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PART 4 – DEBATE CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE TO: JAMES WHITE, ANTHONY ROGERS, SAM SHAMOUN AND SHABIR ALLY (1 THESS. 4:16-17 & ACTS 1:9-11)

Introduction:

For those of you who may be joining this series a little late (not having read parts 1-3c.), let me briefly catch you up.  In a debate between a Christian futurist (James White) and a Muslim (Shabir Ally), Shabir brought up Matthew 16:27-28/Matthew 24:34/1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and claimed that since Jesus (and the rest of the NT) taught/teaches that the Second Coming would take place within the first century AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and this didn’t happen during this time frame – the NT Jesus is a false prophet.  James White had NO response to these texts!  Because James White had no answer for Shabir here, another futurist Christian apologetic ministry devoted to refuting Islam (AnsweringIslam.net) sought to write a series of articles dealing with these passages and NT imminence.  Anthony Rogers has failed to complete that series and Sam Shamoun has done nothing on the subject either (that I’ve seen).

Since these “apologetic” ministries have been such an embarrassment to Christianity, in not being able to deal with Jesus’ teaching in these texts and NT imminence in general, I have challenged all the parties to a public debate and have given a Full Preterist exegesis to these passages which prove that Jesus’ Second Coming did take place within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”  Thus proving that the NT Jesus was/is the “Faithful and True” Prophet and that the NT is inspired and reliable.  I have already dealt with Matthew 16:27-28/Matthew 24-25 and am now dealing with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and an additional text which Sam Shamoun wanted to challenge me on (ie. Acts 1:9-11).  At the conclusion of this article I will go over the correspondence so far I have had with Shabir Ally for a possible debate and have provided debate propositions for James White, Anthony Rogers, and Sam Shamoun to respond to

Here is a summary of the positions and all of the exegetical and doctrinal problems these men/views teach and how Full Preterism solves them concerning the texts/doctrines we will be looking at:

1.  James White (classic Amillennial view) – believes that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24 is the ONE literal bodily Second Coming event and is the SAME coming of Christ event as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Acts 1:9-11 (future to us).

2.  Anthony Rogers/Sam Shamoun (Partial Preterism) – believes that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually to close the OC age in AD 70.  However, these men do not understand how the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Acts 1:9-11 could have been fulfilled by AD 70.

3.  Shabir Ally (Muslim and Bible skeptic) – thinks that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24 is the ONE literal bodily Second Coming event and is the SAME literal coming of Christ event as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Acts 1:9-11.  Since Jesus’ physical body was not literally seen, a literal rapture and resurrection never took place, and the end and or transformation of planet earth did not take place within the contemporary lifetimes and generation of Jesus and Paul – all these texts were not fulfilled and therefore, demonstrate that the Jesus of the NT was not a true prophet and the NT was perverted by man.  Therefore, Allah had to reveal the true message of Jesus and the eschatological “last hour” through Muhammad and the Quran.

And now the solution:

4.  Michael Sullivan (Full Preterism) – believes that the coming of the Son of man in Matthew 24 is the ONE Second Coming event and is the SAME coming of Christ event as in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Acts 1:9-11, and therefore, all these texts were fulfilled by AD 70.  In other words views #1 and #2 need to be harmonized “Reformed and always reforming” to bring healing among Christians and bring a consistent apologetic against the Bible skeptic on NT imminence.  I can prove that the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Acts 1:9-11 was fulfilled by AD 70.

As far as Shabir Ally and Islam is concerned (#3) – I have already documented in this series that Muhammad (if he ever even existed) and or the teachings of Islam – claim that Jesus’ Second Coming would take place within the lifetime and generation of Muhammad’s audience.  This obviously didn’t happen, and Muhammad and Islam is the “false prophet.”  The Quran also claims prophecies in the OT and NT (with their Islamic perverted twists) concerning the “last hour” have yet to be fulfilled.  Therefore, since I have proven that these prophecies have already been fulfilled the Quran is a false religion and completely unreliable in the areas of prophecy and salvation and is a man made religion designed to unite Arabs.

I will now demonstrate that 1 Thessalonians4:16-17 and Acts 1:9-11 were fulfilled at the close of the OC age in AD 70 (as was Matthew 24 – see parts 1-3c.) and thus refute all of the other positions listed above.

(A brief note first – at the conclusion of this article I will go over the correspondence I have had thus far with Shabir Ally for lining up a possible debate and have provided debate propositions for James White, Anthony Rogers, and Sam Shamoun to respond to).

Let’s get to it!

An Exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Analogy of Scripture:

In going over Matthew 24-25 I pointed out how virtually all views agree that whatever your view of Matthew 24-25 is, it’s going to dictate your interpretation of the rest of the NT’s teaching on eschatology.  I also demonstrated that the classic Amillennial view of James White and the Partial Preterist view of Anthony Rogers (and other Partial Preterists) actually form Full Preterism. In now turning our attention to other key texts I will continue with this approach while giving an accurate exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and Acts 1:9-11.

Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24-25 is Pauline eschatology.  And perhaps an illustration from mathematics and logic will help us understand the analogy of scripture principle of interpretation between Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24-25 and Pauline eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (and 1 Corinthians 15).  In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C.  Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)

B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)

C = (1 Cor. 15)

A (Matt. 24:27-31) was fulfilled in AD 70, and if A (Matt. 24:27-31) is equal to both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15), then both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled at Christ’s parousia in AD 70. In other words, “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.”

Since A (Mat. 24) = B (1 Thess. 4)
Christ Returns from Heaven 24:30 4:16
With Voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With Trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/Gathered Together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the Clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact Time Unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ Comes as a Thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers Caught Off Guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of Birth Pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers Not Deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to Be Watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to Sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/Sunlight Shinning From E. to W. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And B (1 Thess. 4) =  C (1 Cor. 15)
The Sleeping to Be Raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The Living to Be aught/Changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s Coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the Sound of the Trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to Stand Firm 4:18 15:58
Same Contemporary “We” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matt. 24)  =  C (1 Cor. 15)
Christ to Come (Greek: Parousia) 24:27 15:23
His People to Be Gathered/Changed 24:31 15:52
To Come with the Sound of a Trumpet 24:31 15:52
To Be “The End” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom Consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All Prophecy Fulfilled at This Point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Law/Temple Mat. 24:1 15:55-56
Same Contemporary “We” Mat. 24:2ff 15:51-52

Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other.

Matthew 24                     1 Thessalonians 4          1 Corinthians 15 

At His Coming (24:27-31) = At His Coming (4:16) = At His Coming (15:23)
At the Trumpet (24:31) = At the Trumpet (4:16) = At the Trumpet (15:52)
Dead Raised, All Gathered (24:31) = Dead Raised (4:16) = Dead Raised (15:35-44)
All Living Gathered
(24:31)
= Living Caught Together to Him (4:17) = Status of Living Changed (15:51)

(Chart Copyright 10/05/15 – Michael Sullivan & Tony Denton).

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

PREMISE #2:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the same coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4 – 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 (according to the classic Amillennial/White and Full Preterist/Sullivan positions)

CONCLUSION:  The consistently “Reformed” view (using the analogy of Scripture and logic) then is that the parousia/coming of Christ in 1 Matthew 24, Thessalonians 4 – 5, and 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled in AD 70.

It is interesting that the web site in which Sam Shamoun and Anthony Rogers (AnswerstoIslam) seek to refute Shabir Ally when it comes to NT imminence appeals to the exegesis and hermeneutics of Milton Terry.  This is interesting because Milton Terry agrees with Full Preterism that BOTH Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 are speaking to the same eschatological event and were fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70 (Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990, 447-448)! Terry was in error in thinking that this was some kind of literal “rapture” (see my exegesis below) but correct in using the analogy of Scripture in identifying these passages as the same AD 70 event.

Audience Relevancy Jesus’ “you” and Paul’s “we”: 

If I were to say, “We who live long enough to see the year 2030,” there is no reason to think that I would be assuming that I myself would be among the living in 2030. My only assumption would be that some of us today would be alive in 2030.  In the same way, Paul’s words imply only that he knew that some of his contemporaries would still be alive when Christ returned, as Christ Himself promised would be the case in Matthew 16:27–28; 24:34.  A day was approaching when Christ would deliver first century believers in the Thessalonian Church from their first century Jewish persecutors by giving them the same kind of trouble they were giving them (1Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7).  Are members of the first century church and their Jewish persecutors alive today?  Uh, no they are not.

Again I need to point out that “AnswerstoIslam” and Anthony Rogers has used Milton Terry as a source in trying to refute Shabir Ally and deal with NT imminence.  But here is what Terry writes concerning the first century contemporary “we” of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:

“…his language in the passage in question clearly implies the doctrine of the speedy coming of the Lord, and that many, if not most, of his contemporaries would live until that glorious event.”  (Milton Terry, Hermeneutics, Ibid., cf. pp. 454-456).

According to Terry hermeneutically one needs to honor the “audience relevancy” here and any futurist position of the “we” here is “special pleading” and “dogmatic bias.”  It surely is inconsistent for Partial Preterists to press an AD 70 fulfillment for the contemporary “you” in Matthew 24 and neglect Paul’s same contemporary “we” audience in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 – Selah.

