In What Sense Did Jesus Leave, Stay and Then Return In AD 70 – Brief Study of Acts 1:6-11–3:17-23 and The Anaology of Scripture

By David Green / Michael Bennett / Michael Sullivan
Talbotism or Partial Preterism would ask:
. . . Jesus left. And unless you ignore his promise to be with them until the end of the age, you would have to agree that there is a sense in which he didn’t leave. Well, it seems awfully obvious to me now that the sense in which he left was in regards to his human nature; which includes a body. He physically left them. Acts 1 clearly demonstrates that.  And there is nothing illogical about that answer.  If that isn’t the sense, then what is? . . . In what sense did he leave and in what sense did he stay. . . ?
David Green’s Comments:

My response:
The answer to Talbotism’s question is found in the answer to these seven questions:
1. “…until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19)
The church was looking forward to when Christ would be formed in it.  But Christ was already in the church.  “In what sense” then was He later “formed” in the church?
2. “in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21,22).

The church was looking forward to when it would become God’s “holy temple” / dwelling.”  But the church was already God’s temple/dwelling.  “In what sense” then did the church later become God’s temple/dwelling.
3. “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith….”
(Eph. 3:17)

Paul’s desire was that God would strengthen believers with might by Christ’s Spirit in the inner man “so that Christ would dwell in [their] hearts through faith.”  But Christ was already dwelling in believers’ hearts through faith.  “In what sense” then did Christ later dwell in believers’ hearts through faith?
4. “to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

The church’s glorious hope (her expectation) was “Christ in you.”  But Christ was already in the church.  “In what sense” then did Christ later dwell in the church?
5. “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star arises
in your hearts
.” (II Peter 1:19)

Believers were looking forward to “the day” when “the Morning Star” would arise in their hearts.  But the Morning Star (Jesus) was already dwelling in their hearts.  “In what sense” then did Jesus later arise in believers’ hearts?
6. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20;  This promise was written to believers.).

Jesus told believers that if any one of them opened the door, He would “come in to him, and will dine with him.”  But Jesus was already dwelling in believers and dining with them.  “In what sense” then did Jesus later dwell in believers and dine with them?
7. “…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” (Jn. 14:23)

Only spirit-indwelt believers love Jesus.  Yet Jesus said that a time would come when the Father and the Son would make their abode in Spirit-indwelt believers.  Yet the Son was already dwelling in Spirit-indwelt believers.  “In what sense” then did Jesus and the Father later make Their abode in Spirit-indwelt believers?
The rhetorical question of the two men in white apparel: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
Their question implied that it was pointless for the disciples to stand there gazing up into the sky as Jesus went up.
But, why/how was it pointless for Jesus’ disciples to stand there gazing up into the sky as He went up?

Was it because Jesus wasn’t going to come back for many years?  Was it because the disciples had a lot of work to do and didn’t have time to stand around?
Neither of these reasons were the explanation the two men gave for their rhetorical question.  They did not say, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  Jesus isn’t going to come back for a long, long time.”  Nor did they say, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  You have a lot of work to do and limited time in which to do it.”
No, according to the two men, it was pointless to stand there gazing into the sky as Jesus went up, because Jesus was going to “come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
In the futurist framework, that argument, of course, makes no sense.  There was no point in looking into the sky as Jesus went up because He was going to come back physically?  That’s a non sequitur.
In the preterist framework though, the words of the two men do make sense.
There was no point in looking for Jesus to come back down out of the sky, because He was to come in the manner in which they had “seen” him going into the sky:
Hidden from ordinary sight, in divine glory (Acts. 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:16).
Michael Bennett comments:
Milton Terry (1898)
“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, what manner, occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not sonic 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.”
“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.
“To make the one statement of the angel in Acts 1:11, 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.”[1]
If “in like manner” means “in exactly the same way” then:
• How does Jesus come from heaven riding on a white horse (Rev. 19:11)?
• How does He come “with ten thousand of His saints” (Jude 14)?
• How does He come “as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west” (Matt. 24:27)?
• How does He come “with a loud command [shout] . . . and with the trumpet call of God” (1 Thess. 4:16)?
• How does He come “in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thess. 1:7)?
We have seen various legitimate reasons / arguments and statements why Acts 1 is not about a future coming it is in regards to the AD70 coming of Christ a “2nd” time (Heb. 9:26-28).  Here is another more point – consider the CONTEXT regarding the kingdom. and the dates that the Father sets that no one knows. Where have we seen that and are there time texts etc. attached to those. After all that is the context of Acts 1. That is the question that is being answered by the “two men dressed in white.”
Immediate Context of Acts 1:9-11
“3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 6So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11″Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
The context of Acts 1 is:

  • The coming of the kingdom.
  • You (disciple’s – contemporary audience) do not know the time or dates.
  • The disciple’s preaching the gospel to all the world.

Needless to say – the kingdom was “near” and that is a time text and Matthew 24 cannot be divided into 2 comings because Luke 17 mixes the event so not knowing the day / hour (Matt. 24:36) or times / dates (Acts 1:6ff.; 1 Thess. 5:1ff.) etc. was a reference to AD 70.   Also note that both are about the gospel reaching the world etc.
(Matthew 10:7) “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.
(Matthew 24:14, 34, 36)  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 34I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 36″No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Michael Sullivan’s Comments:
1)  How Christ went and would return
In our book House Divided, pages 101-102 I wrote:
“Mathison errs when he says that Jesus was going to come back in the same way that He “departed.” The Scriptures say that Jesus would come in the same way He had entered the sky. He entered the sky hidden from literal eye sight in the cloud of God’s glory.
Here is the order of events:
1. As they looked, He was taken up (Acts 1:9).
2. A cloud received Him from their eyes (Acts 1:9).
These first two events could very well have happened simultaneously.  As Mathison himself admits, the verse could be translated, “He was lifted up; that is, a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
It is a very real possibility that Jesus was instantly hidden in the cloud at the moment His feet left the earth.
3. 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).
. . . 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 (Heb. 5:7). 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.”
2)  Christ’s return will follow the completion of the Great Commission
On pages 98-104 I noted how Keith Mathison in one of his books claims:
Acts 1:9-11 has – “…no reference to time connected with the prediction of the return of Christ.” (WSTTB?, 185, emphasis mine)
But in another book he writes,
The time frame is hinted at in the preceding context.  The disciples are given a commission to be Christ’s witneses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  The implication is that Christ’s visible return will follow the completion of the mission to the remotest part of the earth.” (Postmillennialism, 117, bold emphasis mine).
God saved 3,000 believers (new exodus motif. 3,000 died at giving of law 3,000 live from NC life in the Spirit – the law produces death the Spirit life etc…) from “every nation under heaven” in (Acts 2:5, 41) and sent them back out into their “every nation under heaven” and or “world” (Greek ge) to proclaim the gospel.  By AD 70 “every nation under heaven” and this “world” (Greek ge) Jesus is referring to had been preached to (Rom. 1:18, Cols. 5-6, 23).  Therefore, the “implication” of Partial Preterism and that of Mathison, is that Christ returned in AD 70 when the “time frame” of “the disciples commission” was fulfilled.  Selah.
3)  The “restoration of the kingdom” (Acts 1:6) .
is also inseparably connected to the coming of the Lord in (v. 11).  And yet, the “restoration” of the kingdom Jesus identified with John the Baptist/Elijah — preaching repentance because of an imminent wrath and judgment associated with the  the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Matt. 3:7-12; Matt. 11:10-14; Matt. 17:10-13; Isaiah 11; Mal. 3-4).  Oddly another coming of the Lord Partial Preterism claims took place in AD 70.  ecause Peter was preaching to his contemporary audience telling them to act (per Gentry)!
4)  The “Great and dreadful day of the Lord” in (Acts 2:20ff.)
Partial Preterism also teaches that the contemporary repentance preached to Peter’s generation in Acts 2 along with the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” was fulfilled by AD 70 (Acts 2:20–40).   One of Gentry’s reasons being that Peter was preaching to his contemporary audience telling them to act! Let’s now pick back up the “restoration of the kingdom” or the “restoration of all things” — contemporary exhortation to act in repentance in connection with the Lord’s return in Acts 3 and Hebrews 9:24–10:37.
5)  Picking back up the “restoration of the kingdom” or “until the time comes for God to restore everything” “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:17-23) etc…
These NT terms reached there fullness and mature state when the Second Coming of Lord took place in AD 70 (Luke 21:27-32/Acts 3:17-23/Heb. 9:24–26-28–10:1YLT, 25, 37).  So far according Partial Preterism the coming of the Lord in Acts 1:11 and Acts 2:20-21 took place in AD 70.
But what about in chapter 3 — is there anything in this chapter that would indicate a different coming of the Lord spread out over thousands or millions of years?  Per the logic and reasoning of Gentry in Acts 2, the same Jewish contemporary audience is being exhorted to repent  and if they didn’t  this coming of the Lord would result either in their sins being forgiven (those that would repent), and for  those who refused to repent – they would be “completely cut off from among his people” (Acts 3:17-23). These are those who would not listen to the greater prophet than Moses (Christ) predicted by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.  And what was the message of “this prophet” (Jesus)?  Was it not that His return in their generation would mark the fulfillment of all that has been written in the OT – time of redemption for those that trusted and repented and the time of punishment for those who would not (Luke 21:22-32)?!? 
Luke 21:20-32 & Acts 3:17-23

  • Same coming of the Lord.
  • Same salvation/redemption for believers and punishment for unbelievers – Jews “his people.”
  • Same fulfillment of all the OT prophets and scriptures.

Since the OT prophets predicted the “restoration of the kingdom” or “the restoration of all things,” when Christ would come from heaven (Acts 1:6-11/3:17-23) and Partial Preterist’s admit that the OC “heaven and earth” of (Matt. 5:17-18) passed away in AD 70 — therefore, the coming of Christ and the restoration of all things pertaining to God’s kingdom found in the law and prophets were fulfilled and reached there mature state by D 70.
And verse 24 wraps up the sermon informing us that all which has gone before (all the OT’s Prophets testimony) “foretold these days” – that is the “last days” and coming of the Lord in salvation or judgment that was preached in the previous chapter in ( Acts 2:17-21, 38-40; see also 1 Peter 1:4-12).  Many Partial Preterists believe the “last days” were from AD 30 – AD 70.  This being the case, the Lord comes from heaven at the end of “the last days” of the OC age at which time He came from heaven to save the remnant and “judge His people (Israel).”  And these same Partial Preterists we are addressing in this article would affirm that the salvation of Israel in Romans 11 was also fulfilled by AD 70.  Since it is grammatically impossible to separate the time given for Christ to come from heaven to reward with forgiveness of sins and or judge these first century Jews “his people” in (Acts 3:19-23) in their “last days” or “these days,” we must ask these Partial Preterists if there is going to be another Old Covenant “Israel” “his people” in the future when Christ returns but yet again?
The bottom line exegetical facts are from Acts 1:6–3:23 we have the:

  • Same contemporary exhortation/audience directed at the Jews to repent for killing their Messiah.
  • Same coming of the Lord in salvation or judgment that we saw in chapter 2.
  • Same “restoration” motif and coming of the Lord we saw in Acts 1:6-11!
  • Same “last days” or “these days” time period (AD 30 – AD 70) for these OT predictions to take place.

