12:22

Earthy, again, describes those that are “in Adam.” When we are born again, we are no longer of the flesh of Adam, but are of above (John 3:3, 31). As seen in the verses above, heavenly things are things pertaining to the kingdom of God. The kingdom is described as heavenly and those that are members of the kingdom are also called heavenly.

If the first century church was heavenly already, and, at the same time, looking for the heavenly Jerusalem that was to come, why should we expect that the nature of the “not yet” be any different from what was already present? Paul boldly declared in Hebrews that they had arrived at Mount Zion which is the heavenly Jerusalem – the same Jerusalem that John saw descending from Heaven in Revelation 21 after the resurrection of the dead ones out of Hades. Are we still collectively at the mountain waiting to enter the kingdom, or are we currently residing therein?

Flesh and Blood v Spirit

Flesh and Blood (σάρξ – G4561; αἷμα – G129): Matthew 16:17; John 1:13; Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 2:14

While the word “spirit” is not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:50, we can certainly see it used in the context and can understand that it is the opposite of “flesh and blood.” While “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the kingdom of God, those that are spiritual can. The question is, then. How can one go from being “flesh and blood” to being “spirit?” We will start with Jesus who serves as the firstfruit, and, therefore, the example by which we follow. Jesus was the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, but the firstborn of many brethren according to the Spirit. Jesus was, and will always be, the only person to ever be born in the way that He was – that is, by God through the flesh. No seed of man was involved in the birth of Jesus, because He was born of a virgin. This birth is unique, and He is the only one that will ever be the Son of God in this way, but thanks be to God that we can become the sons of God by being born of the Spirit.

Speaking of Jesus’ resurrection, Paul said, “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’” (Acts 13:33). Here’s a question: why was Jesus said to have been begotten of God at the time of His resurrection? Wasn’t He always the Son of God? Certainly, He was! What this passages teaches is that Jesus was born again. Jesus took on flesh and blood (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14). When Jesus was resurrected, He left the covenantal realm of flesh and blood (that is, “in Adam”), and He became the first one to be born according to the Spirit and became the first member of the New Creation (Revelation 3:14).

To illustrate this, Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6). Peter said, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). Following Jesus’ rule that He set out in John 3, when He was “born of woman,” He was “in the flesh,” but when He was begotten of God according to the Spirit, He was raised “in the Spirit” and became the “firstborn of many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Those “brethren” are those called by the heavenly calling (Romans 8:28-29; Hebrews 3:1). They are the group that has chosen to put off corruption and to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. Paul exhorted the church at Rome saying, “And do not be conformed to this world [age – DR], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Paul wrote the book of Romans to encourage the Gentile Christians to not submit to the bondage of the Old Law – that is, the “present evil age” that would pass away at the coming of the Lord (Matthew 24:3; Galatians 1:4). Instead, Paul wanted them to be born “…. not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).


The words used in 1 Corinthians 15 show us that Paul is not dealing with physical bodies, but two battling spiritual bodies – the body of the dominion of sin and the body of the domino of righteousness. The body of death was corruptible, dishonorable, weak, natural, earthy, and of flesh and blood. Members of that body cannot be a part of God’s kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). The body of life is one of incorruption, glory, power, spirit, and of heaven. Members of this boy, the body of Christ, have all spiritual blessings because they have been resurrected into the heavenly places to reign with Christ (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6).” (Daniel Rodgers, The Last Enemy and the Triumph of Christ, (Ardmore, Ok: JaDon Management, 2017), pages 47-51).

Paul’s teaching on the “trumpet” parousia or coming of Christ and the eschatological “mystery” (1 Cor. 15:51) should be understood with John’s seventh or last trumpet which completes the mystery (Jew / Gentile oneness, see also Ephesians – Temple/Body/Mystery/Mature Man) of Revelation 10-11 and at which time grants access into the Most Holy Place presence of God (thus the “soon” “face to face” coming in Rev. 22:4-7).  This is the maturing of the NC Body Temple/Wife as she was in the process of already coming down (Rev. 3:12 NIV “which is coming down” and would fully in Revelation 21).

9).  In 2 Corinthians 3-4:

There is a contrast of OC glory and NC glory in these chapters — the OC glory under Moses house (that shown through his face), and the in-breaking and surpassing NC glory brought through Jesus, seen (through a mirror) in His face.

As in 1 Corinthians 13:12, the mirror theme is likewise present,

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from (OC) glory to (NC) glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18).

In context, it is clear what the Corinthian believers were beholding in a mirror – God in the face of Jesus:

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)

2 Corinthians 2-7 is a block whereby Paul is defending his Apostleship from critics who placed it in doubt (seemingly upon the authority of Moses).  Paul therefore uses Moses and the OT Scriptures to make his case that he and the other Apostles are administrators of a better and more glorious covenant than Moses was in charge of – i.e. the New Covenant.  Paul will appeal to Exodus 32-34; Ezekiel 11; 36-37 and Jeremiah 31 to make his case here in 2 Corinthians 3–6:16.

This transformation from “glory to glory” and beholding the Lord’s face in the context of 2 Corinthians 3-4 has to do with the transformation of the Old and New Covenants and men’s standing before God within them (during the transition period AD 30 – AD 70). But note this was not a physical “seeing” (in a mirror), and nor was the church “being transformed” into Christ’s image in any physical or biological way.

Paul is giving a Christ centered interpretation of Exodus 32-34 in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18.  Mount Sinai functioned as a Mountain Temple.  The Israelites were at the base of the mountain and could not go up into God’s presence.  This correlates to the Israelites being outside the courtyard.  The seventy elders were able to ascend to the middle of the mountain where they had a meal with the Lord.  The middle of the mountain functioned as the Holy Place where the Priests could perform their duties.  Moses was the High Priest who alone could ascend to the very top of the mountain into God’s presence and receive revelation with unveiled face.  The top of the mountain functioned as the Most Holy Place area where God’s face and presence/glory was.

Moses fasted for 40 days before seeing God’s glory at the top of the mountain.  When moses went to the top (MHP), he wore no veil.  When he came down, the people saw God’s glory shining on his face so he covered it with a veil.  Why?  Either because it scared the people, or the veil served to hide from the people that the glory of the OC was subject to fading.  The context of 2 Corinthians 3 suggests the later.

Without the power of God through the gospel lifting that veil from the hearts of the Jews, they would continue believing the glory of the OC would continue and be subject to this “administration of dead.”  Messiah and the new wine of the NC had come, and He was revealing Himself and the Father to those He chose to.  That veil was individually being removed when one came to Christ, but it would be corporately and completely removed when Christ came in AD 70 and fulfilled the OC promises made to Israel and then it “soon vanished” and “passed away” (Heb. 8:13; Mt. 5:17-18).  2 Corinthians 3:11 literally reads, “For if that which is being annulled (or was passing away in Paul’s day and post cross) through glory, much rather that which remains is in glory.”  It wasn’t until OC Jerusalem (Babylon the Great Harlot City) was judged in AD 70 that full access into the MHP was granted, the OC veil completely removed and complete “face to face” fellowship with God was restored (Rev. 11:8-19; Rev. 22:4-7/1 Cor. 13:10-12).

Paul is using Moses as a type of the salvation process during the transition period.  When an elect Jew in that generation came to Christ and the OC veil was is the process of being lifted, it was similar to when Moses entered God’s presences (unveiled) at the top of the mountain (gaining access to the MHP mountain/temple presence).  Except unlike Moses, Christ and the Apostles were administering a better and more glorious New Covenant that was not subject to fading but was increasing in their day and was about to be revealed in its full mature state and be permanent.  And they were looking through a mirror and seeing the glory/image of God (in the face of Jesus) and being transformed into that NC glory/image.

As we will discuss once we get into 1 Corinthians 13:12, the Jews believed Moses viewed God’s glory/image through a clear polished mirror while the other prophets viewed him through a series of mirrors or a dim one (their understanding of Deut. 12:8, 12; 34:10).  They understood passages like these to mean that at some point in the Messianic age, they would “all” have a superior access to God’s presences/glory/image just as Moses had one over the other prophets citing passages like Isaiah 40:5.  Paul is saying that time had come (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11-12) — with the OC glory being in the process of passing away (and “ready to vanish” Heb. 8:13) and with the surpassing NC glory breaking in and surpassing the old, they were in the process of seeing God’s glory/image in a more prof0und and permanent way than Moses had.

The Parallels between 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and 2 Corinthians 3:

David Green correctly notes,

“In both passages Paul speaks of certain things being nullified and other things remaining: In II Cor. 3:7-14, he tells us that the old-covenant world was in progress of being nullified (done away), and in I Cor. 13:8-11 he predicts the nullification (doing away) of the revelatory gifts. Is it unlikely, in view of this initial comparison, that the “childish” (I Cor. 13:11; cf. Gal. 4:1-7) revelatory gifts were nullified at the same time that the prophetic old-covenant age was nullified in A.D. 70?

In I Cor. 13:13, “faith, hope and love” are said to remain or abide. In II Cor. 3:11 it is the New Covenant that remains or abides. The New Covenant in Christ’s blood is the very fulfillment and establishment of God’s “faith, hope and love” among mankind.

Note also the striking parallel between I Cor. 13:12 and II Cor. 3:18: In I Cor. 13:12, Paul says that the Church of his day was seeing (God) “in a mirror,” but that when “That which is perfect” (mature) would come (cf. Eph. 4:13), then the Church would see (Him) “face to Face.” (Rev. 22:4 reveals that the face-to-Face Presence of God is that which the saints in Christ realized in the New-Covenant world in A.D. 70.)

In II Cor. 3:18, Paul reiterates what he said in I Cor. 13:12, saying that the church of his day, though worshiping God with “unveiled face,” was yet seeing Him only “as in a mirror,” and was in progress of being transformed into His Image. There should be little question that the predicted seeing of God “face to Face” in I Cor. 13:12 should parallel the consummated transformation into His Image (cf. I Cor. 15:49) which the church realized in A.D. 70.

Now when we attempt to harmonize the teachings of I Cor. 13:8-13 and II Cor. 3:6-18, we find that the two passages are in truth complimentary dissertations on a common New-Testament theme; and that theme is covenantal transformation.” (David Green,

10).  2 Corinthians 4:18—5:1-10, 17–6:16

Paul taught that their eschatological hope was “unseen” and thus spiritual when it would arrive (2 Cor. 4:18).  This is in harmony with Jesus’ teaching that when He and His kingdom would arrive in their “this generation,” that it would not be an event that could be seen with the physical eye, because the realm of fulfillment would be spiritual and realized “within” (Lk. 17:20-21ff.; Lk. 21:27-32).