When that day came (to close the old covenant age), the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

We can know that Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17 are not to be interpreted literally (a literal trumpet, etc.) because the Scriptures tell us elsewhere not to interpret them literally. In Exodus 19 and 20, the Lord came down in a cloud over Mount Sinai. He spoke with a loud voice. There was the sound of a loud trumpet. And Moses met the Lord on Mount Sinai. Then God established His covenant with His people.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that though the trumpet and the voice of the old covenant were literal, the “trumpet” and the “voice” of the new covenant are not literal (Heb. 12:18–19). Neither is the mountain (Mount Zion) literal in the new covenant (Heb. 12:18, 22). Therefore, neither is the cloud (which descended to cover the mountain) literal in the new covenant. Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world: I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15) The “rapture” passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14. In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel. In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.

As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10). Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, His spiritual Body, the New Man, the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor. Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “ . . . whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

“Gathered up”

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving a theological connection to the eschatological gathering of (Mt.13:39-43; Mt.24:30-31 & 2 Thess. 2:1). Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.” The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament renders a good definition of harpazo as, “of an ecstatic vision or experience catch up or away (2C 12.2).” (Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 75, emphasis added).    Thus one could be “caught up” with visions or “caught up” in having a joyful “experience” associated with Christ’s return that did not necessitate a physical removal from the planet!

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament gives the meaning to a word related to harpazo–harpagmos, “The word then took on the sense of the more common ἅρπαγμα and came to mean b, “what is seized,” esp. plunder or booty. Like ἅρπαγμα, it then came to be used in such related expressions as εὔρημα, ἕρμαιον, εὐτύχημα, ἅρπαγμα, ἁρπαγμόν τι ἡγεῖσθαι, ποιεῖσθαι, τίθεσθαι. These mean c. “to take up an attitude to something as one does to what presents itself as a prey to be grasped, a chance discovery, or a gift of fate, i.e., appropriating and using it, treating it as something desired and won.” “The figurative element in the expression still remains, and a οἷον or ὥσπερ is often put before it.” (Kittel, Gerhard (Hrsg.) ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (Hrsg.) ; Friedrich, Gerhard (Hrsg.): Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans, 1964-c1976, S. 1:473).  The Liddell and Scott Lexicon render harpazo as “…5. grasp with the senses, 6. Captivate, ravish.”  As I pointed out earlier, Jesus said when His Kingdom would come at His return, it would be experienced “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—(cf. Luke 17:20-37; Mark 9:1). The realm of the “snatching away” was an “experience” and “attitude” “within” Christians. They “grasped” and were “captivated” and had “seen” and “perceived” in their hearts and minds that Christ and His New Covenant Kingdom had arrived “in” them purifying their conscience and taking away their sins. The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…”

In Revelation one of the descriptions of the Churches “rapture” or “resurrection” is described by the two witnesses (described as Moses = the law & Elijah = the prophets) being received up into a cloud (cf. Rev. 11:12). This is a prophetic picture of the Church preaching (“no other things, except that which can be found in the Law and Prophets”) that Her consummation of being raised and caught up into the presence of God was imminent. Likewise, those that did not heed her message, were assured of imminent destruction. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament gives the concept of the cloud as referring to a Theological “revelation,” “Mark 9:7a, b par. Matt 17:5a, b / Luke 9:34a, b, 35 contain the idea of the cloud of revelation, or the theophany motif, in the account of the transfiguration.  (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 2:464).

Since this source mentions the transfiguration event and is another NT passage where Moses and Elijah show up let’s briefly touch upon this passage as well. The transformation was a “vision.”  The transfiguration event is what we are to “see/understand” the parousia being all about – the passing glory and fulfilling of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) with Christ’s words of the New Covenant age continuing. For Peter to want to desire Moses and Elijah to abide with Christ is to be answered through a rebuke from the Father, because the age of the Law and Prophets would soon pass away and there was no need for the new wine to be contained in old wineskins.

To “meet” the Lord in “the air”

To “meet” the Lord, is wedding language and since Partial Preterists are now teaching that the coming of the Lord in both Matthew 24 and 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 (and that of Revelation 19-22), then the wedding/meeting of Matthew 25:10ff. and Revelation 21 was fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment. Since the wedding banquet follows the wedding in Jewish culture, AND the resurrection takes place at this time (cf. Isaiah 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54-55), then Partial Preterism is now FORCED to concede that the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70.