Hebrews 9:24-28–10:37 “Time of reformation” “Appear a second time apart from sin.”
Partial Preterist Mathison cites (Heb. 9:28) as an “indefinite reference” of the second coming since the verse allegedly does not contain a time text (WSTTB?, p. 202). But R.C. Sproul in refuting Kistemaker says that this passage includes both His first and second coming occurring by AD. 70 and that a “considerable time” is very much an issue with this text,
This passage refers to both the first and second appearances of Christ. The context for his first appearance is “the end of the ages.” Yet his followers are still waiting for him to appear a second time.” “…If Christ’s first coming at “the end of the ages” has already occurred and if considerable time has elapsed since that coming, then it is impossible to identify “the end of the ages” with the end of time. If the second appearing of Christ here refers to his judgment on Jerusalem, it would still fit in the framework of “the end of the ages” that is not the end of all time.[2]
But probably the best and most straightforward statement comes once again from Partial Preterist Milton S. Terry,
The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.[3]
This text is where we get the term “the Second coming” of Jesus , and we have partial preterists such as Sproul and Terry conceding to a common sense Full Preterist interpretation of the passage as possibly or being fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.  Mathison just avoids the issues but in another work does say of Hebrews 9:1-28,
“In 9:1-10, the author continues his argument by explaining the temporary nature of the Old Testament tabernacle and its ceremonies. The tabernacle and its sacrifices were never intended by God to be permanent. They were to continue until the “time of reformation” (v.10).12 Hebrews 9:11-28 describes what happened when this time of reformation arrived.” (Postmillennialism, ibid., p.132).
He then goes on to quote Philip E. Hughes whom agrees with us that the imagery here is that of the High Priest going into the Most Holy Place tabernacle/temple on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifice and intercede for the covenant people before coming back out “a second time” in declaring that the sacrifice had been accepted and applying or sprinkling the blood etc… The problem for Mathison, is that the time texts within the broader and immediate context of this chapter demand “the time of reformation” process or the eschatological “not yet,” to arrive in its fullness within an imminent AD 70 time frame and not millennia. In his debate with Full Preterism, he does not want to draw attention to this fact let alone allow the imminent contextual flow surrounding the passage to be an exegetical factor (8:13, 9:6-10, 10:1, 13/17, 25, 37) which Sproul says is an exegetical issue that needs addressing. We couldn’t agree more! Once again we find Mathison’s response more than “shallow,” it is nonexistent!
Just in passing, on Hebrews 9:8, — I would agree with commentators who would identify the “first” compartment being the Holy Place (not the entire tabernacle) – symbolizing the Old Covenant age still having a “legal standing,” “have status” or “functioning” and the Most Holy Place being representative of the New Covenant age in-breaking upon the old.  Full and complete face to face access (of the age changing process between AD 30 -AD 70) is given behind the veil within the Most Holy Place at the blowing of the last trumpet when the Second Coming of Christ takes place in AD 70 (Rev. 11:15-19; 21:16–22:3-4, 6-7, 10-12, 20; 1 Cor. 13:12/2 Cor. 3:7–5:10/6:16).
The context of Hebrews 9-10 is the same in which we see developed in Acts 1:6–2:20ff.–3:17-23:

  • A exhortation given to a contemporary audience regarding an imminent judgment/salvation (forgiveness of sin).
  • Concerning the “time of reformation” connected to…
  • The coming of the Lord – a second time.

Partial Preterism (in this case as seen in the hateful Talbot cult obsessed with bearing false witness against Full Preterism – almost on a daily basis as documented on David Greens pretcosmos yahoo list) continues in its hardness in fighting against the analogy of Scripture when trying to reconciling all of the component parts of Acts 1-3 with passages they say were fulfilled by AD 70.  The vast majority of Christianity and creedal statements understands the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 as the same event as depicted in Matthew 24-25/1 Thess. 4-5/Rev. 1:7 etc… They also correctly identify the Great Commission in Acts 1:8 with that of Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15-18/Matthew 28:18-20.  If the church is still in the “last days” (depending on which Mathison or Partial Preterist book you read now days) and the commission of the disciples has not been reached throughout the “world” / “every nation under heaven” or to “all nations,” then Mathison and reformed Partial Preterists should be open to speaking in tongues and reworking their theology on the charismata (Acts 1-2; Mark 13:10; 16:15-18).  Selah.
Conclusion:
When we compare Acts 1:6-11 with the rest of the NT addressing its various motifs —

  • How Christ went (hidden in the glory cloud) was being formed in the Church and returned “in like manner” (hidden in glory and “in” or “within” the Church).
  • When the “restoration of the kingdom” would come connected to its day/hour and times and seasons…
  • The Great Commission being preached throughout the “world” (Greek ge) being when…
  • Christ would appear a “second time” at the end of the Old Covenant age (even quoting Partial Preterist theologians themselves on Acts 1:9-11/Heb. 9:26-28/Matt. 24-25/Rev. 1:7) we can readily see…
  • That the Second Coming of Christ was fulfilled by AD 70.

Partial Preterists have to continue to kick against the goads seeking the “validation of men” in order to please their creedal supporters and hide from these “simple” truths of Scripture.  We affirm that the creeds are correct in that Acts 1:6-11/Acts 3:20-21/Matt. 24:30-31; 25:31ff. are one event and describe the judgment and resurrection of the “quick and the dead.”  But according to Luke in the book of Acts and Jesus, these were event’s that were “about to” take place in Jesus’ and Luke’s first century “this generation” (Acts 17:31YLT/WEY; Acts 24:15YLT/WEY; Matt. 24:30-34).  And yet this article/response is to Talbot-Jason and Talbot-Frost whom are now quoting reformed creeds and confessions which actually connects Acts 1:11 with Matthew 24:30; 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 22:20 (which they claim happened in AD 70) as the SAME EVENT!  Partial Preterism continues to lead their readers into Full Preterism no matter what they do – selah.  [facebook][tweet][stumble][pinterest][follow id=”Username” ]


[1] Milton Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ; Baker Book House; pp. 246-247 see note #34 too)
[2] R.C. Sproul, THE LAST DAYS ACCORDING TO JESUS, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 106.
[3] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.

 

Joel McDurmon, Dominionism and the Sabbath

Joel McDurmon, Dominionism and the Sabbath
Don K. Preston D. Div. 
In my formal debate with Joel McDurmon of American Vision (July 19-21, 2012), in my first affirmative presentation, I took note of the critical, but mostly overlooked, importance of the Sabbath to the study of eschatology.
I proved that the Sabbath was a distinctively covenantal sign between God and Israel, a sign both of creation and of deliverance from Egyptian bondage and death. (Exodus 31; Deuteronomy 5). (DVDs and MP3s of the debate will be available from this website very shortly).
Not only was the Sabbath a covenantal sign between YHVH and Israel, it was a prophetic foreshadowing of the end of the millennium (final) salvation and resurrection.
My argument then was that Jesus said not one jot or one tittle would pass from Torah, the Law of Moses, until it was all completely accomplished, brought to reality (Matthew 5:17-18). (See my new book, From Torah To Telos, The Passing of the Law of Moses, for an extensive exegesis of Matthew 5:17-18). This means that until what the Sabbath foreshadowed came into reality, i.e. until the end of the millennium resurrection was fulfilled, not one jot or one tittle of the Law of Moses would pass away.
McDurmon initially ignored this argument, so I repeated it and pressed it. He then admitted that he believes that  the Sabbath, with its ceremonial ordinances, i.e the sacrifices and observance of the seventh day, have passed away. However, of course, per Joel, the end of the millennium resurrection has not come to reality.
The reader simply must catch the power of the Sabbath issue. (In my planned series of books on the passing of the Law of Moses, I have plans to produce one volume strictly to this incredibly important issue).
Joel, and virtually all Dominionists (postmillennialists), hold to the similar view on the Sabbath. In fact, I documented in a chart how Bahnsen, Gentry, DeMar all agree that the Sabbath foreshadowed the end of the millennium resurrection. Likewise, they all affirm that the seventh day Sabbath has been annulled, along with all of its ceremonial, cultic ministrations. Yet, they all say that what the Sabbath foreshadowed– the consummation of God’s eschatological scheme– has not been fulfilled! Do you see the problem? It is huge. It is insurmountable. It is fatal to the Dominionist paradigm.
I once again took note of Jesus’ words that not one iota of Torah would pass until it was ALL– not some, not even most– but until it was ALL fulfilled, came to reality. Joel’s response was nothing less than desperate and revealing.
Joel responded by noting that the word “all” does not always mean “all.” He appealed to Joshua 21:43-45 where it says that all of God’s land promises to Israel had been fulfilled, and claiming that the Messianic promises had not yet been fulfilled. All in Joshua is limited, therefore, he implied, all in Matthew 5 must be limited, and thus proclaiming that he had nullified my argument on Matthew 5.
Of course, no one denies that context can limit the meaning of “all.” However, I produced a chart with the following quote from Greg Bahnsen (One of McDurmon’s mentors):
“A verse like Matthew 5:18, with its unparticularized panta (translated as “all” DKP) is prey for such treatment… Nothing in the context or vocabulary of Matthew 5:18 warrants the induction of speculative meaning; a phrase as colorless and abstract as panta should not be particularized, personalized, and steered into this theological preconception. …. Page 83— “In Matthew 5:18 the commencement of the law’s passing away is made dependent upon panta genetai. Panta, when used without an article or preposition indicates “all things, everything.” It is to be taken in this absolutely general sense unless the context dictates some antecedent whole of which panta constitutes the complete parts.” (Theonomy, 83, my emp). (McDurmon totally ignored the chart and the quote).
The next night, I took note of Joel’s disturbing hermeneutic. By appealing to Joshua to redefine Matthew 5 Joel was guilty of an illegitimate transfer of context. Joshua was not talking about what Matthew 5 was talking about. To impose one context on another context, when the subject matter is totally different in the two texts, is clearly wrong.
I likewise took note that Joel’s hermeneutic would destroy the meaning of all in all (pun intended) contexts! In other words, if Joshua 21 defines “all” as a limited “all” in Matthew 5, then why doesn’t the “all” in Joshua limit the definition of “all” in “all” (comprehensively speaking) texts? This is so patently untenable as to be unthinkable, and, of course, Joel would never accept it. However, he could never justify why the “all” in Joshua demanded a limited “all” in Matthew. He never gave a word of justification other than seeking to imply that Joshua limited Matthew. This kind of specious, arbitrary hermeneutic is very, very revealing.
Very clearly, there is no contextual qualifier in Matthew 5 that limits, in any way whatsoever, the definition of “all.”  Thus, per Bahnsen’s excellent analysis, all in Matthew 5 must mean, well, ALL!
(In another article, we will share Joel’s disingenuous attempt to negate the force of Jesus’ use of genetai, translated as “fulfilled” in Matthew 5:18).
Here then, was, and is, my argument:
Jesus said that not one jot or one tittle would pass from the Law of Moses until it was all fully accomplished.
The Sabbath– an integral part of the Law of Moses– foreshadowed the end of the millennium resurrection.
Therefore  until the end of the millennium resurrection is fulfilled, comes into reality, not one single iota of the Law of Moses– and specifically the observance of the ceremonial, cultic, sacrificial seventh day Sabbath– can or will pass away!
Joel’s futurist eschatology (in fact, all futurist eschatologies) demands the continuance of the seventh day Sabbath!
I asked the audience (and of course, Joel) at least twice, to consider what Joel was saying. By taking the position that he does, Joel turns Jesus’ teaching 180% out. Jesus said, “not one jot or one tittle  will pass from the law until it is all fulfilled.” Joel, and all futurists, say that what Jesus really meant was: “Some jots and tittles of the Law, for instance the seventh day Sabbath, will pass from the law without being fulfilled at all!”
I posed the following question to Joel and the audience: Would anyone ever get Joel’s interpretation of Matthew 5:17-18 from Jesus’ words? Would they ever get from, “Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until it is all fulfilled” that it actually means: “Some jots and tittles of the Law will pass without being fulfilled”? Joel never offered a single word in response to this question.
I want the reader to let that soak in.
Some years ago, (1997) David Chilton gave a speech in Oklahoma City, presenting his reasons for becoming a full preterist. He took note that Dominionists commonly appeal– as Bahnsen, Gary North and even Joel McDurmon– to Matthew 5:17-18 to prove the eternal validity of the Law of Moses.  But, as Chilton noted, the very verse that they appeal to for their doctrine is in fact a total refutation of their doctrine!
Chilton demonstrated exegetically and logically, that Matthew 5:17-18 emphatically says that not one iota of Torah– which includes the sacrificial system– would pass until it was all fulfilled. Yet, all Dominionists say that lots and lots of jots and tittles of the Law of Moses have passed away, without being fulfilled! Those jots and tittles of the, “New Moons, feast days and Sabbaths” were“purged”, removed and annulled, without ever being fulfilled! (The lectureship containing Chilton’s speech is available from me. Contact me through this site).
In reality, in one very real sense, nothing else that Joel McDurmon said in the debate really matters.  It is impossible, logically, to affirm the passing of the seventh day Sabbath without thereby demanding the fulfillment of the end of the millennium resurrection– the fulfillment of “final salvation”– the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant promises Joel says that the seventh day Sabbath has passed, but, that what the Sabbath foreshadowed has not come to reality. The shadow has not become reality. The shadow simply passed away. There can be no reconciliation between Dominionist theology and Jesus’ words.
There could not be a clearer rejection of the words of Jesus than the futurist eschatology of postmillennial Dominionism.