Paul is not finished with contrasting the OC with the NC in chapters 3-4 — his contrast continues into chapter 5.  The earthly house of which they were groaning in was the OC house/temple made by hands that was characterized by living still within the OC age or transition period.  The eternal and spiritual house/temple in heaven of which they were awaiting to be clothed with is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21.  Again, the NIV captures the tense in (Rev. 3:12) as the NJ already being in the process of “coming down” prior to Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70. The NJ is a perfect cube (Rev. 21:16) communicating that it is the Most Holy Place – where God’s “face to face” presence can be experienced (Rev. 22:4).

Under Moses, when Israel came out of Egypt God describes the formation of the Old Covenant as a new creation or a planting and forming of the “heavens and earth” (cf. Isa. 51:15-16 – John Owen’s sermon on 2 Peter 3 and the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge).  Paul is teaching in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that God’s people coming into covenant relationship with Him is the fulfillment of the New Covenant / New Creation promises of Isaiah 65.  These promises have nothing to do with a transformation of the physical planet or corpses at the end of world history.

In 2 Corinthians 4-6:16 Paul continues with his argument proving his Apostleship and with the OC and NC contrast.  While the OC system was built on promises and hopes that “could be seen” (physical), the antitype NC hope (new exodus and covenant promises cf. 1 Cor. 10:11)  was based upon promises that “cannot be seen” (spiritual).  The covenant world they lived in with it’s house/temple “made with hands” answered to the OC system and the covenant world or house/temple “not made with hands in the heavens” answered to the NC system.  The book of Hebrews develops this theme more in-depth – the NC is “better” because it is a spiritual heavenly land, temple, Zion/Jerusalem/City and resurrection that was not subject to being shaken or being killed again and was “about to come” in AD 70.

Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12

Let’s look at our passage in it’s chiasm structure and then how I see it being broken down in it’s OC vs. NC contrasts – via my chart.

 Chiasm Structure:

A – Charity never faileth:  but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away (Three things to cease in AD 70).

B – 1).  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part (OC/NC AD 30-70 Transition).  2).  But when that which is perfect is come,then that which is in part shall be done away (NC AD 70 Parousia/Fulfillment brings an end to the OC age and the miraculous revelatory sign gifts).

C – 1).  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child (OC/NC AD 30-70 Transition maturing process).  2).  I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (NC AD 70 Mature Man at Parousia/Fulfillment).

B – 1).  For now we see through a glass, darkly (OC/NC AD 30-70 Transition – the how and when the OT promises were being fulfilled “in Christ”).  2).  but then face to face (NC AD 70 Parousia/Fulfillment)1).  now I know in part (OC/NC AD 30-70 Transition).  2).  but then shall I know even as also I am known (NC AD 70 Parousia/Fulfillment)

A – 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (Ending with three things that remain in NC age).

The passing of the immature OC/NC Transition Period between AD 30 – AD 70 The NC Fulfillment and maturity when OC passed away and NC fully arrived in it’s mature state in AD 70
1.  OC/NC Transition process – Revelation through prophecy, tongues, & knowledge would cease when the perfect comes. 1.  NC Fulfillment – Faith, hope and love would remain after the perfect comes.
2.  OC/NC Transition process –  Know in part until the perfect comes. 2.  NC Fulfillment– Know fully when the perfect comes.
3.  OC/NC Transition process – Is likened to being a child learning and growing to become a man. 3.  NC Fulfillment – Becoming a mature man.
4.  OC/NC Transition process – Seeing [God’s face] through a mirror unclearly 4.  NC Fulfillment – See [God’s face] through the fulfilled Word more clearly.
5.  OC/NC Transition process – Know God in part. 5.  NC Fulfillment – Know God & be known by God fully.

Paul begins in verse 8 by telling us that NC love is superior to three things that are involved in the OC/NC transitionary process and that are aiding the Church during this transitionary process, that will pass away – prophecy, tongues and knowledge.  Then he closes the chaism in verse 13 by informing us that NC love is even greater than other things that will continue in the NC age such as a hope and faith.

The passage is clear enough in it’s structure and meaning both from the context within 1 and 2 Corinthians and when we let Scripture interpret itself.  There is something that is “in part” needing to be completed.  This is described as a process or transition period in the form of a child becoming a man.   This “in part” needing completion process during the time of the NT is referring to when and how the kingdom promises foretold in the OT were being fulfilled and thus when and how the NC age (the consummation of “the Mystery”) would arrive in it’s fulness — Lk. 21:20-22, 27-32/Dan. 9:24-27/Rev. 10:7/21-22:4-7/2 Cor. 3–6:16/Ezek. 37:27).

Let’s begin by breaking down what would cease in AD 70 and why.

 1).  Prophecies would cease:

 The Arndt-Gingrich Lexicon defines propheteuo here in 1 Corinthians 13:9 as to – “proclaim a divine revelation.”  And of prophetes – “prophet as the proclaimer and interpreter of the divine revelation…”[4]

This is in harmony with how OT prophecy and prophets functioned.  OT prophets and prophecy were to be 100% accurate and contained elements of brining forth divine revelation – God placing His very words into the mouths of the prophets. This creates serious problems for Charismatics whom claim that their “prophets” who utter “prophecy” today (as directed by this passage) contain error – some admitting up to 80% error!  They also try and reassure us that they are not like the last days cults who believe their prophets (such as Joseph Smith of LDS) are brining forth ongoing divine revelation.  Yet in order to try and reassure us of this, they have to begin by re-defining the meaning of prophecy their alleged “prophets” are uttering today.

It is also ironic that Pastor MacArthur accuses Charismatics of giving their modern day gift of “prophecy” a new and un-miraculous meaning in our text, and yet he claims this gift is still taking place today except in the form of preaching (not in the miraculous form Paul has in view here).

In Dr. Brown’s debate with Reformed Baptist Sam Waldron, when asked if he believed the gift of prophecy as described in the NT could be in error, Brown said this is a “debatable question.”  In his book, Authentic Fire Brown allows his Charismatic co-author in Appendix B to try and defend that NEW interpretation that Agabus’ prophecy in Acts 21 contained a “mixture of truth and error” (p. 386).  Why are Pentecostals and Charismatics coming up with this new interpretation of NT prophecy containing “error”?!?   Well they need to explain why their prophecies have an 80% failure rate and contain error – that’s why.  In other words they have to re-define the NT gift of prophecy to come in line with their experiences and failed non-miraculous “prophecy.”  As we will see in a bit, they have to do this with the gift of tongues as well.

While somewhat inconsistent in understanding prophecy in 1 Corinthians 13, Pastor MacArthur (see p. 106ff.) nonetheless does a great job of showing how the office of NT prophet and the gift of prophecy is in line with the OT understanding.

  1.  Any self-proclaimed prophet who seeks to lead God’s people astray with false doctrine is a false prophet (Deut. 13:1-5).  The antichrists in 1-3 John who were trying to undermine Apostolic authority and denying the deity of Christ and were not of Christ and the Father.
  2. Any self-proclaimed prophet who lives a life of practicing sin or in unrepentant sin shows himself to not be a true prophet (Mt. 7:20; see also 2 Peter, Jude and 1-3 John).
  3. An occasionally accurate prediction is no proof of a prophet or being a Christian (Num. 22-23; Jn. 7:22-23; 11:49-52).
  4. A self-proclaimed prophet giving a so-called revelation from God that is inaccurate or untrue is not a true prophet sent by God (Deut. 18:20-22).  This is what the early Church was to be discerning about in 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

John is on target when he writes,

“Prophets are judged not by how many details they get right (since even demon-possesed people can sometimes make right predictions–Acts 16:16 but on how many they get wrong.” (Ibid., 109, bold emphasis mine).

Peter in Acts 2 in his classical “this is that” statement shows the continuity between OT prophets and NT one’s (that would continue through the “last days” of the OC age not until the end of world history) when both are recorded as receiving revelation through prophesying, seeing visions and dreaming dreams.  There is nothing in the beginning of Acts or later (Acts 21) that suggests the NT gift or office is somehow different than the OT — in that for some reason the NT gift is subject to error.  O. Palmer Robertson correctly observes,

“…between Acts 2 and the explicit mention of the utterance of a new covenant prophecy in Acts 11, repeated reference is made to the holy prophets of old covenant who spoke the Word of God infallibly and inerrantly (Acts 2:30; 3:18, 21-25; 7:37, 42, 48, 52; 8:28, 30, 34; 10:43).  Having set in place that kind of biblical background, the report is given of prophets that come to Antioch from Jerusalem [setting the stage for Agabus’ prediction of a severe famine throughout Rome].” (O. Palmer Robertson, The Final Word a Biblical Response to the Case for Tongues & Prophecy Today, p. 107).

Robertson is responding to Charismatic Wayne Grudem’s assertion that NT prophets such as Agabus in Acts 11 were “vague” suggesting a lesser kind of authority and or accuracy level for NT prophets (and allegedly for todays Charismatic ones) than the normal prophetic word (Ibid. 107).  Robertson points out that the Greek word for “predicted” is used 4 other times in the NT to communicate the infallible, inerrant revelation of God’s Word about future events.  Jesus “predicted” the kind of death He would and Peter would undergo (Jn. 12:33; 18:32; 21:19).  As a Full Preterist, what I do find fascinating is his appeal to Revelation 1:1,

“No less authoritative was the revelation of Jesus Chrsit that God gave the apostle John which enabled him to ‘predict’ to his servants the things which were soon to take place (Rev. 1:1).  Certainly the prophetic ‘predictions’ the glorified wrist as communicated to John and recorded in the book of Revelation had no less authority than the prophecies of the old covenant.” (Ibid., 108, emphasis mine).

Robertson is correct, but his futurist interpretation of the book of Revelation undermines his position.  Daniel was told to seal up the prophecy because it referred to a time “far off” while John was told to NOT seal up the prophecy because the time of fulfillment was “at hand.”  Clearly “far off” was literally “far off” and therefore the content of the book of Revelation was literally fulfilled “shortly” and “at hand” by AD 70.  Not to mention, God is angry with those false prophets who claim his “at hand” judgments are really far off and not intended for their generation (cf. Ezek. 7 and 12)!  This is a lesson that Charismatics AND Futurists such as MacArthur and even Partial Preterists in the Reformed camp need to heed.  Sproul, DeMar and Gentry’s attempts to isolate Revelation 20 as events to be fulfilled far off from John’s day and not “at hand” as in chapters 1-19, 21-22 is pure eisegetical desperation.