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

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)? This word is defined as, “space inhabited and controlled by powers (Eph 2:2; 1Th 4:17; Rev 16:17). (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. GGK113).  Another reference work says of Ephesians 2 – “This ruler appears as the aeon of this world, or, one might say, his atmosphere (air) allows the world to appear as Aeon, the god of eternity, whose false claim brings death to humankind (H. Schlier, Der Brief an der Epheser [1958] 102f.). From the perspective of the history of religion this represents a combination of the Empedoclean and Pythagorean worldview, according to which the air is full of souls which cannot yet rise to the ethereal world (E. Schweizer, The Letter to the Colossians [1982] 128–34), and Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons (Billerbeck IV, 516). (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 1:34).

Prior to AD 70, demon’s “possessed” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. This is consistent with the word harpazo as meaning “seizing” or “possessing” one inwardly. Satan used the Old Covenant Mosaic Law to blind the hearts and minds of people in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds in producing an arrogant and zealous self-righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom and realm into His (cf. Ephs. 2:1-10). Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind, when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the Law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon believers, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70. The early church did ecstatically experience the joys of this event while on earth and continue to do so today.

“The Day of the Lord has ‘already come.’” (2 Thess. 2:2)

Before leaving 1 Thessalonians 4-5, let’s take a quick look at some of the reasoning that Partial Preterists use against a futurist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5 and then apply it to the “rapture” and or resurrection texts of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Timothy 2.

“As in the case of 1 Thessalonians 5, no commentator who approaches this text under the assumption that it refers to the events surrounding the Second Coming has ever been able to offer an even remotely plausible explanation for the belief of the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord had already come. If we grant the assumptions of these commentators, then Paul has already told them in his first epistle that this event would involve the bodily resurrection of the dead and the “catching up” in the air of those who would still be alive to be with the Lord forever. Unless one concludes that the Thessalonians were profoundly oblivious to reality, there is no explanation for why they would have believed that this had already taken place.

Futurists interpreters have also failed to offer a plausible explanation of Paul’s argumentation in 2 Thessalonians 2. If the “coming” of Christ, our “gathering” to Him, and the day of the Lord in this chapter refer to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, then it is necessary to explain Paul’s method of proving that these things had not yet occurred. Why would Paul have tried to convince a group of believers that the Rapture and the bodily resurrection of all believers had not yet occurred by arguing that the apostasy and revelation of the man of lawlessness must coming first? If this chapter is referring to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, the proof that these things had not yet happened would have been far more simple and obvious. The entire argument of 2 Thessalonians 2 could have been reduced to the single question, “Are you still here?” (Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism, 229, bold emphasis MJS).

Since I have already demonstrated that the coming of Christ in BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 took place in AD 70, the question Partial Preterists pose for 1 Thessalonians 5 needs to include 1 Thessalonian 4 and 2 Timothy 2:

If Paul’s doctrine among the churches was that of a literal “rapture” of the living and a literal resurrection of dead corpses, then why wouldn’t his apologetic against these false teachers be something as simple as this, “How can you believe the coming of the Lord, our gathering to Him and resurrection of the dead has “already” taken place, since we are obviously still here and the graves still contain rotten corpses?!?”

Concluding 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

We have examined the “gathering up” or “catching away” “rapture” passages and have proven exegetically the following:

1. Analogy of Scripture:   Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are addressing the same coming of Christ and resurrection/rapture event. Anthony Rogers appeals to Milton Terry as a source of authority on Matthew 24, but does not want to discuss his comments of connecting 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 as the same AD 70 coming of Christ?

2.  Audience Relevancy & Timing:  Jesus taught that Matthew 24:30-31, 34 would be fulfilled in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” while further addressing His contemporary “you” audience.  The Apostle Paul’s doctrine is consistent with Jesus’ in that towards the end of that generation he taught an imminent Second Coming event and resurrection/catching away of his first century audience “we…”

3.  Spiritual Nature of Fulfillment:  Jesus taught that His New Covenant Kingdom would not come with physical observation but would be realized “within” His people at His return (Luke 17:20-21ff., 21:30-32).  We examined the terms “snatch,” “clouds,” and “air” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and found that there is exegetical evidence that this passage would be fulfilled within the person without taking him or her off planet earth.

4.  Powerful Argument From Silence:  If Jesus’ Second Coming event attended with the resurrection and rapture of the living was to be a physical event whereby rotting corpses were raised and the living would disappear off of planet earth, then why didn’t Paul in Thessalonians and 2 Timothy argue against those that believed these events had “already” happened – “How can you believe this?  You are still here and the dead are still in their graves!”

An Exegesis of Acts 1:9-11

Analogy of Scripture

Since Sam Shamoun wanted to interact with me on Acts 1:9-11 I have included this passage in the discussion of these other passages and within this series. We once again encounter a problem for futurists such as James White, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers when they try and address Bible skeptics on NT imminence. As they were unable to overcome their disagreements on Matthew 24-25 = 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (with their disagreements actually forming Full Preterism), we see a similar problem when approaching Matthew 24 and Acts 1:9-11. The Reformed Church has proposed that the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterism) while at the same time proposing that the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24 is the SAME coming of the Lord in Acts 1:9-11 (classic Amillennialism). Once again, these two propositions FORM Full Preterism.