The Tabernacle of God and the Resurrection Broadcast

Tabernacle of God and the ResurrectionPer Mike Sullivan’s request, I am posting the audio to the most recent “Two Men and A Bible Broadcast” co-hosted by Don K. Preston, D. Div, and Williamn Bell currently at BlogTalkRadio.com/eschatology-allthingsfulfilled.
This study surveyed the tabernacle of God as the place where death is removed, showing the emphasis of the tabernacle and priesthood to be the foundation of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.
Additional information on this topic can be found on our blog allthingsfulfilled.com. Currently, we are creating additional writings and study aids to help others more clearly understand these concepts. Any questions you may have or points of clarity you would like to suggest from either this broadcast or the articles on the subject is appreciated.
It is my firm conviction that the tabernacle of God is the true hermeneutic for understanding the resurrection and deals a decisive blow to the IBD view (which if I understand correctly affirms immortality of the body only at death). It is also the knockout punch to the chin of the physical body resurrection affirmed by futurists of all colors and stripes. These concepts currently are being expanded upon for publication in a single work in the near future focusing on resurrection in a Full Preterist Covenant Eschatology context.

Listen to internet radio with William Bell on Blog Talk Radio

I believe there are two key places where death and resurrection get derailed according to the scriptures. Both involved a beginning. Once we foul up the beginning we are certain to have complications with the end. My aim in these studies is to layout what I believe to be the derailment in the beginning and once established to keep on track all the way to the time of the end.
This means we’ll have less concern and opportunities for others to make arguments about the end of history, i.e. end of time which the Bible in my judgment says not one thing about in eschatological contexts or otherwise.
I appreciate those of you who have stood firm on these in light of those who waiver, and those who totter back and forth, seemingly not knowing how much ground they give up every time they release another significant text to fulfillment in 70AD.  Once again, thanks to all for your encouraging feedback on the broadcast.

Critique of American Vision/Joel McDurmon's Affirmative – “The Hour is coming" (JOHN 4:21-24 & JOHN 5:28-29)

Critique of American Vision/Joel McDurmon’s Affirmative – “The Hour is coming” (JOHN 4:21-24 & JOHN 5:28-29)

By Michael J. Sullivan

In Joel McDurmon’s recent debate with Don Preston, he proposed a few arguments leveled at Full Preterism (FP) which I will now summarize and then address in the body of this article.  First, God’s promise to Abraham was that he would inherit the entire literal real-estate of the “world” (Greek kosmos) and since this has never happened, it stands to reason that a final literal bodily resurrection of the dead has not taken place.  Second, an appeal to John 5-6 was made concerning the “last day” (also John 11-12) and a definite limited number of the elect is referred to – so for Joel this is somehow evidence of an end of time and history.  Oddly he takes 2 Peter 3 as fulfilled in AD 70, but the longsuffering of the “us” and “all” of 2 Peter 3:9 is evidence of a salvation for the elect at the end of time?  Third, by “allusion” the end of the world and history is supposed to be seen in Ecclesiastes 3:11 and Isaiah 41:4 and 46:10.  And lastly, an appeal was made to an allegedly fleshly end of time resurrection spoken of by Job in Job 19.
This article is in process and will cover all of these points, but I will begin by addressing John 5:25-29 and laying the context of John 4:19-38…  I have also done this in a bit of a hurry so I will need to go back through and no doubt do a little editing.
The John 4-5 “The hour is coming and now is” and “The hour is coming” Connections
Before examining McDurmon’s points on John 5,  let’s take a look at these phrases and context found in John 4 and then how Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry addresses the “hour is coming”:
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming (the eschatological “not yet”) when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  “But the hour is coming, and now is (the eschatological “already and not yet”), when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn.4:21-24)
Jesus is referring to the judgment upon Jerusalem when He mentions “an hour is coming” which is the eschatological “not yet” in His discussion of a hotly debated issue concerning a mountain and temple worship with the Samaritan woman.  Jesus’ answer is a AD 70 and post post AD 70 answer concerning a time when a localized place of mountain and temple worship will be meaningless – giving way to the establishment of NC Temple/Mount Zion (Jn.4:19-21; cf. Hebs.9:6-10; Heb.12).
We should take note that there are other eschatological themes such as the harvest which brings with it the Great Commission and resurrection motifs.  There is only one NC “harvest” and it involves the harvesting of souls unto “eternal life” and would occur at the end of the OC “this age” Jesus and His audience were living in (Jn.4:35ff./Mt.3:10-12/Mt.13:37-43).  There are not two different kinds of harvests, one evangelistic and spiritual and the other involving a literal resurrection of corpses at the end of time.  John in Revelation describes the end of the same harvest at the end of the OC age as something that would “shortly” take place and was “at hand” (Rev.1:1, 3 <–Rev.14–> Rev.22:7, 10, 12, 20).  Jesus also instructs us that “salvation is of the Jews” (Jn.4:22) therefore this further confirms the harvest/resurrection occurs at the end of the Jewsish first century OC.  The resurrection/harvest theme is coinciding with the Bride theme that was introduced previously with John the Baptist.  Samaritans were “half-breeds” that were the product of intermarriage and a “scattering” and “sowing” that occurred with the Assyrian captivity.  A Samaritan woman who is ½ Jew and ½ Gentile is a fitting representation of the Bride of Christ – for He has reconciled the two into one new body.  The parallels of Jacob finding his wife with Jesus finding His are striking:  1)  Jacob left his home country to find a bride.  Jesus left heaven to find His Bride.  2)  Jacob had a dream of a ladder and anointed a stone.  3)  John the Baptist finds a stone (Jesus) and anoints Him – the very ladder Jacob dreamed of (Jn.1:51).  Jacob found his bride at this well at “high day.”   Jesus met with the Samaritan woman at the same well at the sixth hour or noon time.  4)  Jacob had 12 sons that comprised the old-covenant bride of Israel.  Jesus appoints 12 disciples representing the new-covenant and transformed Israel/Bride.  This woman had married 5 men was living with the 6th —  finding no rest and contentment until finding Jesus — the ultimate perfect Groom and Husband of the Church who brings rest/satisfaction/unfailing love – ie. the7th .[2] Shiloh/Jesus is the Sabbath rest who is beginning a “gathering” that will be completed at harvest time at His return in His contemporary generation (Gen.49:1, 10; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt.24:30-31, 34; Hebs.3-4, 10:25, 37).  Since DeMar and McDurmon take the parable of the 10 virgins and coming of the Lord in Matthew 25:1-13, 31 as taking place in AD 70, then we are correct to point out that this is when the eschatological marriage/feast and resurrection of the dead takes place as well:
“On THIS MOUNTAIN the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines.  On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; HE WILL SWALLOW UP DEATH FOREVER” (Isa. 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54).
In Jewish weddings the banquet/feast and giving of the finest wine takes place AFTER the wedding.  Clearly when the Church inherits Zion in AD 70 is when the eschatological /feast and resurrection of the dead takes place.  McDurmon took issue with Preston placing Isaiah 25:6-7 with verse 8/1Cor. 15:54 as if Paul did not have verses 6-7 in mind as well?!?  But Isaiah 24-28 is a very well established contextual flowing  “block” “inclusio” or simply called “Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse” for the commentators!  And for further support lets once turn again to our context of Jesus’ (and the Jewish) dispute with the Samaritan woman over a coming eschatological hour in which “worship” will take place on a “mountain” and “Jerusalem” — we should stay in Isaiah::
“IN THAT DAY (the last day of the Old Covenant age) the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, WILL BE GATHERED (cf. Matt. 13:39-43, 49/Matt. 24:30-31/2 Thess. 2:1) up one by one.  And in THAT DAY A GREAT TRUMPET WILL SOUND (Matt. 24:30-31/1 Thess. 4:15-17/1 Cor. 15:52) those who were perishing in Assyria and those who WORSHIP THE LORD ON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN IN JERUSALEM.” (Isa. 27:13).
Of Isaiah 27:13’s connection with the NT texts I inserted above, let’s turn to G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson for support:
“The trumpet as a sign of the day of the Lord in 1 Cor. 15:52 recalls Isa. 27:13…” Of 2 Thessalonians 2:1, “The content of Paul’s appeal in this section concerns not only “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but also “our gathering to him.” The immediate reference to this latter subject is the comforting picture given in the previous letter of how all believers, both those who have died and those who are still alive, will be gathered together to Jesus at his return (1 Thess. 4:16–17). The motif, however, goes back to the widespread OT hope in the gathering together of the scattered exiles to their own land on the day of the Lord (Ps. 106:47 [105:47 LXX]; Isa. 27:13; 43:4–7; 49:12; 56:8; Jer. 29:14; 30:3, 18; 31:8, 23; 33:7; Joel 3:1–2; Zech 2:6; Tob. 14:5; 2 Macc. 1:27; 2:7, 18; Pss. Sol. 17:50; T. Ash. 7:6–7; T. Naph. 8:3). This hope was taken over by Jesus and his scattered followers to refer to the final gathering of God’s people with the Messiah (Matt. 24:31 par.; cf. 23:37 par.).[1]
Now let’s continue and comapre Isaiah 27:13 with our text here in John 4 as laying the contextual foundation to John 5:28-29:
“Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on THIS MOUNTAIN NOR IN JERUSALEM (literal Old Covenant types)…a hour is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will the Father in spirit and truth (the New Covenant anti-type Heb. 12:18–13:14 “City/Jerusalem that is about to come”) , for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24).
Interestingly enough, Kenneth Gentry identifies the eschatological “not yet” of Jesus’ phrase, “the hour is coming” in (John 4:21) as taking place in AD 70 and following.[2]  Therefore, McDurmon fails to deal with contextually how Jesus uses the classic soteriological/eschatological “already and not yet” phrase “The hour is coming, and now is…” as referring NOT to the end of time and history but the end in AD 70.  This being the case, the burden of proof now lies on the PP Joel McDurmon and AV associates and colleagues to explain why Jesus is now using the very same eschatological “already and not yet” phrases to be addressing an end of time and history event.  It is not uncommon for the PP view to divide the contextual flow of eschatological chapters — that the reformed church has traditionally united.[3]
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice “and come forth––those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (Jn. 5:21, 24-29)
Here in the next chapter Jesus is using the “already and not yet” phrases “The hour is coming and now is” or “The hour is coming” to refer to the same AD 30 – AD 70 time frame.  As the “already and not yet” of John 4 was spiritually fulfilled by AD 70, so it is here in John 5:25-29.  Oddly McDurmon claims that John 5:28-29 “could be applied to AD 70.”  But why would Joel McDurmon say this?
Could it be that he realizes his admission that the resurrection unto everlasting life and everlasting condemnation in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 took place in AD 70 will come back to bite him?  Perhaps he knows the commentators and scholars point out that the ONLY place in the OT that mentions the phrase “everlasting life” and a resurrection for two groups – believers and non-believers, is found here in Daniel 12:2?!?  Perhaps in a rare moment McDurmon realizes he is stuck between a rock (Dan. 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70) and a hard place (Dan. 12:2=John 5:28-29) in that the vast majority of Christianity connects the resurrection of the two groups in Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28-29 as the SAME EVENT — so he wants to throw it out there as a possible AD 70 fulfillment?
But instead of going with what the vast majority of Christianity teaches on these texts and what he says of an AD 70 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2/Matt. 13:39-43 (which would be but yet another text American Vision has surrendered to FP), he is reluctant to try and salvage his and American Vision’s allegiance to the creeds and their supporters, claiming he believes John 5:28-29 is referring to an end of time fleshly resurrection because the phrase “now is” is not used in verses 28-29 only in v. 25, and the “graves” are mentioned here.
Well, as mentioned the OT echo or reference on the resurrection of the two groups is found in Dan. 12:2 and the “graves” would be that of Ezekiel 37.  Neither of these OT resurrection texts according to PPism is referring to a fleshly resurrection – and neither is John 5:28-29!  As the Son had seen the Father raise Israel from her graves spiritually, covenantally and corporately in Ezekiel 37, so too in a similar way He would raise the dead and those of the New Israel or those “In Christ” (living and dead) in AD 70 – spiritually, covenantally and corporately.
There is but yet another exegetical, theological and historical problem for Mr. McDurmon when it comes to studying the “The Hour is coming” in John’s writings (which he avoided dealing with in his affirmative).
The John 5:25-29/1John 2:17-18 & Rev. 14:7 Connections
Towards the end of John’s “this generation” (Mt.24:34), He wrote that He and his audience knew it was the “last hour” (1Jn.2:17-18).  In Gentry’s debate with futurists on the book of Revelation he accurately states,
“Similar notes of the temporal proximity of divinely governed cries abound in the New Testament (see Matt. 26:64; Acts 2:16-20; Rom. 13:11-12; 16:20; 1Cor.7:26, 29-31; Col. 3:6; 1Thess.2:16; Heb. 10:25, 37; James 5:8-9; 1Pet.4:5, 7; 1John 2:17-18).  How else could the New Testament express nearness more clearly?[4]
Again, we find McDurmon out of step with most reformed scholars throughout church history whom agree with FPism — that the analogy of Scripture parallels John’s teaching on the resurrection “the hour is coming” found in (John 5:28-29), with “it is the last hour” in (1 John 2:17-18), and with “for the hour of his judgment is come:” in (Rev. 14:7).  This of course is a problem for PPism and Mr. McDurmon since he sees “the last hour” and “hour of his judgment” of (1 John 2:17-18 and Rev. 14:7) as taking place in AD 70.
The “Hour is coming” and “The Last Days” Connection
A similar problem arises in that American Vision’s Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon teach in their writings that the NT’s reference to “the last days” is ONLY addressing the last days or end to the OC age in AD 70.  Well, the vast majority of Christian scholarship once again agrees with FPism and understands that John’s “The hour is coming” of (John 5:28-29) and “The last day” of (John 6:39) are referring to the “last hour” of the “last day” which closes the NT’s “last days” eschatology!
The John 5:24-29 and Revelation 20:1-13 Connections
And where was Joel’s “scholarly” or “exegetical” approach in examining John’s teachings on the resurrection and judgment of John 5:24-29 with that of Revelation 20?!?  Reformed theologian and commentator Simon Kistemacker, understands these events to be the same as does FPism:

Fourth Gospel Revelation
A. First Resurrection A. First Resurrection
I most solemnly assure you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has everlasting life … has passed out of death into life. I most solemnly assure you, the hour is coming — yea, has already arrived! — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. “… and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded … and such as worshiped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.… This is the first resurrection.
… and (he) does not come into condemnation. (For the solemn introductory formula see on 1:51.) “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power.”
B. Second Resurrection
(unto judgment)
B. Second Resurrection
(unto judgment)
Stop being surprised about this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out: those who have done good, for the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil, for the resurrection of condemnation. “And I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it.… And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works: And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.… And if any was not found in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”
[5] We too understand that these are dealing with the same judgment and resurrection of the dead event, but again we see two phases of ONE resurrection for “the dead” (both righteous and wicked) occurring at the end of the old-covenant age, not two kinds – one spiritual and one physical being taught by Jesus and John.
The John 5:25-29 and Matthew 25:31-46 Connections
American Vision’s Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon along with PP associate Keith Mathison, have progressed much closer to FPism in that they now take the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 25:31 as having occurred in AD 70.  Well, hasn’t the vast majority if not virtually all of the exegetical commentators within reformed eschatology or systematic theologies connected these passages as taking place at the same time as does FPism?!?  It is American Vision’s Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon along with Keith Mathison whom seek to pull one over on everyone claiming the coming of the Son of Man throughout ALL of Matthew 24-25 is NOT the Second Coming — which is out of step with orthodoxy and the analogy of Scripture.  Selah.
The John 5:28-29 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17/1 Corinthians 15 Connections
Since all of reformed theologians and commentators connect these passages as depicting the same eschatological events concerning the judgment and resurrection of the dead, and Joel McDurmon claims John 5:28-29 “could be applied to AD 70, and PP Mike Bull says the coming of Christ in 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15 took place in AD 70, there isn’t much left to the PPism of American Vision.  And their denial that their view does not lead to FPism is a total joke to the rest of the theological and scholarly world.
Concluding Joel’s Affirmative Points on John 5:25-29:
McDurmon miserably failed to address how Jesus uses these “already and not yet” phrases in the previous chapter as referring roughly from a time frame of AD 30 – AD 70, in attempting exegeting John 5:24-29.  He also miserably failed to address Daniel 12:2 as being the OT source for Jesus’ eschatology in John 5:28-29.
Joel McDurmon wanted to sound scholarly by explaining to us in the beginning of the debate that he was going to be going over these issues from an exegetical, systematic/theological, and historical way, and yet I have to give him an “F” in failing to address the exegetical and contextual issues in John 4-5, and how the historic church and scholars from a wide range connect the resurrection of John 5:28-29 with Daniel 12:2.  There is simply NO exegetical evidence that the resurrection of John 5:25-29/Dan. 12:2-3, 13 is a fleshly resurrection to take place at the end of time.  We in fact do want to appeal to the historic reformed Church (the PP view and the Classic Amillennial view – their scholars and commentators) which forms the organic development or “Reformed and Always Reforming” view of Full Preterism:
1)       Partial Preterism (& Joel McDurmon)
a)      Daniel 12:1-3, 13/Matt. 13:39-43/Matt. 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and “The hour is coming” of (John 5:28-29) “could be applied to AD 70.”  Joel McDurmon’s tutor for the debate and now American Vision contributing author – Sam Frost, believes the millennium of Revelation 20:1-10 was fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70.  Perhaps this too “could be applied to AD 70” Mr. McDurmon?!?  PP James Jordan disciple Mike Bull believes the parousia of Christ in 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15 took place in AD 70.  Mr. McDurmon, can these texts likewise be “applied to AD 70” per your peers?
b)      The NT’s use of “The last days” referred to and ended the OC age in AD 70 and the “The last hour” and “Hour of judgment” of (1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 14:7) was fulfilled in AD 70.
2)      Classic Amillennialism –
a)      Daniel’s judgment and resurrection doctrine of Daniel 12:1-3 is that of Jesus’/John’s/and Paul’s in Matt. 13:39-43/Matt. 24-25/John 5:28-29/Rev. 20:5-13 and Acts 24:15YLT/WEY.
b)      The “Hour is coming” “The last hour” and “Hour of judgment” of (John 5:28-29; 1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 14:7) marks the end to the NT’s “already and not yet” “Last days” eschaton.
3)      True or Full Preterism/Covenant Eschatology –
a)      Daniel’s judgment and resurrection of the dead doctrine of Daniel 12:1-3, 13 is that of Jesus’/John’s/and Paul’s in Matt. 13:39-43/Matt. 24-25/John 5:28-29/Rev. 20:5-13 and 1 Thess. 4/1 Cor. 15/Acts 24:15YLT/WEY.
b)      The “Hour is coming” “The last hour” and “Hour of judgment” of (John 5:28-29; 1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 14:7) marks the end to the NT’s “already and not yet” “Last days” eschaton during the transition of the OC age and NC age and ended in AD 70..
Reformed eschatology (PPism and the classic Amillennial view) continues to lead their readers to Full Preterism.  And although American Vision continues to deny that their writings are leading their readers into FPism, the statistics and testimonies are just too clear.  Why did American Vision publish their (and Talbot’s) dancing bear trophy Sam Frost’s thin little book on why he is no longer a FP?  It’s because they are DESPERATE for an image change!  They know hundreds of books could be published from Full Preterist’s such as Why I Left Partial Preterism For Full Preterism compared to the few converts Talot is bribing with a free tuition at Whitfield Theological Seminary or a whispering in the ear of a bright future within “reformed” “orthodox” ministries. American Vision needs Sam Frost, and Sam Frost needs American Vision.  Personally, I believe this was the beginning of the end or rapid decline for both of them.  Time will tell.


[1]Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. (2007). Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (747, 886–887). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos..
[2] Edited by Stanely N. Gudry and C. Marvin Pate, a 4 co-authored debate with Kenneth Gentry, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, p.66, Zondervan pub., 1998.
[3] Some examples being:  1)  Christ’s coming in Matt. 24:27-30 happened in AD 70 but His coming in Matt. 25:31 allegedly takes place at the end of time.  2)  The coming of Christ and parallels to Matt. 24 in 1 Thess. 5 took place in AD 70, but the PP hermeneutical points of Paul’s parallel source material in 1 Thess. 4:15-17 with that of Matt. 24 is dropped and 1 Thess. 4 is allegedly dealing with an end of time and history event.  3)  The coming of Christ in Heb. 10:25-37 occurred in AD 70, but apparently the author of Hebrews is allegedly dealing with a different coming of the Lord in Heb. 9:26-28.  The de-creation of Rev. 21:1 deals with the creation of the OC passing in AD 70, but allegedly the de-creation of Rev. 20:11 is dealing with the end/transformation of planet earth.  These of course are just a few of the none contextual and arbitrary distinctions the PP view makes in its attempts to deal with the time texts and be creedal at the same time.
[4] Gentry, ibid. FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, p.43.
[5] Hendriksen, William ; Kistemaker, Simon J.: New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1953-2001 (New Testament Commentary 1-2), S. 1:200.

The Tabernacle of God Where Death is Removed Is Resurrection

The Tabernacle of God Where Death is Removed Is Resurrection

by William Bell on August 14, 2012

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Behold, The Tabernacle of God Is With Men

Tabernacle of God Resurrection in the Tabernacle of God
The Tabernacle of God or the eschatological temple is a key theme of the Bible and particularly of the doctrine of resurrection in the New Testament. It is the destination where all roads lead in the end time.
Our premise for this study is that Death is swallowed up in victory, i.e. the eschatological tabernacle of God.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then, I John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:1-4.
Almost without fail, every mention of the resurrection in the New Testament is closely followed by, preceded by or connected to a discussion of the last days tabernacle and vice versa.

The Tabernacle of God Arrived in 70AD

The passing of heaven and earth in the text is the end of the Old Covenant system, Matt. 5:17-18; 24:35; Lk. 21:20-22. It is the time when the holy city, the new Jerusalem came down out of heaven. The Holy city is the Tabernacle of God. When Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, God says, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men.” Therefore, the new Jerusalem, holy city is the tabernacle of God. It is God’s new heaven and earth.
What does God affirm for this tabernacle house not made with hands? “There shall be no more death.” In other words, in the tabernacle of God, death has been defeated and removed in the heavenly city which has now come down to earth. This is also the parousia of Christ. How can we affirm that? It’s because Christ and God is the temple of this city, (Revelation 21:22). The tabernacle of God is heaven on earth.