Robertson demonstrates that there is no grammatical or logical reason to justify Grudem’s assertion of Agabus in Acts 11 and continues his trek through Acts pointing out in Acts 13:1-2 and Acts 19:5-7 there is, “No indicator given, explicitly or implicitly, that a new kind of prophecy has now been introduced into the church [to the contrary it supports Acts 2!]” (Ibid., 109-110).

In approaching Acts 21 Robertson affirms what exegetes have seen for thousands of years on this text.  The Holy Spirit guided Paul to go to Jerusalem (Acts 20), and then a prophecy came informing Paul and the church that he would go bound, be persecuted and ultimately lead to his death (Acts 21).  Those who loved Paul on a personal level (not the revelation given by the Holy Spirit) didn’t want Paul to go.  There is a distinction between what the Holy Spirit reveals through the prophet to be infallible, and the prophets human and fallible nature and feelings about what came through him.  As Calvin wrote, “it is no marvel if those who excel in the gift of prophecy be sometimes destitute of judgment or fortitude.” (Ibid., 111).

The other line of reasoning Charismatics use to justify their 80% failure rate of their “prophets” predictions not coming true to somehow harmonize with the NT, is to invent a new kind of NT prophet and prophecy.  They make the assertion that there are two kinds of NT prophets.  For the Charismatic, there are the infallible Apostolic Prophets who for an example developed the NT “mystery” (Jew / Gentile Union) and were therefore infallible.  And then there is your fallible average Joe congregational NT prophet who may get confused or mix truth and error together or be talking to himself when he should be listening to the Holy Spirit.  Yet Luke was not an Apostle and in writing (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) gives us the account of Acts 15 which was in and of itself a prophetic revelation of the Gentile inclusion into the Church (i.e. the Apostolic and Prophetic development of God’s “mystery”).

The Charismatic informs us that since this average Joe congregational prophet could be wrong, they were to test or discern what aspects could be coming from the Holy Spirit and which ones he was saying that could be wrong or him talking to himself.  1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 14:29 are listed as proof texts for this NT prophet and prophecy  that can contain “some truth and error” and therefore needs to be discerned.

In the case of 1-2 Thessalonians, Paul’s Apostolic authority was being challenged by false teachers and false prophets who had even predicted that the Lord had come prior to the destruction of the Temple and the end of the OC age in AD 70.  But in light of all this, they shouldn’t despise all prophecy or throw out the baby with the bath water, but examine the “prophecies” and prophets they hear and verify if they are true – as Paul said they had of himself and Silvanus.

In the case of 1 Corinthians 14:29 and the context of Corinthians and the NT churches – if there were false teachers and prophets among the brethren and in their congregations according to 1-2 Peter and “anti-christs” who “had gone out from them” in 1 John 2:18-19, why wouldn’t this also be the case at Corinth?  Even Grudem contradicts himself by admitting that those who had the gift of distinguishing between spirits (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Jn. 4:2-3) could detect false prophets in the Corinthian church.  If there were unbelievers among them (1 Cor. 14:23) and false prophets and teachers being influenced by evil spirits (1 Cor. 12:3), then this undermines his point that the discernment of I Corinthians 14:29 ONLY be about your fallible average Joe “prophet” and not be about discerning between valid prophets and prophecies v. false prophets and prophecies.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic simply have NO sound exegetical arguments to demonstrate their theory that since NT prophets and prophecy contain “some truth and error” they can too.  And there is no evidence that there were two kinds of NT prophets – one infallible Apostolic Prophet and then your average Joe congregational fallible prophet.

But the desperation doesn’t stop here — it continues with the Charismatics new view of their speaking in tongues and how they seek to justify them as well.  They have come up with a new “miraculous” gibberish that is not the NT form of tongues which were miraculous known and understandable human languages (that were never learned).

2).  Tongues would cease:

The Liddle-Scott Lexicon confirms what we see as the obvious throughout the book of Acts in that the gift of tongues was a known human language –  “a tongue, i. e. the language used by a particular people in distinction from that of other nations: Acts 2:11;…”[5]

Paul also informs us in 14:5 that when tongues are properly interpreted they are on the same level as prophecy (i.e proclaiming divine revelation).

One that spoke in tongues uttered “mysteries” (1 Cor. 14:2).  Of the twenty-eight times “mystery” is used in the NT it always has the meaning as something that was once hidden but is now revealed.  Since tongues were known foreign languages he who spoke in an untranslated tongue – it was unknown or only known to God.  Therefore, the emphasis for Paul is to have it translated so it may edify the body.

It is interesting to note that when the Pentecostal movement first began, they thought they were speaking known human languages as depicted in Acts 2.  Therefore, Charles Parham sent them into the mission field only to have them return completely devastated in that no one understood their gibberish.  Ever since that time, Pentecostals and Charismatics have sought to re-define the Biblical meaning of tongues.

Since most Charismatics today do not believe that their tongue speaking is on par with giving divine revelation – as in developing the NT cannon, they have to come up with novel interpretations of passages and un-miraculous definitions for their “tongues.”  A very common one is that their gibberish is not a known human language (as demonstrated throughout the book of Acts), but rather the “tongues of angels” (1 Cor. 13:1).

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels” (1 Cor. 13:1)

Commentators such as Adam Clarke are closest to the truth when they bring to light the Jewish mindset on this subject:

“To speak with the tongues of men, among the Jewish interpreters, means, to speak the languages of the seventy nations. To the praise of Mordecai, they say that he understood all those languages; and they require that the fathers of the Sanhedrin should be skilled in many languages that they may not be obliged to hear any thing by an interpreter. Maim. in Sanh., c. 2.

To speak with the tongues of angels, they thought to be not only an excellent gift, but to be possible; and highly extol Jochanan ben Zaccai because he understood them.”[6]  

When we begin studying the languages of men and angels, we need to begin in Genesis 10-11 and how the Jews understood the historical event of the tower of babel.   They understood that God appointed 70 angels that came down from heaven with God to confuse man’s one language and make it 70 (one angel residing over the seventy nations). They understood the angels to be in charge of teaching these their new languages. Therefore, the angles no doubt had the most knowledge of these languages and therefore spoke them with the utmost of eloquence (something those at Corinth esteemed).  When angels spoke in the OT and NT it was always in known/understandable human languages.

It should also be pointed out that the Jewish belief within Paul’s day on how angels communicated is different than the Charismatic interpretation.  Many Jews believed angels had a language of the heart and mind (didn’t use sounds etc… – they are spirit beings).  So to assume that the gibberish of Charismatics today is what is being spoken (literally with literal mouths in heaven) by angels is not the Jewish concept.

So as we saw with prophecy, once again we have Charismatics having to “re-define” the meaning of tongues to support their experiences and what they think it is.  They imagine, due to their experiences, that tongues should be seen as some kind of private prayer language or pure “angelic” gibberish (not known human languages).  This simply cannot be supported using a grammatical historical hermeneutic.

Parallels between Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14

MacArthur does do a great job connecting the speaking of tongues in Acts with 1 Corinthians as being known foreign languages,

“In Acts, Luke uses laleo (“to speak”) in combination with glossa (“tongues”) four different times (Acts 2:4, 11; 10:46; 19:6).  In 1 Corinthians 12-14, Paul uses forms of that same combination thirteen times (1 Cor. 12:30; 13:1; 14:2, 4, 5 [2x], 6, 13, 18, 19, 21, 27, 39).

These linguistic parallels carry added significance when we consider that Luke was Paul’s traveling companion and close associate, even writing under Paul’s apostolic authority.  Because he penned the book of Acts around AD 60, roughly five years after Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, Luke would have been well aware of their confusion regarding the gift of languages.  Certainly Luke would not have wanted to add to that confusion.  Thus, he would not have used the exact same terminology in Acts as Paul did in 1 Corinthians unless what had happened at Pentecost was identical to the authentic gift Paul described in his epistle.

The fact that Paul noted “various kinds of tonuges” in 1 Corinthians 12:10 (NASB) does not imply that some are real languages and other are merely gibberish.  Rather, the Greek word for kinds is genos, from which we derive the word genus.  Genos refers to a family, group, race, or nation.  Linguists often refer to language “families” or “groups,” and that is precisely Paul’s point:  there are various families of languages in the world, and this gift enabled some believers to speak in a variety of them.  In Acts 2, Luke emphasized that same idea in verses 9-11, where he explained that the language that were spoken came from at least sixteen different regions.

Other parallels between Acts and 1 Corinthians 12-14 can be established.  In both places, the Source of the gift is the same—the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4, 18; 10:44-46; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12:1, 7, 11, et al.).  In both places, the reception of the gift is not limited to the apostles, but also involved laypeople in the church (cf. Acts 1:15; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12:30; 14:18).  In both places, the resulting message can be translated and thereby understood, either by those who already know the language (as on the day of Pentecost—Acts 2:9-11) or by someone gifted with the ability to translate (1 Cor. 12:10; 14:5, 13).

In both places, the gift served as a miraculous sign for unbelieving Jews (Acts 2:5, 12, 14, 19; 1 Cor. 14:21-22; cf. Isa. 28:11-12).  In both places, the gift of language was closely associated with the gift of prophecy (Acts 2:16-18; 19:6; 1 Cor. 14).  And in both places, unbelievers who did not understand what was being spoken responded with mockery and derision (Acts 2:13; 1 Cor. 14:23).  Given so many parallels, it is exegetically impossible and irresponsible to claim that the phenomenon described in 1 Corinthians was any different from that of Acts 2.  Since the gift of tongues consisted of authentic foreign languages on the day of Pentecost, then the same was true for the believers in Corinth.”  (MacArthur, Strange Fire, Ibid., 140-141).