And once again I should point out that since Anthony Rogers has used Milton Terry to support his Preterist interpretation of Matthew 24, I will also appeal to Terry on his position that the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24 is the same coming of the Lord in Acts 1:9-11, and that BOTH texts were fulfilled in AD 70. Connecting the parousia of Christ in Matthew 24 with Acts 1:9-11 Terry writes:

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

Acts i, 11, is often cited to show that Christ’s coming must needs be spectacular, “in like manner as ye beheld him going into the heaven.” But (1) in the only other three places where [“in like manner”] occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not some particular manner in which Moses killed the Egyptian that is notable, but rather the certain fact of it. In 2 Tim. iii, 8, it is likewise the fact of strenuous opposition rather than the special manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. And in Matt. xxiii, 37, and Luke xiii, 34, it is the general thought of protection rather than the visible manner of a mother bird that is intended. Again (2), if Jesus did not come in that generation, and immediately after the great tribulation that attended the fall of Jerusalem, his words in Matt. xvi, 27, 28, xxiv, 29, and parallel passages are in the highest degree misleading. (3) To make the one statement of the angel in Acts i, 11, override all the sayings of Jesus on the same subject and control their meaning is a very one-sided method of biblical interpretation. But all the angel’s words necessarily mean is that as Jesus has ascended into heaven so he will come from heaven. And this main thought agrees with the language of Jesus and the prophets. (Milton S. Terry, A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 246-247. See also Terry connecting both Revelation 1:7 and Acts 1:11 being fulfilled by AD 70 in his classic work on hermeneutics: Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990, 468, n. 1).

Matthew 24 and Acts 1 Parallels:

  • Second Coming or Kingdom’s arrival only known by God: Matt. 24:36/Lk. 21:31 = Acts 1:6-8
  • Fulfillment of Great Commission comes first:                        Matt. 24:14 = Acts 1:6-8

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

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

However, in another book Mathison #2 admits:

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

According to Mathison in the above quote, when the Great Commission in verse 8 is fulfilled, then the Second Coming of verse 11 will occur. Mathison’s contention that there are two Great Commissions given in the New Testament—one fulfilled before AD 70 (Matt. 24:14) and another that will be fulfilled before the allegedly yet-future Second (Third) Coming (Acts 1:8)—is altogether arbitrary. It is a position he is forced to take because of his flawed, partial preterist framework—like his doctrines of two “last days” in the New Testament, and of two future “comings” of Christ in the New Testament, etc…

Partial Preterists such as Anthony Rogers and Keith Mathison break again from the majority of Reformed, Evangelical, and Preterist theologians, who see one Great Commission in the Gospels and in the book of Acts, instead of two. Mathison’s dichotomizing approach to the Great Commission does not merit a serious rebuttal and can be rejected out of hand.

Since the Second Coming is fulfilled after the Great Commission, and since there is only one Great Commission, and since the Great Commission was fulfilled in Christ’s generation, it follows that the Second Coming was fulfilled in those days as well. The gospel was preached to the world; “then” the end came (Matt. 24:14). The following chart proves that the Great Commission was fulfilled in the first century.

Prophecy Fulfillment
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall bepreached in all the world [Greek ikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14) “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)
“And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Greek ethnos] “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos] “‘. . . I have commanded you;and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20) “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom.16:25-26)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world  [Greek kosmos] and preach the gospel to every creature” “. . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;they shall speak with new tongues.” [Greek glossa] (Mark 16:15, 17) “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as ithas also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit. . . .” (Col. 1:5-6)
“And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15) “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,and to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8) “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom. 10:18)
Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Greek glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Greek ethnos] under heaven. (Acts 2:4-5) Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly”: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land [Greek ge], and to every nation [Greek ethnos], and kindred [Greek phile] and tongue [Greek glossa], and people.” [Greek laos] (Rev. 1:1; 14:6; cf. 10:6-7)  Satan was bound so that the Great Commission to the nations would be accomplished during the millennium (Rev. 20:3).

Therefore, I have proven that the in-like-manner Second Coming of Christ was also fulfilled in the first century.   After commanding His disciples to take possession of the kingdom through the Great Commission, Jesus ascended in a cloud, hidden from the disciples’ sight (Acts 1:9).

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

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

James White, Anthony Rogers and Sam Shamoun all err when they claim that Jesus is going to come back in the same way that He “departed.” The Scriptures say that Jesus would come in the same way He had entered the sky. He entered the sky hidden from literal eye sight in the cloud of God’s glory.