The Tabernacle of God and God’s Glory

In the old Covenant under Moses, and later with Solomon’s temple, the glory of God’s Presence dwelt in the tabernacle. G.K. Beale, “The Temple and the Church’s Mission, A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, argues that Eden was God’s first tabernacle, and Adam it’s first priest, and certainly God’s glorious Presence was there. That means that we cannot speak of the Presence of God outside the domain of the tabernacle of God.
When Moses and Israel finished the tabernacle in the wilderness the Bible records:
“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. “(Exodus 40:33-34)
Note also that Israel’s every movement was directed by the glory of God in the Presence of the tabernacle, (v. 36-38).
Observe again the glory which filled the temple upon completion by Solomon. “And it came to pass, when the priest came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10-11) Observe also that the house of the Lord and the temple/tabernacle of God are one and the same.
The same is true for the tabernacle of the God in the N. T. As Haggai prophesied, God would shake all nations, and they shall come tot eh Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory, “‘ says the Lord of hosts…The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:7-9).
Thus, God’s eschatological glory is in the eschatological temple. There is no eschatological coming in the N.T. which occurs outside the sphere of the eschatological tabernacle of God. Even the kingdom texts which speak of Jesus coming in his glory, are enshrouded in the glory of the temple tabernacle of God. “…And He shall beuild the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”(Zech. 6:12-13)
The tabernacle of God in Revelation 13:6-7 shows the saints “dwelling in heaven”, i.e. in the heavenly tabernacle of God. Just as Mystery Babylon, the harlot city of Old Jerusalem sat as a Queen in priestly attire clothed in purple, scarlet, gold, and precious stones, the new heavenly Jerusalem is described in the same, yet exceeding glory.

The Glory of the Lamb’s Wife is the Glory of the Tabernacle of God

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God…” Rev. 21:10-26. The glory in which the kings of the earth and nations walk and honor with their gifts is the glory of the heavenly tabernacle of God and Christ.   The glory of God cannot be separated from temple or the tabernacle of God according to sola Scriptura!

Solomon however, knew that a physical temple could not contain God and thus these buildings were but types of the ultimate last days glorious temple to come. Hence Malachai says the eschatological coming of the Lord is the coming to His temple. There is no glory apart from the eschatological temple of God. Thus, all eschatological or end time glory texts refer to the tabernacle of God.

The Focus of the Tabernacle of God/Temple Was The Removal of Sin

Not one single tabernacle of God was ever focused on the removal of physical death. The tabernacle of Moses was focused on the removal of sin through its sacrifices and offerings. However, these could not take away sin, (Heb. 10:1-4). Thus, the Hebrews’ writer speaks of the greater and more perfect tabernacle (house not made with hands) which Christ,  the High Priest of the good things which were about to come would build. In this tabernacle, God would through the death of Christ and the offering up of his body as a sacrifice in death, redeem the transgressions under the first covenant, (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Jesus’ physical body was not for an example of our resurrection body, it was for the purpose of offering it as a sacrifice, Heb. 10:5-10.
Solomon’s temple was the permanent structure and replica of the tabernacle in the wilderness. What was the mission of the High Priest’s who officiated there? Was it not to make sacrifices and offerings for sin? (Hebrews 5:1; 8:7) Those animal sacrifices were inefficacious in accomplishing that goal and objective. Therefore, it was necessary that the true heavenly tabernacle of God which the Lord pitched (Hebrews 8:1ff) have a better sacrifice in order to get the job done, (Hebrews 9:23-28).
Christ’s death and Parousia as seen in Hebrews, and particularly 9:28, is about His Presence within the Veil, the offering of His body and blood as a sacrifice, and the opening of the veil to God’s Presence that we might dwell within it, or more properly that God’s Presence may dwell with believers on earth and in heaven (Ephesians 1:10) now that sin and death are removed in Christ.

There is No Biblical Teaching of the Presence of God Apart from the Tabernacle of God

There is no coming of Christ in the Bible and especially endtime coming separate and apart from the tabernacle of God/temple not made with hands. Even Jesus’ first coming was a tabernacle coming, John 1:14. If Beale and Carson are correct about Genesis, and the evidence is very strong, God began his work in the tabernacle of God in Eden and finished it in the tabernacle of God which came down in 70AD.
Now, we have good proof from partial preterists that Revelation 21 is fulfilled. We also have proof that the time statements regarding the eschatological temple refers to 70AD, according to Kenneth Gentry on John 4:21-24. This contradicts Paul T’s argument with Frost and company claiming that John 4:21-24, and the time statements were not parallel to John 5:28-29.
Gentry says Daniel 12:2-3 is 70 AD. He also says John 4:21-24 is 70AD. He therefore must agree that resurrection of “those who sleep in the dust of the earth, i.e. the graves” equals the “death no more” in the tabernacle of God which he affirms for 70AD. Therefore, Gentry’s logic affirms a non-physical, i.e. spiritual resurrection for Daniel 12, John 4 and 5, and Revelation 21.
As Mike Sullivan pointed out, the only places where resurrection of the “just and unjust” to “everlasting life” and”everlasting damnation” is found in the Old Covenant is Daniel 12, which is the background of John 5:28-29. I pointed this out in a comment made on Gentry’s site which he would not post so Don Preston posted it on Facebook and the only response I’ve seen to it was from Bryan Lewis who agreed with my conclusion.
Frost and company claimed the tabernacl of God temple in John 4 was the regeneration of believers already operative in the ministry of Christ. Kenneth Gentry said, it was the eschatological temple / tabernacle of God fulfilled in 70AD, in the destruction of Jerusalem. More holes in the partial preterist boat. I guess that’s what happens when you only have a partial boat. It won’t float.
Now let’s see where that admission on the part of Gentry leads. If the temple of John 4:21-24 is fulfilled in 70AD at the fall of Jerusalem, then it corresponds to the tabernacle of God which came down out of heaven in Revelation 21. And who’s word do we have for an Amen on this? Why Joel McDurmon himself along with Frost and company who take Revelation 21 to be 70AD.
Now please do not put us away according to the scriptures and the “holy orthodox teachings of second century uninspired men.” Where is another tabernacle and coming of Christ ever mentioned in Scripture? Where is another different eschatological coming of Christ and God mentioned apart from the tabernacle? Certainly not in John 14:1-3. Why is the one in Revelation insufficient in the putting away of sin and death? Joel forgot to tell us about the new “other” tabernacle that Abraham will bring with him from the dead for this new future land promise to be fulfilled! We’ve got him covered later, so don’t miss the sinking of the Titanic.
The tabernacle of God in John 4:21-24, is the resurrection (death no more) tabernacle of Revelation 21:1-4. That means Gentry has also like Paul T, conceded the resurrection as spiritual regeneration consummated in 70AD. That temple certainly did not remove physical death. Remember, the tabernacle of God temple was always about the removal of sin, i.e. regeneration.

The Temple of John 4:21-24 is the Resurrection Tabernacle of Revelation 21:3-4.

Moreover, the time statements, i.e. the hour is coming John 4:21, and the hour is coming and now is, v. 23, related to that one single temple which was being built through the Spirit until it was consummated in 70AD.  We will develop more on this later, but I discussed quite a bit of it on the Reign of Christ website. You can read it there for now.
We also pointed out that Jesus used the terms in reverse order to talk about resurrection in the tabernacle of God, John 4:21-24, versus resurrection from the graves of John 5:28-29.
Note:
The hour is coming, John 4:21 | Frost and company said this was regeneration of believers in Christ (spiritual resurrection/corporate temple), pre-70AD.
The hour is coming, John 5:28 |Frost and company said this is post 70AD and yet future to us today/physical resurrection individual body.
The hour is coming and now is: John 4:23 |Frost and company says this all refers to the spiritual temple/regeneration/resurrection of believers in Christ, pre-70AD.
The hour is coming and now is: John 5:25 |Frost and company says this is regeneration/spiritual resurrection of believers beginning in the ministry of Christ, pre-70AD.
The hour is coming and now is: John 4:23| Gentry, the “already” eschatological temple/ tabernacle of  God in Revelation 21/no more death [spiritual resurrection] fulfilled in 70AD at Jerusalem’s fall.
The hour is coming John 4:21: |Gentry, the “not yet” eschatological temple/ tabernacle of God in Revelation 21/no more death/[spiritual resurrection] fulfilled in 70AD at Jerusalem’s fall.
Do you see their contradiction on these similar phrases?
Here is what this means. Gentry and Frost and company see no distinctions on the nature (spiritual) of the temple of John 4. Neither do we. Further, neither do they see a “gap” of time separated by centuries after the close of the apostolic era requiring second century uninspired orthodox validation. They both see it fulfilled in the first century. Yet, Frost and company argued John 4 was present pre-70 and spiritual. Gentry maintains it is the 70AD consummation and spiritual. One focuses on the Pre-70 temple, while the other focuses on 70AD. Yet, both acknowledge it is spiritual.
However, when confronted with the identical time statements in John 5, they opt to change the nature and time, saying one is pre-70 spiritual and the other is post 70, unfulfilled and physical.
However, our point is that the temple/tabernacle of God is where death is no more, i.e.  is removed meaning it equates in time and nature with resurrection. Gentry has given us Revelation 21:1-4 on the tabernacle via John 4. So has McDurmon given us Revelation 21 in 70AD.

Jesus Discusses Resurrection in Temple/Tabernacle Typology of John 4:20-24

However, Jesus is discussing resurrection in both passages when properly interpreted. Why? It’s because deliverance from death occurs within the veil of the tabernacle, (2 Corinthians 3:6-18; 5:1-5; Ephesians 2:1, 5, 19-22; Revelation 21:4). This is the one hope of Scripture.
And, since 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 15, are parallel, discussing the same subject as John 5:28-29, it must necessarily follow that 1 Corinthians 15 is fulfilled in the tabernacle, as is John 5:28-29. The correlation of 1 Corinthians 15 in “mortality putting on immortality”, is the same “clothing of mortality and with immortality” of 2 Corinthians 5, which occurs in the heavenly tabernacle of God or house not made with hands building of God which was in the heavens which Revelation 21:2-4, shows came down out of heaven to be with men and wherein death is no more.
That’s also why 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 speaks of the removal of sin, death and Hades because it is what has always been the focus of the tabernacle as stated above. Notice that the victory is in Christ and God (who are the eschatological temple of John 4:21-24; and of Revelation 21:22). We say Christ and God because Christ delivers the kingdom up to God that they may be all in all. But what kind of kingdom is it? It is a kingdom of priests, i.e. a royal or kingly priesthood (1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 1:5). It is spiritual through and through.
The technical tabernacle of God terminology is used to refer to the kingdom in Hebrews 12:27 as a contrast to things made by hands. Thus, that elliptical phrase demonstrates that the kingdom is the tabernacle house not made with hands. Beale and Carson agree.
Hence, Peter alludes to the temple in the laying of the chief cornerstone in Zion (the firstfruit of the elect). Christ is the foundation of the new temple and holy priesthood of royal priests, 1 Peter. 2:5-6, 9, 10, Ephesians 2:19-22. Their labor was to abound in showing forth the praises of God. The kingdom of God is a priestly kingdom/temple.
This is why Frost and company are virtually silent on the firstfruits and on the temple/resurrection typology of the eschaton.