Church history – confirms tongues was a known foreign language

Nathan Busenitz from The Master’s Seminary has done some excellent research on what the early church fathers believed concerning the miraculous nature of tongues.  He argues that they believed the gift of tongues was known understandable foreign languages and not the more modern view within Pentecostal and Charismatic theology — which emphasizes unintelligible gibberish,

“Did the church fathers understand tongues-speaking to consist primarily of ecstatic, spiritual (non-human) speech for the purpose of self-edification (as Pentecostals would typically understand tongues today)? Or did they define the gift as the supernatural ability to speak previously unstudied foreign languages for the purpose of evangelism and for the edification of others (as cessationists would generally define the gift)? In other words, how did the earliest Christians, those living soon after the apostles, describe the proper operation of the gift as they understood it. And, once identified, how does this patristic definition of tongues compare with the modern Pentecostal position? If the two are complementary, then it seems appropriate (as a subsequent study) to determine if and when tongues ceased in church history. On the other hand, if the two are mutually exclusive, then the timing discussion becomes somewhat unnecessary in the debate, since the modern phenomenon does not match the apostolic gift anyway.”

“…In fact, their collective writings overwhelmingly suggest that they associate tongues-speaking with a supernatural ability to speak rational, authentic foreign languages. That proposition is directly supported by Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Hegemonius, Gregory of Nazianzen, Ambrosiaster, Chrysostom, Augustine, Leo the Great, and implied by others (such as Tertullian and Origen). Such a position is further strengthened by the fathers’ equation of the Acts 2 use of the gift with the Corinthian phenomenon (as well as their allusions to Isaiah 28:11 when discussing the NT gift). In several instances, they import their understanding of Acts 2 and Isaiah 28:11 (both of which speak of human foreign languages) into their interpretation of 1 Corinthians 12–14. Yet, they never suggest that the tongues experienced by the apostles at Pentecost were different from the tongues experienced by the Corinthian believers.

Moreover, the patristic writers never hint at the possibility of two types of tongues-speaking. Rather, they consistently present the gift as a solitary ability—both in its nature and function. In their minds, the only difference between public and private tongues-speaking is that the latter is not interpreted.”

“…Although Pentecostals claim that the tongues phenomenon practiced in their churches is a supernaturally imparted gift from God to willing believers, evidence suggests otherwise. Tongues-speaking is often faked, manipulated, or self- induced—the result being a human imitation rather than the genuine gift. As Weaver puts it, “The present day phenomenon of Christians claiming to speak in tongues has some other explanation than that it is a continuation of the New Testament practice of the gift.”Kildahl explains how this manufactured process works.

There are five steps in the process of inducing someone to speak in tongues. . . . From a psychological point of view, the first step seems to involve some kind of magnetic relationship between the leader and the one who is about to attempt to speak in tongues. Second, the initiate generally has a sense of personal distress—usually involving a profound life crisis. Third, the initiate has been taught a rationale for understanding what tongues-speaking is. Fourth, the presence of a supporting group of fellow believers enhances the possibility of eventually speaking in tongues. Fifth, somewhere in the process there is an intense emotional atmosphere.

In other words, tongues may be more closely linked to peer pressure and self- expectation than Spirit-endowment and a true gift of grace. After all, the Pentecostal leadership expects each member to speak in tongues; the congregation expects each member to speak in tongues; and the members themselves expect to speak in tongues.

Studies have shown that people can be trained to imitate the Pentecostal version of tongues without detection.  And, maybe most significantly, “There are numerous former members of the Pentecostal movement who retain the ability to speak in tongues, even though they have no belief that their speech is a gift of God.”  As Poythress summarizes:

A significant body of professional linguistic, psychological, and sociological analysis of modern tongues-speaking (glossolalia) has now accumulated. Some of it attributes a generally positive value to speaking in tongues; some of it is quite negative. All of it agrees in treating glossolalia as at root a non-miraculous phenomenon.

In light of this, linguistic experts agree that glossolalia “is, actually, a learned behavior, learned either unawarely or, sometimes, consciously” and “the tongue speaker is the product of considerable instruction.”

This evidence is again incompatible with that of the early church fathers. The fathers saw tongues as verifiably linked to a special endowment of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals, on the other hand, struggle to deny accusations attacking both the legitimacy of this gift and the actual source behind them. In light of the facts, it seems reasonable to agree with Kildahl when he says, “In summary, my glossolalia research has included an examination of the phenomenon itself, and a study of the theories about it. I have concluded that it is a learned behavior which often brings a sense of power and well-being.” Edgar furthers this evaluation: “However, mere glossolalia is common and can be self-induced. They are not a manifestation of a miracle from God. As long as the New Testament gift of tongues is equated with mere ecstatic unintelligible utterance (glossolalia), it can be explained apart from the miraculous.”

This is my “testimony” as a former Pentecostal/Charismatic (having been in Calvary Chapel, Vineyard and Assembly of God Churches).  Not only in regards to what I saw unfold in front of my, but my own experience with “tongues.”  I can sit here right now and do what I did 30 years ago as a Charismatic.  It’s just gibberish.  But when one is told this is the highest form of worshipping God and others are doing it around you, at some point seeking to please God in an emotional environment (even if the emotions are genuine), one will at some point most likely begin to speak gibberish.

I agree with his insightful conclusion,

“Based on the preceding study, it follows that the church fathers disagree with contemporary Pentecostals on several fundamental aspects as to the essence and practice of tongues-speaking. While Pentecostal adherents are forced to divide tongues-speaking into two categories—private and public—the church fathers see no such division. Instead, the patristic writings suggest a solitary gift of tongues that consisted of the supernatural ability to speak previously unknown foreign languages for the purpose of evangelism and edification. On this basis it is safe to conclude that the Pentecostal phenomena prevalent over the past century is not the same as that of the early church.

Thus, the patristic evidence supports a rational foreign language as the proper and normal manifestation of tongues. Conversely, unintelligible babblings and irrational gibberish are never associated with the gift.”(Nathan Busenitz, THE GIFT OF TONGUES: COMPARING THE CHURCH FATHERS WITH CONTEMPORARY PENTECOSTALISM, TMSJ 17/1 (Spring 2006) 61-78).

Pentecostals such as Charles Parham and Agnes Ozman originally thought they were miraculously speaking known foreign languages (as was the case in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14).  But after they sent out their “tongue speaking” missionary students, they quickly came back with their tails between their legs admitting no one understood their gibberish (MacArthur, Strange Fire, pp. 19-26).  So from then on, the modern day non-miraculous gibberish has had to be REDEFINED as an unintelligible private prayer language or “tongues of angels.”  A reinterpretation of the gift is necessary to accommodate the non-miraculous nature of what they are currently engaged in doing.

As we have seen, the same was the case with trying to re-interpret the NT gift of prophecy and Acts 21.  Prior to the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement we don’t have anyone claiming Agabus gave a prophecy that contained “some truth and some error” as Brown and his Charismatic colleagues are trying to pawn off today.  If they cannot hear the Holy Spirit correctly and their “prophecies” contain error, then the NT gift must also fall in line with their experiences.  This is the worst case of  eisegesis (reading their experiences INTO the text).

The historical and exegetical vacuum

Cessationists such as MacArthur also point out that historically the only groups that claimed to have prophesied or have prophets spoking in gibberish were sporadic and heretical.  Not only this but the vast majority of the church fathers pointed out that they believed these gifts ceased when the Apostolic age passed.

The Charismatic fires back that historically since most interpreters have understood 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 as the Second Coming or arrival of the New Creation, then this necessitates the gifts are for today.

It is this historical and exegetical vacuum that this article and the Full Preterist is solving.  When we combine various Reformed views on 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 with Revelation 22:4-7, we get the historical and exegetical answers we need to solve this debate once and for all.

3).  Knowledge would cease:

In harmony with prophecy and tongues, this refers to a miraculous gift of knowledge given by God in which one understood the meaning of an OT passage as it related to the NC “mystery.”  For example, James interpreting Amos 9 as the Gentile inclusion into the one NC Body/Temple (Acts 15:12-17).  Even John Wesley understood the miraculous gift of knowledge as,

“…an extraordinary ability to understand and explain the Old Testament types and prophecies.”[7]

Daniel prophesied of a time in which “vision and prophecy/prophet would be sealed up” (that is done away because the prophecies would be fulfilled) and that during this period “many will go here and there to “increase knowledge” (Dan. 9:24-27; 12:4-7).  Both of these passages reach their climax when Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70 or “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered.”  The increase of knowledge is not referring to airplane/space travel or addressing absolute knowledge of technology or all knowledge in general as many Dispensational Charismatics have fancifully speculated.  It is a knowledge of Messiah and His kingdom that is in view.  In context, this is connected with the Great Commission or evangelism of the shinning stars (Pastors and Evangelists) in v. 3 that spread the gospel (the mysteries of the Kingdom) between AD 30 – AD 70 throughout the then known Jewish and Roman world.  As I pointed out in a previous article in this series, Paul informs us this sign before Christ could come to close the OC age in his generation had already been fulfilled through him and the ministry of the other Apostles and disciples (Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23).

Unlike the early transitional church, we are not seeking knowledge in the OT as to how OT prophecies were being and would be fulfilled in the NC age – that is, as they pertained to the “mystery” (i.e. the Jew / Gentile union in ONE Body).  That OC body of knowledge and prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 and its covenant “soon disappeared” in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13).  The NC mature Man/Body stands complete and independent of the Old post AD 70.

John MacArthur on when tongues would cease v. prophecy and knowledge  

I remember attending MacArthur’s college and finding it odd that C.W. Smith who taught both Greek and 1 and 2 Corinthians objected to MacArthur’s Greek arguments and exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.  MacArthur claims that tongues died out on its own by AD 70 while we still have prophecy (which he “re-defines” as merely preaching the Word today) and knowledge today – that will one day cease or pass away when the New Creation arrives.  Trying to support this eisegesis just because Paul uses two Greek words for “done away” or “cease” (katargeo or pauo) is about as convincing as some Partial Preterists trying to justify that there are two different comings of Christ (one in AD 70 and one at the end of world history) mentioned in Matthew 24:27, 30 because two different Greek words (parousia and erchomai) are used.  The exegetical fact of the matter is that the ONE Second Coming event (which is described with two different Greek words) would be fulfilled in that AD 30 – AD 70 contemporary “this generation” and that in our text here all three (prophecy, tongues and knowledge) would be done away or would cease when “that which is perfect” would come.

Katargeo simply means to “be done away,” “to cease” “to make invalid,” “to abrogate” “to annul,” or to “be free from a law.”  Per Paul the wisdom and rulers of his present OC “this age” were in the process of passing away (1 Cor. 2:6).  The last enemy “the death” was in the process of being annulled or being destroyed when “the end” of the OC age would take place at Christ’s parousia (1 Cor. 15:23-26).  God was in the process of giving the Corinthians victory over “the (OC) law” (vss. 55-57).  Paul in His second letter to the Corinthians continued to teach that the OC law was in the process of “passing away” or being annulled (2 Cor. 3:7, 11, 13, 14).