Here is the order of events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another problem for Partial Preterism is that Christ’s “coming” in Daniel 7:13–14 is somehow both a literal, visible “going up” in a literal cloud in about AD 30 AND a figurative “coming” to Jerusalem from heaven in figurative clouds in AD 70. The confusion inherent in this position is plain enough. For example Keith Mathison says that “the coming of the Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13– 14 is a reference to the Ascension. But then Mathison says that when Jesus used the term, He was referring to the Ascension and to the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet there is not one instance where Jesus spoke of the coming of the Son of Man where it can be taken to be a reference to His Ascension. In every case, it is His coming to earth in judgment and salvation. But this is only the tip of the Iceberg of Confusion.

Even though Mathison says that Jesus’ “coming” in AD 70 was “intimately connected with His ascension,” and even though Mathison says that both the Ascension and His coming in judgment in AD 70 are equally “the coming of the Son of Man,” and even though Mathison admits that both events were with a cloud/clouds and in the glory of the Father, and that both events were seen (Acts 1:11; Matt. 26:64), Mathison nevertheless maintains that Jesus’ “coming” in AD 70 was not the “in-like-manner” coming promised in Acts 1:11. Mathison’s position is an ineffable tangle of exegetical double vision, contradiction, and consummate confusion.

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

This was the one and only future coming of Christ that was promised in the New Testament. Therefore, Christ returned in AD 70. The analogy of Scripture confirms this interpretation. It does not confirm the Partial Preterist’s, which rips Acts 1:9–11 from its immediate and broader New Testament contexts. We agree with one of Anthony Roger’s sources of authority (Milton Terry) on Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 – “We accept upon the testimony of the Scriptures” that Christ returned on/in a cloud/clouds in that (AD 30 – AD 70) generation.

Concluding My Responses to: Shabir Alley, James White, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers on Matt. 16:27-28/Matt. 24-25/1 Thess. 4:16-17/Acts 1:11

Shabir Ally: Has responded to my challenge to debate him through a mediator named “Salaam” on Facebook. I challenged Shabir to a debate on these passages in person or via the Internet/or radio. Here was his response: “Salaam, He (Mike Sullivan) is in NC. I do not have any plans to be there soon. As for the internet debate, I am not very savvy with this technology yet.

I am not sure that this is a topic we should be debating. Mike needs to convince our other Christian friends of his position. I would be prepared to debate him on the Deity of Jesus, since this is what really separates Islam from Christianity. Shabir Ally”

My response: Mr. Shabir, thank you for at least attempting to respond to my challenge to debate you. This is more than James White, Anthony Rogers, or Sam Shamoun have done. Now let me respond to your comments:

I have a web tech guy that can walk you through using your computer to debate over the internet, or we can have it on a podcast on the radio in which you just need to call in. Pretty simple. I’ll be more than happy to talk to Don Preston and William Bell and ask them to promote our debate on Fulfilled Radio. Again, calling in is all that is required.

This is a “topic” you wanted to “debate” with James White – with White never addressing your argument on NT imminence. So if White won’t answer this particular argument in a debate, why not devote an entire debate on this issue?

My book and ministry is committed to convincing other Christians of my view that Christ’s Second Coming was fulfilled at the close of the Old Covenant age in AD 70. And obviously these series of articles are not only addressed to you but to James White, Anthony Rogers, and Sam Shamoun. Should any Christian require that you debate all other Muslims that disagree with you, BEFORE you will debate us?  Your point is not even remotely logical.  Good try though.

I communicated in the article series and to your mediator, that this debate would include some aspects or subject matter concerning the Deity of Christ. Please read my comments on the (OG) LXX of Daniel 7:13 (Christ came in AD 70 “…as the Ancient of Days”) and Matthew 26:62-66 (where it is abundantly clear that Jesus is being sentenced to death for claiming to be God – for Jehovah alone came upon the clouds in the OT – the Jews understood ONLY God being the “divine cloud rider” etc…).

You also need to remember the source material for your “argument” on NT imminence. Muslims are no scholars (in my book). You have only regurgitated liberal or Bible skeptics “arguments” on NT imminence and tweaked it for yours. Since liberals are anti-supernatural (something James White pointed out to you), the original argument (that you borrowed) goes like this: “Jesus and the NT authors posited the Second Coming to take place in their generation and in some of their lifetimes. Since the end of the world obviously didn’t happen at that time, Jesus was “mistaken” (like all of us are capable) and therefore could not be a prophet (let alone God as He claimed), and the NT cannot be inspired as it claims.” (Summary of the argument). You have tweaked the original “argument” to something like this: “Since Jesus did not return when He and the rest of the NT teaches (within their “this generation” and within some of their lifetimes), Jesus cannot be a true Prophet (let alone God), and the NT has been perverted — therefore, the Quran’s revelation of Jesus and the way of salvation is to be trusted over the Christian’s NT.” I of course will prove that Jesus did come when He and the NT teaches (at the end of the OC age in AD 70), and that Muhammad was the “false prophet.” Since the Quran is in error on eschatology it is in error on salvation issues as well!