Ezekiel 37 and the Tabernacle of God Resurrection Temple

Frost and company also asserted and argued that Ezekiel 37 was based on a Jewish belief of the resurrection of physical bodies from the grave and made an attempt to offer it as a counter point to the temple typology.
Here is a brief quote from Paul T. of Frost and company from our discussion on the Reign of Christ website:
“Interesting your [sic] would bring up Ezzy [Ezekiel] 37, whom all I’m aware of believe is a prophecy for the reconstitution of the nation of Israel, based on the concrete concept of the resurrection of a human body that had expired, i.e resurrection. As far as I’m aware the prophecy was issued while the nation was in exile, Jerusalem having been destroyed.”
What is missed here is that while Israel was in exile, they were separated from the tabernacle, i.e. Presence of God. To bring them back to their land is to bring them back to God’s holy place, the place where his Presence dwelt. That is the meaning of the resurrection in that text. It is temple typology through and through. When God speaks of the end time gathering of Israel under the new King David, he offers to bring them to the land which he had given to Jacob. This is where God would make a [new] covenant of peace with them and set his SANCTUARY in their midst forever.
Note:
“My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” (Ezekiel 37:27-28) This is the tabernacle of God/temple of 2 Corinthians 5:5 and 6:16-18. Paul quotes from Ezekiel 37 in chapters 3-7:1 saying in 6:16, “For you are the temple of the living God. As God said, I will dwell in them and walk in them.  I will be their God and they shall be My people.”
The covenant promise of God, i.e. I will be their God and they shall be my people” connects 2- Cor. 6:16 with the tabernacle of Revelation 21:3-4. God places this tabernacle in the land he gave to Jacob where their fathers dwelt.
That means it’s the land he promised to Abraham which McDurmon and Frost and company says has not yet been received and is physical!?! Ezekiel, a pre-first century Biblically orthodox prophet says it’s the land God gives with the eschatological temple which Gentry says is 70AD. My tabernacle [where death is no more, i.e. resurrection]  shall be with them.
Paul, a pre-second century biblically orthodox prophet said first century saints were the temple of the living God, i.e. the tabernacle of God was with them, walking in them! John, another pre-second century Biblically orthodox prophet wrote, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.
That means the land promise made to Abraham where their fathers’ dwelt,–the land of Canaan which God gave Abraham not so much a place to set his foot on, is the same [spiritually transformed] land of the heavenly tabernacle, per Frost and company.
Their “second century and beyond orthodoxy” couldn’t save them from making statements and arguments that are diametrically opposed to and categorically deny 6000 years of Biblical inspired orthodoxy.
Frost and company cannot separate resurrection and the tabernacle of God. They cannot separate the tabernacle of God from deliverance from sin-death and regeneration. They cannot separate the tabernacle of God and 70AD. They cannot separate the eschatological tabernacle of God from the eschatological land promised to Abraham where their fathers dwelt. Abraham received that land in 70AD, when he entered the royal priestly kingdom/ tabernacle of God at the time God cast fleshly Israel into the outer darkness, (Mathew 8:11-12).
That’s why Frost and company have left full Preterism! To go to a reformed hyper-dispensationalism! They want another David, another Abraham, another land, but no tabernacle where deliverance from sin-death is removed. That boat with holes done sunk! Behold, the tabernacle of God!

Summary of the Tabernacle of God

  1. The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from fulfillment in 70 AD, per Bible orthordoxy, and post second century othordoxy (Gentry, Frost and McDurmon).
  2. The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the Old Testament glory of God in the Edenic, Mosaic tabernacle, Solomonic temple of God per Bible orthodoxy and post second century orthodoxy of G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson.
  3. The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the removal of sin death, per Bible orthodoxy of the prophets of the Old and New Testaments. (The verdict is still out on second century orthodox of Sam Frost and company. We await their official stated “orthodox” position.
  4. The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the Presence of God, i.e. a Spiritual Presence of God who is Spirit in both the Old Covenant types and the New Covenant fulfilled eschatological temple, per Biblical orthodoxy and the post first century and beyond orthodoxy of Frost and company.
  5. The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the “already but not yet” hour is coming/hour is coming and now is imminent time statements of John 4:21-24, per Bible orthodoxy and post first century and beyond orthodoxy of Gentry and Frost and company.
  6. The tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the resurrection of the dead, i.e. death no more tabernacle of John 5:28-29; 2 Corinthians 5, 1 Corinthians 15, and Revelation 21:2-4, per Bible orthodoxy of Ezekiel, Paul, Peter and John, and the logical conclusions of post first century orthodoxy of Gentry, McDurmon, and Frost and company.
  7. Finally, the tabernacle of God cannot be separated from the land God promised Jacob, which is the land promised to Abraham where their fathers dwelt, according to Bible orthodoxy per Ezekiel 37, which is out of step with the post first century and beyond “orthodoxy” and therefore heterodoxy of the physical land “promise” of McDurmon and Frost and company as affirmed in the Preston McDurmon debate and elsewhere in their writings and podcasts.

The Titanic has sunk! Behold, the tabernacle of God, (eschatological resurrection) where death is no more is with men!

Response To Joel McDurmon's Article "The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth in Revelation 20:11 AND 20:1” Part 1 – 2 Peter 3

A FULL PRETERIST RESPONSE TO PARTIAL PRETERIST JOEL MCDURMON’S ARTICLE “THE ‘PASSING’ AWAY OF HEAVEN AND EARTH IN REVELATION 20:11 AND 21:1” Part 1 – 2 Peter 3