Pauo means to “cease” or “come to a complete end.”  Per the writer to Hebrews, the OC law was a shadow of the NC things that were “about to” come (Heb. 10:1 – Greek mello is used).  The OC law could not have “stopped” (pauo) (v. 2) until it had been fulfilled or the NC better things which were “about to come” would reach their fullness.  In Hebrews 9 we learn that the OC still had a “legal standing” or was still being “imposed” until Christ would appear a second time at the end of Israel’s OC “last days” age (Heb. 9:8-28).  The OC was “ready to vanish” at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming (Heb. 8:13; 10:37).

Of Paul’s term “pass away,” Beale and Carson’s scholarly research correctly notes that,

“Paul’s references to things that “pass away” in 13:8, 10 employ the word katargeō, which consistently has an eschatological connotation in this letter, referring to those things that do not survive the transition from this age to the age to come (1:28; 2:6; 6:13; 13:8, 10; 15:24, 26). (Ciampa, R. E., & Rosner, B. S. (2007). 1 Corinthians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (pp. 738–739). Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos.).

But again “this age” is the OC age and the “age to come” is the NC age “about to come” in it’s full and mature state in AD 70.  “…those things that do not survive the transition…” of the two ages, are the unclear types and shadows of the OC age of the Mosaic Law and how they were being fulfilled “in Christ” and through the NC Church.  Once the dim and unclear promises of that OC age (the Law and Prophets) had been fulfilled, then it would “pass away” (Mt. 5:17-18).  It has become clear that the NC Church is not under the “jots and tittles” of the OC Law of Moses and that she is no longer dependent or fulfilling those promises.  This is not difficult to understand.

4).  “But when that which is perfect (Greek telios) comes, the imperfect disappears”:

Telios (“that which is perfect”) – simply means that which has reached its end, mature, goal, complete, wanting in nothing.

Those that are telios “mature” in 1 Corinthians 2:6 are those that are not following the ways of their current OC “this age,” but are following the “wisdom” that comes from the NC “things” or way of life – per Paul’s preaching.

The Romans were no longer to be thinking or “conformed” to the ways of the OC “this world,” but be transformed in their thinking so as to understand what God’s telios “perfect” will was for them.  In context, Paul had just discussed the “mystery” on how “all Israel” was going to be saved – Jew/Gentile NC inclusion in chapter 11.  Now the Romans are exhorted to live a life of NC love in this reality and exercise their gifts as ONE body (cf. Rms. 12:2-21).

 1 Corinthians 13 / Ephesians 2–4:11-13 Parallels

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of THE [NC Christian] faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect (Greek teleios) man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Ephs. 4:11-13)

This maturity process of the “perfect man” (the Church – Body of Christ) was the “mystery of Christ” in which both Jews and Gentiles would become fellow citizens and be mutually built up as the New Covenant Temple:

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a HOLY TEMPLE  in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephs. 2:19-22).

Here the “perfect’s” arrival is equivalent to when a man becomes mature (just as we have here in 1 Cor. 13) and when the “unity of THE faith” arrives.  In the context of Ephesians the “unity of the faith” should be seen as the fulfillment of the “mystery” – that is the NC Jew / Gentile oneness.  Post AD 70 there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile.  I don’t think there is any disagreement that the “unity of the faith” comes when the “age to come” arrives.  And yet Paul expected the NC age as “about to” come in the lifetimes of his audience: “not only in this age [OC], but also in the one [NC age] about to come.” (Ephs. 1:21WUESTNT).   Paul describes the NC “age” (Grk. aion) as “without end” (Ephs. 3:20-21), and yet futurism believes it is the age that will come to an end in our future.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The arrival of the “that which is perfect” and “the unity of the faith” are synonymous events.  The unity of the faith does not mean when we are all in heaven we will believe the same thing perfectly.  Nor does the existence of many denominations disprove that the unity of THE faith is already present.  In its historical context, the unity of the NC Christian faith came in AD 70 when it matured to a place where it no longer has the scaffolding of the OC structure supporting it.  Post AD 70, it stands on its own (apart from the OC system) and is a complete and mature Temple/Man.  Since the OC system “soon vanished” in AD 70, there is no debate on if “THE [NC Christian] Faith has arrived and separated and matured from that system.

1 Corinthians 13 / Hebrews 9 Temple Imagery & Covenant Contrast Cont.

In studying our word “perfect” in connection with contrasting temple and covenant imagery we shall now cover one last passage in the NT where telios is used where those same motifs are picked up.

“And the lesson which the Holy Spirit teaches is this—that the way into the true Holy place is not yet open so long as the outer tent still remains in existence. And this is a figure—for the time now present—answering to which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, unable though they are to give complete freedom from sin to him who ministers. For their efficacy depends only on meats and drinks and various washings, ceremonies pertaining to the body and imposed until a time of reformation.  But Christ appeared as a High Priest of the blessings that are soon to come by means of the greater and more perfect (Greek telios) Tent of worship, a tent which has not been built with hands—that is to say does not belong to this material creation” (Heb. 9:8-11WEY).

Once again we encounter the “perfect” (Greek telios) in the context of contrasting the Old Covenant with the New.  In this particular context in Hebrews, the Old Covenant represents the Holy Place while the New Covenant is represented by the Most Holy Place – in which complete and full access was soon to come. Also the theme of seeing God’s face is implied since when access into the Most Holy Place would be granted, is when this perfect face to face experience would be realized.  A futurist interpretation of this contrast can be found in the comments of the JFB commentary,

“The Old Testament economy is represented by the holy place, the New Testament economy by the Holy of Holies.”

Some Greek scholars do support that this text is teaching the Old Covenant had an “imposed” “legal” “standing” (symbolized by the presence of the Holy Place) until the time of reformation which would “soon” be upon the Hebrew audience.  This validates the earlier context of the validity and readiness of the passing of the OC law (Heb. 8:13) and what Jesus taught concerning the legal validity of all the jots and tittles of the law to be in force until all had been fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-19).  Again, this is what we see in Revelation 21:15-16 through chapter 22 in that the New Jerusalem/Bride is the City described as a perfect cube–The Most Holy Place coming down – by which God’s presence would be with man again.  This is when the seventh trumpet is blown and the “mystery” (unity in the NC kingdom is fulfilled and access to the ark or Most Holy Place is granted (Rev. 10:7; 11:19) – again, with the NJ becoming that Most Holy Place (Rev. 21:16).

 5).  “…then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  Marriage / Temple Motif

Reformed theologian Tom Holland believes bride purchase (and not slave purchase) is in view in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, and Paul again uses bridal and wedding terminology in addressing “the perfect” here in 1 Corinthians 13,

“That this relationship between the temple and the bride is part of the apostle’s thinking is supported by the Hebrew word for bride, kallah, meaning ‘the complete’ or ‘perfect one’.  This is probably the thinking behind Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12.

This suggestion is also supported by his reference to knowing, a term constantly used throughout Scripture of the marriage relationship.”[8]

And again,

“This divine marriage is the eschatological goal of the redemption that is in Christ.  An echo of it surfaces [again] in 2 Corinthians 5:5 where Paul speaks about the church being prepared for the coming change when she will not be found naked.  A further factor that has probably hindered the identification of the wedding theme is the tendency to interpret the passage from an individual perspective.  This is not because the grammar demands it, but because tradition has dictated it.  As we have seen, the believer is never called the bride of Christ, but the church is.  If this is a corporate argument, then the reference to a wedding garment is consistent and makes sense of the flow of the argument.  The passage closes with the statement that God would dwell with them (2 Cor. 6:14-18), temple imagery, which is always, as we have seen, closely connected to the theme of the church being the bride of Christ.”[9]

Holland’s observations are insightful.  Paul is not done with his corporate covenantal contrasts in 2 Corinthians 3, and it extends up to 2 Corinthians 6:16 – when Paul identifies the church as the NC tabernacle/temple of Ezekiel 37:27.  In 2 Corinthians 5 the “earthly tent” from which they were “groaning” during the transition period is the OC house/temple/system, and their desire to be clothed with the building/house from above, is the completed/matured NC temple/system.  The wedding takes place in an AD 70 “shortly” and “soon” time frame in Revelation 21-22 whereby the heavenly dwelling comes down from heaven and clothes the church (who is on earth).  The New Jerusalem is the “perfect” Bride in the shape of the Most Holy Place, therefore post AD 70 we have access to God’s “face to face” presence.

In the OT God found Israel as a child naked and raised her until the time of puberty and married her.  She grew in her understanding of His love and that love was consummated in marriage.  The betrothed Church was growing in the awareness of Her Grooms love and that love would be clearly manifested at Her deliverance and salvation at His coming in AD 70.

OT Ecoh’s or Historical Context and Understanding – Num. 12:6-8, 12; Deut. 34:10; Isaiah 40:5; 52:8

Numbers 12:6-8:

“he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

Deuteronomy 34:10-12:

“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt-to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

Isaiah 40:5:

“And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

These passages and how they were historically understood during Paul’s day may shed some light on our passage when it comes to “knowing” God through a “mirror” and having a “face to face” relationship with Him.

The Jews/Rabbis believed Mose saw and “knew” God “face to face” (and the other prophets saw God) through or in a “mirror.” Some thought the other prophets saw God’s image/glory through a series of mirrors while Moses saw Him through one. Others thought while the other prophets saw God through a dim mirror, Moses saw God’s glory/image/face through a well polished and clearer mirror than the others had.

Some took this concept and these passages and applied it to “all” of them seeing God more clearly in the NC age of Messiah (citing Isa. 40:5).  They believed that in “this age” (OC age of Moses and the Prophets) they saw God unclearly (in a similar way the other prophets had received revelation to that of Moses) but in the “age to come” (NC age or Messianic age), they would “ALL” see the glory/image of God “face to face” more clearly, just as Moses had a superior method of knowing and receiving revelation (again citing Isa. 40:5).  Paul taught in no uncertain terms, that the end of the age of the law and prophets had come upon them 10:11-12, and it was time to know and see God more clearly.