Simply put in debate propositions:

Michael J. Sullivan (main affirmative) – The Second Coming of Jesus Christ was promised by Christ and the rest of the NT to take place within the first century generation and within some of their lifetimes. Christ in fact did return at the end of the Old Covenant age (at the end of its worldly “elements” and or “heaven and earth”) in AD 70. This not only proves that Jesus was/is a reliable Prophet, but God as He claimed to be (Matt. 26:62-64 etc…). This also proves the NT is divinely inspired and can be trusted.

Michael J. Sullivan (sub-affirmative) – The Quran is nothing more than a sloppy cut and paste job of OT and NT theology/eschatology with other things thrown in (a made-up religion) and its futurist eschatology (to us) concerning the Second Coming of Christ, the Judgment, Resurrection of the dead (the “last hour”), and an end of the world holy war etc…., only further demonstrate that it contains false prophecy and therefore cannot be trusted.

Shabir Ally (Denied)

Shabir Ally (main affirmative) – Since Jesus and the NT posits the Second Coming to take place within the first century generation and it didn’t happen at that time, the NT Jesus cannot be considered a true Prophet (let alone any kind of divine being) and the NT’s “revelation” is proven to be corrupted by man.

Shabir Ally (sub-affirmative) – This is one argument that proves Allah needed to reveal himself to Muhammad and correct these false teachings/prophecies about Jesus and the way of salvation that the Christians have corrupted.

Michael J. Sullivan (Denied)

I sincerely believe that the real reason you will not debate me is because you have never encountered a Christian that can prove that the Jesus of the NT was “Faithful and True” in His promise to return in the first century and that the NT was/is inspired to posit the Second Coming, Judgment, and Resurrection of the Dead (“the last hour”) to have occurred in an AD 70 “at hand” “soon” “about to be” “quickly” time frame. You are only used to cowards like James White avoiding the argument altogether in debates. Accept the debate proposition(s) and prove me wrong.

James White: Here are some reasons why White should debate me and Full Preterism:

I believe I have demonstrated that James White not only couldn’t address Shabir Ally’s argument on NT imminence (in their debate), but in fact may have been deceptive in his responses. Why? Because Shabir brought up very specific texts (Matt. 16:27-28/Matt. 24:34/1 Thess. 4:15-17) and White never attempted an exegesis of these texts but did briefly mention “AD 70” and that he was doing a series of sermons on Matthew 24 in his church. But when one does take the time to listen to White’s messages on Matthew 24 (that he referenced in the debate) he does NOT take the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 as being fulfilled in “AD 70.” White is obviously a failure in the area of NT imminence and should take steps to redeem himself in this area by debating the issue with a Full Preterist who has exposed him.

White claims to be a public “apologist” who takes the NT’s charge seriously to “always be ready” to “defend” the “hope that is within him” (1 Pet. 3:15). This is all about “eschatology” since “Christ in you (the Church)” is “the hope of glory” (Cols. 1:27/1 Cor. 15:28/John 14:3, 23, 29/Rev. 21:3)! And yet White and his “ministry” claims White “won’t debate eschatology” – and therefore won’t debate Full Preterism?!? Let’s get real folks. Even if White wanted to try and separate soteriology (as something vitally important and worthy of debate) from eschatology (as something not really that important – “it will all pan-out in the end”) – I would challenge him that he cannot separate soteriology from eschatology!

When the issue of Full Preterism comes up to James White in a public setting White seems to always refer the person to read, “When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism.” And yet I (and my co-authors) have taken the time to specifically respond to that book IN PRINT (me responding to the editor [Keith Mathison] on the very issue of NT imminence) – “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?” Not to mention our book has been said to be the strongest work defending the Full Preterist view to date.

White has no problem telling the Christian public to read other cultic materials (Book of Mormon, Watchtower, Quran, etc…) alongside the Bible in interacting with these groups, but NEVER mentions my/our book that is a direct response to the one he recommends – all the while calling us “heretics.” Why? Because he and the Reformed community are scared to death that you will read it because it makes way too much sense – that’s why!  Selah.