By: Michael J. Sullivan
We once again turn our attention to the arbitrary hermeneutics of Partial Preterism (PP) in examining an article produced by American Vision’s Joel McDurmon as to why he feels the de-creation of Revelation 20:11 is referring to a future fulfillment of planet earth, whereas 21:1ff. is a spiritual fulfillment referring to a covenantal transition taking place in AD 70.[1] Since in this article McDurmon cites and bids us to read two of his articles on 2 Peter 3, this is where we too will begin – making this a 2 or 3 part series in response. Perhaps the PP confusion over 2 Peter 3 is a good starting point in examining their arbitrary hermeneutics:
· If 2 Peter 3 should be interpreted within the AD 70 contextual flow that 1 Peter and 2 Peter 1-2 give it, shouldn’t this approach be used in Revelation 20:10-15? What of the AD 70 contextual flow of fulfillment in chapters 1-19 leading into chapter 20 or the ones PP give of 21-22 following it? What of the internal parallels between Revelation 16 and 20? Apparently “exegesis” stops with Revelation 20:10-15 for the PP.
· If 2 Peter 3 should be paralleled to Matthew 24-25, why can’t Revelation 20:10-15?
· If 2 Peter 3, Matthew 24:35 and Revelation 21-22 can use Genesis 1 and Isaiah 65 material to be referring to an AD 70 fulfillment or transition between OC and NC worlds/creations, why can’t Revelation 20:11ff.?
· If the “X” of the “elements” of the “world” or “heaven and earth” of (2 Peter 3) is “ONLY” referring to the Old Covenant world and not the planet earth, how does Peter’s prediction also get changed to be referring to the LITERAL elements of the planet earth at the end of history?
· And closely associated with the previous point — how can PP claim Dispensationalists and Amillennialists can’t come to Matthew 24 or the majority of the book of Revelation and state AD 70 was only a “typological” “partial” “mixed” “already not yet” kind of fulfillment, when PP turn around and have to resort to using the same lingo in debating FP? And do many know what many Postmillennialist see as progressively being fulfilled in a literal way in Isaiah 65? Curious indeed.
2 Peter 3:1-15
In McDurmon’s first article The Promise of His Appearing[2] we immediately see two hermeneutical approaches to developing an AD 70 fulfillment for 2 Peter 3. The first, is to parallel eschatological material from 1 and 2 Peter with Matthew 24’s AD 70 “this generation” time frame. The second, is to show how the contextual AD 70 flow of an imminent persecution, appearing of Christ, salvation and judgment from 1 Peter and 2 Peter 1-2 naturally flows into 2 Peter 3. This of course begs the question as to why this hermeneutical approach is not valid when we approach Revelation 20:10-15?
McDurmon points out that 1 and 2 Peter is written to a first century audience who were currently undergoing persecution and tribulation for a “little while” but were comforted by the hope and assurance of an imminent appearing of Jesus (1 Pet. 1:6-7). Joel immediately goes to Matthew 24 to establish that this persecution, tribulation and coming of the Lord is what was predicted by Jesus to take place in their “this generation” (Matt. 24:34).
1 Peter and Matthew 24 Parallels:
· Matthew 24:9-30 = 1 Peter 1:6-7 – First century persecutions, tribulations and sufferings.
Likewise, the book of Revelation was written to 7 first century churches in Asia (Rev. 1-3) who were going through persecution and tribulation but comforted with the promise of an imminent coming of the Lord. These promises are connected to the rewards of an imminent New Creation in Revelation 20-22. These persecutions and trials were predicted in Matthew 24 as well.
Revelation 20:11-15 and Matthew 24 Parallels:
· Matthew 24:9-30, 34 = Revelation 1-3ff. — Fist century persecutions, tribulations and sufferings.
McDurmon also points out that 2 Peter in general, but Peter 3:1 specifically, is written in “remembrance” of what was written about the imminent salvation and judgment which was previously addressed in his first letter,
“…the entire letter of 2 Peter is an exhortation to the same group addressed in the first letter during this same interim time period to continue trusting what they have been previously taught from the prophets, apostles, and especially the promises of Jesus. Peter “reminded” the group of the first message: “remembrance” is his goal in 2 Peter 1:12, 13, and 15, and 3:1. They were to hold to what had been promised and not to be deceived by false prophets and “scoffers” who had in the meantime (between letters) come among them. In both letters, therefore, patience is the key message—and patience toward the same goal and for the same reason.”
McDurmon is correct that Peter’s goal is to “remind” his audience of what he to them in his first letter and that the judgment of the false prophets and teachers of 2 Peter 2 flows well into the judgment of the scoffers in chapter 3. There is a contextual flow leading us into 2 Peter 3 — God was “ready to judge the living and dead” and therefore “the end of all things was at hand” (1 Pet. 4:5-7). It was “THE time” for “THE judgment” (1 Pet. 4:17). God was holding fallen angels and the souls of men for this first century imminent “judgment” or “day of judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4, 9). American Vision’s Gary DeMar along with McDurmon do not believe Matthew 24-25 can be divided into two comings of Jesus and thus two judgments, therefore at the coming of the Son of Man in the judgment of AD 70, the souls of men along with Satan and his angels went away into “eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:31-46).
· Matthew 25:31-46 = 1 Peter 4:4-7, 17/2 Peter 2:4, 9/2 Peter 3
Revelation 20:10-15 The genre of recapitulation found in the book of Revelation served as a memory tool for the first century readers and listeners of the book of Revelation. We will revisit the recapitulation theme throughout the book of Revelation which helps us interpret the imminent time frame of Revelation 20:11-15 later on in part 2 of this series. But I did want to emphasize something very important in that just as McDurmon points out 2 Peter 3 cannot exegetically be isolated from the imminent AD 70 time frame concerning the salvation and judgment throughout the contextual flow of 1 Peter—2 Peter 1-2 leading into 2 Peter 3; Revelation 20:10-15 cannot exegetically be isolated from the imminent AD 70 time frame concerning the salvation and judgment throughout the contextual flow of chapters 1-19 leading into chapter 20 or the imminent AD 70 fulfillments of chapters 21-22! We will be addressing this more in part 2 when we go through the proper hermeneutical and exegetical steps of Revelation 20:10-15 that McDurmon set on the shelf when he wrote that article.
Revelation 20:10-15 Is no different than the teaching of 1 and 2 Peter or that of Jesus in Matthew 24-25 concerning a first century imminent judgment of Satan and his angles along with “the dead.” As usual PP and American Vision specifically, contradict their own hermeneutics and choose to ignore the creeds and the analogy of Scripture that the vast majority of reformed commentators have made here:
Matthew 25:31-46 = Revelation 20:10-15
1) Matthew 25:31=Revelation 20:11 — Christ/God on the Throne to Judge.
2) Matthew 24:29, 35=Revelation 20:11 — Heaven and Earth pass/flee.
3) Matthew 25:31/Matthew 16:27=Revelation 20:12 — “all men” “each person” “all Nations” “the rest of the dead” “small and great “according to what they have done.”
4) Matthew 25:41-46=Revelation 20:10, 14-15 — Wicked along with the Devil thrown into Lake of Fire for eternal punishment.
And we must not forget that the reception of the glorious New Creation at the imminent appearing of Jesus in 2 Peter 3 is a “reminder” of what Peter taught previously — in that they were going to partake in the “glory about to be revealed” and thus be rewarded with the “crown of glory” (1 Pet. 5:1, 4YLT). In Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 this is equivalent to the faithful servant being rewarded with having charge over his Master’s “possessions” and sharing in His Master’s “happiness” or being rewarded with “eternal life” (Matt. 24:47; 25:19-23, 46). For PP such as Kenneth Gentry and others, the “long time” of (Matt. 24:48; 25:5, 19) and coming of the Son of Man in (Matt. 25:31) is a description of the millennium period and the final Second Coming of Jesus. And yet DeMar and McDurmon posit this “long time” to be within the lifetime and generation of the person in the parable and thus the lifetimes and “this generation” of Jesus’ audience.[3] Once again, both the PPism of Gentry and that of DeMar “lead us to FPism.”
· Matthew 24:47; 25:19-23, 46 = 1 Peter 5:1, 4/2 Pet. 3
Revelation 20:10-15 The first century church at Smyrna was promised that if they endured persecution, that they too would receive “the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). This reward (along with all of the others described for us in chapters 1-3) would also be received at the imminent Second Coming of Jesus – described as Him coming as “a Thief” (Rev. 3:3, 16:15). In the book of Revelation, the millennium, resurrection and judgment of Revelation 20 is FOLLOWED by the rewarding of the New Creation at Christ’s imminent Second Coming (cf. Rev. 20-22:6-7, 10-12, 20). The first century church received the “crown of life” because their names were written in “the book of life” (Rev. 20:12)! The same first century audience being rewarded with crowns in connection with a first century judgment and Christ coming/appearing as a “Thief,” are the same event.
· Matthew 24:47; 25:19-23, 46 = Revelation 2:10/3:3/16:15/20:12—22:10-12.
Another parallel which McDurmon makes is between Jesus’ teaching concerning His appearing in the judgment of AD 70 using the illustration of what took place in Noah’s day in Luke 17 = 2 Peter 3. Perhaps another observation may be that the realm of fulfillment of the “salvation” which was coming in the New Creation would be “within” or the “salvation of the soul”:
· Luke 17:20-21/21:27-31 = 1 Peter 1:6-9/2 Peter 1:11/2 Peter 3:10-13
McDurmon seems to recognize that the salvation that came from Jesus’ parousia at the end of the OC age in Matthew 24 was more than a physical flight from Jerusalem, but a salvation that affected the soul,
“Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.”[4] And Gentry believes that at the Lord’s return in AD 70 the absence of the sea in Revelation 21:1 has to do with “peace within.”[5] This is consistent with when the earth and sky flee, the curse and condemning force of “the [spiritual] death” that came through Adam was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 22:14). This is what produces true peace and reconciliation with God and His presence in the New Creation. The book of Revelation never describes a judgment or resurrection of fleshly bodies at the end of history. Rather, it is about the salvation and vindication/judgment for the souls of men and their peace with God in the New Creation.
Let’s now continue in examining McDurmon’s hermeneutical approach in 2 Peter 3 in his article:
New Creation, Adorned[6] Once again Joel appeals to Matthew 24 to interpret and give 2 Peter a Preterist interpretation:
We have established a close connection between Peter’s letters and Jesus’ eschatological predictions. This is particularly true of Matthew 24:34—“this generation”—as we saw. In this context, too, we should emphasize Jesus’ very next words in Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” These are obviously connected to the same predictions of Jesus. They also correlate directly to Peter’s “new heavens and a new earth.”
But what did Jesus mean “heaven and earth will pass away”? On the surface, this appears to be merely some kind of figure of speech to emphasize the invincibility of God’s Word compared to even the entire universe; but we should rethink this. Is it not the case, rather, that it is directly connected to the idea of a new heaven and earth about to come in the same time frame as the destruction Jesus just predicted. Indeed, seen from this viewpoint, Jesus was promising the passing of the present heaven and earth and the creation of a new heaven and earth in the lifetime of those listening to Him. And this is exactly the issue which Peter takes up in 2 Peter 3.
This connection is not only thematic, but literary also. Jesus’ word for “pass away” [pareleusetai] is repeated by Peter: “the heavens will pass away [pareleusontai] with a roar.” Peter is again applying the teaching of Jesus for his audience.
And again,
Now the ultimate symbol of the Old Covenant administration—the “present heavens and earth” of 2 Peter 3—was the Jerusalem Temple. Jesus had clearly predicted it would be destroyed, not one block left upon another (Matt. 24:2). James Jordan and Peter Leithart argue that the Temple was a symbolic “creation” of God, an image of “the heavens and the earth,” and I tend to agree.[1] This is why the tabernacle/temple was adorned with beasts, lights, trees, fruit, a sea, etc., and separated from the other heavens by a ceiling (firmament), while a veil (again, a firmament) separated God’s presence in the Holy of Holies from everything else. While I do not have the time to develop this completely, let it suffice to say that God was about to destroy this particular heavens and earth literally, and by extension, the entire covenant world-order associated with it.
Therefore, according to McDurmon:
· Matthew 24:35 = 2 Peter 3:10-13
Like FP and following in the reformed PP tradition of men such as John Owen and John Lightfoot, McDurmon also appeals to the use of the Greek word stoicheia “elements”:
…the translation “heavenly bodies” is not very supportable here anyway. Both times this phrase appears the Greek word is stoicheia, “basics” or “principles.” The KJV actually went with “elements,” but even this is not quite right if understood as physical elements, earthly elements. In the New Testament, the word is used to refer to principles of the covenant order, often of the Old Testament, to which the people should not want to return (Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20; cf. Heb. 5:12). In one place, a group of Jews uses the verb form specifically to direct Paul to follow Old Covenant rituals (Acts 21:24). In other places, the verb form refers to a basic discipline of living righteously, by the faith, or by the Spirit (Phil. 3:16; Gal. 5:25; 6:16; Rom. 4:12). This is about all the biblical direction we get, and none of it refers to the heavenly bodies or to the physical elements of the world, earth, heavens, or universe. It seems the consistent theme throughout the biblical usage is that of basic principles of religion. Thus it seems that the “heavenly bodies” mentioned in 2 Peter 3 should probably be translated something like the KJV, but understood as a reference to the elements of the Old Covenant order. God was not about to nuke the stars, but He was about to destroy the Old Covenant Temple with all of its special rules, rituals, rites, vessels, and paraphernalia. These basic elements—which Paul calls stoicheia tou kosmou (“elements of the kosmos”)—would be no more.
And let’s again quote and reference that tradition here:
John Owen writes of 2 Peter 3:
“…this is a prophecy of gospel times ONLY; and that the planting of these new heavens is NOTHING BUT the creation of gospel ordinances, to endure forever. The same thing is so expressed, Heb. Xii. 26-28. Let others mock at the threats of Christ’s coming. – he will come, he will not tarry; and then the heavens and earth that God himself planted, – the sun, moon, stars OF THE JUDAICAL POLITY AND CHURCH, – the whole old world of worship and worshippers, that stand out in their obstinacy against the Lord Christ, – shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed. This, we know, shall be the end of these things, and that shortly.’”[7] And John Lightfoot agrees:
“‘The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,’ &c. Compare this with Deut. 32:22, Heb. 12:26: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal. 4:9, Col. 2:20: and you will not doubt see that Peter speaks ONLY OF THE CONFLAGRATION OF JERUSALEM, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses.”[8] But PP such as Gentry getting nervous and realizing he needs to somehow get in line with the reformed confessions contradicts Owen and Lightfoot stating:
The destruction of the heavens and the earth that he envisions involves the current material creation. Hence, it refers to the distant consummation and not the approaching AD 70 conflagration, despite certain similarities between the two events (since one is the type of the other). Peter expressly refers to the material creation order: “from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4; cf. Ge 1:1); “by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water” (3:5; cf. Ge 1:2, 9 [n. 112- Ps 33:6-7, Ps 32:6-7].” “He is not contemplating the destruction of the old Jewish order in AD 70, but the material heavens and earth at the second advent.”
“Here Peter is obviously borrowing terminology from Isaiah 65:17 (which speaks of a spiritual reality, see ch. 14). Yet as an inspired apostle he expands on that truth, looking to the ultimate outcome of the spiritual new heavens and earth in an eternal new heavens and earth.”[9] This is “fuzzy eschatology” and reasoning indeed since everyone and their grandmother knows John in Revelation 21:1ff is drawing From Genesis 1-3 and Isaiah 65 and yet there Gentry believes the imminent time texts demands that the first heavens and earth passing away is Israel’s world or the OC world passing in AD 70 giving way to the NC heaven and earth.
McDurmon admits that Peter is using Genesis 1 material but states,
The long story short, here, is that God’s covenantal judgments—however extensive and severe—at different times can delineate different “worlds” before and after, as well as different “heavens and earths” before and after, while not necessarily being understood as literally as possible.” “…Thus there are multiple applications of “world” and of “heavens and earth” which we ignore at our peril.
So according to McDurmon, Gentry has “ignored” the context of 1 Peter and 2 Peter 1-2 (along with Matthew 24) and that although Peter is referring to Genesis 1 material in 2 Peter 3, it is “not necessarily being understood as literally as possible.” Gentry ignores these exegetical arguments to his “peril” in 2 Peter 3. I will argue later on that Mr. McDurmon ignores his own arguments/hermeneutics in Revelation 20:11 and Romans 8:18-23 at his own “peril” as well.