G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect these OT passages with 2 Corinthians 3 very well while at the same time demonstrating how Jews during Paul’s day understood them,

In 13:12 Paul alludes to Num. 12:6–8, which contrasts Moses’ prophetic experience with that of all other prophets. Whereas other prophets receive revelation through visions and dreams (12:6; cf. Joel 2:28), Moses experiences the presence of the Lord face to face (stoma kata stoma), not indirectly (ou di ainigmatōn) and sees his form (LXX: “glory”): “With him I speak face to face, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord.” Paul says, “Now we see in a mirror [di esoptrou] indirectly [en ainigmati], but then face to face [prosōpon pros prosōpon]. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

According to Lev. Rab. 1:14, there was a debate regarding the difference between Moses and the other prophets based on Num. 12:8. Both sides held that Moses, like the other prophets, saw the Lord through a mirror (reading the word for “appearance” [marʾeh] in Num. 12:8 as though it meant “mirror,” another meaning of the word used for “vision” [marʾâ] in Num. 12:6 [cf. Exod. 38:8]). Some thought that the difference was that the other prophets saw the Lord through a series of mirrors rather than just one, while others thought that Moses saw the Lord through a polished mirror while the other prophets saw him through a blurred one. Fishbane (1986: 74) argues that this midrashic reading “may have preceded Paul or have been common coin among ancient homileticists.” Paul’s reference to a mirror in the context of an allusion to the same text would be a strange coincidence if he does not share some interpretive tradition with its authors.

Paul suggests that Christians now [MJS – no, the Corinthians living during the transition period of OC glory fading with NC glory increasing, not us] share the experience of seeing God indirectly, in a mirror (presumably analogous to his understanding of the prophets’ experience), but one day will see him face to face (as did Moses). Leviticus Rabbah 1:14 goes on to quote Isa. 40:5 and say that although only a few in this age [MJS – the OC age that would “soon vanish” in AD 70] were able to see God the way Moses did, in the age to come [the NC and Messianic age that Jesus and Paul said were “about to come”] “all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord” (as Moses did).

The contrast between this age and the age to come matches Paul’s thinking precisely. The reference to the vision of “the glory of the Lord” (in the citation from Isa. 40:5) brings us to the LXX translation of Num. 12:8. Whereas the Hebrew text says that Moses saw the “likeness” or “form” (tĕmûnâ) of the Lord, the LXX says he saw the “glory” (doxa) of the Lord. The LXX both affirms Moses’ face-to-face experience with the Lord and interprets it as a vision of his glory (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).

Fishbane also hints that Paul’s alteration of stoma kata stoma (“mouth to mouth”) in Num. 12:8 LXX to prosōpon pros prosōpon (“face to face”) may reflect the influence of Deut. 34:10, which refers to Moses as a prophet whom the Lord “knew” (egnō) “face to face” (prosōpon kata prosōpon). Philo also brought together Num. 12:8 and Deut. 34:10 (Heir 262). Deuteronomy 34:10 not only provides a closer parallel to Paul’s wording for “face to face,” but also supplies another link to the motif of “knowing” and “being known” (see also Num. 12:6 LXX: autō gnōsthēsomai), which is prominent in 13:12 (cf. 13:8).

Paul’s allusion to Num. 12:8, then, is consistent with other early Jewish interpretations in understanding that in the age to come all God’s people will have an experience similar to that which distinguished Moses from the other prophets. We already see the Lord as through a mirror (imperfectly) and know him as well as that experience allows (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18), but the day is coming when we will see him as Moses did, face to face, an experience of knowing him fully, as we are already fully known by him.” (Ciampa, R. E., & Rosner, B. S. (2007). 1 Corinthians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 739). Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos. Bold emphasis MJS)

My Response to G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson

 These are some great insights by Beale and Carson but let me point out where they could have been developed better and what is lacking due to their Futurist bias.

· While connecting the mirror seeing of God’s face in 2 Corinthians 3-4 with 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 as the same eschatological process, Beale and Carson fail to make the connection with the transition period between the OC glory and NC glory in 2 Corinthians 3-4 with the “in part” and completing process of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and the role that the miraculous gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge played to bring about the mature state and glory of the NC age in AD 70.

· While pointing out some of the Jewish beliefs of Paul’s day, they neglect to interact with how the Jew of Paul’s day understood “this age” to be the OC age (not the NC Christian or Church age) and the “age to come” to be the NC or Messianic age. Nor do they interact with the Jewish beliefs that saw the two to be in transition during another 40 years generation period that were considered the “days of Messiah.” This fits perfectly with Paul’s imminence throughout 1 Corinthians and the NT.

· There is no interaction with Christian Partial Preterist or Full Preterist scholarship in this area that acknowledges this proper and Jewish two age model and it being connected with NT imminence.

· While appealing to Isaiah 40:5, there is no interaction on how John the Baptist and Jesus use the salvation and judgment of this chapter in their eschatology (cf. Mt. 3:7-12; 16:27-28).

· They miss the “eye to eye” of Isaiah 52:8.

· They did not discuss the parallels between 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 with Revelation 22:4-7 and how Partial Preterist scholarship has conceded that the New Creation and sight here are fulfilled in the Church today spiritually and that Full Preterism has connected them together consistently.

We have addressed some of these issues and texts already so let me address there others now.

 “This Age” / “Age to Come” Second Exodus and Days of Messiah

 The Jew during Jesus’ and Paul’s day understood “this age” to be the OC age of the law and prophets and the “age to come” to be the NC age of Messiah which would follow. Jesus and Paul do not depart from this traditional Jewish two age structure as they look to an imminent fulfillment of the old passing away and the new arriving in it’s compete or mature state.

 Isaiah 11 predicted a second exodus coming for Israel. The Jews prior to Christ and during his day based upon Psalm 90:15 and other OT passages, believed “the days of Messiah” would be a transition period between their OC “this age” and the Messianic NC “age to come” and that this would be another Forty Year exodus period,

‘How long will the days of Messiah last? R. Akiba said, Forty years, as long as the Iraelites were in the wilderness.” (Dr. BOAZ COHEN, NEW AMERICAN EDITION Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York: E.P. Dutton & CO., 1949), 356)

Jesus taught that He was living in the OC “this age” and that the NC age was “about to come,”

 “…in this age [OC age] or in the age about to come [NC age].” (Mt. 12:32 YLT Gk. mello).

Paul was clear that the NC age was still imminently approaching in the first century,

 “not only in this age [the OC age], but also in the one about to come [NC age].” (Ephs. 1:21 WUESTNT Gk. mello).

 There was no Interaction on Isaiah 40:5 and John the Baptist and Jesus’ Eschatology

 Isaiah 40:5

John was the voice of one crying in Isaiah 40 and preparing the way for the judgment and salvation described in this chapter. John warned the Pharisees of a wrath or punishment that was “about to” come upon them (cf. Mt. 3:7GNT, Gk. mello is used). The ax was laid at the root of the tree and the winnowing fork was already in God’s hand (cf. vss. 10-12) – again, communicating the judgment and glorious salvation of Isaiah 40 was imminent in their lifetimes.

And what about Jesus? Is His eschatology and understanding of Isaiah 40 the same as John’s? Yes! Jesus informs the multitudes He was speaking to that some of them would live to witness Him come upon the clouds and “reward” them with the judgment and salvation contained in Isaiah 40:10 in Matthew 16:27-28. So the “glory” of Isaiah 40:5 or “face to face” glory would be revealed within the lifetime of the first century church at Christ’s coming in AD 70.

 They missed the OT echo of Isaiah’s “eye to eye” in Isaiah 52:8:

“The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion.”

 Some Jews understood this passage and seeing God “eye to eye” to be referring to the resurrection to take place in the “age to come” or the NC Messianic age – and this is correct. In context we again have the theme of the arrival of the New Jerusalem and the Church putting on her wedding garments because this is the time of the wedding (Isa. 52:1-2; 61:10 = Rev. 21-22). Again, the time of the wedding feast and resurrection was in AD 70 when the sons of the kingdom (OC Jews) would be “cast out” and the Gentiles would inherit it with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Mt. 8:10-12/Isa. 25:6-9; Mt. 21:43-45). The wedding feast took place when God sent His armies (the Idumeans and Romans) to “burn their city” (Mt. 22:2-7).

Christ came from Zion and redeemed and saved Israel – taking away her sin in an AD 70 “at hand” time frame (Rms. 11:26-27; 13:11-12).

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 / Revelation 21-22

No More Death, Tears, and Pain

The obvious objection is given in that if the arrival of the New Jerusalem and New Creation of Revelation 21-22 and the “face to face” of 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 arrived in AD 70, then how can it be said that there is no more death, tears and pain today?

Before I begin I should note that it is Reformed orthodoxy (ex. John Lightfoot, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison, R.C. Sproul, etc…) to believe that the passing of the first heaven and the first earth in Revelation 21:1-3 with there being no more sea is referring to the passing of the OC “heaven” and “earth” in AD 70 and not the physical planet and or solar system.

In regards to Revelation 21:4 (YLT) we read that “the death shall not be any more.” Every Reformed commentator agrees that this verse, along with 1 Corinthians 15:54–55, is describing a future-to-us end of “the death,” and that “the death” refers to the death that came through Adam in Genesis 2:17. The Douay-Rheims translation renders that verse: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day so ever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” The Good News Translation makes it clear when “the death” would take place: “. . . except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.”

“The death” that came through Adam the very day he sinned was spiritual and not biological.  The abolition of biological death was never the purpose of Christ’s redemptive work.   In 1 Corinthians 15:55–57 (YLT) we read, “Where, O Death, thy sting? Where, O Hades, thy victory?’ And the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin the law; and to God—thanks, to Him who is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Whenever Paul uses the definite article “the” in front of “law,” he is referring to Israel’s old covenant Torah. As 1 Corinthians 15:57 indicates, the Law was not abolished at the cross; but it was “soon” to disappear, through the power of the Cross, at Christ’s Parousia in the end of the old covenant age (Heb. 8:13–10:37).

Because “the death” 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.

Reformed Partial Preterism has acknowledge that the Church does see God’s face right now according to Revelation 22:4 because this was fulfilled in the AD 70 “shortly” and “quickly” coming of Christ in vss. 6-7.  They cite 2 Corinthians 3:18 for support that the Church was already seeing God’s face spiritually prior to AD 70.  Therefore, there is every exegetical reason to believe that post AD 70, the Church is now seeing God “face to face” more clearly (spiritually) per Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12.