I used to attend a Reformed Baptist Church in Sacramento, CA., and am a 5 point Calvinist. I am very familiar with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and the cult-like mentality that this group has in its reverence for it – along with its unhealthy view of Elder rule. They have no concept of being a “berean” and “testing” what is taught from the pulpit! Nothing would satisfy me more than exposing their chief “apologist” in a public debate as I have in this series of articles.

I will keep my propositions on target to the texts White was deceptive with to Shabir Alley. Therefore, the proposition(s) for the debate are:

The ONE Second Coming of Jesus event (the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds in Matthew 16:27-28/Matthew 24-25) was fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70. The NT follows this same inspired time frame with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 being one of many examples.

Affirmed: Michael J. Sullivan.

Denied: James White.

Sub-proposition challenge:

These two Calvinist/Reformed views form Full Preterism (“Reformed and always reforming”):

  1. The coming of the Son of Man in Matt. 24-25 is the ONE Second Coming event in our future (classic Amillennial view).
  2. The coming of the Son of Man in Matt. 24-25 was fulfilled toward the end of the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” which ended the OC age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism).
  3. The coming of the Son of Man in Matt. 24-25 is the ONE Second Coming event that was fulfilled toward the end of the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” which ended the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

Both the Reformed/Calvinist classical Amillennial view and the Reformed/Calvinist Partial Preterist views form Full Preterism. We call this “Reformed and always reforming.” According to the WCF the creeds and confessions may be in error as previous creeds and confessions have in the past.  And they have in the area of eschatology and need to be reformed and revised.

Affirmed: Michael J. Mike Sullivan.

Denied: James White.

Thus far all White has done is “block” me on Facebook hoping that I and Full Preterism will go away. Good try Mr. White.

Sam Shamoun & Anthony Rogers (of AnsweringIslam.net): These men have documented the White / Ally debate on their site and no doubt saw White avoid the passages Shabir brought up therefore this “apologetic” ministry tried to post a response on them through Anthony Rogers. Unfortunately, Roger’s article series never got finished! He couldn’t even finish his article on Matthew 24 – let alone attempting to show us the continuity or discontinuity between Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24-25 with that of the rest of the NT! There was simply no substantive response given by this “apologetic” ministry as well.

My propositions to debate Sam Shamoun and Anthony Rogers are the same as they have been for James White. Both of these men have cowardly blocked me from interacting with them on Facebook. Sam Shamoun in a private message actually called me a “coward,” then proceeded to invite me to a public forum (I’m guessing to debate him there?) and then after I showed up “blocked” me from that! This series of public articles and debate challenges demonstrate who the real “cowards” are – Selah.

I’ll await an “answer” from Shabir Alley, James White, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers on the exegetical material and arguments I have presented in this series. Thus far, only the Muslim has kind of sort of responded to the debate challenge (not to any specific exegetical arguments I have given him that Christ kept His Word). White, Rogers and Shamoun have done nothing except to demonstrate that they are a sad commentary on NT imminence as it pertains to Christian apologetics and the gospel message to Muslim and Bible skeptics when this subject comes up.

PART 1 – Debate Challenge and Response to:  James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1 http://fullpreterism.com/james-whites-embarrassing-failure-to-address-matthew-1627-28-matthew-24-and-1-thessalonians-416-17-in-his-debate-with-shabir-ally-and-my-public-challenge-to-debate-shabir-ally-james-whit/

PART 2 – Debate Challenge and Response to: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – “Time/Hour of the End” = “End of the Age” Resurrection (Dan. 12=Matt. 13=Luke 20:27-40=Matt. 24:30-31, 36=John 4-5) All Fulfilled In AD 70 http://fullpreterism.com/debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-part-2-the-end-of-the-age-matthew-13-matthew-24/

PART 3a. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun – All The Signs, Abomination That Causes Desolation, Tribulation, Times Of The Gentiles – “In Fulfillment Of All That Has Been Written” (Matt. 24:1-25/Luke 21:20-24) http://fullpreterism.com/part-3-a-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-matthew-241-25/

Part 3b. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, And Anthony Rogers – The Coming Of The Son Of Man (Matt. 24:27—-25:31) Fulfilled By Ad 70 http://fullpreterism.com/part-3b-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-the-coming-of-the-son-of-man-matt-2427-2531-fulfilled-by-ad-70/

Part 3c. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun, Shabir Ally: Matthew 24-25 “This Generation” And Division Theories Refutedhttp://fullpreterism.com/part-3c-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-shabir-ally-matthew-24-25-this-generation-and-division-theories-refuted/

Part 4 – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun And Shabir Ally (1 Thess. 4:16-17 & Acts 1:9-11) http://fullpreterism.com/part-4-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-and-shabir-alley-1-thess-416-17-and-acts-19-11/

 

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