And if you weren’t confused already between reading McDurmon and Gentry on why or why not 2 Peter 3 was fulfilled in AD 70 in light of references being made to Genesis 1 and Isaiah 65, McDurmon goes on:
Most commentators make the connection between this passage and Isaiah 65:17: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isa. 65:17). Isaiah’s description which follows of this new heavens and new earth includes the well-kown references to extra-long age (someone dying at 100 years is just a child and considered accursed for living so briefly) and changes in the nature of deadly beasts: “’The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,’ says the LORD” (Isa. 65:25).
The exact phrase appears again in Isaiah 66:22, and later in the New Testament in Revelation 21:1. Again, I must shorten this study more than I would like:
While 2 Peter 3:13 is definitely related thematically to Isaiah 65, it is a mistake to think that there is an exclusive relationship between the Isaiah passage and any New Testament usage, as if Isaiah were giving a unique prophecy of a unique event in the future, and then Peter and John were announcing the fulfillment of that one predicted event on their horizon (or at any time in the future). It is not that Isaiah announced “X,” and that Peter and John were saying “the time has come for X,” after which time “X” is done and gone. Rather, both texts are partaking of a much larger theological genre which is replayed many times throughout Scripture, and which reappears particularly prominently in these passages. This is to say that while Isaiah 65 is certainly a backdrop to the New Testament references to a new heavens and new earth, it is not the ultimate basis of it.
That ultimate basis is found in Genesis 1.
All this talk of Peter allegedly not saying what he is — that Isaiah 65 “X” is going to be completely fulfilled in an “the end of all things is at hand” time frame, reminds me of Dispensationalists claiming that Peter in Acts 2:16 really wasn’t saying Joel 2 was being fulfilled in his lifetime. According to Dispensationalists such as Merrill F. Unger, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” should be understood,
“Peter’s phraseology “this is that” means nothing more than “this is [an illustration of that] which was spoken by the prophet Joel. …The reference is solely in an illustrative sense to Jewish listeners at Pentecost. Fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy is still future and awaits Christ’s second coming in glory and a copious spiritual outpouring ushering in kingdom blessing (cf. Zech. 12:10-13:1; Acts 1:6, 7).[10] Since McDurmon understands that 1 Peter 1:4-12, 4:7 is to flow into 2 Peter 3, the “salvation” and “inheritance” contained in the OT “Prophets” which were “ready to be reveled” in the “last time” was that of which Isaiah 65 predicted. There is no mention that the salvation and inheritance of the New Creation of Isaiah 65 was about to be fulfilled in AD 70 only in a “typological,” “thematic,” “illustrative,” “already not yet” way awaiting another “ultimate” “expanded” physical manifestation fulfillment thousands or millions of years away.
This is interesting because PP can’t stand it when Dispensationalists or Amillennialists approach Matthew 24 or the book of Revelation and dismiss their PP AD 70 “fulfillments” by insinuating AD 70 was merely “typological” and “illustrative” of a much greater eschaton for national Israel to be realized in the near future etc…
Let me demonstrate and cite Gary DeMar on double or multiple fulfillments of Matthew 24 (this is taken from Gary’s article, “The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Time” [bold & underline emphasis mine):
“There are still others who take a “double fulfillment” approach. While Jesus is describing events related to the generation alive in His day, the argument is made that He also has in mind a future generation where the same events will happen again. While this approach is appealing, it has innumerable interpretive problems, the most serious being how does anyone know what is being doubly fulfilled if a passage does not say there will be another fulfillment, how to distinguish what prophecies do not fall into the category of double fulfillment, and that there is no evidence from Scripture itself that there have been double fulfillments. The following is taken from “Christ’s Prophecy (Matt. xxiv.) of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and of His Second Coming” and appeared in the Theological and Literary Journal (July 1857-April 1858)::
There are no prophecies in which the event directly and expressly foreshown, is set forth as being also a representative of still another event of a different nature. Of the numerous prophecies that are interpreted in the sacred writings, and that are represented as fulfilled in occurrences that have taken place, there are none that are exhibited by the explanation of their meaning as filling such a double office. The allegorization of the sacred word in that manner, is altogether unauthorized and arbitrary, and occupies itself wholly in the invention of imaginary and false senses.
Either the Olivet Discourse applies to a generation located in the distant future from the time the gospel writers composed the Olivet Discourse or to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking; it can’t be a little bit of both. As we will see, the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in any of the synoptic gospels does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion. Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (also see Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32).”
For Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon, the “heaven and earth” of (Matt. 5:17-18/Matt. 24:29, 35/Rev. 21:1) is Israel’s Old Covenant World which passed away in AD 70 – because the context or imminent time texts demand this. But Gary clearly believes from his citation, that Matthew 24 will not allow for a “mixed approach” or even “future completion” — which includes Matt. 24:29, 35. It is difficult to watch PP proclaim out of both sides of their mouths that Isaiah 65 is the OT source for Matthew 24:35=2 Peter 3:10-13=Rev.21:1ff. and that these passages in essence do and do not have “typological” and “mixed approaches” to fulfillment or do or do not demand a “future completion” beyond AD 70. And is it or is it not right to come to Matthew 24:29, 35 and claim it’s fulfillment happened in AD 70 but it is “…representative of still another event of a different nature [the end/transformation of planet earth]?”
And Gentry in his debate over the book of Revelation, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids: MI, Zondervan, 1998), 44 and in an article from his web sitehttp://postmillennialism.com/2012/02/double-fulfillment-in-revelation/ does not like it when individuals claim his Revelation 1-19, 21-22 fulfillments have “double fulfillments.” Or he objects to the notion that his AD 70 fulfillments were merely a “good starting place” that did not actually “fill the complete expectation” of the prophetic material in question.
“Some Christians see the strength of the preterist analysis of Revelation. They recognize that it is difficult to get around Revelation’s opening and closely comments regarding the temporal nearness of its prophecies. After all, Revelation 1:1 states rather clearly:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place.
And Revelation 22:6 closes the book on the same note:
These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.
Since these statements are so clear and compelling, some believers attempt an end-run around them. They agree that Revelation does in fact point to events that were to occur in John’s lifetime. But then they argue that these events can have double-fulfillment, so that they occur originally in the first century, but will occur again toward the end. For instance, Marvin Pate holds that Revelation “does not imply that Nero filled the complete expectation of the coming antichrist, but, as a precursor to such, he is certainly a good starting place.”1
Three difficulties plague this type of response:
Lack of Exegetical Warrant
First, there is no exegetical warrant for double-fulfillment in Revelation. The statement is pure theological assertion. What is more, this approach not only empties John’s express declarations of meaning (“these things must shortly come to pass“), but it contravenes a specific angelic directive contrasting John’s responsibility to Daniel’s. An angel commands Daniel to “seal up” his prophecy for later times (Dan. 12:4), but commands John (who lives in “the last hour,” 1 John 2:18) to “not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:10).
Stretching of Intellectual
Second, the double-fulfillment argument requires us to believe that the many specific events, things, and personages of Revelation will appear repeatedly on the scene of earth history. In the same order? In the same geographic regions? With continual groupings of 144,000 being sealed? With constant beasts designated by the same number 666? On and on I could go. For example, Pate suggests that “the signs of the times began with Jesus and his generation,” and history witnesses “the coming intensification and culmination of those signs of the times” which begin in the first century.2 Such a position seems to stretch credulity to the breaking point.
The already/not yet theological principle, though valid and widely accepted by evangelicals, cannot govern whole, vast, complex works such as Revelation. The already/not yet principle applies to unitary, simple constructs: the kingdom, salvation, new creation, and so forth. The principle snaps apart when we stretch it over so vast a work as Revelation. Furthermore, how can this principle explain the simultaneous operation in one book of such allegedly global themes operating as judgment (Rev. 6-19) and blessing (Rev. 20-22)? Pate’s use of this principle to explain Revelation seems more hopeful than helpful.3″
So per Gentry, Revelation 21:1ff. was fulfilled kind of sort of in AD 70, but it’s fulfillment was only a “good starting place” that did not actually “fill the complete expectation” of Genesis 1-3/Isaiah 65? And where is the “exegetical warrant” in Matthew 24, 2 Peter 3 or Revelation 21 to give these passages “typological” or “expanded” meanings? Are these not “theological assertions” they are reading into the texts – no more than other futurist systems do? The problem for Gentry is that the NT teaches that the “not yet” to “kingdom,” “salvation” and “new creation” promises would be fulfilled in the first century (Luke 21:27-31; 1 Romans 13:11-12; Peter 1:4-12/2 Peter 3). Therefore, Gentry has to go to passages the Church has traditionally seen as teaching “the not yet” of eschatology – referring to the final Second Coming of Jesus, and then interpose or place ANOTHER “already not yet” period upon the existing “not yet” promises. McDurmon is more consistent than Gentry in that he takes the end of “this age” (as the OC age) and “age to come” (as the NC age) in (Matthew 13:39-43) as having transitioned in AD 70 along with the passing and arrival of the heaven and earth in Matthew 24, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21. The reformed creeds place this “not yet” transition between “this age” and the “age to come” (or of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21) at the end of history.
And who is Gentry to try and limit the “already and not yet” concept to HIS futuristic camp’s concept of salvation, the kingdom and new creation promises? We’re not these promises given to national Israel through a literal temple, land, Jerusalem, etc…? And Gentry in his “expanded” interpretation of 2 Peter 3 has claimed that AD 70 was “typological.” If it was, then why can’t the Dispensational and Amillennial systems approach and give Matthew 24 (the signs, Jerusalem, the Temple, etc…) and other NT PP prophetic texts their versions of “typological” “mixed” and “already and not yet” future fulfillment’s?!? If Gentry and McDurmon can, why can’t they? After all PPism has their own version of TWO comings of the Lord, TWO judgments and resurrections for the living and dead, etc… Kind of hard for Gentry and other PP to try and take the speck out of the eye of Dispensationalists who see double in these areas, when Gentry won’t take the plank out his own eye which is causing a far worse case of seeing and reading double vision into NT eschatology.
Before concluding I would like to add two brief meditations in the area of hermeneutics and fulfillments when reading PP. The first, is to note that McDurmon in the comments section of his article on Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 states that he does not believe Revelation 21:1 and Isaiah 65 have been “fulfilled.” Why? Well, since Joel McDurmon is a Postmillennialist he believes the long ages and the wolf lying with the lamb and the lion eating straw with the ox in Isaiah 65 is literally and progressively being fulfilled. This is a part of the earth allegedly being progressively glorified or Paradise being restored before their third coming of Jesus takes place thousands or millions of years from now. Apparently if you see anyone living beyond 80 years old, this is evidence of this passage being progressively fulfilled. If you go to a circus and see lions being trained – this too is alleged evidence of this passage being fulfilled right before your very eyes. Wow. So we should begin seeing the biological change and evolution or de-evolution of carnivorous animals changing as the physical curse is gradually being lifted before Christ’s third appearing at the end of history. According to this bizarre hermeneutic, if we throw in a 90 year old naked lion tamer, we should all see the PP Postmillennial progressive fulfillment doctrine at work. This is right up there with the fictional hermeneutics of Dispensationalism and their perverting OT passages according to their “literal” fulfillments. The truth of course is that the long ages and the wolf lying down with the lamb type passages are poetically describing eternal life and the peace that the gospel brings to man in the Kingdom.
The second, is that when PP use parallels to Matthew 24 with NT texts they are trying to demonstrate have been fulfilled in AD 70 (ex. 1 Thess. 5=Matt. 24-25, 2 Thess. 2=Matt. 24, 2 Peter 3=Matt. 24), they expect their readers to consider it as exegesis, but when FP do it they are accused of using an over-simplified “code.” When these parallels destroy their creedal views of the new creation and resurrection (ex. 1 Thess. 4:15-17=Matt. 24:30-31; Rev. 20:10-15=Matt. 24-25:31-46) this is supposed to just be “similar language” or “patterns” but not the same event! But of course the classical reformed Amillennial view make the same parallels and identifications as we do in these passages — hardly something unique to a FP hermeneutic. The truth of course is that PPism and especially McDurmon and DeMar of American Vision have painted themselves into a corner and are trying to be as honest with the time texts and not get the rod from “Mother Church” at the same time. In doing so, they have to abandon their own hermeneutics and the analogy of Scripture.
Conclusion:
My purpose in this article was to briefly examine and cite the confused and inconsistent hermeneutical standards and approaches within Partial Preterism in interpreting 2 Peter 3. But more specifically to address the more than inconsistent (hypocritical “seems” to me) hermeneutics that Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar of American Vision employ in establishing AD 70 fulfillments of Matthew 24, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21:1ff. and yet ignore “at their peril” in Revelation 20:10-15 and Romans 8:18-23 — with these two later texts being our focus in parts 2 and 3 of this series. In those articles we will allow the PP AD 70 fulfillment contextual flow of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 to interpret Revelation 20:10-15. We will also use the PP and orthodox hermeneutic and parallel Revelation 20:10-15 with Matthew 24-25. We will also make parallels between Daniel 7 and 12 with Revelation 20:10-15 to establish an AD 70 fulfillment. In looking at the “creation” in Romans 8, we will take a look at DeMar’s admission that the Greek word mello in (Romans 8:18YLT) should be translated as “about to be revealed” and connect this imminent time frame with the “redemption” of Luke 21 and what DeMar has to say of a Preterist fulfillment of Romans 11 and 13:11-12.
As we will see, neither the OT nor the NT teaches an end/transformation of the planet earth. And since new creation and resurrection promises go hand in hand, the Bible does not teach a transformation of every human corpse that has ever lived at the “end of history” either. The NT teaches these OT promises of resurrection and new creation would be fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age and thus they were “about to be” or would “shortly” be fulfilled by AD 70. Partial Preterists such as McDurmon have gone “beyond what is written” and have sought (willingly or not) to make null and void the teachings of Christ and the NT in order to uphold his/their creedal traditions. Selah.
[1] Joel McDurmon, The ‘Passing’ Away of Heaven and Earth in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1
[2] Joel McDurmon, The Promise of His Appearing (2 Peter 3), http://americanvision.org/5523/the-promise-of-his-appearing-2-peter-3/
[3] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNES Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999), read the entire chapter pp. 189-201.
[4] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem A COMMENTARY ON LUKE 9:51- 20;26, JESUS’ LAWSUIT AGAINST ISRAEL, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, Inc., 2011), 49.
[5] Kenneth L. Gentry, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 89.
[6] Joel McDurmon, New Creation, Adorned http://americanvision.org/5526/a-new-creation-adorned/
[7] John Owen, The Works of John Owen (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, 1972), Vol. 9, pp. 134-135. Emphasis MJS
[8] John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), Vol. 3, p. 452. Emphasis MJS.
[9] Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group, 2009), 305. Bold emphasis MJS.
[10] Merrill F. Unger, New Testament Teaching on Tongues (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1971), 26.