I John 3:2 and Reformed Charismatic John Piper

John Piper is both Reformed and a Charismatic and since MacArthur is a 5 point Calvinist now (finally), John appreciates Reformed theology and Piper’s commitment to the doctrines of grace.  Therefore, Piper is mention in John’s book and at the Strange Fire Conference.  Most within Reformed circles consider this to be a “contradiction,” but is it really a contradiction to be Charismatic if one is also a Futurist at the same time? I don’t believe it is – it is just unbiblical and illogical to be a Futurist and therefore a Charismatic. Piper graciously mocks the attempts of his fellow Reformed futurist colleagues such as Richard Gaffin who claims the gifts have ceased,

“There is no text in the New Testament that teaches the cessation of these gifts. But more important than this silence is the text that explicitly teaches their continuance until Jesus comes, namely, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.

So the key question is: When does the “perfect” come which marks the end of the imperfect gifts like prophecy? The answer is plain in the text if we follow Paul’s line of reasoning. Verse 8 says, “Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (RSV). Why are these gifts temporary? The answer is given in verse 9: “For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect.” So the reason these spiritual gifts are temporary is their incompleteness or imperfection.

How long then are they to last? Verse 10 gives the answer: “When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.” But when is that? When does the perfect come? The answer is given in verse 12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” The “now” of incompleteness and imperfection is contrasted with the “then” of seeing face to face and understanding even as we are understood.

“So the answer to the question of when the perfect comes and when the imperfect gifts pass away is the “then” of verse 12, namely, the time of seeing “face to face” and “understanding as we are understood.” When will this happen?

Both of these phrases (“seeing face to face” and “understanding as we have been understood”) are stretched beyond the breaking point if we say that they refer to the closing of the New Testament canon or the close of the apostolic age. Rather, they refer to our experience at the second coming of Jesus. Then “we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2) The phrase “face to face” in the Greek Old Testament refers to seeing God personally (Genesis 32:30; Judges 6:22). Thomas Edwards’ hundred-year-old commentary is right to say, “When the perfect is come at the advent of Christ, then the Christian will know God intuitively and directly, even as he was before known of God” (First Epistle to the Corinthians, p. 353, italics added).

This means that verse 10 can be paraphrased, “When Christ returns, the imperfect will pass away.” And since “the imperfect” refers to spiritual gifts like prophecy and knowledge and tongues, we may paraphrase further, “When Christ returns, then prophecy and knowledge and tongues will pass away.”

Here is a definite statement about the time of the cessation of spiritual gifts, and that time is the second coming of Christ. Richard Gaffin does not do justice to the actual wording of verse 10 when he says, “The time of the cessation of prophecy and tongues is an open question so far as this passage is concerned” (Perspectives on Pentecost, p. 111). It is not an open question. Paul says, “When the perfect comes [at that time, not before or after], the imperfect [gifts like prophecy and tongues, etc.] will pass away.” (John Piper, this link has been changed on his site).

I have dealt with most of these objections already, but let’s now deal with the analogy of faith or parallel passage concept found in 1 John 3:2.

The Timing of Fulfillment

The timing of this event for John would be imminently fulfilled in AD 70 is clear in that the OC world was in the process of “passing away” and the sign of the antichrist’s assured John it was “the last hour” (1 Jn. 2:17-18).  So however one interprets 1 John 3:2, it must fall in line with John’s inspired AD 70 timeframe.  Per John, the last hour of judgment and last and seventh trumpet had imminently come in his day and would fulfill the NC “mystery” which results in the opening of the MHP presence of God for all His people whereby they would see God’s face (Rev. 10-11; 22).

Contextual Setting

The Jewish false teachers, prophets and or anti-christ’s were challenging John’s authority, Christ’s deity / Son-ship and thus no doubt His followers as sons of God – while most likely at the same time claiming to be God’s real sons (as the Pharisees in the gospels confirm).  But John informs us that Christians are the true children of God because they practice righteousness and love, while their Jewish persecutors continued in their unrighteousness and hatred.  Because of this John declares they were in fact “children of the Devil” (1 Jn. 3:10).

In the book of Revelation, we have the same concept.  John sees the reality being those claiming to be Jews were not God’s children but in fact “the synagogue of Satan.” God would “soon” cause them to bow down “shortly’ before His real children at His coming.  Christ’s coming in AD 70 would vindicate Christ’s claims to be God’s Son and the Christians as the true NC children promised in the Scriptures.  They would bow down before the true NC children of God and they would rule over them with a rod with Christ.

OT Context and Cross-references  

1.  Job 19:25-27; 33:26; 42:5-17

Job was expecting to see God in his flesh or within his lifetime (not after death) to vindicate him as a righteous man from his false accusers who surrounded and devoured him.  Job was ultimately vindicated as “a perfect and upright man” through the means of his enemies being judged by God if Job would not pray or intervene on their behalf (Job 19:28-29, 42:7-9).

Job knew that if he prayed to God and He ultimately accepted him, that Job would “see his face” and “restore his righteousness” (Job 33:26).  After all of Job’s trials it explicitly says they he saw God, “I have heard of You but the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you” (Job 42:5).  Not only were Job’s belongings given back in more abundance, so was his righteousness restored or manifested on a level as never before in that he was able to pray for Eliphaz and his two friends and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer for them (Job 42:7-17).

So in the context of Job, God saw “his face” at the end of his trials through God vindicating him and manifesting he was a righteous man.

Although there are some Futurist concepts made within his comments on this passage, the Ellicotts Commentary correctly notes,

“After they have thus destroyed my skin,” or “after my skin hath been thus destroyed”—or, “and after my skin hath been destroyed—this shall be: that even from my flesh I shall see God”—referring, probably, in the first instance, to his present personal faith, notwithstanding the corruption produced by his disease. “I can and do still see God, whom I know as my Redeemer;…” (Ellicotts Commentary).

2.  Numbers 12:8

Moses saw God’s face while alive on this earth.  Physical death and resurrection was obviously not necessary.  Because God had this special face to face relationship with Moses that he didn’t have with the other prophets or Miriam and Aaron, God vindicated Moses by judging Miriam and Aaron for their jealousy of Moses (Num. 12:1-16).

As discussed previously, Moses’ experience was understood to be typological of all Israel beholding God’s glory in the NC Messianic age per Isaiah 40:5.  The NT authors develop this, but understand the anti-type to be spiritual and soteriological and not physical or biological.

3.  Psalm 17:15

David having these previous passages to go on, and examining the context of the Psalm 17, is seeking to see God (in this life) vindicate him in righteousness from his enemies and awake him from his trials and persecutions in order to enjoy and be satisfied with God’s “likeness” “presence” “face.”

But what is meant by when I awake? …What he desires is (1) the daily renewal of this communion (cp. Psalm 139:18; Proverbs 6:22); and (2) as the passage in Numbers suggests, a waking sight of God, as distinguished from a dream or vision.

“…The Psalmist does not anticipate death, but prays to be delivered from it (Psalm 17:8 ff.). The contrast present to his mind is not between ‘this world’ and ‘another world,’ the ‘present life’ and the ‘future life,’ but between the false life and the true life in this present world, between ‘the flesh’ and ‘the spirit,’ between the ‘natural man’ with his sensuous desires, and the ‘spiritual man’ with his God ward desires. Here, as in Psalm 16:9-11, death fades from the Psalmist’s view. He is absorbed with the thought of the blessedness of fellowship with God[9].

[9] Comp. Delitzsch: “The contrast is not so much here and hereafter, as world (life) and God. We see here into the inmost nature of the O.T. belief. All the blessedness and glory of the future life which the N.T. unfolds is for the O.T. faith contained in Jehovah. Jehovah is its highest good; in the possession of Him it is raised above heaven and earth, life and death; to surrender itself blindly to Him, without any explicit knowledge of a future life of blessedness, to be satisfied with Him, to rest in Him, to take refuge in Him in view of death, is characteristic of the O.T. faith.” The Psalms, p. 181. (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges,

4.  Romans 8:18-23 YLT

The “glory” that was “about to be revealed in” the Church is described as the “revealing of the sons of God” (as in 1 Jn. 3:2).  Clearly, what they were “about to be revealed” as in John’s “the last hour,” was pointing to AD 70 and the close the OC age — not a physical/biological event to take place at the end of world history.

5.  2 Corinthians 3:18

The beholding of God’s glory and being transformed into NC glory from OC glory and thus into Christ’s image here is something they were doing while alive and obviously was not a biological transforming event.  This was a SPIRITUAL seeing, and covenantal transformation between AD 30 – AD 70 that would be completed in John’s “last hour” (i.e. AD 70).

Christ was “being formed” within the Church according to Paul in Galatians and the miraculous sign gifts were manifested for the purpose that they were to continue in NC life and righteousness and not go back to the elements of the OC world/body for justification during this unique transitional period.

Back to 1 John 3:2 and the Goal of Resurrection

What the NC body or children of God would be had “not yet appeared” but again, it was “about to be” according to Paul in Romans 8:18-23 YLT.  The OC body of sin, death and flesh was about to be redeemed, liberated and changed into a NC spiritual body and creation – the saved and glorified NC Israel of God, New Jerusalem or New Creation.  This OC “lowly body” was in the process of being conformed into Christ’s NC glorious body (Phil. 3:21).  Christ Himself is the resurrection, the kingdom, the new creation, the heavenly tabernacle, and those within the early transitional Church (Jew and Gentile) who put their faith in Him were in union with Him — were being transformed, receiving a kingdom and entering into His glorious body or world of righteousness.  This spiritual process would be competed “in” or “within” them at His coming in AD 70 (Rms. 8:18-23; 13:11-12; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32).

Most interpret these passages as when Christ comes back floating down on a physical cloud, every eye on the planet will physically see him and he is going to give his people physical/spiritual resurrected and glorified eyeballs to see God’s physical/spiritual face.  It is assumed Jesus’ “glorified” body was his pre-ascended body because He disappeared etc…  But of course he went through a crowd, walked on water, caused a boat with disciples to be teleported to the shore, etc…, even before he was raised physically.  We are told we are going to get this pre-ascended physical/spiritual body that he had for 40 days and won’t that be cool because we can walk through walls, etc…  Uh, no this isn’t the point or NT concept at all!

First, there is no exegetical evidence that His physical resurrected body was a different kind of body (in form) than what was placed in the tomb.  As I stated, He was able to defy the laws of nature even before He was raised and retained the scars and the wound in His side even after He was raised.  If this is the “glorious body” we are all going to get, then those who died with harsh wounds will retain them.  No, Jesus’ physical resurrection along with those in the graves of Matthew 27:52-53 were a miraculous “sign” that pointed to another aspect of His resurrection.  Remember the purpose of Jesus’ miracles were not only to confirm that He had been sent from God, but they served to point to and confirm the deeper spiritual realities and nature of His kingdom.  He fed the 5,000 with physical bread to prove He was the true and spiritual bread.  He healed the lame man to prove He had the power to forgive sin.  He raised Lazarus to prove that He was “the resurrection.”  Do any of the other “I am” statements point to Him providing a physical “way,” “door,” etc…?  No, Jesus as the great “I am” was doing miracles as “signs” pointing to and confirming He had the ability to overcome man’s deepest need – to overcome “THE death” that came through Adam – that is to forgive sin and restore man back into His presence.

Therefore, since the NT describes Christ’s resurrection as being the “first-fruit” or “first-born” and He clearly wasn’t the first to rise from physical death and there is nothing to suggest his physical resurrection body was anything different in form, then in what since was He the “first”?  He was the “first” to take the full weight of the curse of Adam (the spiritual death and separation Adam bore the very day he sinned) so that we could become the righteousness of God.  Now don’t ask me to fully explain that, because to do so would be right up there with trying to fully explain the Trinity and hypostatic union to everyone’s satisfaction.

Contrary to some, I don’t believe that prior to Adam’s sin, anteaters didn’t eat ants, mosquitos didn’t suck blood and bite, spiders didn’t spin webs and eat flies, leaves didn’t fall from trees and lions and wolves didn’t eat ox and lambs.  In other words there was physical death already present (and even some Futurists admit this).  After Adam sinned and he died spiritually the very day he ate, God banished him outside the garden/temple back to the dust where he eventually would physically die.  Adam physically being banished from the garden/temple (God’s presence) and not being able to return while at the same time dieing outside the garden/temple (God’s presence), is picturing that even after death souls would have to wait in Hades or Abraham’s Bosom for the seed of the woman or Messiah to come and judge or deliver them from the full ramification of this spiritual death/separation.  So Christ was a perfect sacrifice outside the camp, that conquered “THE [spiritual/separation] death” that came through Adam.  Because He was the “first” to conquer this aspect of the Adamic death/curse/separation, He spent three days in Hades preaching the gospel to the spirits there and alone was found worthy to have the keys to conquer and release and raise those souls at His “soon” coming and bring them into God’s presence or release and raise them to eternal condemnation into the Lake of Fire (Dan. 12:2, 7; Rev. 20—22:6-7, 20).

Again, His physical resurrected body was a physical miracle/sign confirming that He had conquered “THE death” that came through Adam. Now no one had to fear physical death any longer because Christ alone had conquered Adam’s death/separation and was found worthy to empty Hades.  BOTH the miracle of His physical resurrection and His Fulfilling His Second Coming prophecy to destroy the Temple and bring an end to the OC age – confirmed He had the authority to and did save man from his sin.  The Church today in the NC age can look back at two miraculous/sign events within history that confirmed Jesus has overcome the death of Adam and has restored His “face to face” presence, whereby we will never die – both for the living and the dead (Jn. 11:25-26; Rev. 20-22).

Christ was definitely put to death in the physical realm and his flesh was involved.  But at the same time He was born under the OC fleshly law system and thus put to death under that system that He might be raised “in the Spirit” and therefore be the first-fruit to form the NC glorious body and administration of eternal life.  The transition Church was to recapitulate this process by filling up what was lacking in His sufferings and be in the process of dieng with Him and being raised and walking in the NC life of which He inaugurated and would bring to consummation and maturity at His parousia in AD 70.


Old Covenant Age of Law and Prophets New Covenant Age of Messiah
Saw through a mirror dimly like the prophets (AD 30-70) When NC age fully comes, they would see more clearly “face to face” like Moses did (AD 70).
Something “in part” awaiting completion (OT promises of NC – AD 30-70) When the “complete” thing comes (OT promises of NC fulfilled – AD 70)
A boy in the process of maturing (AD 30-70). When the boy becomes a man (AD 70).
Tongues, prophecy and knowledge aiding in this process.  The gift (betrothal) of the Holy Spirit (charismata) a “guarantee” of the coming (AD 30-70) inheritance/resurrection/marriage. Tongues, prophecy and knowledge no longer necessary because process comes to completion or maturity.  Inheritance of resurrection/God’s presence and being further clothed with NC Temple/Creation/Glory fully received (AD 70).
OC glory/age in process of fading (AD 30-70) = Moses wearing a veil to hide it’s fading glory to the people. NC glory/age in the process of increasing and permanent = 1st. century Jew/Gentile Church seeing God’s face unveiled and being transformed into God’s image from OC glory to NC glory (completed in AD 70).
OC = “this age” NC = “age about to come” at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the “last days” of the OC age (AD 70).
Hope not based on OC glory = things that can be seen (physical – Temple, Jerusalem, Land, etc…). Hope based upon NC glory = things that cannot be seen (spiritual Temple, Jerusalem, Heavenly Land, etc…).
OC = earthly house/temple made by hands (physical). NC = heavenly house/temple not made with hands (not physical).
OC = seeking further clothing / groaning / mortal (AD 30-70). NC = further clothed / life (AD 70).
OC promise of glorious NC Temple (Ezek. 37; 40-48). NC fulfillment – the Jew/Gentile Church is the glorious Temple predicted by Ezekiel!
OC in process of being annulled (done away). Tongues, prophecy and knowledge completely annulled (done away) — when the covenantal transition process was completed / brought to maturity.

Charismatics such as Michael Brown, Sam Storms, and Mike Bickle have had to “re-define” what biblical tongues and prophecy are in the NT in order to try and validate their non-miraculous “tongue” speaking and their admitted 80% failure rate with prophecy within their movement.  Non-charismatics such as James White, Sam Waldron, and John MacArthur simply have no apologetic and offer no sound exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 to prove these gifts have ceased.  MacArthur is also guilty of having to “re-define” the gift of prophecy because of his Premillennial Pre-Trib. Dispensational biases (that we looked at in part 2).  It is our prayer that these men will begin seeing 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 through fulfilled NC eyes – and stop torturing the text through their Charismatic and or Pre-Trib. Dispensational eyes.

Seeing God’s face is a covenantal and soteriological concept and not a transformation of the physical body concept whereby someday we will get physical/spiritual eyeballs to see God’s literal face.  When we let Paul interpret himself in 2 Corinthians 3, this become clearer.  Even the book of Revelation (where the seeing of God’s face is mentioned 22:4-7) is a tale of two kingdoms, cities, brides — or covenant worlds.  Our study of the “perfect” thing as found in Hebrews 9-10 is also within the context of the transitionary period and a tale of the two covenants with the “better” anti-type promises all being spiritually fulfilled (and this would include the “better resurrection”).  In our study of the “perfect” thing in Ephesians the result is found in maturity of the Church as God’s NC Temple/Body/Man.  When would this be fulfilled per Paul?  In the “age” (the NC age not end of the NC age or the end of world history) that was “about to come” in his day – not ours.   Post AD 70 the Church sees God’s face spiritually in the NC age whereby He has made His home and glorious kingdom “within” us.  He has conquered spiritual death that separated us from Him.  When we believe on Him we “never die” and when we die physically we do not got to a waiting place for Him to finish redemption.  “It is truly finished” through His cross and parousia.

The truly miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of tongues, prophecy and knowledge (not what Pentecostals and Charismatics are trying to redefine and pawn off as “miraculous”) were necessary to show when (“soon” in the first century “this generation”) and how (spiritually “the salvation of the soul”) “all” the promises contained in the OC Mosaic Law and Prophets were being fulfilled “in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20) and through the Church (the eschatological “mystery” Jew/Gentile oneness) in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:22-32; 1 Pet. 1).  When the fulfillment of these promises came at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming, the NC Kingdom/Age became mature with the OC age having “passed away.” When the OC “passed away,” so did tongues, prophecy and knowledge, for the purpose of those gifts ran there course and “ceased.”

May God grant the reader the courage and strength to take this truth, exegesis and accurate harmonization of the orthodox and historical views of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (and their parallels / analogy of faith) to the Church today!  I sincerely pray that my former Pastor and College President (John MacArthur) reads this and will respond at some point.

To read this series of articles that are a Full Preterist response to Charismatic Michael Brown (Author of Authentic Fire)  and Cessationist John MacArthur (Author of Strange Fire) go to:  

Part 1 – My Full Preterist Response to John MacArthur’s Appeals to Church History and Reformed Theology to Solve the Charismatic Dilemma

Part 2 – An Overview of the Various Views of “That Which is Perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10)

Part 3 – My Full Preterist Response to Charismatic Michael Brown’s Argument on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 Demonstrating That the Miraculous Sign and Revelatory Gifts of Tongues, Prophecy and Knowledge Ceased and Passed Away with the OC Age in AD 70 and John MacArthur’s Inability to Deal with the Passage

Part 4 – My Full Preterist Response to Charismatic Michael Brown’s Argument on the “Last Days” of Acts 2 and John MacArthur’s Inability to Deal with the Passage

Part 5 – My Full Preterist Response to Charismatic Michael Brown’s Argument on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-20 and John MacArthur’s Inability to Deal with the Passage

Part 6 – My Full Preterist Response to Charismatic Michael Brown’s Argument on the “Already and Not Yet” of the Kingdom and John MacArthur’s Inability to Respond Biblically

Part 7 – My Full Preterist Response to Charismatic Michael Brown’s Argument on John 14:12 and John MacArthur’s (The Master’s Seminary) Inability to Deal With the Passage and the Infallibility of the Scriptures going on into John 16

Part 8 – My Open Letter to my Former Pastor John MacArthur and The Master’s Seminary to Interact with Myself and Dr. Michael Brown on These Passages and When the Bible Teaches Tongues, Prophecy and Knowledge Are to Cease That Has NEVER Been Responded to

[1] Brown, Authentic Fire, Ibid, 196-197, 222.

[2] MacArthur, THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY 1 CORINTHIANS (Moody Bible Institute, 1984), 382.


[4] W.F. Arndt and F.W. Ginrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago:  University of Chicago, 1957), 730.


[6] Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible,

[7]  Charles Wesley, see Hymn – “Let earth and heaven combine.”

[8] Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCES ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Scotland, UK:  Mentor Imprint by Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 120-121

[9] Holland, Ibid., 121.

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